Bring the Heat Katy: My First Partner Competition

I’ve participated in three individual CrossFit competitions and one in-house competition, so I figured it was time for my first partner competition. My friend Patti asked me to be her partner in the scaled division at the Bring the Heat competition in Katy, I was a little anxious. Okay, I was a lot anxious. We know I’m on the border of scaled and super-scaled. But I figured Patti would be a good partner for my first partner competition; she’s more focused on having fun and seeing what she can do, not how she stacks up against everyone else. So I gave her the thumbs-up – and hoped for the best. We decided on “California Girls” as our team name, since we both grew up in Southern California.

My first partner competition was an amazing experience. We worked hard, pushed ourselves and each other, and ultimately celebrated how far we've both come over the past three years.

As expected, the WODs were released the week of the competition, with Bring the Heat taking place on September 15, 2018 at the Merrell Center. I had seen every single thing on that list except the fat rope, which horrified me. It’s basically a tugboat rope, and the potential for injury? Astronomical.

The Day of My First Partner Competition

First, we had to be at the Merrell center really early; athlete check-in began at 6 am. I didn’t even bother showering; I just got dressed and grabbed my bag, which contained a foam roller, change of clothing, extra shoes, flip-flops, and a cool wrap; and my cooler and beverages. I met Patti there; I arrived first and texted her to follow all the swole folk to the entrance. You know, the people that don’t really look like me. I ate my breakfast during the athlete briefing and tried not to be too nervous about my first partner competition.

WOD 1: Tri, Tri, Tri Again

The first WOD we did was actually WOD 2, but I’m calling it WOD 1 because we were scheduled to do it at 8:54 a.m.. It was:

  • a 600m run
  • 900m row
  • 150 box jump-overs (16″ box)

The time cap was 22 minutes. We both had to do the run, but we could split up the rest however we liked. We planned for me to get in first, since I’m a faster runner, and jump on a rower, since the first one in on our team could do that.

Let me tell you, that row was awful, although I broke 2:15 for a 500m for the first time. And the box jump-overs kind of were, too. We split those up 10-10-10, etc. Step-ups were allowed, so for a couple rounds, I did step-ups because I was shaky-legged and certain I’d fall. We finished the WOD in 14:02, a very respectable time given how hard rowing is for me. Our coach showed up at some point during the WOD to cheer us on for the day.

WOD 2: Flex Your Muscle (Ups)

This WOD was named for the Pro division, which actually had (synchronized!) muscle-ups. For the scaled division, it was:

7 minute AMRAP

  • 18 partner wall ball sit-ups (14-lb. ball)
  • 6 power cleans (75 lbs.)

Going in, I was really nervous about the power cleans. I could get three in a row, but then I knew I’d fail to get my elbows through. We had to split those up 3-3 each round, which cost us time. Our final score was 5 rounds + 22 reps, or 142.

Floater WOD: Bikes & Balls

After WOD 2, we decided to tackle the floater and get it out of the way, since we had about two hours before WOD 3. The floater was:

  • 40 calories on the Assault Air Bike
  • 35 ball over shoulder (50 lbs.)

We could work at the same time, so we just tried to get a bunch of ball over shoulders and switch off on the bike. Of course, during my second go-around with the ball over shoulders, I pulled my left hamstring and glute. I don’t even know how that’s possible, other than I was relying completely on my posterior chain to get the ball up and over. So in my first partner competition, I injured myself – and I had to get back on the bike after that. Our score was 4:51.

After the floater, I hobbled over to the athlete services area to get stretched out and worked on by Dr. Cesar Longoria, who practices in Katy. It helped a little, and Dr. Longoria gave me some stretches to do. But then it was time for the last WOD in my first partner competition, and I had to hope my left glute would cooperate.

WOD 3: You’ll Need Faith to Finish

For our last WOD, that awful fat rope came into play. The WOD had a 13-minute cap. It was:

  • 30 fat jump ropes
  • 21 deadlifts (65 lbs.)
  • 9 synchronized bar facing burpees
  • 9 shoulders to overhead

Our strategy going in was to split up the fat jump ropes and the shoulders to overhead. It was a solid strategy, but in practice it didn’t work out quite so well. The fat jump rope was terrible, made even more terrible when I tripped over it and landed on my knees. (Thank goodness for my knee sleeves.) I got back up and jumped until I was done. Also, the shoulders to overhead were brutal no matter what; 65 lbs. is heavy for me, and the first round, I forgot to jerk it and did push presses, which fatigued me quickly. We had to fight to finish this one. Our final score was 11:38.

All the Post-Competition Feels

First of all, I’m so glad that my first partner competition was with Patti. I feel like we made a good team and supported each other through the rough spots of the competition, and there was no pressure to podium. We were in it for the experience. The picture I’ve used above sums it up: I have mad respect for Patti, and I’m so grateful we could do this together.

This competition was a celebration of how far I’d come (and how far Patti has come, too – her story is amazing, but it is hers to tell) in the past three years. My jerk used to be 45 pounds. My clean was 60 pounds. Yet during this competition, I was jerking 65 pounds and cleaning 75. (It was a struggle, but I did it.) I’m so dang proud of myself for getting out there, giving it all I had, and fighting through a hamstring pull and falling on my knees.

It was also a celebration of some amazingly strong women in my life: Patti of course, and my coach, who pushes me to be the best version of myself, not just in the box but outside as well. I cried a little on the way home, not in pain but because I’m so dang grateful that I get to surround myself with such amazing people.