Wednesday, March 17, 2010

2009 in Review (part 2)

"When you love life with everything you have, life loves you back."

May 2009 - This is where the year gets really good, for the most part. The drive home from Qualifiers was bitter sweet. There was lots of ice cream and other naughty foods that paved the way to Cheat Fest '09 at Chuy's with the entire CFCP gang. The support of our community is unreal. But, the pain from pushing my body further than my mind thought it could go had set in before our first stop for gas. Something wasn't right.

With the CrossFit games only weeks away I had no time to waste resting. I took 3 days to recover and as the muscle soreness wore off, the lower back pain seemed to worsen. I started back into my 2-a-days filled with hardcore games style wods, but deadlifts were out of the question. I had gone from a 235 lb deadlift to hardly being able to pick up the 45 lb bar. I remember attempting my CrossFit Endurance WOD on the rower and ending up on hands and knees in tears. This was going to be a problem. I saw all 4 of the physical therapist at Tillman Physical Therapy, I spent way too much money on massages, I iced and heated and rehabbed until I was blue in the face. I finally got a chiropractic adjustment and an X-Ray showing no serious damaged, but my lower vertebrae were significantly pulled to the right. The muscles in my right hip and pelvis were giving my spine hell and everything needed relief.  I was commited to training my heart out on the movements I could and gave special attention to my weakness, endurance.  When I wasn't working out I had the Trigger Point Therapy ball in my stomach aiming to release my ilio psoas and the rollers on every other body part. This made me want to puke and cry more than any wod out there.

Mid May brought a short relief from the pressure of the Games. Muddy Buddy was a partner race with 6 miles of biking, running and obstacles. In the end both buddies must crawl through a deep pit of mud to cross the finish line. My best buddy and I flirted the entire way and I think I fell deeper in love with him when he dunked my head down into the mud assuring I too went home with mud in my ears, nose and teeth.

June revolved around my training for the Games. I'm not even sure I was enjoying it by that point. I was chasing other regional qualifier scores. After results were posted I would complete the wod and then compare where I fell in each region. Some were good, some were bad. My PR's were becoming fewer and far between. The temperatures started to peak in the low 100's making training that much harder. I would fast every rest day for a minimum of 19 hours. Full time Mom, full time employee, full time girlfriend, and double time CrossFitter on no food, I'm surprised Scott is still around. But, the fasting proved to work wonders. My workouts the day after a fast were always solid and seemed to take it up a notch.

July brought on the nerves. The Games were just 2 weeks away! I wasn't drinking anything but water and Spark, no more cheat meals ever. Long before this point I had met Scott's parents. I'm pretty sure they thought I was nuts when I politely refused my meat be on a bun at their traditional, weekly friday night burgers, but I swore hamburger salads were the greatest!  July 4th Scott's sister and brother-in-law invited us out on their sail boat for fireworks and dinner on Lake Travis. We all watched a beautiful sunset, and as the sky turned black fireworks filled the sky with color. The reflections on the water were breath taking. Scott sat with one arm around me and the other holding his daughter, Mekenzie, in his lap. With the perfect setting came the perfect moment to ask the perfect question. It was right then and there that Scott asked me to be his wife. There on around his pinky finger was my ring and another moment in the story of us. With a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes I said YES! (I'm too pregnant to be writing this now. I can't stop crying. Hormones and love!)

And then it was Game time. After a long flight, car rental, and meeting the Tillmans at our beautiful vacation home in Santa Cruz, Scott and I headed towards Aromas to check out the site of the 2009 CrossFit Games.  Just after I checked in at the registration table I was pulled aside, mic'ed and interviewed by the CrossFit media crew.  I know to the average person this is just CrossFit, but to me this is everything and being interviewed as a CrossFit Competitor was truly epic. After the interview Scott and I walked around taking in the grounds. My jaw dropped a little when I looked up The Hill. Every Second Counts really gave it no justice. It was vicious.

Mere days before the event several teasers were released on the Games site. The workouts were still a mystery...

Event 1 is a run noticeably longer than last year's. Teaser video
Event 2 is a heavy lift in a timed environment.
Event 3 is a run noticeably shorter than last year's.
Event 4 is something completely different.
Event 5 is a couplet.

The day before I was to compete it was revealed that the first wod was a 7 click hill run requiring special footwear and something called Gators? Scott and I traveled up and down the state of Cali looking for REI, mountain climbing shoes and these Gators (knee high leg and shoe covers, made for running in high brush. Keeps the stuff out of your shoes and the scratches off your calves.) Oly shoes, mountain running shoes, regular runners, a few changes of clothes, my paleo meals, and I was ready to compete.

I arrived at the games site full of nerves. First things first, roll call. My name was called among the many Greats I have always looked up to and admired. I was star struck yet standing along side them, my name grouped with theirs. Its still mind boggling.  We were moved to the outside pad to start the first flat mile of the Run from Hell. Scott whispered sweet words of encouragement in my ear over the fence moments before go time. At the words ""3...2...1...Go!" 75 men and 75 women took off into the unknown and unknowable. I pushed, pulled, slid, and at some points clawed my way around the treacherous  trails of the Hill Run. Some points were so steep we literally climbed in single file lines. There was no end in site, just the morning sun rising over what felt like the highest mountain on Earth. The Run ended the same way it started, a flat mile on normal road. It was at this point that I spotted Jason Khalipa. I felt as if I was doing really well to keep up with 2008's Fittest Man Alive. I sprinted across the finish line right behind him with a time of 54:18.  Little did I know Khalipa had passed out for 5 minutes and gotten back up to complete the Run. It wasn't until after the second event that I learned I came in 56th place on the Run.

