5 round for time:
5 deadlifts @ 120 kg
20 burpees with lateral jump
How I dreaded this workout. 100 burpees with a jump over the bar to start each repetition just sounds long, unrhythmic, and not fun. Then throw in the deadlifts for your brief reprieve and you have something that nobody wants to do. Thankfully, my spot in the Games was not riding on this WOD so there was no real pressure to perform. Still, there was the bid for the top spot that Sven and I had been jockeying for all weekend and I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t matter who won. Additionally, this workout felt like the type of WOD that I wouldn’t do on my own, meaning it was a challenge I would have to overcome mentally—always a good thing.
Sven and I took our places at the end of the track right alongside each other. It’s exciting to compete against your friends, especially when you know exactly where you stand. Having him next to me pushed me harder, didn’t let me quit, and ultimately made me better.
My strategy was to find a pace that I could maintain throughout the burpees. No sense in racing through them then taking 10 seconds between sets of deadlifts. The lateral jumping was awkward though, and it made it hard to find the right rhythm. The first set we were on the exact same tempo in fact. Our bars hit at the same time, our jumps were synchronous, and things looked like they’d stay that way all the way through. Somewhere in the middle of the second set of burpees I took a slight lead that I carried through to the 3rd set of deadlifts. As I was finishing my 5th he was midway through his 2nd and I saw this as my opportunity to take control. I got straight into the burpees, hoping to send the message that I wasn’t tired... even though I was, in fact, very tired. I could hear a few guys down the row a few repetitions ahead of me as well, so I knew everyone else had juice to spare.
Towards the end of the 3rd set I was starting to hate life. Here the crowd was crucial. People were screaming like maniacs and yelling at us to just keep moving. It helps, I'm telling you. During the 4th set I wanted to do anything but keep throwing myself on the floor. I started to linger a little longer between repetitions, felt that sneaking feeling of self-loathing, and started wishing my way towards the finish. Then I sensed Sven picking up his pace and got a shot of fear-based adrenaline. The thought of crashing down the stretch in a WOD that boiled down to mental toughness was not something I wanted on my conscience. It reminded me of the final event back in Copenhagen. Not a happy memory.
Thinking about doing just one rep at a time got me through to my final set, and once the end was in sight I was able to close the door. I finished in 7:46, 4th in the event behind a best time of 7:20. Sven came in :30 or so behind me to round out an amazing weekend where he finished every event 6th or better. I found out soon after that Richard had gone gorilla and taken 2nd with a smoldering time of 7:21. This performance allowed him to edge Mikko by a point for the final qualification spot. Major respect to him for showing up in crunch time.
So we were set. An American, an Icelander, and a Belgian representing Europe in LA; in addition to the Mr. Salo from Finland of course. Standing on the platform at the end I couldn’t have been more proud of the result, the experience, and the road I had taken to get there. More on that in the general wrap up later this weekend. Thanks again to Mads and the volunteer crew that made the event possible. Won’t soon forget it.