Wildcats Top the Podium at the Granite Games on Aug 18!

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Jen Wirth | August 24, 2018 | 2 comments |

Wildcat Coaches top the Podium at the August 2018 Granite Games!

by, Coach Ryan Barlow

On Saturday, August 18, three Wildcat Coaches competed in a local competition… and they won! Wildcat Coaches Ryan Barlow, Nick Wyss, and Zach Bubolz finished the competition in First Place. CrossFit Purgatory hosted the local competition where 60 teams competed.

The competition was based on three person (MMM/FFF) teams competing against one-another in a variety of classic CrossFit style workouts. There were a total of four workouts or events over the course of a single day. However, this competition was unique in that it used a “waterfall” style event schedule where workouts #1 and #2 were separated by only 5 minutes!

Athletes were then given approximately a two hour break to rest, recover, and refuel before workouts #3 and #4, which were again only spaced 5 minutes apart. Luckily with a three-man (or woman) team there is a fair amount of rest within each workout so each athlete can work at their very limit for short intervals and rest while their teammates are working.

In this competition, teammates would complete a block of work, then immediately “tag” in one of their partners to replace them. Only one athlete was allowed to work at a time, with the other two resting. The one exception to this rule was the synchronized burpees in workout #1 which required two out the three athletes to work while only the third rested.

In order to prepare for this competition, we practiced a lot! We had three practice days leading up to the event. Each time we got together, we practiced each workout twice. About six weeks before the event we got together and practiced workouts #1 and #3 (at this time we did not yet know how the event would be structured). A week or two after that, we practiced workouts #2 and #4. This gave us a good idea of how we would need to break up our reps and what our team goals should be for each event.

On the Saturday one week prior to the competition, after the structure was released, we decided to do a “mock” competition on our own. With a running clock, we practiced all the events in the same way we would see them in competition. We took only five minute breaks in between the paired workouts with about an hour long break in between the two pairs. This was a way to better understand the “stimulus” we would be feeling on the day of the competition. All I can say is that paid major dividends, both in helping us understand how we would attack each workout, and how our bodies would feel during game-day.

I have to say that we did a great job planning. We all went in knowing which workouts favored which of our strengths. Nick was our go-to guy for any gymnastic movements: toes-to-bar, burpees, and chest-to-bar pull-ups. I used my long frame and size to row hard and help move some weight. Zach was our most well-rounded athlete and a true work-horse. He filled in the gaps that Nick and I left and then some. We were “no-repped” (when you do the movement, but miss a standard e.g. doing a wall-ball but coming short of the target or not hitting full depth in your squat) several times, however we stayed calm and kept moving. Our mindset was strong going in and winning event after event only helped confirm that we were on the right path. So to be completely honest, our plans never really went “out the window.” We were able to execute our game-plan from start to finish.

‘Once I started moving, all the nerves went away and it was just “Execute. Execute. Execute.”‘

Before the competition, I was nervous about how my body would feel. I was nervous about performing well for my family who drove down from Phoenix to watch me compete. I was nervous about messing up or being “no-repped” and hurting our team standings. However, in the end, I was able to calm myself down and just enjoy the moment. I think I had a smile on my face almost the whole day, except perhaps when I was on the floor working at my threshold. Once I started moving, all the nerves went away and it was just “Execute. Execute. Execute.”

The entire competition was inspiring. I love watching groups of athletes working to their limits surrounded by their friends and family. Nothing is better than seeing someone break through a mental barrier and leave it all out on the floor for their teammates. The competition floor is both a humbling and very awe-inspriring setting.

On a personal note, it was very helpful for me to have not only my family and friends, but many of the Wildcat members come out to support. Their presence made us all push even harder, never wanting to give-up or show any signs of weakness in front of the people we coach and train with on a daily basis.

I have competed several times prior to this. In fact, since I’ve started CrossFit, I’ve competed in similar events at least a couple times each year. However, this was a very unique and rewarding experience. I had never done a team-of-three competition and I had never practiced so much prior to the event. Usually it was sign up and hope for the best (not a great strategy haha). It was also amazing to work with such awesome athletes and teammates, fellow Wildcat coaches Zach Bubolz, and Nick Wyss. They really pushed me to practice more and push harder even when I wanted to quit.

We had a strategy going into each workout and we all knew we had to execute our individual work in order for our team to have the best chance of success. Of course, this was the first competition I won, or even placed on the podium for, for that matter. My fitness has definitely increased with each month at Wildcat, but I truly believe our biggest advantage was our team chemistry. We loved working out alongside one another and we levied our own individual skill sets to make the team better.

I would strongly encourage anyone and everyone to compete in not only the Granite Games, but any of the other local throw downs. Working with a team or a partner in a competitive setting is like nothing else. It will truly bring out the best in you as an athlete. It forces you to be intelligent about each workout and let you and your partner capitalize on your individual strengths.

And for those thinking, “I’m not fit enough to compete,” you need to push that thought out of your mind. Almost every competition these days has two or more divisions where athletes of ALL skill levels can compete at their own RELATIVE intensity. Trust me, nobody out here is going to shame you for scaling your burpees or having to do ring-rows instead of pull-ups. 

These competitions bring positive, like-minded athletes and gym-members together from all over our community. It is a safe place to work hard and feel welcome. Effort and attitude are the biggest players here. If you work hard and treat others with respect, I can promise you that you will be greeted by nothing other than high-fives, hugs, and smiles from everyone around you. So what are you waiting for?



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