With just enough time to change outfits and shoes Event 2, the Deadlift Ladder, took place. "Heaviest successful deadlift completed lifting one rep every 30sec. Each female competitor will begin at the first barbell, which weighs 185lbs. The athlete then has 10sec plus any portion of the 20sec remaining to set up at the next bar, which is 10lbs heavier than the previous (so the second bar weighs 195). Athletes continue moving to progressively heavier bars until they fail. The athletes are ranked according to the heaviest successful weight lifted before failing." This went by in a flash. I reached #225 and felt pain in my back, I completed #235 and felt very uncomfortable, I attempted #245 and the pain shot down my spine. With my first deadlift personal record since building it back up from just the bar after regionals, I was done. My lift ranked 62 over all. This put me in 68th place for the 2009 CrossFit Games.

The 2009 CrossFit Games kicked off with 2 of my weakest events. I did everything possible to train my weakness and pushed hard on every step of the 7.1k run from Hell, but the back injury I developed during Regional Qualifiers proved to be my Achilles' heel after the deadlift event. The months of intense training, body break downs, hardcore paleo, and emotional build up to the Games was something only the strong could survive. Top that off with a long run and heavy deadlifts, hind sight would suggest that being cut after the first 2 events was inevitable.

Scott guided me like an angel through the mass of spectators after learning that I wouldn't be advancing into the third event. It felt like a walk of shame, but the bright orange wrist band and large black numbers across my body indicated that I was a warrior. I choked back tears as I fell to the blanket surrounded by my supporters, my friends. Moments after the sting wore off I smiled and said, "We're going to make sure I'm pregnant by next summer just so I don't have to go to the Games again." At the time I wasn't kidding.

Scott and I decided to leave shortly after I was cut. If I had come this far and not gotten to do a single pull up then by all means I deserved to enjoy the rest of my vacation in California! We showered and hit the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. First stop, one heck of a chocolate covered ice cream cone. It was freaking amazing! Then, dinner filled with dirty mexican food and of course tequila shots and margaritas! It was a great opportunity to celebrate our engagement!

We hung out for the final event held the next day, but were both looking forward to getting home to our kids. The flight home was miserable. My back was in pain and we had a huge delay putting us home in the very early morning hours. We slept through most of monday.

Two weeks after the Games Scott and I traveled to Fort Worth for his Level 1 CrossFit Certification. While he soaked up all the CrossFit one can handle I frantically shopped for our wedding. By the end of a short weekend Scott was certified and I had found all the decorations and the perfect dress.

Before we knew it August had arrived and the world revolved around our wedding day. On August 8, 2009 two lives were joined as one. It was a simple wedding put together by our families for our families.  I don't have the words to describe this day in my life. Scott and I both feel that every previous event in our lives, good and bad, were part of God's plan to create the perfect person we needed to be for one another. Since day one Scott has told me that God made me for him.  (Again, too pregnant to be writing this...tears!) And his mother is always bragging that only God could have made two redheaded, blue eyed children siblings by marriage and not blood. Scott, Mekenzie, Logan and I, we are the family I've dreamed of since I was a little girl.

Things were calm and back to normal after the wedding. I was back in the gym and getting CFCP set up for its first official Fight Gone Bad competition. We had many of our own compete and collect money for Athletes for a Cure and Wounded Warriors Project. Our FGB event went so well that CFCP won first place for most funds collected in the under 25 athletes division. I personally take pride in the community we have here at CFCP. Our clients have heart! I'm looking forward to planning an even bigger FGB for 2010.

October hit and I put my focus on preparing other CFCP Fire Breathers for the 2010 Games.  I found a local competition for them to compete in for a small taste of the sport of fitness. CrossFit Champion in Houston, TX was hosting Oktoberfest Obliteration. Days before the event I decided to jump back on the competitive wagon and signed up.  What an event! One Day, three workouts, and 107 athletes. It was a great eye opener for some of CFCP's first time competitors, but for me coming in 2nd place was a huge confidence booster after my experience at the games. To Pam and Matt Munson, Man Makers are a dreaded favorite here at CFCP!

A week later Scott and I attended the CrossFit  Olympic Lifting Certification at Alamo CrossFit. By far my favorite cert! Read the blog entry at, Nothing Feels Quite Like a Good Snatch.

The end of October I found myself feeling highly emotional, and sluggish. Five pregnancy test later Scott and I were positive our 3rd child was on its way! The irony was that three days before finding out the good news we had come to the conclusion that we were going to move forward with my training for the 2010 CrossFit Games. After a visit to my doctor we learned that rather than training for the Games, I'd better spend my time and energy training for labor. Our due date falls the weekend before the Games, July 11! Be sure to follow my training for the big event at Born to CrossFit.

In November I seemed to hit my training peak. I PR'ed Fran with 3:49, DT with 14:04, and Filthy Fifty with 29:55. At almost 6 weeks pregnant I decided it was time to walk away from the intensity. Apparently slowing down was just what I needed to do in order to accomplish a long time goal, butterfly pull ups. Since I was no longer racing the clock, or other athletes, the butterflies sort of came naturally.

In early december Scott and I started sharing the news of our pregnancy with our closest friends and family.  I ended 2009 with morning sickness that seemed to last all day, but I had my new family by my side. I thought 2008 was the best year of my life, but 2009 proved to be truly outstanding. I am so thankful for this life and the people in it!


Biggdave said...

What a great year! Thanks Nik, to you and Scott for letting the Tillmans be a part of it.

Celeste said...

Nikki you are such an inspiration and what a great way to motivate people. I love your writing mostly because you can see the passion you have for what you do. You are an amazing person, mother, and friend. I'm so glad to have met you!