a road trip to NJ, heavy clean and jerks, and some really fun people

So, last Saturday I went to another crossfit competition (yes, yes, we all know I’m clearly an addict now). I wasn’t planning on writing anything much about this one because it wasn’t really a big deal. I was only going because Madeline, my dear crossfit pal from Pennsylvania, posted the link on my facebook wall a while ago and said, “I’m doing this. You should look into it.” And of course, Madeline is one of those people who only has to say, “Hey, you should …” before I find myself agreeing to do things.

I signed up the next day.

Then I realized I was going to have to spend four hours in the car getting there and back, so I told L she was going too; I needed some company. Thankfully, good-looking birds flock together (or whatever that phrase is) and L didn’t even bother to ask when or where it was before telling me to sign her up.

So that, my friends, is how I ended up at a crossfit competition in New Jersey, at a gym I’d never heard of, with only two people I knew (instead of the usual two dozen friends who show up at the more local festivities).

And I had the time of my life.

I was going to write about how much I loved getting to hang out with Madeline (who is not only the loveliest human being, but to whom I also owe the eternal debt of having introduced me to the world crossfit). And I was going to write about how we all got PRs on the clean and jerk ladder, how I exceeded my wildest expectations by placing remarkably well at the end of the day, how L made top ten and got her first muscle up right after the clock ran out on the final wod.

But I don’t have time to write about ALL the things I loved, and what I REALLY want to write about are the people I didn’t know when the day started.

It’s funny, because I love the fact that half of our box show up at the local competitions, I really do. They are the most supportive group of people I have ever met, but being at a competition without them forced us to make new friends, and I am  amazed all over again at how kind and welcoming the crossfit community is as a whole. Of course, it helped to have L in tow since she could carry on a conversation with a post and has no problem walking up to random people and simply saying, “Wow, you’re so strong!”

Throughout the course of the day we befriended about a dozen strangers. Early on, L dragged me over to introduce me to her new friend Katie, who had competed in Regionals last year, and whose blog L follows religiously. Since, I had about five minutes before I had to start the first wod (and, predictably, needed to use them to pee), I just blurted out a quick, “Good to meet you. You went to regionals? Ohmygosh you must be so good! Sorry, I have to go!”

So I was surprised to see Katie in the crowd later on, yelling my name and cheering for me to get my clean and jerk PR. She was the sweetest person. Speaking of the clean and jerk ladder, I had the BEST judge for it (except that I also had the best judge for the other two wods). We had a minute for each lift, and there wasn’t a lot to do in the between time so I wiggled around a lot, threw in a few white-girl dance moves, and mostly just struck up a lively conversation with my judge. We would prattle away enthusiastically about I-don’t-know-what, and every time the clock would beep, I’d interrupt with a quick, “Oh, hang on one second.” Then I’d do the lift and we’d keep talking. Once I got to about #135, I had to try and focus at least a little bit, but my judge would still cheer and high-five me every time I got the bar up. I was so excited when I got my PR that I even hugged her. And then proceeded to jump around like a maniac a lot. I might have been better off conserving my energy for the next weight, which I cleaned, but didn’t manage to get over my head. Oh well, I’ve never been the best for planning ahead.

After the clean and jerks were over, I congratulated the woman who had been lifting next to me, even though I was slightly terrified to approach her because she had looked so intense during the wod. But the minute I talked to her, her face lit up and she held up her hand for a high five: “Girrrll! You too!! You killed it.” After that, we realized that we had parked out stuff right next to each other and proceeded to be best buds for the rest of the day. It was somewhat comical since she was just so COOL, with her bad-ass attitude, tattoos, and edgy hair cut; whereas, I am dorky, super blond, and extremely overenthusiastic.

For the sake of brevity, I will fast forward through my other two judges, the wonderful people I met from Madeline’s box, and every other person who smiled, high-fived me, and wished me luck. Because I want to talk about the last wod of the day. The wod I didn’t even do. By that point, the field had been pared  down to the top ten, and though I didn’t manage to make the cutoff, L did.

The final wod included 10 muscle ups.

Neither of us had ever done a muscle up before, so I wasn’t any help. But in her usual optimistic fashion, L simply wandered around saying, “Does anybody want to teach me how to do a muscle up in the next 20 minutes??” And everybody did want to teach her, including ALL of the women she would competing against. Crossfitters are great.

In the end, our new friend Alyssa, whom L had met at a previous competition, turned out to be a muscle-up instructor extraordinaire. Although she had also not made it into the final wod, Alyssa and her sister stayed to watch and cheer with me, and shared their beer and goldfish crackers all around too (and we all know that anyone who shares their food with me is my new favorite person). Since most of the competitors had cleared out by then, I was thrilled to have the company, and even though L didn’t get her muscle up in the wod, we were all still there to scream for her when she finally did one just after the clock had run out.

The great thing about crossfit is that, no matter how different we all are (and we are all VERY different), crossfitters are never hard to talk to because we all have the same favorite thing in common.

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