The CrossFit Games Northern California Regional has come and gone. It was a great event – for CrossFit and for CrossFit Oakdale. The sport of CrossFit has continued to grow at a rate that boggles my mind – thousands of people in a grandstand watching people workout, physician armies of media and judges, cost teams of chiropractors with kinesio tape at the ready, tents of supporters rallying their athletes, more tents selling all types of CrossFit related gear.
Why? Why has this grown so fast? Why are athletes willing to endure pain and suffering? Why are so many there to cheer these athletes on?
In my case, I am looking for something pure, something real. To live in the moment and not hide from the pain. To see the preparation come together, to see how how teams will their athletes on the floor and how people react to adversity.
This was my fifth year trying to reach the CrossFit Games. I have done the NorCal event since Aromas, and I’ve seen the evolution to the Rogue/Reebok venue we saw in Santa Rosa. I’ve seen the athletes evolve from fitness enthusiasts to (borderline) professional athletes. What hasn’t changed in the raw emotion that comes with the effort, and that is why I think everyone flocks.
This was the first year I’ve been able to take the floor with other teammates. Nick and AJ Zambruno got the full CrossFit Oakdale treatment and it was my first chance to really watch and cheer on athletes. Watching an athlete start a workout, confident and ready, you can literally see their face change as things get hard and they begin to grind. It was extremely emotional for me to watch this. In my case, having just walked off the competition floor, seeing my friends go through the range of nervousness, to movement,to grindage was tough. It was amazing to watch AJ and Nick in full on attack mode.
Nick’s performance was amazing. He’s the 8th fittest man in Northern California. Nick set a goal of finishing in the top 10 in one of the toughest regions in the world and he achieved it. Nick was consistent across the board and and avoided the land mines set by CrossFit. Nick got to perform on the one of CrossFit’s biggest stages – the final event of a Regional with multiple Games athletes.
AJ came back from a 42nd place finish in the first WOD to finish 15th. Along the way, AJ became a fan favorite, attacking WODs with aviator sunglasses and looking like a action movie star. AJ shook off a rough start by by finishing 12th in WOD 4 and 8th in WOD 5. It pays to be strong and tough as hell. This was AJ’s first Regional, but he’s going to be a guy to watch in the future.
As for me, I finished 35th. I certainly would have liked to have placed better, but I am happy with my performance. There are places I could have done better, but that is life. If I was fitter, I would have done better. I don’t have any allusions about making the Games, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying. I enjoy the process of the training, and I enjoy the crucible that the Regionals have become. I also recognize there are many, many dudes that would kill for a spot on that floor. They’re going to have to drag me away, kicking and screaming.
In the end, the thing I am the most proud of is what CrossFit Oakdale has become. That is because of you – the athletes of CFO. You are fun and giving of your love. It was truly one of the best weekends of my life – watching our families interact, proudly wearing your CFO gear, cheering everyone on and generally having a great time. There were so many great moments, but I’ll share one of my favorites.
AJ is fairly new to our ranks (and on loan from CrossFit FTF) but CFO took him in as one of our own. As AJ returned to tent city from WOD 5, cheers broke out and CFO created a “love tunnel” for AJ to walk through as he returned to tent city. Just a random explosion of fun, camaraderie and support. But that’s par for the course at CFO.
I would ask that you share your favorite experiences from the weekend on the Facebook comments section post is attached to.
Finally I want to saw thank you to everyone that came out, cheered, checked a Facebook status, gave a word of encouragement – anything! It all helps and is all appreciated.
Workout of the Day
Build to a heavy single in 15 minutes
3 heavy sets of 3. Use the rack.
30 foot Walking Lunge in the Front Rack
The goal is the heaviest unbroken set of walking lunges in the front rack for 30 feet. Take turns and work together as space will be a limiting factor.