Photography: CrossFit Games
This is a summary of my preparation for and experience at the 2017 East CrossFit Regional in Albany.
I withdrew from the event after the first day of competition. I described that decision in a facebook post here.
Basically, I had symptoms of some sort of systemic incident somewhere on the spectrum of “heat injury.” If you’ve followed my career, you may recall I’ve had episodes like this in the past. Typically after a long endurance event outside in the sun (the “Triple 3” event for example). Of course, the strange and troubling thing is that Regionals was an indoor competition, and the event 1 incident was after 10-20 mins of exercise, not 40.
I felt like in some ways this was my competition to lose (and lose I did!). There was seemingly a lot in my favour this year: The East regional was the first of 3 weekends to compete – as a more technical and adaptable athlete, I believe having less time to practice workouts and new skills gives me an advantage over other competitors.
The programming this year was a very broad test of the 10 General Physical Skills (more direct and obvious challenges to balance, agility, coordination, speed, etc.) which seems to favour my type of fitness. Many of my weaknesses and disliked movements were absent, like rowing and GHD situps.
Mentally, going in, everything seemed to be in place for a successful weekend. I had a solid year of training, using past open workouts to compete against myself on a weekly basis. In preparation for regionals, I used a training template that emphasized compounding muscle fatigue each day, especially in gymnastics movements (for example, assault bike and handstand work in the morning, and then burpees, wallballs and push jerks in the afternoon), which, when the regionals events were revealed, was clearly a successful decision.
In the week before regionals, I reduced my volume, while maintaining intensity in things like assault biking and treadmill running, and selectively practiced my weakest skills in the 6 events.
Indeed, I felt great up until halfway through event 1. My breakfast was large that morning, I got a quick tune up from my chiropractor, and I believe my warmup went very well. I had my final nervous bathroom break after checking in at the athlete corral, and we were off to the races. The treadmill run felt quicker and easier than expected, and I had high hopes for an above-average performance.
Unfortunately, you know the story from there.
So, what now? The first order of business is getting some medical attention. I’ve run a couple blood and urine tests, with some abnormal (but not immediately life-threatening) results – now, the doctors want to do some ultrasound investigation and possibly a muscle biopsy. So, I don’t have any solid answers yet, which can make it difficult to decide what to do day-to-day.
Regardless of my performance or my health status, my season is over. So, the question is, am I going to do this again? Will I plan for a comeback, or will I retire and shift my focus? That decision will be guided by my doctors in the coming weeks.
Until then, my path still seems clear: I can work hard to support my health with nutrition, sleep, and rejuvenating activity. I can enjoy the outdoors. I can think about what I want in my life and my career. And maybe I can do more blogging!