Look on TV for a full cover of the OC Throwdown by Times Warner Cable. They did an interview and came in for a workout before the competittion, and it was very cool. It has some cool shots of CrossFit Horsepower, one of the gyms I work at, working out with a few of my friends. First time I’ve ever been on TV…for CrossFit that is!
Today’s events were totally professional. I felt like every single workout could have been a great WOD for a Games competitor at the Home Depot Center. I especially liked the skill set with max pull-ups and max hand stand holds, and snatches and cleans. At the end, there was an 8 minute window where you had to accumulate 6 lifts. 3 snatches, 3 cleans, and if you missed a lift it was recorded as a zero. The most exciting for the fans to watch was the sprint! It was an all-out 120m sprint shuttle run. Everyone was all crowded up over the bleachers and leaning over the edge to see the athletes, four at a time, sprint all out, complete with two turns. Since the event took plaec at Brunel University’s indoor arena, it totally reminded me of college indoor seasons, sprinting on the turf with tight corners, and the fans going crazy!
Hanging out with Sam Briggs and Katrin Davidsdottir was so amazing because they are both such intense, experienced competitors. Sam has been to the Games, and is a firefighter with a running background. Last year she had a knee injury, so was out for the 2012 Games, but she’s ready and rarin’ right now. Katrin is only 19 years old, and was neck and neck with Annie T throughout the regionals and got 2nd in Europe, to compete for Iceland in last year’s Games. Both represented in The CrossFit Invitational Team Europe vs. Team USA.
Today I learned a lot about how to communicate with your judge, and how to listen to directions, and benefit from the judge/athlete relationship. Knowing my Olympic lifts better in kilos and not trying to do math outloud or on my fingers when I’m being timed in a competition would have helped too…. We were both a little confused over the 8 minutes of cleans and snatches, and I couldn’t hear him well, and he spoke little English. I miscommunicated with him about a kilo exchange and couldn’t hear him call down to wait to put my weight down. I missed two lifts on my own fault because of the chaos, and instead of getting 6 total scores, only 4 counted. It took me way down in the rankings, 89th out of 100 to be exact. Looking back I can see everything so clearly now and I definitely learned a lot from that experience. It is clear how it is simply my job to make sure I control my competition environment and since I had left so much room to error, I learned the hard way to be on the same page from now on.
We had four events this day, but then they switched the pullups to the last thing and made them seperate and the last thing we did before we went home. The bar was painted smooth, and very slippery, so people were losing their grip for the pullups! I tied for first with 40, and was happy with that, even though I’m sure no one PRd on max pullups in that workout. Since we all had the same bar and had all been working out for consistantly 12 hours at that point, and had to wrap our thumbs under.
I wrapped up the day in 14th, and went to dinner with the Irish family that had adopted me, as I watched everyone wrestle around all night and play with the kids and talk about the entire exciting day and how much energy a long day like that requires! We were due to a little relaxing time, and when it got late, we all went back to our hotel.
All night I kept thinking about how I was … not content…. I can be happy or nothappy with myself, but it doesn’t change that thirst for more, that needing to feel satisfied with your performance with a good representation of what you’re capable of. Luckily, I focused a lot last night and got a lot of clear thinking done
In the early morning a few of the local gyms made comments about how they hadn’t seen the sun in weeks, and already, the sun was shining; I knew it was going to be a good day. Today we were in store for five workouts! Basically, all in all we had 10 workouts in just two days of competition. It was the highest volume I’d ever seen and I was so happy to see that … no one did perfect. The odds of you having a bad workout if you only have to do 3 is low. But If you have 10, well then you’re certainly going to be letting your weaknesses shine through if there are so many chances to expose them! I really liked the high volume, it helped the athlete that trains multiple sessions in a day, and isn’t used to fully recovering before demanding of themselves repeatedly.
Starting the day off with a great combination of accuracy and consistancy with alternating split jerks, it heavily showed diversity to who was newer to the “prepare for anything” type of training. Next was a chipper with a 20 min time cap. After a ton of reps and a gruesome amount of work, at the end there was a 10 muscle up cash out. Sam finished, and I closed in right after, and it left us watching and cheering on the other girls for over six minutes after we were done. As a CrossFit coach by career, it took me right back into the gym. In normal classes, there will be a female that is going through getting her muscle up transitions down every once in a while. But rarely will it be more than one at a time, and rarely will it be a high intensity situation when they’re trying to figure out the movement. But in our heat, after being so tired, they were failing left and right and the crowd was empathizing for them instantly as they missed, locked out, got a great kip that made the dip easy, or really had to fight for the transition and the slow multi-kip dip. As a coach, I was overwhelmed because of the opportunity to watch and see so many girls fighting the clock in our heat. Martina, was stuck against a stick out part of the rig, and kept missing, until we dragged a box to where my rings were so she could use them and cycle through them and make her last one before the cut-off time.
