The taste of blood.
There are very few things in the “sport of fitness” that would surprise me at this point. Tall people are always good at Wall Ball, local competitions always have the most idiotic programming possible (more on that later in the week), gymnasts and wrestlers always make the best exercisers, and top men are ALWAYS faster than top women.
Before I go on, I should clarify: this will be an absolute love-fest for what Talayna Fortunato did this weekend at WODapalooza in Miami. If everyone else wants to get butt-hurt, I don’t give a fuck. Do something as amazing as she did, and I’ll love you up too.
When T told me she wanted to do WODapalooza, I said ABSOLUTELY NOT. We had already decided that she wouldn’t do anything else until Regionals, and I didn’t want any chances for injury for no reason. Then she told me the first place prize for the RTG aka “Road to the Games” division was… a cool FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS. Begrudgingly, I said ok, but I made her promise me she wouldn’t do any ridiculous WODs.
As the weeks passed, T found out there were no other women registered in the RTG division. I said to myself, “Good, no competition to compete in = no injuries.” Then, a few days later, T said they had “come up with a solution” so she could still compete. She would participate in the men’s RTG division—which included 2011 Games competitor and Southeast Regional winner Jared Davis—using the women’s weights, and if there was any strength work it would be judged with a women’s percentage (traditional scaling is 66% of the men’s load for women). I had just seen her whoop-up on the boys in Murfreesboro, so I thought it might be kind of fun to see if she could crack the top 10 in a men’s division.
When the events were announced I started to get a little excited. As I read them I realized they were almost the perfect combination of high-skill work (HS Walks, Muscle-Ups, HSPU to a deficit) and barbell gymnastics—with a 1RM TGU thrown in to make me look smart. I started to think she might be able to do a little more damage than just crack the top 10, and as we strategized I realized there might be an opportunity for a win or two over the course of the 8 WODs.
Let me give you a little schoolin’ up on the top women beating the top men in competitions… IT DON’T HAPPEN. Look through the scoring of last year’s Games: 2011 CF Games Scoreboard. The closest time between women and men on a WOD was, ironically enough, the 32-second gap between EA-6:56 and Spencer Hendel-6:24 on the “Killer Kage.” The majority of the time, the absolute best women’s numbers are 80-90% of the best men’s numbers. Yes, that would mean if the best male did the WOD in 8:30, the best female would be around 10:00. I’ll give you an example: The absolute best women’s time on the 2011 Games “Rope Climb/Clean & Jerk” WOD was Annie T’s 6:54, which would have been good for TWENTY-EIGHTH on the men’s side.
T did not get any scales on the gymnastics or BW movements. She did the same depth on the HSPU *see below* that the boys did. She climbed an 8′ wall, just like the boys. She climbed a 15′ rope, just like the boys. She did C2B pullups, just like the boys. She rowed the same calories, did the same height box jumps and ran the same distances.
On the first 6 WODs T took 4th, 1st, 5th, 1st, 3rd, and 2nd. She was in 1st place, by 1 point, going into the final WOD. She had held on for a 10th-place finish on the 7th WOD, which we thought would be her worst because of the lack of scaling for rowing. The final WOD featured a long Prowler push—which was not scaled even close to evenly, more like 80%—and while I tried to pump her up over the phone, I knew she’d have almost no chance to beat the boys on a “pick up heavy shit and run around with it” style WOD. When she texted me after the final, to apologize for coming in 14th and ending up in 3rd place overall, I simply asked her how the whole day made her feel. She said confident and HUNGRY.
I once told an athlete I want to win so bad I get a funny taste in my mouth.
The only way to describe it is like the taste of blood.
It’s the same taste I used to get when someone would steal the ball from me in basketball or block my shot. Same taste I used to get when I struck out or hit a hard liner right at the shortstop. Same taste I got when I watched Becky not be able to get ONE C2B pullup that would have sent her to the Games at the 2010 Regionals.
I asked T if she was happy about her experience at WODapalooza. She said she wasn’t—she thought she should have won. I asked if she had a funny taste in her mouth.
1) 5X2 Hang Power Clean (full stall) @ 85% – rest 45 sec.
2) 5X2 Power Jerks @ 85% – rest 60 sec.
3a) 4X3 Clean Pulls – heaviest possible, use straps, rest 60 sec.
3b) 4X5 Push Press – heaviest possible, rest 60 sec.
15 minute Tempo Run.
5 minutes @ 70% of 800m pace.
5 minutes @ 90% of 800m pace.
5 minutes @ 70% of 800m pace.