The Dust Settles
The 2013 Northern California CrossFit Regional has come to a close. How do you even begin to sum up an experience like that? Written word fails to capture the essence of what it felt like to ride the wave all weekend. I’ll do my very best to paint a picture with words here. But to all the people that were there for the weekend, to the very many people who cheered me on to the very last clean, to each and every person that said some encouraging words to me along the way, I’m forever grateful to you all.
Sunday May 26th started for me at 5:30am. Sleep is hard to come by during the last couple nights of these competitions. I got 6 hours tops of low quality sleep but woke up feeling like I could eat nails. Four points sat between me and the 4th place competitor. The Northern California region has a previous CrossFit Games Champion in it and therefore when he takes a podium spot to the games they invite the 4th place finisher. This is a well known fact amongst the competitors of regionals like Nor Cal, Europe, and the Central East. We know going in and fight for one of the top 4 spots. Many things had to line up for me to make it into the number 4 slot on Sunday but the feeling when I woke up was that at least I had a chance.
One of my biggest assets all weekend was my girlfriend and coach for the 3 days, Megan. She stayed with me every step of the nerve wracking journey. She listened to me when I was down, she was patient when people took my attention, she tolerated all my leaderboarding, and she was always there to remind me to breath, eat, lay down, stay positive, etc. We were the perfect team. “Today is the day, today is the day…” were her words every day for the entire weekend.
The first event on Sunday was my only chance I felt to move up the ladder. The afternoon event was going to be over too fast with all of the athletes at the top finishing so close that I just didn’t believe there were points to be made up in the afternoon. The beauty of Sunday for me was that I knew I could do very well in each of the events from having practiced. I knew there was nothing I would struggle with and therefore believed I had a chance to move up the leaderboard. But despite all that I had to battle doubts and fears all day. Was Pat going to move faster than me? If he did was I going to be able to dig deep enough to catch him? Was my best going to be good enough or was I going to need to try something I’d never done before? And even if the answers to all those questions were positive I still didn’t know how it would all effect the leaderboard. My thoughts were like a ping pong rally inside my head that went on far too long. To be honest, I think the ping pong match only came to an end when I stepped on the final red finish mat at the end of the day.
I remember saying to myself that if I could finish Sunday with only 5 or 6 points then I might just have a shot at qualifying. Six points later, a second and fourth place finish, and I’m headed to the CrossFit Games. I went to Regionals this year with a goal of qualifying for the CrossFit Games, but the weekend experience was so much more than just that. The events of those 3 days can never be repeated. The story that unfolded over those 3 days belongs in a book or movie. However, I will settle for keeping it in my heart and in the hearts and thoughts of all the people that shared it with me. I’m excited to share the continuation of this journey with you all and excited to get back to posting here more regularly with my training updates and thoughts on this journey.
To My Family “TEAM FILLY” – Thank you for stepping into my world so completely this weekend. Thank you for putting everything aside to be present with me as I embarked on one of the biggest moments of my athletic life. I will forever cherish the fact that you were all there to experience that moment with me.
To My TJ’s Teammates – I was so proud to share the regionals stage with you all. Each of you did something gutsy and courageous this weekend that makes me honored to call you my team.
To the TJ’s Family (Partners, friends, community) – Looking out into the crowd and seeing Blue everywhere I turned was a constant reminder that I wasn’t alone. There was nothing to be scared of when I could see your beaming faces.
To my Coach – James Fitzgerald – Your guidance, your way, has engrained in me how all of this fits into the big picture and how each part, the ups and downs, must be experienced fully to achieve success. Gratitude to you for helping me lay a foundation of strength, both physically and mentally, and a framework to navigate the complexities of this journey.
To Patrick Barber – An athlete I’ve looked up to and by watching compete have learned so much from over the years. One of the best competitors I’ve ever had the pleasure to go head to head with. Thank you for never giving up, for pushing me to places I didn’t know I had, and for keeping a smile on your face every time we saw each other.