After that, the elimination process started and it got exciting! Out of 100 girls in the competition they only let the top 12 move on to the next workout. It was cleans, ski ergs and pistols, and I barely squeaked in at 12th place. Seeing the blistering pace everyone had really showed me what an “all out sprint was.” Six minutes isn’t my usual wheel-house, as we call it in CrossFit, but barely squeaked in at 7th, as they were cutting three girls with only 9 making it to the next final. After this point, all the points were erased and zeroed out each time, and only the last workout counted. Next was heavy deadlifts and 8 inch deficit paralette HSPU. I told my friend that gets really anxious and nervous for me in California during my events (so I don’t have to do the getting nervous) that she would have been pulling her hair out watching me fight to the very end with that workout. When I say fight I mean holding my breath and kicking my hardest to get fully extended on those hand stands! I could tell when the crowd would go nuts when I would get one after a fail, then I’d go right into the next one and they were probably thinking ‘… hey, are you sure about that? uhhh are you sure? we saw your last … 25….OH ok you got it! Yayyy!’ Sprinting up from the wall to jump on a box jump to stop my time, I thought I was done. Feeling everyone else was finished, and thinking I was the very last one out of all 9 girls, and that I didn’t make the last cut, I walked out of the arena feeling defeated. Feeling emotional througout the weekend with so many events going up and down, good and bad, watching friends, warming up, intensity, recharge, go hard, play, laugh, eat, relax, get happy get disapointed… that I was so mad at myself. Then Briggs mentioned to me that I barely made the last cut. I was like no I didn’t, I thought I was 9th? She’s like Noooo, you were 6th! That’s why the event got over when you finished because you grabbed the final spot and then it was over! I felt like a kid getting told they could play for 5 more minutes at recess. I was instantly pumped, I ran around and asked people and made sure that I made it, and I did!
So warming up for the last workout, I felt invincible! I felt happy to be out there, I was jazzed! Running around singing in the back, and feeling the beats, and warming up with a huge smile knowing this was the only workout that mattered. It all came down to this last wod, and this was the one for the podium. It was 2 rounds of heavy thrusters and chest to bar pullups, and then a sled pull to the boxes that were set up in the middle, and we were all racing to the middle; first one to stand up there wins. As they brought in the final individual women, you could feel the tension in the air. At 3..2..1..Go we were off! Sam, Katrin and I were all in line on one side of the arena, and we all did the thrusters unbroken. I dropped my bar first and Sam and I ran to the pullup bars. Cycling through, she got back to the thruster bar first, and went unbroken, I stopped for a second. Following her to the pullup bars I did a few but our grips were failing! I was doing one by one, and when I was halfway through Katrin got on the bar and we were doing 1 at a time our forearms were so dead! I heard the crowd push Sam through the sled pull, and right when she finished and jumped onto the box, I grabbed my sled. Looking up I noticed Martina, from Spain, was on the other side of the field, and was farther than me on her sled pull! We were racing all out, until I touched the box and jumped up, not believing I got 2nd. Martina came in after, and Katrin came in following her, and it was an amazing heat to be apart of! The crowd was going nuts, blowing kisses and screaming out as each person finished.
The final boys heat was next, and I ran back to get a quick bite to eat for a sec before the podium, and my Irish family was all packed up telling me they saw the last event and were so happy to meet me and they had to go.Emotions building up, and still feeling jet-lagged, and just purely exhausted after ten workouts, I started crying.Here I am saying bye to people I’ve known for three days, and I’m crying. I’m pretty sure, ‘what am I going to do in London without you guys’ came out… which they reminded me was ridiculous. And then after I’d hugged everyone and we promised to stay in touch, Over the intercom… 2nd PLACE FOR THE LONDON THROWDOWN issss ANDREA AGER!!!! Perfect timing. Sprinted around the corner and jumped right up to the podium with Martina and when Sam was called we all embraced the moment and whew…. I know that’s one I’ll never forget.
