|October 16, 2014||Posted by Sarah under CrossFit, Travel|
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Now on to the 2nd challenge…this was a doozy…
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
Stared at giraffe butts…
And of course, pet some goats!
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?
|October 9, 2014||Posted by Sarah under CrossFit, Travel|
Six months prior I signed up for the Disney Fit Challenge. The merging of two of my favorite things, Disney and CrossFit, seemed like a dream come true! I convinced my friend Kat to join me and then the waiting began… We waited and waited and waited for more information to be announced. A month prior, the event schedule completely changed and then two short weeks before the event, the workouts were announced. To say it was a let down is an understatement and my feelings of frustration began to grow.
After following the CrossFit Games so closely for the past few years, I had come to expect a certain type of programming for these type of events and what we got did not meet those expectations. The programming was not varied as movements such as box jumps, hurdle hops (wtf?!) and wall balls were repeated in numerous events. The movement standards were totally out of whack across the divisions and overall there just seemed to be a lack of organization. We had been looking forward to this for quite some time and were now filled with disappointment as to what we had gotten ourselves into. The only saving grace was that we were going to Walt Disney World, so we just decided to make the best of our vacation and that this event was just a blip on the radar.
We arrived on the Friday before the event and our first stop was the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. I mean, how else do you prepare for a CrossFit competition than to eat and drink your way around World Showcase and walk over 2 miles in the process?! Clearly we had thrown caution to the wind and fun was in full effect.
After a few hours, we headed to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to check in. I’ve been there numerous times for runDisney race Expos which are always chaotic and full of people. This was a different experience. We were actually able to park close to the entrance and as we walked in it seemed down right deserted. I wish the runDisney events were this easy!
There weren’t any signs on where to go to check-in and I had to ask a cast member. She pointed us to the HP Field House and to go around to the back of the upper level.
The check-in area was deserted and we were able to get our wristbands, admission ticket to the complex, and swag bag in just a few minutes. Is it really considered a swag bag when it is just a vinyl backpack and a tech tee? Both are super cute though.
We headed outside and I needed to check out the fields to see what the set up was going to look like for the event. As I headed down behind the Field House, I was pretty impressed by everything that I saw and was actually surprised that the fields were open for me to get some close up photos.
The rig set up from Pure Strength was awesome. The wall ball targets are Mickey’s!!!
I was very happy to see the hurdles in advance and know that we wouldn’t be having to jump over full size hurdles that you find on a track. These were doable.
Here’s my spot!
Here were the dreaded 10 foot targets for our first event the next morning and under the tarps were the barbells staying dry.
So I was a bit more at ease to see everything in person, but I was still a bit hesitant about actually completing the WODs. We still had no idea what the time cap was for the events, but it was assumed to be 10 minutes since that’s how long the heats were scheduled for. With so many questions still up in the air it was hard to feel confident. What we did know for sure was that Kat and I were thankfully in the same heat (# 11) and that we would be starting at 10:45 am.
By the time we got back to the hotel and got a bite to eat we were exhausted from getting up at 5 am to head to the airport and our long day of walking. We crashed by 9 and both slept for 10 hours! This was actually great because we woke up with plenty of time to get ready (mentally and physically) and felt very well rested. Now to take on our first official competition…stay tuned 🙂
|September 23, 2014||Posted by Sarah under CrossFit, Travel|
Hard to believe that the Disney Fit Challenge is only 5 days away. I signed up for this thing 6 months ago…oh how quickly time flies! While I’m still slightly excited for the event, I have more feelings of disappointment with the level of disorganization and lack of information that Disney has shown, particularly in the last 6 weeks. For a company with the high level of resources and experience in planning events of this nature, this is turning out to be quite a mess.
First was the schedule change that was announced 6 weeks ago. This wasn’t just a small change to the timing, but a change to the ENTIRE event. It was moved from a one-day event with your choice of competing on Friday or Saturday followed by the finals on Sunday, to a full two-day event with mandatory workouts on Saturday and Sunday. Like many other people, I signed up for this event and booked my travel back in March and this puts a wrench in travel plans. Walt Disney World is a destination. They had to expect people were coming with family and friends for a longer vacation and not just taking part in the event that weekend. This was a big fail on their part.
The next disappointment was the announcement of the workouts. Not only did they wait to release them until less than 2 weeks before the event, they first consisted of things that those of us in the CrossFit community had never heard of before and also were so vague that it left many people with a laundry list of questions to be answered. I’m in the scaled female division so let’s take a look at a few of those WODs.
- What is the height for the wall balls?
- What is the time cap?
