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On Becoming an Elite Athlete: The 40 WOD Challenge, CrossFit Games, and Me

If you were to find 13-year-old-me and tell me that as an adult, I’d be training to become an elite athlete, I would not believe you.

If you were to find me six months ago and say the same thing, I wouldn’t believe you either.

But I am.

At the end of February I volunteered at the 2010 Washington Sectionals for the CrossFit Games. Spending the weekend watching elite athletes in action changed my entire outlook on CrossFit.

This is what I saw:

2010 Washington State CrossFit Sectionals from Jeremy Grubaugh on Vimeo.

Claim to fame: yours truly makes a split-second appearance 16 seconds into the video.

The 40 WOD Challenge

Last week, the fearless leader announced a spicy new experiment: the “40 WOD Challenge.” (For those who don’t speak “CrossFit,” WOD means workout of the day.) Over the course of eight weeks, each workout will be scored how much we lift and how long it takes to complete the workout. Scoring is based on a reverse curve and the goal is to get the lowest score overall.

At the end of eight weeks, the six people with the best scores (at least 2 men and at least two women) will create the affiliate team representing Lynnwood CrossFit at the regional games in May. Pretty exciting.

What are the CrossFit Games?

The CrossFit Games are the ultimate test of fitness. It’s a grueling two-day competition in which the world’s fittest athletes compete in a variety of workouts. What are the workouts? Each year they change, and the details of them are not announced until a couple days before the event. This means that all year long, the athletes are training for a competition whose format is almost completely a mystery.

The Backstory

I have been going to CrossFit off-and-on since Fall 2008. Though, in May I took six months off when I couldn’t focus on the workout due to real-life stress. In November I came back to CrossFit and started working out 2-to-3 times a week. If we start the clock then, I’ve been CrossFitting “hardcore” for four months now, and it’s time to step it up. My body and core strength have changed dramatically in the past few months, but there’s still a ton of room for improvement. And I want to improve.

There are a ton of amazing, strong women at my gym who are way more athletic than I am. I highly doubt that I’ll make the affiliate team, but I’m going to try.

The Escalation

When I was 13-years-old I tried out for the volleyball team. I didn’t make it. I didn’t even get chosen to be the manager.

The next year I joined the swim team. It was a no-cut sport. I was one of the slowest swimmers but had a rockin’ freestyle. I quit after that year because the idea of trying to figure out the butterfly overwhelmed me.

I was never into PE or sports as a kid (just ask my husband about my hand/eye coordination…or lack of). But after finding CrossFit and after climbing that damn ropewanting to climb the rope–I dig lifting. A lot.

The Goal

Part of the challenge entails working out 3-days-on/1-day off. Repeat.

  • I want to be strong. Really strong.
  • I want to be an athlete because that’s the last thing I ever thought I would be.
  • I want to surprise myself.
  • I want to do this for myself.

And if not now, when? I don’t want to leave this until “someday,” I want that “someday” to be today.

Why not.

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