Last Saturday I competed in the Nationals summer Games in the women’s platinum division. I hesitated for a long while whether or not I should do this competition in the first place. The timing was a bit annoying as it was a week before possibly the biggest competition I’ll ever do: the lowlands throwdown classic event. It would suck if I got myself injured or over exhausted from doing this competition a week out. Luckily, FOMO won it from these concerns and we ended up signing up for this competition anyways. Here’s what happened that day.
What is the Nationals Summergames anyways?
The Nationals is an online and offline functional fitness competition where athletes in 6 divisions compete against each other, depending on their experience and fitness level. The first workout determines in which division you get to compete. The placement event is the same workout for everyone and depending on your score, you’ll get allocated to the iron, bronze, silver, gold or platinum division. There’s also a teens division in which you compete if you’re between 12-15 years old.
Throughout the year you complete 5 workouts in your own box and film these. The top 40 men and women in each division then get an invite to the final event, which is the live event that was last weekend 15 and 16 May. I ended 13th on the leaderboard so didn’t have high hopes for reaching the podium this time. At least 12 other really fit women were not going to make my life easy.
What happened on the day?
It was an early 8.00 start (yes that’s early to me, I like my sleep) as we drove off to Autotron Rosmalen. I didn’t sleep great (probably nerves?) and my Whoop tells me I’ve got a lousy recovery of 44%. Let it go, it is what it is. We met up with some others from our box CF YouAct and some others from Eindhoven Gym and claimed ourselves a nice corner of the seating area.
Briefing started at 9.30. Whilst reading the movement standards in the athlete guide we already noticed the lack of gymnastic movements: no HSPU’s or BMU’s. I was kinda glad but also sad about that as I’d practiced these so much and was only just able to do a BMU. What better way to test that ability than during competition? HSPU’s destroyed me in last years final when I was still competing in the gold division. This year I’m competing in platinum.
The workouts were all short, 9 min was the longest time cap. I guess you have to when there’s 240 athletes competing in 1 day, but that initially freaks me out a lil. I’m more of a 20 min AMRAP kinda girl, able to grind at medium pace rather than sprint for 5 mins.
The first workout
The first workout I had to do was a 2K row for time, it’s been a while since I’ve actually tried one and aim for the best time so my goal is to finish before 7.15 min. 2K row is just too long and most people start off too quickly. I also can’t help myself and start too quickly. My speed dips below 1.30 at some point and I tell myself to slow down cause I’ll burn out like some other girls in earlier heats did.
The adrenaline and cheering crowd helps to keep the pace below 1.50 and sprint the final 200 meters anyway. 7.11 is my time, mission accomplished. I can go home now 😉 Out of all the workouts, this is the one I really wanted to do well. Every competition I’ve ever done that included a 1.5/2K row (3 so far) I’ve always won and I need to keep that trend up. But I also hate the pressure that comes with that. I go into a workout that isn’t my strength (such as a gymnastics workout) much more relaxed than a rowing event, because then there’s no expectation to keep up so no pressure. The score can only be better than expected because expectations are low anyway. I win the event with 6 seconds distance from number 2 and legit think this is it. The rest of the workouts aren’t really my thing.
Workout 1, 2 and 4
The next 2 workouts are back to back: first 20 burpee shuttle sprints for time, followed by workout 2: a 5 min AMRAP of 8 dumbbell snatches, 8 single arm dumbbell thrusters and 8 Toes To Bar. The first 10 burpees feel fine and I can keep the speed up pretty ok, but then when I think I must be nearly done my judge says “halfway”. Fuck.. this is a little longer than I anticipated. The final 10 are hard and it takes me 2.01 minutes to complete the workout. During the AMRAP I get no-repped twice on my snatches due to incomplete extension. I don’t agree but let it go, no point arguing, I slow down my pace and ask her to count. As expected this isn’t my type of workout but I try to keep working fast. 5 mins isn’t long, it will end soon. “It will end” is a mantra I often repeat to myself whenever I’m struggling. It keeps the mind occupied.
