Written by Team GtmPR Athlete Matt Morton
I had the pleasure of joining a team of other GtmPR athletes at Wod Wars 4 in Humble, TX a few weekends ago: Krystal Gage, Elyse Dobrick, and Devon Brack. Each of us have good numbers on our lifts and gymnastics skills… but just by looking at the numbers I was not sure that we could take a huge competition like this one with 30 other teams. There are several different ways to express the phrase “Greater than my PR”, but I feel that there was no better representation than what we displayed in that competition.
Those three know each other very well and it was my first time competing with any of them. From the moment I arrived they went out of their way to make me feel welcomed. They even got me some snacks from the grocery store! When they left I spent some time catching up with Devon. When I asked how he thought we would do… He simply told me, “Those girls don’t lose”. They had a bond and a competitive nature about them that could not be stopped. The girls got back with some groceries and a breakfast sandwich for me, and we started getting ready for the first event.
16 minute capMale A & Female A will Establish a 1 rep max Snatch
Male B and Female B will establish a 1 rep max Clean & Jerk
Krystal and I started things off with the snatch. We went back and forth hitting our lifts. I could see the intensity, toughness, and determination run through her entire body every time she approached the bar. It was contagious… I went on to PR 3 lifts in a row at 275#, 280#, and 285#! Krystal, Elyse, and Devon all finished with a very similar look: near perfect lifts until barely missing their last weights. Even though the weight on the bar looked good to me, by looking at their faces I would have guessed they had underperformed. I asked each of them how it went, and all 3 said they hit their goals. They were just hungry for more. We were in 1st at the end of this event.
Result: 945 lbs Total, 2nd place: 900 lbs
16 Minute Cap
Team will divide into 2 male/female groups
- Row 500m / 125 Double Unders
- 30 burpee box jump overs (24")
- 50 deadlifts / Dealift lockouts (RX 275/185)
This Wod was tricky to plan for. Just before we went out we changed our strategy a bit and decided to switch the order to have Krystal and I finish the deadlifts because we may be a little faster. Well… We both were a little overconfident in how strong we would be at that point. Our previously decided rep scheme fell through the cracks, and we fought for every rep. It was a grind that I was definitely not expecting, but we both fought through adversity to finish strong.
I was sure this event would drop us significantly… I was wrong. Even though I underperformed, the rest of the team was solid enough to come out with an impressive 1st place finish… and sore buns.
Result: 11:18, 2nd place: 11:28
WOD 3: 16 minute cap
15 t2b (each), 50 front squats/bar hold (135#/95#), 12 bar muscle ups
15 t2b (each), 40 front squats/bar hold (135#/95#), 14 bar muscle ups
15 t2b (each), 30 front squats/bar hold (135#/95#), 16 bar muscle ups
WOD 3 had so many moving parts! There were so many key transitions that I knew whoever had the best strategy would definitely win the event. We spent almost the entire break between workouts to come up with the best strategy possible. Developing a great team strategy takes more than a good planner. Each teammate must be humble and experienced enough to know what they will be able to do in the heat of the moment.
Well… Here’s how it went:
Everyone went unbroken on all 3 sets of 15 toe to bar, Devon and I went unbroken through our first two sets of bar muscle ups, we flew through the front squats, and our transitions were near perfect.
As soon as the event was over I said something about it being near perfect, and they started picking out things that could have been better, haha! Never satisfied.
Result: 10:10, 2nd place: 11:07
FINAL WOD: 16 minute cap
Each one of us had to complete one of the “Girls” to finish off the day. I was assigned Karen, 150 Wall Balls, to finish the event and conclude our competition. With a first place overall finish pretty much sealed, I started talking about sand-bagging the last workout and intentionally breaking early to pace myself. I told them I probably had what it takes to go unbroken on the workout, but I wasn’t going to… no way. Well… there was a lot more that went behind my reasoning. I had never actually gotten very close to an unbroken Karen, and the last time I completed a workout with high volume wall balls was at Regionals, where I gave everything I had and could not get to 104 unbroken… which turned out to be a huge disappointment for me. I secretly didn’t want to disappoint myself.
Devon was doing all he could during our break to convince me to give my all to finish the day with a clean sweep of 1st place finishes for the day. During that time we looked up how long it would take to complete it unbroken (4:30), but I was dead set after the great day we had I was not going to set myself up for disappointment.
The event started with Devon completing Grace (30 Clean & Jerks @135#). His plan was to do a big set and then go to singles. He did his first set, did another big set, and another, until he finished the workout without ever going to single reps… amazing!!! When he finished a congratulated him, and asked how in the world he did that… He told me when the team is counting on him there was no way he was going to let us down. This was a genuine gesture by Devon, but I felt the passion and knew it would be hard to ease through my event after witnessing that kind of effort.
Shortly thereafter, Krystal and Elyse started going through a bit of adversity. The standards were changed to make the sit-ups easier, and Krystal (mistakingly?) met the normal standards, which put her behind the rest of the pack. Elyse flew through Fran until she received a few questionable “no reps”. She broke her last set of pullups, and went back up to finish. As she was getting back on the bar I was gazing at the clock… We were a ways behind a few teams, and guess how much time I had left… 4:30. I knew before I even picked up the ball what it was going to take to finish the event… an unbroken Karen. A rush of anxiety hit me when I realized that the pressure was on. I couldn’t do 104 at Regionals and now I had to do 150.
I tried to remain calm during the first 75 that I knew I could get. I told my team I would be dropping at that point, but when I continued to move through rep 75 I felt my team surround me and start cheering me on to keep going. When I reached 100 reps the picky judge that Elyse had trouble with just prior stopped counting my reps, and started announcing them to people standing around watching. The pain had officially set in, but I had Devon continually repeating different ways of saying DO NOT DROP THAT BALL! LOL. I could hear Elyse and Krystal in my ear. I could sense how passionate and involved they were, and could feel their empathy of the pain I was going through.
When I get to 120 reps my shoulders were depleted. I had to leap as hard as I could for every single rep. Devon told me how much time I had left and I knew there was no way I would finish if I dropped the ball. All that went through my mind was, “No regrets, do it for them!” When i got to rep 140 I felt like I had exited my body and something else had taken over. Something much crazier. Then with 3 reps left they started the 5 second count down and I finished with less than 1 second remaining!!!
Right after finishing and moments after celebrating an unbroken Karen, my body collapsed. I was on the floor when Elyse came over to start wiping my chin which puzzled me. I asked her why she was wiping my chin and she told me I was bleeding! Evidently, I was holding the ball so tight to my body that it had cut my chin...badly!!!
I am proud of my team and I was happy with my performance. It seemed like everyone in the building came to congratulate me afterwards. I even got the standard issued, “You are a crazy mother ….”, which is apparently my nickname because it gets said so often. Haha! However, I wasn’t the only person to do an Unbroken Karen in that heat. In fact, somebody had beaten me.
It wasn’t necessarily the capability to do Karen Unbroken that captured everyone’s gaze. They didn’t know I was going to do what I did… I didn’t either. They were watching simply because it is inspiring to watch someone give EVERYTHING.
My body was failing and I couldn’t continue… But I had a team fighting internally just as hard as I was fighting through those wall balls. This is why I am Greater Than My PR.