I feel like in every competition I go to, I’m always the under-dog, and I don’t know how that happens. I feel like I get myself into certain situations, and then I’m fighting my way out of a corner through the entire days workouts. Never fails. What I want out of my CrossFit career is to eventually feel like … a Force to be reckoned with. I know I will never feel perfect, or without doubts, because I’m realistic, and I’m a woman, and I’m human. But I know I can feel unstoppable, and train with intention until I feel closer to being a Force. Sometimes this slow process to becoming a true competitive CrossFitter can feel like it’s taking.. sooo long. But then sometimes, like this weekend, I can know that I have been and I will be fighting for a long time. Sitting back and reflecting on this under-dog weekend has encouraged me to embrace it and enjoy the ride.
Keep track of how I am doing at The London Throwdown!
Day 2 WODs are:
For Time: (min:sec) – To be done at 45kg for individuals. 3 OH Squat, 3 Lateral Crawls, 3 OH Squats, 6 Lateral Crawls, 3 OH Squats, 9 Lateral Crawls, 3 OH Squats, 12 Lateral Crawls, 3 OH Squats, 15 Lateral Crawls, then… 4 Alternating Split Jerk, 4 Squat bar jumps, 4 Alternating Split Jerk, 8 Squat bar jumps, 4 Alternating Split Jerk, 12 Squat bar jumps, 4 Alternating Split Jerk, 16 Squat bar jumps, 4 Alternating Split Jerk, 20 Squat bar jumps 13-MINUTE TIME CAP
8:15 – 4th place
For Time: (min:sec) – 90 Wall Balls 7kg to 10ft, 70 KB Snatches (35 each arm) @ 16kg, 50 Over the box jumps @ 20”, 30 Toes to Bar, 10 Muscle Ups 20-MINUTE TIME CAP
13:51 – 2nd place
After WOD 6, they cut the field to the top 12 and all our scores were reset. I was in 12th place so I made the cut for WOD 7.
I finished WOD 7 in 7:01 for 7th place.
After WOD 7, they cut the field to the top 9 and all our scores were reset.
I finished WOD 8 in 7:50 for 6th place. After WOD 8, they cut the field to the top 6 and all our scores were reset again.
I am competing in the final WOD of the competition!
I finished the final WOD in 2nd place behind my new friend Sam Briggs! Congratulations Sam. What an awesome weekend.
Day 1 is over! In 14th for the day, but the good news is that the points will be reset for the last 2 workouts of 5 grueling events the first day, and 3 on Sunday. Today was a BLAST, I got so many opportunities to train with the BEST, and got some good judging/listening/communication tools for the ol back pocket for next time. Tomorrow should be FUN!
Keep track of how I am doing at The London Throwdown!
Here are the first day’s WODs:
3:38 – 16th place
18 Kettlebell Swings 24/16kg (for all categories)
24 Unbroken Double Unders
PART AMax pullups in 90 seconds. Score is counted as the best set.
30 seconds transition to part B.40 pull-ups – tied for first
PART BMax handstand hold in 90 seconds. Score is counted as the best effort.
30 seconds transition to part C & D.
Parts C & D take place in an 8 minute window.43:9 – 9th place
PART C3 snatches. Score is total of all 3 lifts.170 kg – 3rd place
PART D3 cleans. Score is total of all 3 lifts.67.5 kg – 89th place
For Time: (min:sec:msec) – Shuttle sprint
21:7 – 50th place
I have ARRIVED in the United Kingdom!!
The last two days have been so exciting! I have been shocked at how welcoming and entertaining everyone has been since I arrived. I ended up staying with a friend of a person who contacted me online and kept asking if I needed a place to stay. My trusting side fought my safety first/judgement side and guess who won. I am pretty much staying with strangers for the entire trip! The same owner of the box that put on the event and judged my qualifier videos helped me find a hotel near the competition for the weekend, and connected me with people throughout her gym that were willing to hang out beforehand. I laughed when I said to someone at the airport, “Dude, NO WAY!?” And their response was, “yes ‘wwwaaaaayyy’ Miss American… and nice hair.”(as you can imagine, it’s always big)
A few of them from In2 CrossFit, were so fun! Right when I got off the plane I took the tube, and popped up from the …underground… like a Nintendo character. I couldn’t stop thinking of those little tubes they have on Mario bros everytime I went up and down from the tubes! Alex came from work and picked me up, and we walked from the ‘side gardens’ of Buckingham palace to the Embasseys, where he dropped me off with Siv. She has a very fancy job and I was technically in Norway as I was sitting waiting for her to get done in the Norwegian Embassy. We went shopping, and ate plenty of food, and walked around and showed me the sites to see. They called themselves, “athlete ambassadors” but we joked about what that really meant: Andrea Babysitters. Going back and forth from work, dropping me off with eachother, walking me to the tube, (insert Brittish accent) “Will you take her to the gym, and then I’ll pick her up from the tube when you give me a call, and then take her home and then tomorrow morning…..” I couldn’t have appreciated it more.
