Fatties Take a Podium.....

Welcome to my first blog instalment for the best part of the year. It's becoming as dependable as the newsletter I intended as a monthly  occurrance. It's slogan should follow the US political chant 'four more years'. I'll try stretch it out to five!

Post 2012 European regional blues kicked in. Truth be told I'd had enough of CF competition, persistent low back pain, neck pain & fatigue became tedious. Combined with general life stress enough was enough. I opted for a year off conditioning. 
Now don't take this as I did absolutely nothing, because it's not true. While others met-con'ed, I ran the park, swam, boxed and did the odd EMOM. I also took part in an interim competition; DWF 2012 which as defending champions from 2011 I felt obliged to compete. In reality the structure of the competition allowed me to cruise. Honestly if I'd have been stacked up against the UK's finest head to head I'd have probably been found out and let my team down. 
Early 2013 saw a group of hungry competitors emerge at CFCL. Still lacking motivation the Crüe managed to relight that spark needed to push myself to the depths required every time I trained. In addition I had read about a pairs competition in Cardiff which tickled my fancy. This led to my first competitive individual WOD  being Workout One of the 2013 Games Open and day one of training for the pairs comp. Fuck me! Conditioning goes when you don't do it.

European Inferno Pairs Competition 2013

The main aim of this competition was to enjoy it and have fun. Partner in crime was Alex 'The Beast' Clarke of CrossFit Tonbridge. In the preceeding four months I'd definitely put the time in and trained hard. A rough calculation of time spent training was (is) 15 hours per week. Fridays being the hardest with three conditioning workouts. Not an easy task considering I have a full time profession, but clearly doable with the right planning.

The competition itself was top quality, pitched as described, organised and programmed brilliantly.  If the competition had been shit, the UK CrossFit scene would have lost me forever, instead it's inspired me to push on with working hard and inevitably try to help get as many of my training Crüe hitting their own aspirations and goals. My sincerest thank you and well done to Andy Edwards of Dragon CrossFit and his inferno team.

Day 1 (four workouts) 

1) 1RM Press + 1RM Clean - a total of both scores determined your final score. 4 minutes was given for each area with a 1 minute transition and another 4 minutes for the clean. Score - 440Kg (4th place). 

Mike Fox destroyed the field with a monster 150Kg clean and 107.5kg press - numbers I find jaw dropping. In general the strength of every competitor was really impressive. Our RunBreeze - GotFitness Team of Richard Edmonds and Lee Steggles took 68th and both are strong lads. Their overall finish of 20th place even more impressive, clawing back after such a start.

2) 8 x 150m shuttles - score being the total time it took to finish.

This was a close run affair but probably one of the hardest workouts I've ever done. The lactic burn was ridiculous and hurt a lot. 14th place finish kept  our placement as 4th overall.

3) Dead lift  Hold - Burpee (8 mins) - partner holds 100kg at the top of the deadlift whilst the other clocks up Burpees jumping over another bar. Total reps = Score.

Alex & I opted for a strategy which saw us switching every 10 reps. One partner had to keep an eye on the clock just to make sure the desired pace stayed. In general we didn't have to communicate a great deal as we both stuck to the game plan. The reps didn't really slow but I felt Alex completed his sets a few seconds quicker than I did in the final 2 minutes of the workout. Considering he is 20kg heavier, weighing 100kg its pretty impressive he can just motor on. Total Reps - 153 (8th place; retaining 4th place overall).

4) 30-20-10 Kettle-bell Swings with a Fireman's Carry of Partner and kettle-bell 50m in between each set. Once one partner finished the next started and completed same workout.

I was worried about this workout the most, having to fireman's carry 124kg for a total of 150m with kettle-bell swings in between just seemed hard. Two teams flew off the mark in my peripheral vision gaining a couple of meters. I knew I wasn't going to put the kettle-bell down and could maintain a brisk pace, so I just hoped that the two teams either dropped the kettle-bell or couldn't hold the pace as well as I could. Surprisingly I managed to finish the 20 swings and enter the carry in first place, 10 swings being a given I knew unleashing the beast (Alex) with a lead meant imminent victory. We finished in around 5 minutes. 

There were several heats with our closest rivals still to go. These being Adam Shackell/Alec Harwood and Steven Fawcett/Jon Bullough, plus we were acutely aware of Stuart Trees and his partner sat one place down in 5th overall. A mighty fine moustache if I do say so myself sir! After all the smoke had cleared we managed a 1st place finish, pumping us up the leader board to 2nd overall and completion of day 1.


