Four days before The Suffolk Games was due to take place, a fellow Crossfitter from my Box lost his teammate to illness and was stuck without a partner for the competition. A few Facebook messages later and I agreed to stand in instead; so with 4 days to prepare, in which I did no preparation, I did my first proper Crossfit competition.
As someone who hates being in front of large crowds and generally dislikes being unprepared – I was strangely relaxed and not too worried about it. In truth I don’t think the realisation that I would be competing hit me until the first heat had started and we were preparing to go next.
Crossfit competitions can seem really confusing if you are not familiar with them. I remember when I first watched competitions I didn’t have a clue about what was going on, it just looked like a lot of people doing workouts together. Once you understand how they work though, they make a lot of sense, and are fun to watch.
Competitions tend to last over several hours, The Suffolk Games started at 9am and didn’t finish until about 4pm. During that time several workouts are done. The Suffolk Games had 4 workouts – each one containing a different type of exercise. The workouts are also broken down into heats, where different teams, pairs or individuals (depending on the type of competition), compete (there is also a judge with each competing team to score and ensure competitors are doing the workouts correctly) and then the next set of competitors take to the floor for the next heat. The Suffolk Games was a mixed pairs competition and unlike many competitions, which have a semi-final and then final, the results were just the total score from all 4 workouts.
As Crossfit competitions go, The Suffolk Games is a more laid back environment and aims to be inclusive to all abilities – making it the ideal competition for first timers, like me. As well as this, the skills needed to do the competition are not advanced so that even those relatively new to the sport can compete (although for me this wasn’t the case…more about that later!).
Loads of teams from Crossfit Gains, the Box I go to, were there, which created a great, supportive atmosphere, and my teammate and I got off to a good start with our first workout. This workout was made up of deadlifts, hang cleans, shoulder to overhead and lots of running – all moves I am really comfortable with, especially the running, so it wasn’t a problem for me. The second workout included a lot of rowing, luckily my teammate is a rower so I didn’t need to worry about that! There was also a tyre pull (again my teammate did that bit), plus kettlebell swings and skipping – stuff I can do. This workout suited us both the most and was the one we scored the best in.
Next came workout 3, which is where I learnt a brand new skill – but unfortunately it was during a competition, so not the best time! This workout started well, lunges with a 20kg weighted bag, then 8 synchronised burpees – both of which were fine. Then we each had to pick up a Dball carry it to the end of our lane and back again. Prior to Sunday I had never picked up a Dball, before Wednesday I didn’t even know they existed. My Dball weighed 30kg – which although isn’t massively heavy, for me it felt heavy and I really struggled with getting it onto my shoulder to carry. This workout was to do as many rounds as possible within 12 minutes – I think I spent half that time trying to pick up the ball. It just didn’t go well! My teammate was great at talking me through what to do, although he wasn’t allowed to physically help in any way. Finally the 12 minutes were up and I survived it, somehow.
The 4th workout was to aim to complete reps of 40,30,20 and then 10 of 3 exercises within 15 minutes. The exercises were a barbell ground to overhead, box walk over with a 20kg bag weight and a tyre flip of a 50kg tyre. After workout 3 I really wanted to finish this workout within the time limit, although I was worried about the tyre flip as this is something I’d only done once before years ago. In the end it was the box walkovers that were the hardest, but we did finish within the time limit and our final overall place was 35 out of the 67 teams competing – which I was happy with.
While the competition could have gone better, I actually really enjoyed the day – more than I thought I would. It was a fantastic environment in which to compete, plus it was lots of fun. It has also made me want to compete in more Crossfit competitions in the future – I will probably just make sure that there are no Dballs involved before signing up though!