Madison: A No-Podium Victory!!!
Written by: Janet Black
Closing out the 2017 Crossfit Season in Madison marked a memorable milestone for me as an athlete. This was the 5th year I’ve competed at the Reebok Crossfit Games and I’ll admit, the commitment required to make it to this level of the competition has become more mentally challenging for me than ever before.
Entering the 2017 Crossfit Games Season I was constantly challenging my drive with self-defeating questions; Back to Carson again Janet? Am I ready to commit to the preparation required for another season? If I can’t podium, what is the point?
As a full-time teacher, mom, and wife, the time required to commit to my fitness goals doesn’t come without sacrifice, it’s mostly the time that I can carve out of being efficient with other non-discretionary activities. But really, “what’s the point?”, the point was to compete among the fittest athletes in the world. The point was to test my abilities through the sport of fitness. I had to remind myself that I’ve done it before, I’ve podiumed twice already!!!
Around the same stretch of time that I was battling negative thoughts around my drive, the announcement was made that Madison was the new venue to take on the Games. Immediately I texted my sister because she lives in Illinois, and Wisconsin is so close. She confirmed that she lives only two hours from Madison and it was at this point when the willingness to commit became much easier. At last, a perfect opportunity for my sister to come watch me compete in person, now all I have to do, is make it to the final event, lol.
As I continued to settle in the direction of commitment to the 2017 season I was reminded of how much fun CrossFit is, how much I love the community that comes with it, and how much CrossFit allows me to challenge my limits and is ultimately the reason why I started this journey in the first place. My summer of training began and I truly enjoyed every bit of it. I felt ready both physically & mentally!
The 2017 Games came and went, I finished 6th (tied for 5th in terms of points). Of course I would have loved to finish on the podium but I walked away this year with so much more. Let me first tell you that I am not a strong swimmer, I have a fear of heights so ropes don’t excite me, and in 2014 my max handstand walk was a sloppy ten feet. If you are aware of this year’s workouts, it’s almost as if the workout selection objective was to expose my weaknesses :) .
When the open water event was announced, I found my way to a small lake near my house. I could barely make 100m and it was frightening! So when I got out of the water in Madison after swimming 500m mostly freestyle I truly felt victorious as if a great battle had been won. Although I finished that workout 9th, I was so pumped! As a competitive athlete, it is not often that I feel proud of my own performance but that was certainly a moment I will remember for a lifetime.
On to the obstacle course, which I’ll add was basically made entirely out of high objects & ropes, excellent...lol. During our practice run, I could not even get passed the second obstacle; the incline log, jump to rope swing and land on another log, easier said than done. On game day, however, I practiced it in the warm up area and then nailed it on my first attempt during the competition! I then got through the monkey bars and now it was time for the WALL!
Based on my limited grip ability and fear of heights, I knew I only had one chance to get over this wall. With some positive self-talk, I cautiously approached the wall. Once at the top, I felt like I was up there for five minutes. I remember telling myself “you have to fight”, and it was these self-motivating words that pushed me to release my hand from the rope to the top of the wall and ultimately get over. I did it I GOT OVER THE WALL!! Most people would not be happy with a 16th place finish but for me it went way better than expected.
I finished nine out of the ten workouts in the top ten. I faced my fears and truly felt like I rose above. I finished eighth on a workout with thirty muscle-ups and seventy-five feet handstand walk – another win!
Finishing 6th this year was extremely rewarding despite not finishing on the podium. This admission, along with a shift in my mindset coming into this year’s Crossfit Season has made me a much stronger athlete. I enjoyed the journey and didn’t leave any smiles on the table. Madison took me out of my comfort zone, tested my limits and allowed me to grow. Excited to be back in Texas to attack my summer training and looking forward to what the future brings.