Alex & I aren't exactly renown for being the most disciplined of eaters. 99.9% of CrossFit competitors Abs have Abs. We tend to go for the strongman belly approach. I think the picture below sums it up. Alex is eating cake in between workouts, and right now I'm nursing an inflamed wrist initiated when the vending machine lid crashed down on it whilst trying to retrieve our dairy milk chocolate bars in between workout's 3 and 4. A burger with bread, chips and a pint of cider refuelled us in a cool little pub somewhere in Cardiff with the RunBreeze-GotFitness lads, setting up day 2.


Day 2

5) Row 1500m then Run 800m together. 

Alex suggested I row 500m as quick as possible, jump off the concept  2 and let him row 1000m. Sounded like a cracking deal to me, I swiftly agreed. He felt he could hold a 1.40 pace comfortably for the duration then let me set the pace for the run. I was to be a target for him to catch while he regained his legs. My 500m split was 1.30, giving enough in the tank to actually run. Past experience suggested any quicker meant being crawled up in the foetal position for 10 minutes plus. Obviously not an option! This was Alex's workout and what a display of out and out engine it was. He caught me at 700m of the track then grunted and waved. Considering all languages, I perceived he was communicating in what can only be described as caveman. Caveman being a language of which I'm fluent, it meant that I had to hurry the fuck up and sprint with him to the finish. FREAK! (4th place; 1st overall). 


6) 8 x  Thruster 8 x Box Jumps - as many reps as possible in 7 minutes.

Truth be told we were rubbing our hands together. We thought seeing as though we are both exceptional on the thrusters and solid at box jumps we could seal another high placing and pretty much seal the victory in the final as long as we didn't finish last in it. How wrong were we! 
A solid score of 14 rounds plus change, but we  pushed the boundaries of our judge to the limit. He held us to what I'd class as perfect standards. Double digit no reps, which were probably 99% reps 1% no reps cost us dearly. A 20th place finish. The reality is Alex & I had no one to blame but ourselves. The judge was given instructions of what was required and he certainly held us to it, we have no complaints. We dropped to third overall. The competition was cut to the top ten for a final showdown, meaning we had no way of catching 1st and 2nd place and put 4th place a point behind. The final podium to be decided by a dual. 

7) Final-1000m Watt Bike Ride whilst partner holds a 80kg front rack x 2.

-Remove 20kg from the bar, carry to next station and proceed with 50 x shoulder to overhead @ 60 kg.

-Remove 40kg and place on a dog sled, then push it 100m.-Wheel barrow walk 100m back.

-100 x ground to overhead with a 20kg plate.-Wheel barrow walk 100m back to sled.

-100m sled push back to start.
-200m lap of indoor track x 2.

Goal: Win Final

The final set off at a furious pace. We placed just behind the leaders until Alex hit the dog sled,which was made to look like nothing pushing us into the lead. I took the wheel barrow walk and managed the full 100m, neck and neck with the 4th place team as we arrived at the ground to overhead with the 20kg plate. 

Our reps started at sets of 15 as did the 4th place team. We could hear their judge calling their reps. At round two they drop to sets of 10, Alex & I looked at each other, it was one of those looks where neither needed to speak, eyes and body language said 'make them suffer'. We upped our sets to 20 reps. The 1st place team was situated very close to all this on very similar reps, but this gave us the edge required to hold off both teams once finishing the final wheel barrow walk and returning the dog sled. 

Alex had a 5m head start into the 200m with Steven Fawcett (1st place) in his slip stream. Alex tagged and I managed to run us home quite comfortably in the end. All I could think about was there is no way I could lose this for Alex, correctly predicting the taunts of the RunBreeze-GotFitness boys of 'run fatty run'. By the home straight the hamstrings felt like they were on fire and I had pins and needles in both legs and forearms. It's my classic tell that I'm flat out, but worth it to seal a podium spot in 3rd place.

Steven Fawcett/Jon Bullough and Adam Shackell/Alan thoroughly deserved first and second place respectively. Congratulations to both teams! There you have it I've commenced a come back, the goal is to reach regional level again next year. The standard is so high I'm hoping it hasn't passed me by, all I know is I'll be putting in the work in training so only time will tell.