We were in a very “posh” part of downtown London, they said, and I could tell with all the fancy stores, but was distracted by the huge double decker red buses and everyone driving on the left side of the road. It was funny seeing adults on the right of the car and kids on the left, because to me, it looked like the kid was driving! I had barely slept on the plane ride, because I was just too excited and filled with anticipation. It was 12 hour flight, and since I arrived at 10:30am thursday, by the time it was time to go to the gym I was telling myself I was just fine, and that I could make it.
I did some backsquats and did one of the amraps of the competition, a 10 min amrap of 8 updowns, 16 kbs, and 24 unbroken DUs. A group of friends then took me to a restaurant where we ate our fill and talked about the usual CrossFitter stuff: famous athletes, Games competitors, training partners, competition workouts, diet, programming, funny stories. It has blown my mind that after all this, we’re all the same. We’re all in love with conversation about getting bigger, faster, stronger. Just because we’re on the other side of the world only means…. they’re doing it more spread out, with kilos, in the freezin cold, and with accents 😉
I was fading fast. I was starting to feel the narcolepsy creeping over me… I went to bed at midnight, turned my phone off, and fell asleep thinking about my plans to workout in the morning. Instead, when I woke up, I stretched, looked at the clock.. .hmmm what does that mean. 16:05… hmm. subtract 12, hmmm haha it must be 4 in the morning. Man it feels like I’ve been sleeping longer than that. Hmmm, then Siv got home from work, and told me it was 4:00PM! I had slept for 16 hours! Andrea life-long record! Holy Jet-Lag! I couldn’t believe how exhausted I had been!
Jumped on the tube to Uxbridge, where the competition was. Not knowing anyone, I started to see people that I could tell were CrossFitters by their workout clothes, nanos, and their shoulders. I was nervous, and by myself! Didn’t know anyone. So if I scanned a crowd quickly, I instantly knew if they recognized me. While I was getting my room key I walked back and I heard in an Irish accent something about Andrea Ager being in their hotel. I was so relieved and went and hung out with the group for a while. It’s so embaressing to keep saying, “what….” when I couldn’t understand their thick Irish accents, and then when I would talk, they’d say… wait, what?”
We talked about the 1k row tomorrow, it’s the first event. One of the athletes said how that’s the only one he’s going to be good at. I said ha ya you’re pretty tall, what are ya 6’2″ and he said excuse me? I’ll show you the tallest Irish guy you’ll ever see, and stood next to me, he was 6 feet 9 inches. Woah, those are some long reps!!
Met some friendly folks from Dublin on the way to get a “coach” or bus to registration. Ended up hanging out with this group all night! All competitors, and we talked about all the athletes and news from ‘the states,’ and I was so impressed with how much everyone knew. They’re more current on news and competitions and regions and athletes than plenty of people in even SoCal, and plenty of them had watched the OC Throwdown online. I was so impressed, and laughed when they brought up last years OCTD incident… with someone throwing a barbell. They are juuust as caught up over here.
While registering, I was leaning down filling out a waiver, and then I heard the girl next to me say her name was Katrin. I looked up, and it was no one other than Katrin Davidsdottr herself! I said hi, she said hi, and we small talked about our flights here. She asked me if I was as cold as she was, and I said… I’m from California, aren’t you from ICELAND?!” But… the whole time I was thinking… ok … ok…. play it cool. Don’t ask for her picture yet. Don’t ask for her picture yet… be cool…. And then she was gone! Guess what: I learned my lesson. Because “cool Andrea” doesn’t have a picture of the first time she met Katrin Davidsdottr. And that is NOT cool! Tomorrow I’m taking 5.
When I was practicing my handstand hold, I ran into a few German competitors that barely spoke any English. They motioned to take a picture, and we were asking someone to take it. After, I was trying to tell them to tag me on facebook, and they kept nodding ya ya ya! Then they said, Andrea Ager, that name, Ager it is German, yaaa? (I laughed because yes, it is German) I nodded and they were so pumped! After asking, ‘How are CrossFit Games? You doing very good in CrossFit Games!!’ they ended up leaving me with a huge smile on my face.
