Congratulations to Brittany Miller on her 11th place overall finish at the 2001 Femme Fit competition which took place this past Saturday at CrossFit Sweat Shop in Walnut Creek, CA. Although Brittany is no stranger to athletic competition, this was officially her first big multi-event CrossFit competition to date. Brittany gave a tremendous effort through each of the 5 events run through the day.
The day started off with the entire field of 54 women setting off on a marked run of undisclosed distance along the Contra Costa canal multi-use recreational trail. That’s right, these women had no clue if they were running 1 mile or 5 miles. Judges on the course directed the athletes through an undulating, course that included a few short bursts of at least 100m up and down a hill that felt much steeper than it looked. Despite the unknown distance, the women took off at a blistering pace that can safely be estimated as a sub 6 minute mile for the first 400m or so. As the nerves began to settle, the pack stretched way out and the athletes settled into their strides. I had the privilege of coaching Brittany through this entire day; her instructions from me were simple: “Run this thing at your 5K pace.” I knew they wouldn’t be running much more than 3 or 4 miles based on the logistics of getting all those women through 4 additional events throughout the rest of the day. As it turned out, the run was right around 4 miles. The course took the runners through a central spectator area at least 5 different times. The psychological stress those athletes had to endure as they ran towards the spectator area (which could possibly mean they are coming towards an end to their run) only to receive instructions from the judges/volunteers to press on and continue running was tough for many of the athletes to deal with. “That was the toughest part of the whole day” was Britt’s remark when looking back on everything she had accomplished at the end of the day. The fact that none of the athletes knew exactly how far the run distance was forced the athletes to stay just below lactate threshold for the entire run. It wasn’t until the final 300m or so that the athletes knew they were on their final approach to the spectator area and heading in to the finish line. As soon as Brittany was notified by a judge that she was heading in for her final approach to the finish line, she started her final kick with a strong, confident stride. One competitor made a push to try and pass, but Brittany held her off with a sustained 200m all out sprint towards the finish line, earning Brittany a 16th place finish in event 1.
Event 2 was straight forward in concept: Establish a 1RM for the Back Squat in no more than 9 minutes taking no more than 3 attempts. Brittany’s Back Squat 1RM was set a few months back during CFT at 210 pounds. Less than 1 hour after her 4 mile run, Brittany easily completed her 3rd attempt of 205lbs, earning her a 5th place ranking for the Back Squat. Brittany’s decision to hit a weight she knew she could accomplish, rather than trying to PR proved to be wise as she stood to lose at least 4 spots if she went too heavy and missed her PR lift attempt of 215, while she would have only gained 2 spots in a 3 way tie for third place. The 5th place finish in this event was enough to win Brittany a free Olympic Weightlifting Session with coaches Max Aita and Jo Ann Arnold
Event 3 put the ladies back on the run course, this time for a 400m all out effort. It was amazing to watch the athletes give maximal efforts on the 400m course just minutes after completing a 1RM back squat effort. The top times of the morning for this 400m course (which included that nasty hill) were around 1:06. Brittany turned in an impressive time of 1:15, earning her an 11th place ranking for this event.
With 3 events down and two to go, the athletes were feeling the effects of all that running on their legs. The 4th event was run in waves of 8 athletes at a time with the highest ranking athletes of the day working in the later heats.
Brittany had earned her spot into the 6th of 7 total heats for this workout. Workout 4 was again simple in concept, yet brutally challenging: AMRAP 3 minutes of any combination of burpees and pull-ups the athletes cared to attempt. Many athletes found themselves doing mostly burpees with some pull-ups thrown in, but were forced to get off the pull-up bar due to local muscular fatigue. There were a few women who clearly had no problem with the pull-ups and, thus were able to rack up lots of reps very quickly. Brittany’s approach was to do 5 pull-ups, then 5 burpees and then repeat as many times as possible in 3 minutes. Coming off of a nasty hand tear from the Saturday WOD the previous week, Brittany’s grip was still not 100% so she wound up changing her approach to 10 burpees and 5 pull-ups mid workout. Brittany placed middle of the pack with a 35th place overall finish for this WOD with 43 total repetitions completed in 3 minutes.
Event 5 separated the women from the girls. At this point in the day, every one’s legs were shot. The final workout of the day was a 4 round metcon of 2 Power Clean OR 10 Deadlifts at 135lbs, 10 Wall Ball and 10 Box Jumps on a 24 inch box (step ups were allowed). Brittany chose to go with the Power Clean, rather than Deadlifts and was able to successfully clear all of her attempts except for her second rep of round 3 when her left hand slipped off the barbell prior to getting it to rack position. As the barbell hit the floor, it rolled off to the side of the lifting platform. In an act of sheer focus and determination, Brittany pushed her judge out of the way as he attempted to roll the bar back to the center of the platform. She approached the bar and completed the lift where it lay in order to save time and move on to wall ball. Brittany’s effort on this final workout caught the eyes of many a spectator – it was one of the most inspiring workouts of the day. Britt definitely left it all on the floor with that WOD. Brittany’s time of 5:37 placed her 10th in event 5; only 17 seconds away from a top 5 finish for this event.
This event was a top notch event with creative programming and great execution of the administration. I would like to personally thank all the event organizers and volunteers from CrossFit Sweat Shop for putting together a first class affiliate-based competition. This year was great and I know that next year will be even better.
It was also amazing to have such strong support for Brittany from the CFWS community. This event was about a 90 minute drive away from Sacramento and lasted from 9AM through the 5PM hour before it was all said and done. Members of the CFWS community showed up early and stayed late to help support Brittany in any way possible. I know that it meant the world to Britt to have you guys out there. The CFWS community is strong and it grows stronger every day. Let’s keep this momentum going with the upcoming Courage Games on February 19th. We are sending one team (Doreene Hess, Chris Baca, Joel Schwellenbach and Lance Reem) as well as myself as an individual competitor to lay it all on the line and see how fit we really are. It will mean as much to us as it did to Brittany to see a strong CFWS spectator following at this year’s Courage Games, Winter Edition. Stay posted for more details in the upcoming weeks.
Nice work Britt!