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Disney Fit Challenge – The Competition

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It’s amazing how 10 hours of sleep can make any anticipatory anxiety I was having the day before seem non-existent.  I felt well rested, fueled from a ham sandwich I bought the night before and ready to take on the events.  I knew that I was going to have trouble with the wall balls in the first challenge, but I think excitement was taking over and I was feeling pumped.  

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Nice tote bag full of water I got there…geez!

After arriving at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, we headed back to the HP Field House assuming that was where we had to go to check in for the day.  Like the night before, there wasn’t any information on where to go.  So we headed to the registration area and found the table where we had our competitor numbers written on our arms.  I was C1101, which stood for Female Scaled Division (C), 11th heat (11), station 1 (01).  While inside the Field House we watched some of the teams competing in their first division, then headed to the fields out back to check out the girls in our division competing in the first challenge, Clusters!

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The 8th heat was going which meant we had about 30 minutes to warm up and get ready. We had figured out by watching that there was in fact a 10 minute time cap on all events with a 5 minute break in between heats.  Again, it was quite a shame this information wasn’t relayed to the athletes in advance.  

Kat and I headed to the warm-up area and were kind of shocked by what we found.  It was a large space, completely in the sun with a gravel-like black surface to work on.  There were only about 4 barbells available to use, a few kettlebells and that was it.  Seriously? Not even a single rower.  This made me a bit apprehensive, but we made the best of it. We jogged around the complex a bit, did some stretches and warmed up with some light front squats and clusters. Considering that it was over 85+ degress with 1000% humidity, we were sufficiently warmed up and sweaty within a few minutes.  If the challenges weren’t going to be hard enough, this heat was going to make them even more interesting.  The mantra for the day became: STAY HYDRATED!  Here we go!

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Photo Credit: Amanda Tinney

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If you’re wondering what a cluster is, it’s a squat clean into a thruster and at 65# that isn’t a big deal for me.  Well they wouldn’t have been a big deal if I actually got to do them.  Standing in my way were the wall balls…ugh.  I knew these were going to be tough, but I had no idea how discouragingly hard they were going to be.  

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Photo Credit: Amanda Tinney

I usually use a 14# wall ball at the gym, but only go to an 8 ft. target on the wall.  These targets were tiny Mickey heads (which were super cute btw!) and they were 10 ft. high. That extra two feet might not seem like a lot, but it makes a HUGE difference when you’re only 5’3″ tall.  You can see in this video that I am clearly struggling in the back.

I probably missed the target just as many times as I hit it, so that first round of 30 wall balls was really like 60 and I think it took me around 6 minutes to complete.  I already felt defeated.  I only got through the first round of 8 clusters, which is a shame because I enjoy anything that involves a barbell.  I would’ve liked to get my hands on that thing a few more times.

I finished with a not so impressive score of 10:40 (meaning I only completed 50 of the 90 reps in the workout) that put me in 97th place out of 113 for the event.  Kat on the other hand kicked ass and took names in this event, finishing 81 reps and in 43rd place.  Look at this badass go!

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Photo Credit: Amanda Tinney

Since we were already hot and sweaty, we decided to head over to the Floater Performance Challenges.  These were two challenges that could be completed at any point throughout the first day of competition.  Kat called this the feats of strength portion of the competition, which we both actually found to be rather enjoyable.  Not only did we get to throw some weight around, but it was under a large covered tent with the most amazing fans I have ever seen ๐Ÿ™‚

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HAHAHAHA! I really just had to laugh about the broad jump.  This is something we VERY RARELY do at my gym and the one time we did it during a warm up, I immediately knew this was not for me.  My short and stocky stature does not make a graceful jumper.  But here I went, swinging my arms and hoping to not trip and fall on my face when I landed.

Photo Credit: Amanda Tinney

Photo Credit: Amanda Tinney

Out of the 3 attempts, I think my max distance was 4’7″ or somewhere around that. Highly comical next to the guys jumping 6’+ next to me.  Whatever, moving on…now let me lift some things!  Max repetition bench press was next and I was excited to see what I could do…I’d actually never tried for max reps before!

Photo Credit: Amanda Tinney

Photo Credit: Amanda Tinney

I was really happy with 24 reps total…just couldn’t squeeze out that 25th one.  The girl before me (who flew like a bird in the broad jump) struggled to get 20, so I felt slightly redeemed.

But the best part was watching Kat go in this!  I know she’s strong…I work out with her everyday, but to see her bang out 44 reps with no problem was AWESOME!  Everyone around us was VERY impressed.  

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My friend Jenn was competing in the Team Division, so we headed over to see her take on their 2nd challenge of kettlebell swings and sled drags.  I have to say, they had great areas set up for the spectators.  Nice, covered bleacher seats were a welcome respite from the hot sun.

