Sunday, March 27, 2011
competitor. Last year I competed as a "scaled" athlete. This means
some of the workouts had to be scaled down because I could not
complete them as they were written. In Crossfit terms, doing a workout
"as Rx'd" is a big deal.
This year I competed as Rx'd. And I finished dead last. It's the
proudest dead last ever.
The competition was set up like a weird swim meet. There were only 3
events but there were several waves. We all received points based on
where we finished. Women and men are ranked separately. Much to my
surprise, I was not last after the first two workouts (Crossfit called
them WODs for Workout Of the Day). I was SECOND to last which was
something I was very proud of. I'm an endurance athlete amongst a
bunch of former gymnasts and body builders. Second to last is a great
place to be.
Fran. For the competition, they made it even tougher. 40-20-10
thrusters/pullups. 65lb is the standard thruster weight for women for
Now I'm 2 workouts in, set a new personal record for my deadlift
(235lb), extremely tired. The judges decided to up the ante on the
workout. Not only would I have to clean the 65lb up from the floor
before starting the thrusters, I would have to start the pullups from
a deadhang because I'm too short to jump up to the bar (normally I get
to jump up from the box). Some days I hate my short genes.
Suddenly I realized: I can't do it. It's not a matter of stepping up
or digging deep. My body is trashed. I can't do this within the 20
minute time limit.
So I start my final heat knowing that I can't finish. Now, I'm not a
soldier in battle. No ones life is on the line. But starting that
workout was one of the hardest things I've done. It's hard to push
yourself to the limit knowing there is no chance of victory. I will
be dead last. I won't even finish officially. Everyone will stop,
stare, and watch. They will know that I'm not as good as the rest.
They will know I can't finish.
But what they didn't know is...well let me show you.
40, 65lb thrusters felt so heavy, especially when you have to lift the
weight off the floor before you start. And I can only do 4-5 at a
time so it's like adding 8-10 extra lifts. At some point, I actually
made my husband bring me the coke from the cooler because I was
shaking so badly. In my head I told myself: 20 minutes. It's a 5K,
right? Just don't stop. 38..39..40! I headed to the pullup bar.
Each pullup felt like my arms were on fire. After the first few
pullups, everyone stopped, stared, and watched. I'm 2 round behind. It
was obvious that I'm not as good as the rest. They knew I
couldn't finish within the time limit. Sort of like my personal
nightmare. 50 uberfit weightlifters watching me struggle like fish
caught in the low tide.
And so they cheered. Celebrating every pullup I did make. The screams
of "dig deep!" and "two more" were overwhelming. After 40 torturous
pullups, done 2 at a time, it was time to head back for the second
round. There were 2 minutes left on the clock, the owner of the gym
reminded me. Thanks, like I can't read. Back off. I've got 20
thrusters to do. ONE (they scream)-TWO-THREE-4-5-6....and the time
You would have thought I just won overall. A standing ovation. They
cheered so long I actually took a bow. Group hugs. It was crazy. As
one of the trainers said "they loved the fight".
In fact, that DNF was the biggest victory ever in terms of the respect
I earned. As much as I tell them what it takes to be a
triathlete/ironman, they couldn't believe it until they saw me fail.
Funny how that works.
As for me, I had a great day. Not even that sore given all the
cleans, kettlebell swings, and pullups. Heck, I'm ready to sign up
for next competition in October.
9 times down, 10 times up.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
But I have to be willing to suffer. The first 4-6 weeks are a big ego buster. Spend a lot of time getting dropped, rediscovering my riding skills, learning how to see the break coming.
Eventually everything comes together and BAM I'm back in the game.
Today was that day. Average speed for the working section of the group ride was 19.2mph. That's a big jump over the 16-17 of the past few weeks. The key was that I didn't get dropped to the back of the ride in the first 10 minutes. I tried to grab the wheel of the front pack. Held on for 5 minutes or so but got behind a rider who allowed a gap to open. I tried to pull us back but I can't hold 24mph for very long, yet, and the other riders didn't have it in them. Per usual, they let me spend my energy chasing, then drop me. This is fine. Chasing the front pack is a perfect opportunities to truly push my limits.