From first place, I am now down to 5th after 3 workouts. These workouts didn’t go so well but I’m still doing better than expected. There might be a chance to end up on that podium after all. The next workout is a 5 min EMOM in which you have to complete 1 barbell snatch every minute. The score is the total load of all 5 lifts. Every minute you have to increase the weight of the bar so strategy is stressing me out here. You don’t want to start out too heavy and miss a lift cause then I’d be down the leaderboard, that’s taking a risk but also don’t play too safe, lift too light and lose out on points. I am 5th and think it’s maybe worth taking a bit of a risk. Only a week ago I snatched a new PB of 70 kg. During the warm up the bar feels heavy, I tried 67.5 kg twice, failed the first time and only just made the second. I decide to start at 55 kg and end at 65 kg.
We get to the stage. There’s something about competitions that I love and hate: the adrenaline. It distracts from the task at hand because your body feels weird and it makes me question my capacities, but as it turns out it also really helps you push harder. 55 kg feels light, 57.5 kg also and I start to think about adding some more maybe. I’m literally waiting for the bar to feel heavy. There’s not much time to think though so I decide to stick to the plan.
Until the last lift, I planned to do 65 kg, but then I saw a few other girls add 67.5 kg and decided to go for that as well. Still a powersnatch and the bar still feels light. I leave the stage hyped as the risk worked out well, but also made a note to myself to take a bigger risk next time. I would have made 70/72.5 kg probably as well. I hope it’s enough to creep up a few spots on the leaderboard. And it is, I end up 3rd place after 4 events.
The final event
At this point I’m pretty done with the competition. It’s been a long day, I’m getting tired and I kinda really want a beer now. And again because of that same pressure I felt for the rowing event, I go into the final workout stressed. There’s pressure to do well and keep that 3rd spot. There’s a gap of 10 points between me and number 4 but the final workout is a workout for time with 20 chest to bar pull ups. Shit, the bar is too high to jump in and C2B isn’t my strongest skill. So I know I have to go hard on the other stuff. The complete workout is 50 double unders, 15 shoulder to overhead with a 50 kg barbell, 20 chest to bar pull ups, 15 cleans with a 50 kg barbell and 50 double unders. I race through the first 2 movements, get to the rig first but my chest to bars aren’t happening today. I have to break the first set after 3 reps. I am one of the last ones to come off the rig and proceed to the cleans. This is where I can make a difference again and manage to overtake the number 2 and finish before her. Thankfully her pull ups were also not happening today. Some girls further down the leaderboard finish way before us.
This is part of the reason I love CrossFit, to win a competition you have to be the best allround athlete. You’re not going to win if you’re just strong, fast or just good at gymnastics. A competition will test you at all aspects and the athlete who wins, may not even win individual workouts. It’s all about the total score. So per event depending on where you end on the leaderboard you get points. So number 1 gets 1 point, number 2 gets 2 etc. So the lower your score, the better. The athlete with the lowest score after all workouts wins the competition.
How it ended
The leaderboard isn’t updated until the prize ceremony so as we wait for the announcement I do the math in my head. I’m sure my friend has become first, but I have no idea how bad my score is in the grand scheme of things. On the other hand, that 10 point gap between me and number 4 might be too big at this point. They call out number 3, it’s the former number 2 that I overtook in the last workout, so maybe I did end up on the podium, or I am somewhere in 5-10. Number 2 they announce is from CF Youact, but which one? Then I know: I am 2nd and my friend is first and once again we’re on the stage together.
I am so grateful for this trend, as it’s what happened the last time me and my friend competed. She ends first, I second. We are also competing in the lowlands throwdown together so hopefully we’ll be able to continue this trend of qualifying as 12/13 and winning the competition. We’ve also qualified as 13th on the leaderboard for lowlands so who knows 😉 Stay tuned to find out.