Battle in the Barracks 2016

Note from Kait: I apologize for the long-winded and delayed posting, but sometimes I need to mull things over for a bit.  It’s been quite a week since the comp! 

Another Battle in the Barracks has come and gone, with all the excitement, fitness, camaraderie, and sweat that goes with it.

The Battle in the Barracks competition is a two day individual competition with male and female Rx and Rx+ divisions hosted by my box’s sister gym, CrossFit Currie Barracks here in Calgary. This was my second year competing (you can read about my first year here.)

There were 30-some women competing in the women’s RX division, and my goal for this year’s comp was to finish in the teens. Last year I finished in the low-20s.

Source: CrossFit Currie Barracks


I trialed all the workouts in the weeks beforehand, but unlike last year, didn’t go crazy training at Open Gym on Sundays at CrossFit Sunalta. Partly I knew from last year that Coach Eric would program prep workouts during the week at Sunalta, partly I love having Sunday as a rest day, and partly my stress level has been very high this fall with work and Dana’s ongoing unemployment.  Working out has always been a sort of active meditation for me where I find peace and calm, but I also know crossfit spikes my cortisol (stress) levels so I have to enjoy my hobby in moderation.

The vibe just felt different this year. Namely no Meg and Anna (my Sunalta Strong teammates!).  Perhaps because I’d done last year’s competition, or because I’ve had my focus elsewhere this fall, I didn’t feel crazy nervous for the weeks leading up to the comp.  The nerves didn’t kick in until Friday the 3rd!  Then of course my stomach was full of butterflies for the rest of the weekend.

Dana went to a birthday dinner on Friday night, but I stayed home in order to get a healthy meal in and to be in bed early. Somehow I got a really great sleep Friday night, even though my body woke me up at 5:45.  It wasn’t all bad because I had time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and walk Penny.  Dana had signed up to judge, so we got to Currie around 8:30 to hear the workout standards.  I was incredibly nervous by this point, but wasn’t scheduled until the third heat so had a bit of time to warm up beforehand.

Events 1&2

My game plan was to treat the ladder like an EMOM (every minute on the minute). If I was going to hit 135# for the jerk, it would be a PR (personal record), so I didn’t want my heart racing out of my chest for that lift.  My plan worked like a hot damn, except I could only clean the 135#.  My jerk was more like a small bounce of the barbell off my shoulders – definitely no locking out of elbows to be seen!  I was happy to hit the 2×125# though.

Then I modestly hit 80# for my snatch.  Then 90#.  Then 95#.  Then I still had time so I did 100#!  I tried 105# but failed before the time ran out.  I was happy with my performance on events 1 and 2!

Event 3

I was basically sick to my stomach from the end of event 2 until event 3 started. Something about doing my less than ideal pull-ups in front of a crowd… My game plan was, again, an EMOM – ideally 9 reps per minute so I’d be close to done around 9 minutes in to the 10 minute workout.

Somehow I found myself having an out-of-body experience for this event. The barbell movements were fine – snatches, overhead squats, and squat snatches.  Those pull-ups though!  Meg and Dana coaxed/coached/yelled at me until somehow – somehow – at minute 9:00, I only had three pull-ups left!  I couldn’t believe it!  Of course those three pull-ups (and one no-rep) took 36 seconds; however, I finished at 9:36 and was so proud/happy/relieved/worn out from anxiety that I collapsed on the floor and had a good cry.  Haha hormones…

It was so great – Haley came by to watch this event, and brought me beautiful flowers too. I felt like a gymnast accepting a bouquet at the podium.  Except, you know, I was beet-red, crying, and had mascara, sweat, and chalk running down my face.

Dana got hooked into judging the rest of the afternoon, so I found some ladies to visit with and cheer on other competitors. Somewhere in there I also had a super relaxing quad massage.

Someone masterfully captured me looking super dazed. At least I’m among friends. Source: CrossFit Currie Barracks

Dana and I headed home around 4:00, and I promptly filled the tub with steaming hot Epsom salt water and had a lovely bath (other than the part where I had to rip the physio tape off my shoulders, and also when my torn hands touched the hot bath water).  I could have slept in the tub, but instead of taking a nap, Dana and I went for sushi at Kinjo then watched part of “The Santa Clause”.  I love Tim Allen!

I didn’t feel nervous at all about event 4 until I went to bed that night. Then I couldn’t sleep because I was so worried about it.  Even though I was plum exhausted!

Somehow Sunday dawned on me and I went through my morning routine in a half-asleep daze. I was already so, so sore from Saturday, and wanted a massage pre-workout but the tables were full already.  Since I was sitting tied in 20th place, I was in the second ladies’ RX heat, along with a few other Sunalta women.  Nice to be among friends!

Event 4

Speaking of friends, Meg somehow showed up minutes before I started and stepped up as my judge again. I was so thankful to have her there!  Event 4 was all about getting the work done: shoulder-to-overhead, deadlifts, burpee box jumps, rowing, double unders, power cleans… Just keep moving!  This event was my best finish.  I got 12th!

My double unders were the slowest part because I kept tripping, and perhaps my second row was a little less powerful, but overall I was really pumped about my pace.  Sunalta’s Carrie F. just barely beat me in my heat!

I was so relieved to be done competing for the weekend, and have the rest of the day to enjoy. I definitely enjoyed the complimentary chiro and massage treatments!  I also loved sitting with the rest of the Currie Barracks/Sunalta athletes and cheering everyone on!

The organizers were short judges again, so Dana stepped up to the plate and judged all day – even the finals! He was such a trooper!  It was safe to say we were both 110% exhausted when we headed home after on Sunday!

Today I am completely tired, exhausted, and sore, but I’m also really happy with how the weekend played out. I got 17th overall!  Not an amazing score perhaps, but for me a sign of my ongoing learning and progress with crossfit, and I’m damn proud of 17th.  Competing is incredibly hard, stressful, and emotional for me, but I never regret signing up because I love finding my limits and then surpassing them.

Thanks Dana (and Haley and Meg!!) for cheering me on and supporting me this weekend! And thank you to Coaches Eric and Christi for hosting the competition, and a big thank you to all the volunteers and judges.  Another great competition is in the books!