Obvious questions that you would think would be clarified right off the bat. Also, I had never heard of a “Cluster” before thankfully that was originally clarified as a “squat-clean-thruster or power-clean-thruster.” The odd thing about this WOD is that wall balls and thrusters are essentially the same movement. Typically you would see thrusters paired with burpees or pull-ups, and wall balls paired with toes-to-bar or box jumps. This is just seems repetitive. Moving on…
So I’m wondering…
- What the hell is a hurdle?
- Are knees-to-arms like knees-to-elbows? Do we have to touch our arms?
- Again, what is the time cap?
I am VERY interested to see how many people in the CrossFit community are hoping hurdles at their box. I have NEVER heard of this and for someone who has trouble jump on boxes, you now want me to hop a hurdle?? Beyond confused. Overall, the challenges are very odd and nothing like scaled versions of competitions I have ever seen before. Nothing is varied and we are seeing moves like box jumps, wall balls and sprints repeated through various workouts. Plus, there is hardly any weightlifting involved and that makes me pretty sad.
I quickly learned that I was not the only one scratching my head about these things as the Facebook event page blew up with similar questions. The most disappointing thing about this is that Disney Sports isn’t addressing ANY of our concerns in the group. They are answering our individual questions by phone or email and have since released updated athlete guides for the event that answer some (not all!) of our questions and concerns, but the lack of communication has been horrible.
Finally, we are now 5 days out and the heats have not been released for the events. Yes the times have been released but I still have no idea which one I’m in, meaning I could be competing in event #1 anytime between 8:15 am and 11:00 am on Saturday. That’s 3 hours!
I’m trying to remain positive about this whole experience and hoping it won’t be a complete mess when we get there. I know my friend Kat, who isn’t a Disney freak like I am, was really looking forward to this event more than the actual Disney trip (shocking I know!!) and she is feeling disappointed that she is traveling all the way to Florida for something that is turning out to be highly disorganized. Fingers crossed that once we get there everything will fall into place and we will have a blast. I mean we have a monorail crawl planned and the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is going on, so how could we not?? Lapu Lapus anyone??
Anyone else find all of this strange and feeling frustrated??
|September 4, 2014||Posted by Sarah under Fun, Travel|
Last week I spent 5 wonderful days at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort with some of my best friends. This was the third year we have made this trip and something I look forward to every year. I mean how could you not with a view like this…
For the second year, a group of us have gone kayaking one morning. I have to admit that when I first tried it, I was not a fan. It’s a very odd sensation being that close to the water and steering was a bit difficult for me. Oh hell, steering is still not my strong suit, but at least I wasn’t as anxious about the whole experience this time. However there were still many laughs over my improper use of the rutter and I heard “Sarah’s in the bushes again!” more than once. 🙂
This trip we ventured down the Sebastian River. There was a tropical storm off the coast that made things a bit windy, so this was a good spot since it was protected by the trees. We were out for about 4 hours that included a stop for lunch and I’m guessing we went about 5 to 6 miles in total.
We met our guides from Adventure Kayaking at a park around 9 am where we were greeted by a baby alligator sunning himself. I had my fingers crossed the mama wasn’t around.
We were fitted into our kayaks and of course once I was given the paddle I had to do an overhead squat with it. Just seemed like the natural thing to do…
And like that we were off! Kriss and I were the first ones out and were immediately enveloped in the peaceful calming waters…it really is amazing how kayaking takes you into a completely different world.
I had bought this super cool waterproof pouch that you can take photos through. The great thing is that is comes with a lanyard so you don’t have to worry about dropping it in the water and sinking to the bottom. It’s great for capturing all the scenery and of course taking selfies 🙂
One of my favorite things about kayaking are the cool views you get. There are so many trees growing over the water that you can go under, which is nice on a hot day for some shade. The scenery is just breathtaking.
Probably to best part of the day was getting to see a TON of manatees!! They were all over the river and boy were they big. Some were over 10 feet long! Seeing those little noses pop up out of the water was just beyond adorable.
We saw other wildlife including a gator that my friend Carrie saw go underwater right by me and then I manage to float over a swirling bit of water that I’m pretty sure was it swimming by. Needless to say this caused me to panic a bit, which ended with me in a bush again…sigh. Other local wildlife we encountered were a highly intoxicated couple paddling around in their canoe drinking beer at 10:30 am…that was highly entertaining.
Every time I do this I’m surprised how much I enjoy it! I think I need to find somewhere up in CT where I can kayak. I know you can do it in the Long Island sound, but I don’t the the scenery will be as nice or the company as sweet.
Have you ever been kayaking?