The Masters League State of Origin – day 2
I woke up on Saturday morning at 6am after having a pretty broken sleep – it must have been that bloody Maccas Angus Cheeseburger and fries I ate at 10.30pm. My body did not react well to it. I should have known better.
At 6.30am Stav (my NSW team mate) and his partner in crime, Matt “Rabs” O’Brien (both Owners and Coaches at CrossFit Zelos), picked me up and we made our way to a local café for a stiff coffee and brekky.
By 7.30am we were back at the arena amongst the very fit old people. The scent of Voltaren wafted through the air but everyone was in good spirits.
Today’s itinerary would consist of 3 individual workouts, the results of which would go towards the State Team’s total score. We received a brief instruction/warning from Master’s League mastermind, Joe Riego not to drop bars from overhead as the rubber gym mats placed on top of the spongy running track created a trampoline effect. Bouncing bars and old people don’t mix apparently.
Workout number 1 for me was 21-15-9 Burpee Box Jump Overs with each set sandwiched between 200m “Runs”. If I had to choose a workout to leave out of the weekend, this was it. It was going to be an all out effort with my engine being the limiting factor. The movements themselves weren’t hard. My engine was in dire need of a service so I knew it was going to be tough.
We watched some heats before us with guys red-lining on the first run. They got back to the box fast for the burpees but then died. Their next runs were much, much slower. We (the guys in my heat) decided to go out easy so as not to blow out early. I was happy with that. 21 Burpees done at speed takes a lot out of you. 21 Burpee Box jump Overs just suck. I can do them but they suck!
We lined up beside our boxes on the start line. OK, here goes – getting the worst WOD out of the way first.
3, 2, 1, Go! I took off at maybe 70%. Most of the field ran out in front of me. That’s cool – stick to the plan, take it easy. I got to the turnaround bollard, and slipped, but pushed on back to the box. By the time I started my burpees, I could hear the Judges beside me counting 3…4…5 for their athletes. “Just get through it” I said in my head.
I landed my first burpee on top of the box, which felt like it was going to topple over. “Great start!”. Does anyone else have these conversations in their head while they are working?
1 rep turned to 5 reps turned to 18 reps turned to 21. They were tough. I’m normally pretty good at Burpee Box Jump Overs but my legs felt so damn heavy. This was worse than I thought and I still had 3 more runs and 24 burpees to go.
Fellow team members watching on the sideline shouted out words of encouragement, which I am always grateful for. (A) because it really does motivate me to keep pushing, and (B) it fuels my ego in the sense that I don’t want to look soft in front of them, so I keep going.
The remainder of the WOD was a real slog for me. I had gotten to my second run before Stav (which felt good because Stav has got a better engine than me), but by the end of the 2nd set of burpees he was out in front of me along with most of the other athletes.
My plan was to just keep pushing through at a consistent pace (which was slow) and then hit the afterburners on the final 100m sprint and finish strong.
I set off on my final run and told myself, “Alright, let’s do it!”
Have you ever seen those movies where the hero has got a secret weapon up his sleeve to beat his opponent, and he presses the button to initiate it and it doesn’t work? Or he goes to shoot his enemy and he pulls the trigger only to hear a paltry “click” because he’s out of bullets. I decided to sprint home but my legs were out of bullets. I pressed the button to turn on my internal turbo charger and nothing happened. I pressed it again…….nothing. My legs were dead and at best they were going to get me back to the finish at a very slow jog. Shouts from my team members couldn’t spur me on to go any faster. My legs just weren’t cooperating. I got across the finish line at 7:06 and fell to the ground. A marshal placed a wet Chux on the back of my neck. I’ve never loved Chux wipes so much in my life.
I hung around to watch the next heat (because I was too tired to walk off). The athletes set off on their run and when they returned to the box, there were a couple of guys placing their hands on the box to leverage themselves up on top. Hang on, what’s going on here? I thought we were told we couldn’t use hands. Was this an illegal use of “HOB’s” (Hands On Box). As later heats progressed, more and more people were using their hands until by the end, everyone seemed to be doing it. IT seemed HOB’s were allowed. I wish I had of known that. The use of HOB’s would have made my life in that WOD so much easier.
