Friday, August 31, 2018

My Last Regional Rodeo

I am so happy I soaked up the sun and the entire experience in Palm Beach while I could.

Because now Regionals is gone. Regionals was pretty much the only competition I trained for the last two years. The Open and Regionals were what gave me incredible motivation and got me through hours of tough training sessions. Doing well enough in the Open to guarantee our team would have the best success to make it. 

This year we sent a team from our home gym - which was amazing - to represent at the Atlantic Regional in Florida. That is no easy feat. Every year, the competition gets stiffer & the workouts get harder. There were 11,000 plus people in our Region. Our team finished Top 15. Guys - that's kind of nuts.

When Castro announced teams were moving from 6 down to 4 this year - we knew just how much harder that was going to become. But we had 4 athletes (2 girls, 2 men) who historically have always placed in the Top 100 and above. Kim and I have both competed at Regionals as Individuals (back in the day), and Travis and Jared were always right on the cusp. I was pretty damn confident we could do it, even with my husband not 100%, still healing from his motorcycle accident. More than that, we had an entire gym behind us who believed in us. Of course we were going to make it.

This was one of my favorite years of CrossFit to date. I loved my training program and my training partners. I dialed in my nutrition and completely stopped drinking. I learned how to manage my sleep and cortisol levels. I managed to get stronger and fitter with a torn labrum. My life revolved around training and recovering. I was busier than ever - but also incredibly satisfied at the end of the day, realizing this vision, making this dream happen.

Competing at Regionals was absolutely the best. In 2017, I was sick with the flu literally up until the first day of competition. I felt tired and weak out there on the floor, and my husband had just been in a terrible motorcycle accident. My mind and my heart just wasn't in the competition. 

This year, I was healthy, happy, surrounded by family, friends and my husband was right there on the floor next to me. I get emotional just recalling some of my favorite memories ... one of them, I was patting him on the back during the worm/thruster event, because I knew he was trying so hard not to blow up for us. He makes this face where his eyes get really big; we can't let him go down that Rabbit Hole or we can never get him back.

We fought hard to finish Top 10, almost made it. We settled out the weekend in 12th. But it really wasn't about the Leaderboard for us - it was about being there. It was about this small village of people that supported us to get there. It was about the hours of training we spent together - because these people believe in me just as much, if not more, than I beleive in them. Training on a team is one of the neatest experiences you can ever have; shared joy is one million times better than individual joy. Walking off the floor together after laying it all out there, not once, but 6 times, your ears still ringing from the cheering and the commentators saying "GammaLammaDingDongs" over and over ... these will forever be some of my favorite memories.

I will miss having training partners like Ashley, and our hour long warm ups. I will miss working out with Jared and literally ZERO warm ups. I will miss working out with my husband because he will actually be gone for the next 9 months, deployed overseas.

This is a new beginning for me. As the song goes, every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end. 

I'm shifting my focus from competitive training to just being healthy. And learning what that means. How to manage fitness, wellness and the desire to be competitive, while having fun in the gym.

While I'm working on figuring out what my new normal is going to look like - right now I'm just so grateful to have experienced Regionals as many times as I did. It's been a huge part of my life for the last 5 years! In 2014, I competed as an Individual. In 2015 and 2016, I volunteered as a judge. And in 2017, 2018, I competed on a Team. 

This is the end of an era for me. It's a little sad. It's a lot sad. I don't know what the new changes will look like. For the up and coming CrossFit competitors, I am sure it will be no big deal. They won't mind traveling to compete and doing online qualifiers for CrossFit Game sanctioned events - wherever and whatever those are. But for me - someone who's been doing CrossFit since it was grassroots, since before Reebok came around - I'm happy to be one of those people who can happily say, "Remember Regionals?" 

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