My strategy switched to doing a strong time trail, getting back my energy. When the second pack came by, I jumped on their wheel and held on. Even then I stayed at the back. The rubber band effect you experience at the end of the pack was built in interval training.
It's all progress.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Have to say this workout had me scared. This is a big build time for triathlon training. Hit big PRs for CF total and showed well at the other competitor WOD (i.e. not last). Rode 2 hours fast this morning. Definitely not bringing my A game to the gym today. Then my trainer asked me if I “had this” and my honest response was: I’m scared. I’m stubborn enough to finish it but who knows if my muscles will fail. In my head I was thinking 40 minutes.
Even tired and cranky I finished closer to 20.
The smackdown still has me worried but I’m not afraid. The progress I’ve made this year is amazing and I’ll be proud to earn last in the Rx’d category. This time last year I could not do a pullup. Now I can Rx Long Fran. And, who knows. I’m not the strongest girl in the world but 3 workouts/day is something I do every week.
don't come to these rides to "cruise". The groupetto let me pull for a few minutes at 24mph, got their second wind and dropped me (again!) about half way through ride. But they couldn't hold it either. So I caught them 15 minutes later.
My reward? They are starting to speak to me. Especially when I thank them for letting me join in and they say "we certainly didn't LET you". HA! In roadie speak I'm sure that's some type of affection.
Progress. I need to get my paces back down to race speed. This is the fastest way to get there.
sent from the field on my blackberry
Saturday, March 12, 2011
This was the site of my first age group win. It took my by surprise. I didn't feel I was fast enough to win anything so I went home. Missed all the glory.
Well, history repeats itself. Not for first this time, but for third.
Short version: 24:42 for new 5K PR by a 10ish seconds. First mile in 7:37 which just goes to show "it doesn't get easier, you just get faster".
The preliminary results listed me as 5/15. No big deal. I'm getting faster but not that fast yet. Last year the top 3 in my age group finished under 23 minutes so I went home.
EXCEPT that two of the women in my age group won overall. Which means I earned THIRD in my age group but I didn't wait around to get the award because the posted results said I finished out of the money. They did not post updated results before the ceremony so there was no way for me to know. I'm sure the race director will send me the award but it would be nice to be present for once.
In fact, I was 12th woman overall (out of 158). Live and learn. Not too shabby.
I'm just really glad to prove that 24:55 was not a fluke. Sub 25 is my new standard and there are great things in the works. If I let my mind go, my body will follow.
This year I have been running plugged into the Matrix with every electronic toy I can get. Funny thing is, after the first 1/2 mile, I don't "hear" them anymore. I can't tell you any of the songs my Ipod played. When my Garmin said 6:59 pace my reply was "Meh, nice number. Let's see how long it can last". Maybe I did go out too fast. But I don't care. Every mile my body spends at those paces teaches it to go faster. There was a time when 7:30 was "as fast as possible". Now it's mile 1.
Most of the race was spent arguing with my internal committee. They think I can't possibly hold this pace. I'm thinking 7:37 for the first mile is faster than I've run in my life. Go with it. Followed up with a 7:54. Yes, I faded to an 8:02 pace for the last 1.1 miles but there was no one around. I'm not used to this. There were no women to use as a bunny and not many men either. The goal was to cling to life until the finish line.
Which I did.
12th woman overall. Wow.
There is too much. Let me sum up.
#1 Greatness and courage is a competitor whose body is on the edge of
breaking down that can smile and say "this mist is someone else's
rainbow". It's awesome to be fast but if being fast is easy...
#2 Leslie will never give up. She glows positive energy. Pain is not a
limiter. She'll even continue when pain is over the top and she has
"no hope" of finishing within the cutoff.
#3 If you agree to be a Crewathlete, come prepared to be an athlete.
Spent a fair amount of time bonking because I was focused on my
athlete rather than my needs as an athlete. We won't talk about the
#4 With the standard "Never Say Never" disclaimer, I must admit: my
path lies elsewhere. These events are fun. I will happily crew or
even crew chief next year. But I have unfinished business right now.
Talk to me again in 3-10 years. Not only am I not ready, my husband
and friends have already said they will not crew for me.