The 2014 Bacon Beatdown Crossfit competition took place this past weekend in Daytona, Florida at the Ocean Center. I participated as an individual last year (remember when my stuff got stolen??) and I was excited to compete this year in the intermediate team division with two friends from my old Crossfit box. Although I was excited to be participating in this event with my friends, I was not happy about some of the “programming”. Now, let me just say it right off the bat, this post is not about bashing the organizers of this event. There were a lot of things I did not like, but at the same time, there were a lot of things I DID like and for the size of the event, it ran fairly smooth. The event set a record with having the most athletes registered to participate – over 1,000 athletes competing over 3 days. There – now that I have said that – let’s move on.
When I consider doing a competition, the first thing I consider is my skill set and where I think I should fall in the division categories available. I am not now, nor will I probably ever be a contender to win any competition I sign up for. I’m just not that strong/fit/dedicated. I Crossfit because I love it, it keeps me in shape and I love feeling strong and healthy and because it challenges me. I don’t do it as a “job” or with some aspirations of going anywhere with it. I’m also not ego driven when it comes to Crossfit. I don’t compete with others in the gym. It’s me against me and the clock. Everyone has their own journey and I’ve realized, at 35, I am just happy with what I can do and applaud others for their successes as well.
So, back to my point, when I sign up for a division, I want to pick appropriately. I don’t want to sandbag and go beginner so that I can “beat” others and I also know my limitations and that I will never be in an “RX” or “Elite” division. I’m a “middle of the road” kind of gal. For the Bacon Beatdown, I considered the standards with the other two girls on my team, and we chose intermediate because we could all do the movements and weight standards for that division. I’m not gong to pick a division that has say pistols or muscle ups even if I can maybe do some of the other movements and weights. Since I don’t have those two movements, I would obviously not choose that division.
This is where my first issue with this event comes into play. If you list standards for a particular division, don’t then throw something else in there that was not listed. For example, I can do push ups. BUT, I can’t do incline push ups (feet on a 20 inch box). I understand that Crossfit is all about constantly varied and functional movement and being prepared for something unexpected, but changing a skill to that extent feels sort of like setting someone up for failure. We signed up for intermediate because we could all do push ups so when the WOD’s were released and one of them included incline push ups, it was frustrating. It reminded me of last year, with this same organizer for the 2013 Bacon Beatdown. The standards said “push ups” but what was programmed was ring push ups with feet on a box – not the same thing! It set me up for failure last year and it felt like a repeat this year. Thankfully, this was a team competition and one of our team members COULD bust out a few incline push ups.
That was a huge rant and I don’t want to sound ugly. I know there are people that are RX that will sign up for an intermediate division to pump up their ego and ensure a win. I get that. I get that organizers try to manipulate the programming to account for that. But at the same time, you screw with those of us that actually signed up for a division based appropriately on our skill level. Ok, I’ll get off my soap box. Just wanted to get that off my chest and now I will move on.
I drove over to Daytona with my friend and teammate Thursday night so that we could sleep in a little before check-in and the day of competing. What an experience that was! Don’t ever trust online pictures and reviews on smaller, less-known brand hotels! From the moment we drove into the parking lot, we were scared. From the clientele “hanging around” outside and the 80 year-old female security guard to the guys that offered Bud Light and a good time as we went in our room – we were more than a little apprehensive about staying. Once we got in the room and got a look, we barricaded ourselves in – since you could wiggle the doorknob and see into the room and quickly decided this was not happening. After a trip to the office to tell the lady we felt unsafe, we were given a full refund and quickly found a beautiful hotel a mile away and for only $15 more a night! Crises averted!
We arrived at the Ocean Center Friday morning and got checked in. I loved that you were given a lanyard with badge that had your heat time and lane assignments – very efficient since this was such a large event. We made sure to take a “before” picture – who knew if we would be smiling at the end of the day!
Once the athlete meeting was over, it was time to sit back and relax for a few hours until our first WOD. Oh, and try not to get nervous over competing in such a huge venue!
Although things did not stay entirely on schedule, I will give it to the organizers by saying they kept it pretty close most of the day. This was a huge event with over 1,000 athletes so staying on schedule was important. Toward the end we were way behind, but the first two WOD’s happened within 15-20 minutes of the actual listed start time. One thing I didn’t like was that the floater WOD was scratched from the event because they did not have enough judges. Most teams were happy about that – I was actually looking forward to the snatch floater.
Our first WOD was 9 rounds of 30 double unders, then 10 thrusters @ 65 lbs. The cap was 12 minutes. If you completed the 9 rounds under the 12 minutes, you moved on to max pull ups with the remaining time. Our plan was for one of our team members to do all the double unders (her specialty) and myself and the other team mate would alternate on the thrusters. We were hoping for at least 3 minutes at the end for pull ups. We only ended up with 1:27 left for pull ups and managed to get in 30 before time called. The rig was so high you had to assist each other up so precious time was wasted with that as we each contributed to the pull ups. Over all though, I was happy with how we all performed. [special thanks to Jon Bojar for all the pictures he took of us competing]
WOD 2 was broken down into 3 movements. Each team member did one movement. Five minutes of either the airdyne bike, back squats at 95# or row. The airdyne and row were for calories and the back squats obviously for max reps. I took the back squats. When I practiced it the week before, I got 61 and wanted the same if not more during the comp. I got 60 and was no rep’d twice – I thought I did well, until I saw that people in my division were getting WAY MORE. In fact one girl got 108!! My teammates got 40 calories on the airdyne and 65 calories on the row. Don’t let the run picture fool you. Doing 5 minutes all out on an airdyne and then trying to run 30 yards is no joke!
WOD 3 is where the day sort of just fell apart. We did not start WOD 3 until 6:45(ish) p.m. – a good 30 minutes after our scheduled heat time. At this point you have been sitting around most of the day since WOD’s 1 & 2 totaled all of 27 minutes of your day. So we were DONE. It was apparent at this point that we were well out of our league in this division and would not be advancing to Sunday. WOD 3 was sort of a ladder. It was a 9 minute cap and started off with 7 rope climbs to 15 feet, then 4 incline push ups and 4 box jump overs, followed by 5 rope climbs, 8 incline push ups, 8 box jump overs, and so on. The rope climbs continued to go down each round as the push ups and box jump overs went up. We never made it past the round 2 of 5 rope climbs. I’m not sure what happened to all of us but we forgot how to climb a rope after the first few and then spent the remaining time frustratingly failing to get up that damn rope. I have the bruises, blisters and rope burns to prove it (you will notice my poor form and the rope location during my climbs – hence the horrible inner thigh bruising). Even when I did get my feet locked in correctly, I was so tired and my arms were blown out that I could not get up that damn rope for the life of me. I did a total of 4 in the WOD and could not get another. No clue how many times I got half way up and failed.
I am happy to say that we all made it up the rope at least twice and that we had a good time together. At the end of the day, we paid these people so that we could go workout in front of a bunch of people. That’s it. We had no grand illusions of winning but we did want to do our best and have fun. Could we have done better? Probably. But we did have fun! I love having friends that are like-minded and love just being active and having a good time. Yes, healthy competition is fun, but at the end of the day, none of us are getting paid for this and we are just thankful to be healthy and fit enough to do what we do and to the best of our abilities.
I will tell you though, one thing that this event reiterated to me was that this is not my kind of event. Give me a 20 team cap, held in a box with no air and real comradery over this any day of the week. Not bashing the event, just saying it’s not my cup of tea. I had a great time with these two girls and on a smaller scale would totally tackle another team comp with them both!
Oh, and this is what can happen when you use poor technique when rope climbing! No Bueno!