Review: CrossFire Games 2011

Over the weekend I participated in my third CrossFit competition, the CrossFire Games, hosted by CrossFit Conquest in Plantation, FL. This consisted of one long “chipper” style WOD with a Firefighter theme…heats ran throughout the morning with 6 athletes side-by-side.

Here’s the WOD:

100′ fire hose roll (harder than it sounds)

100′ Prowler drag (185/165)

12 power cleans (115/75)

3 x (5 pullups, 15 hand-release pushups, 20 situps)

Move a tire 25′ via sledgehammer

25 burpees

25 kettlebells swings (55/35)

25 thrusters 45#

3 x (5 pullups, 15 hand-release pushups, 20 situps)

12 deadlifts (185/135)

100′ prowler pull (185/165)

100′ low bar prowler sprint, empty sled

Notes: You run through the course doing each station in order. Athlete much strip and load all weights on one bar. Carry a 20# fireman “hose pack,” which was a length of firehose taped up into a bundle. The hose pack could be dropped while performing exercises.

Pretty nasty, eh? This was one of the funnest CrossFit workouts I’ve done because of the variety and it perfectly combined speed, strength, endurance, and coordination. On top of that, the spectators were basically on top of you cheering and screaming. It’s a total rush to run through a racecourse with your buddies cheering you on while you’re redlining it and trying to beat the guy next to you. It’s exactly why I got into CrossFit in the first place.

Oh, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mentioned the WOD was one of the hardest CrossFit workouts I’ve ever done. Your heart rate spikes up to 180 at the first prowler drag and then spikes up at each station. Rest time, if you can call it that, is either doing the body weight stuff or jogging from station to station. Probably the easiest portion of the workout for me was doing pullups and situps. I sucked on the KB swings and deadlifts. 90 reps of hand release pushups wasn’t a walk in the park either.

My finishing time was 28:00. The event winner, Chase Daniels, finished in 17:56.

Big props to CrossFit Conquest for putting on a killer event.

Judging Is Good For You

I volunteered to judge three different heats after my WOD. This was a cool experience and I recommend that any competitive CrossFitter try some judging. What was interesting was being on the racecourse while the top athletes battled. I got to observe how a long power-endurance-skill workout impacted them. Everyone was redlined and had to take quick breaks on some of the movements, like putting down the KB after 15 reps. That to me is a well programmed WOD when your very best athletes are challenged. No one was spared the grinding.

Additionally, there was a diverse range of athletes and it gave me perspective on how different people were training and how the different body types handled the WOD. Some guys were huge, cyborg looking dudes who crushed the weight lifting, but they slowed down on the Cindy body weight stuff, and some gals were really fast and fit aerobically, but slowed down on the weight lifting because of lack of hip and leg strength. So you really had to have an excellent all around game to post a top time.

With a WOD like this, I think it’s critical to have excellent aerobic capacity and have all your energy systems well trained, as I talked about in my last post on heart rate training. You need every system.

There was a lot of chatter during the Open WODs about strictness of standards, and I can tell you that in the heat of battle it’s very difficult to judge with 100% strictness. For one, there is so much going on with bodies flying around and the reps are happening so fast, it’s almost impossible to judge every rep perfectly. As an example, while I was judging hand release pushups, I had to get down low, almost to floor level, to see if the athlete’s chest was touching the ground. The problem there is it’s easy to miss what’s happening with the lower body. Was there snaking? Was there a kip? Hard to tell. So you use your best judgement and get ready for the next rep. I’m a big NBA fan and I have a new appreciation for the difficulty of being a basketball ref.

Also, there’s the question of overall strictness by the host gym and the judging crew. This was an laid back throwdown with 60 or so competitors and the stakes were small. You don’t judge those the same way you would the CrossFit Games. So my take was allow for an acceptable margin of error on standards and make sure all competitors got a fair shake. I didn’t call a lot of no reps.

Also see the Sarah Wilson’s personal account at the Fashletics blog.