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By this point it was after noon and we still had close to 2 hours until our next event.  It was time for me to change out of my sweaty clothes (yes I brought 2 full changes of clothes with me!) and get something to eat.  The food options at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex weren’t great for athletes competing like this.  I went with the grilled chicken sandwich and was disappointed to find that is was plain on a hamburger bun…that’s it.  No lettuce or tomatoes…blech.  Lesson learned to next time bring your own food.

We sat in the stands and watched the other heats in our division compete in the 2nd event which was thankfully inside.  No one was finishing this event, not even the girls who were flying up and over the boxes.  So the game plan going in was to just get as much done as possible.  While waiting, we were also highly entertained by this fun team who were really showing their pink spirit.

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Now on to the 2nd challenge…this was a doozy…

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Going in, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do the 20″ box jumps.  I’ve only just become comfortable with a 16″ box and that’s without adding burpees or rowing to the party. Both of those moves make your quads VERY tired, which in turn makes my legs feel like heavy sand bags.  There was an alternate you could take if you didn’t jump, which was step-ups, but the catch was you had to do double the amount.  So I had 28 burpee box step ups per round in my future.

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Photo Source: Jenn Lazzaro

My original thought was to pace myself, but seeing that no one was finishing and that I had double burpees in my future, I figured I would gain as much ground as I could in the row because I’m a strong rower.  I was glad to see that I was the first one off the rower, but that was about the end of my lead.  I kept a steady pace through the burpees and just trucked through the 10 minutes.  At the end, I got through 10 of the burpees in the 2nd round and surprisingly I felt good about what I accomplished. With one more event left to go for the day, the waiting game began.  

We had 3 hours to kill until our next event….that’s a LOOOOONG time!  We watched some of the teams compete, wandered around a bit and were basically chomping at the bit to just get back to the hotel and shower.  We headed towards the field where the 3rd event was taking place and again watched the earlier heats go.  We noticed that the heats seemed smaller in size with each event…were people dropping out?    

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Finally it was our turn and we knew we were cutting it close with dark clouds approaching. That day the 12 knees-to-arms part of the WOD was changed to 24 sit-ups.  We weren’t given an explanation as to why, but I was definitely happy with the change.  The bars were very thick and I knew I was going to have trouble with my grip if we were to do those.

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My “event photographer” Amanda had left before this event to go hang out with Robert Irvine in Epcot (not jealous at all!) so I don’t have any photos, but I will tell you that this was a much better event for me.  I flew through the dumbell snatches since my normal weight for those is 40#, the hurdle hops were a challenge (as all jumping things are with me!) and the sit-ups and push-ups were just going through the motions.  I didn’t complete the WOD, but I finished 190 out of the 228 reps.  

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The worst part about the WOD was the threat of lightening.  About halfway through warnings started to go off that there was lightening in the area and everyone should seek shelter, however no one stopped the event.  We could see and hear the storm which was a bit disconcerting because we were under a metal rig and hurling metal dumbells in the air….yikes!

After the event we hightailed it back to the Animal Kingdom Lodge and watched the animals for a bit.  We had dinner at the hotel and crashed fairly early after our long day.

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Kat and I woke up the next morning and had a long back and forth about our lack of enthusiasm to participate in day 2.  On one side of the coin we had paid for this event and we should finish what we started.  On the other side was the prospect of 75 more of those soul crushing wall balls in challenge 5 and more jumping up and over things.  We both felt pretty discouraged after the events around the first day and decided we would be much happier if we didn’t compete.

So we decided to watch the Gibbons perform feats of strength instead!

We also spent some time among the gorillas…

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Stared at giraffe butts…

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And of course, pet some goats!

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We clearly made the right choice. 

In most things, I would be very disappointed in myself for not finishing something I started, but this was different.  The programming of this event was very strange and not the typical CrossFit style I’m used to.  When you have events that the majority of the competitors don’t finish within the 10 minute time cap, something is clearly off.  Also, when I first signed up for this event back in March, the competition was only supposed to take place over one day with the finals on Sunday.  Now I had no expectations of making it to the finals so I had planned the rest of my trip around just one day of competition. Being a Disney fan first and a CrossFitter second, the appeal of the parks was much stronger than sweating it out through 2 more frustrating workouts.  

I’ll have more on my thoughts on the event, feedback for improvement and observations from other competitors coming up.  For now, I will say that I’m glad I participated in this event as it was definitely a learning experience.  I learned a lot about myself and my abilities in that one day.  But most of all I’m happy I was able to spend that time with my friends in my favorite place.  That was the BEST part of the Disney Fit Challenge.

I would love to hear from you.  What did you think of the event?  What do you think about my choice to not compete on the second day?  Is this something you would like to do in the future?

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7 Responses to Disney Fit Challenge – The Competition

  1. I know this event didn’t turn out like you had hoped but SOO glad I got to spend time with you that weekend!!! Except now I’m ready for another…
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  2. I don’t have any regrets going to Epcot day 2 instead of the competition. But it was nice getting to meet you! ๐Ÿ™‚
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  3. Agree with everything you said! I def would have joined you guys on Day 2 if I wasn’t on a team! Lets hope things get better for next year, if they have it!

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