Workout number 2 was a 10 min AMRAP of 2 sets of 50 Double Unders and 9 x 60kg Snatches, followed by 15 Bar Muscle Ups. I was looking forward to this WOD. Because my engine is not my strength, I prefer workouts that have an element of technicality to them. But as always, if you haven’t got the engine available, being a good mover doesn’t always pay off, as I was about to find out.
When the WOD started I got out my Double Unders fairly easily and moved to the bar. Snatch 1 – up! Damn, that felt heavy. I knocked out 8 more singles then jumped back onto the rope. The heart rate was up and my breathing was fast. I think I broke these up into 25 and 25. Back to the bar. 9 singles with one wasted rep – I caught it forward and couldn’t control it. That sucked!
Ok, Bar Musce Ups. Time to shine! My forearms were blown but I managed 5 unbroken. They weren’t pretty. The rest of my 15 were singles with one double mixed in. They took longer than I had wanted but I was out of breath and I just couldn’t go any faster.
I returned to the Double Unders and managed to get back to the Snatches. I think I got out about 6 before the buzzer sounded. Another tough one. I thought I would have done better.
With 2.5 hours to go before the final workout I grabbed something to eat from the food van in the arena and squeezed in a 15 minute nap on the floor in the athletes village. It felt so good.
The 3rd workout was a Ground to Overhead ladder starting at 50kg, and going up 10kg all the way to 110kg. The WOD went for 7 minutes where we would have 1 minute on each weight to punch out as many reps as possible before moving onto the next weight. Score was total reps, not total weight.
Again we watched the heats before us to get an idea of a strategy and see how people were moving through the ever increasing weights. Everyone was going hard on the first two and then just moving through the next ones as well as they could. There was a dramatic drop in the number of reps performed after the 2nd minute.
I said to Stav, “I’m just going to be methodical through this. I’m going to hit sets of 5 on the first one and have short rests in-between.” My goal was to hit 20 at 50kg. Stav said,”if I have to Squat Clean it, I’m not lifting it. I’ll be stopping at 80″. Stav had recently had surgery on multiple hernias, so the fact that he was even here competing was a monumental effort. The guy is a beast!
When the WOD started I moved onto the platform and started lifting. 1, 2…4, 5 (keep going, it feels good), 6…9…11, 12, 13. I sucked in some air for about 10 secs and knocked out another 5. I heard the bell ring signalling us to move onto the next bar. Damn, I didn’t hit the 20. Damn, I didn’t stick to the plan. Damn, I’m really out of breath.
I ended up doing singles on the 60 and it was nowhere near what I had planned. I progressed through the next weights really breathing hard and managed only a few reps, with, I think 2 @ 90kg, 1 @ 100kg, and a solid deadlift @110kg. 7 minutes later it was all over and so was the competition for me. I watched Stav do his final lift of 100 which I’m pretty sure was a Power Clean into a Strict Press. Like I said, Beast!
As we were finished, we were now able to relax and watch the rest of our NSW team compete. And compete they did. Everyone threw in 100%. It was really cool to witness these people, many of whom were now friends, put in their heart and soul to do their best.
And that’s what got us over the line. Later that night at a gala presentation dinner (I felt like I was at the Logies, not that I’ve ever been) it was announced that NSW had won the 2017 Masters League State of Origin series. When the announcement was made, the New South Welshmen and women went off! All of our hard work paid off.
This competition for me was a chance to perform amongst a top calibre field of athletes; a chance to throw-down with a good mate – Stav; an opportunity to measure myself against my peers; a prospect of being inspired and motivated by others; and lastly, an opportunity to meet and mix with some legendary people and make new friends.
Thanks to everyone involved who made this happen – Joe Riego and his team (you’ve created something awesome), the volunteers (comps do not run without you – you guys are the backbone), our team Manager and Coach, Darren Tahu (thanks for all of the hard work you put in big guy), all of the NSW athletes (a great bunch of people I hope to see more of), and in particular, my team – Stav, Jen and Sylvia (it was an honour to be teamed up with you).
2018…….here I come. Time to get busy!
WORKOUT OF THE DAY
A. 15 mins to get 3RM Push Press
B. 15 mins to get 5RM Deadlift
In pairs, for time:
50 Seated Strict Dumbbell Press 15/10kg (2 DB’s)
75 DB Front Rack Walking Lunges 15/10kg (2 DB’s)
100 Straight Leg Raises