All I can say as I’m trying to fall asleep after all that extra sleep I got last night… is I’m so happy to be here. I am so thankful for the opportunity, and feel blessed knowing this is something I will remember for the rest of my life. I don’t know when I’ll get another chance like this, and tomorrow is something I’ve been WAITING for three months for, and can’t wait to be a part of the LONDON THROWDOWN.
Today I’m going to the United Kingdom to compete in the London Throwdown. This all started in October after a competition in Phoenix called Sicest of the SouthWest. The company that put it on kept saying they were going to London for an event they were putting on in January. I was really intrigued and kept pressing and asking questions and from that moment on I couldn’t stop thinking about it. There were three qualifiers in November, and as I did each one and sent in videos to try to make it in the top girls qualified for the event, I kept feeling more and more connected with the competition.
Then, after the 2nd qualifier, the company that hosted the competition last year, was the one that had contacted me about it, decided to pull out, and cover a different competition locally. Knowing that was my only in, I thought ok, maybe I won’t finish the qualifiers, oh well….. that was fun…
Sometimes in life we’re given choices for opportunities. And I couldn’t explain the way my heart was reaching out for this trip, and I couldn’t get it off my brain. I kept emailing people for more information, and prayed about it for weeks trying to understand why I felt this urgency to make it happen. There were so many things that had to happen in line to lead up to me actually committing, and I’m still surprised at the circumstances. I ended up deciding to go ahead and do the third qualifier just in case, and when I got to the gym my heart felt deflated. I was run down, and didn’t know if I should even do it. Then I showed the workout to a coach of ours, and he said that it would be the perfect “Intro to CrossFit” workout and he would have the class do a modified version with me. So I got really excited, and warmed up with the class and had a blast finishing off the qualifiers with a bunch of newbies to the gym.
Financially, I knew it wasn’t something I could afford. I knew that the benefit I would get from competing that weekend could be the exact same if I stayed here in LA and did the workouts on my own, and got in a good training day. When one of my private clients saw I was at a cross-roads, he came up with a plan! He pays in advance for sessions, and he found a ridiculously cheap plane ticket for a seven day trip to London. We worked it out for our schedule to meet until a certain date, giving me a chance to work it off! I was going. The trip was booked, this girl was going international!
Next I needed a place to stay. I reached out to a few of the girls that were in the top qualifiers from the competition. I kept in touch with the people that were on staff to check the video submissions, and they were so friendly! I couldn’t believe how everyone was either suggesting places to stay at hotels, or they were offering friends of friends that had couches or spare bedrooms. The hospitality of CrossFitters has never ceased to amaze me. Even people that live in London and had seen my videos online wrote me advice for things to do and places to see. There are a few people from Texas competing in the event that got in touch, but other than that, I don’t know anyone that’s going to be there! When I found out I was one of the few people from the States that were competing, and I would know no one, I realized this was going to be an adventure!
Here I am, the last few hours of packing every favorite workout item I can think of. I’m swimming in converse shoes, tape, lunch bags, weightlifting belts, lifting shoes and LuLu lemon outfits. Looking around the only thing I am thinking about is this is the most independent thing I’ve ever done. Taking a trip by myself, knowing no one, and for potentially no reason other than being pulled by my heart strings to be a part of something big. I’m going to have to be really trusting to allow God to guide me through the “barely there” week long schedule I’ve pieced together with strangers that will hopefully turn into friends. Ok, I’m trusting, I’m ready, I’m trying to listen over my excited voices in my head.
After the first WOD, we took a little break and then decided to do a second workout. We kept it simple and just did 20 minutes of every minute on the minute alternating between 5 push presses or 8 toes to bar. Dan was extremely humble and we kept him surrounded with people all night that genuinely were excited to meet him and pick his brain over little training questions. We asked him about diet and training partners and different regions… When we were doing some push presses to prepare for the second workout, a friend was asking him about his grip on the bar in shoulder to overhead. These are all normal CrossFit conversations, but it was really cool to get to chat with a world class CrossFit competitor and realize how down to earth he was!
London Throwdown – January 26th and 27th
Hey, it is Throwback Thursday and I just thought you guys might enjoy these pictures from my first competition as a CrossFitter about 2.5 years ago. You’re welcome!