Athlete Journal: Michael Winchester, Entry 19 – 7/22/12

This past weekend Michael and Team CrossFit Central competed at the CrossFit Games – is Michael’s CF Games dream done now? Or is he even more determined for next year?

Read our other CrossFit Athlete Journals:

Travis Holley and Ingrid Kantola

Michael Winchester – Athlete Journal 7/22/12

(Read Michael’s Bio here)

This past weekend, Team CrossFit Central competed in the 2012 CrossFit Games. Our only goal going in was simple: win. While we did not win, we did have the experience of a lifetime. We learned a lot of tough but invaluable lessons that we will carry with us into our training for the 2013 Games, and we met a lot of outstanding athletes, people, and teams who enriched our experience. Guess what else: We had FUN!

We finished our season and the Games in a respectable thirteenth place. To us, this was not where we wanted to finish. We are a group of high expectations: in the sport of fitness, in our business, and in our lives. Second place is not an option. On the one side, we were severely disappointed to have underperformed on several workouts that would have given us a top six spot and a place in the finals on Sunday. With that being said, WE FINISHED THIRTEENTH IN THE WORLD!

So many times, we emphasize the negative – our failures, without ever really stopping to acknowledge our accomplishments – our greatness. To be among the top twenty teams in the world is no small achievement, and one we are truly grateful for.

I cannot speak highly enough of how the whole event ran! I have been behind the scenes of both small and large CrossFit events – organizing, directing, programming, and executing. I can honestly say this was without a doubt one of the most well-run, organized, and exciting events I have ever been a apart of. From the first moment we sat foot in the Marriott Hotel for check-in and registration, we were treated like professional athletes. The Reebok gear, the hotel workout area, the food and drink provided, the personnel on hand: all top-notch and world-class.

This year we were provided with an athlete village on the soccer field at the Home Depot Center. This small (but not “small”) detail took the athlete experience to a level eleven out of ten. We were able to retreat away from the sun, into an air conditioned base where we could rest, recover, and roll out without having to deal with the elements or spectators. Next door we had physical therapists on hand to aid us in mobilization, aching muscles, or acute range of motion issues. There was a warm-up area outside which once again provided the finishing touch for an athlete. We could warm up at our leisure and not have to worry about scarcity of equipment or space. Well-played HQ!

As far as the events themselves…they were hard. I will admit they were not as hard as the 3-4 hour training sessions programmed for us by Rudy Nielsen, but they were hard in another way. Rule one when competing in the CrossFit Games is: never assume anything. We showed up to the HDC expecting things to be a certain way. We had planned and even practiced our workouts in a certain way, with certain rep schemes and with particular equipment.

michael winchester, crossfit, crossfit games, crossfit centralLittle did we know that only an hour before several of our workouts, the equipment and/or rules would be “updated” to include fat bars (instead of barbells), a new and before unseen/unused version of a yoke, courtesy of Rogue, and a different assortment of plates to be used on the floor than what we had anticipated.

This threw a bit of a wrench into our plans, but we LOVED IT! This is CrossFit – the unknown and unknowable, and it only made the events more exciting (if not more difficult) for us. Improvisation became a key tool for teams, and communication and execution were now even more important.

I thought that by reaching the Games and achieving a four-year-old goal year that it would satisfy or quench my competitive desire in the sport. I love CrossFit the sport and the training program, and I now realize that reaching the Games and standing on the floor of the HDC has only lit a fire under me more intense than ever! Like with some drug, I am addicted – I need for our team to get back to that stage and now I know what it takes not only to get there, but to succeed at the highest level of our sport.

Team Central made several costly mistakes at the Games this year – assumptions about workouts, miscommunication during workouts, and not executing to the best of our abilities, but for a team with so much potential, not only will we be back next year, but we will be standing on the podium. I say this with confidence because I know we have such a deep and talented pool of athletes at Central, all of us hungry and ready to show the world what we can do!

A special thanks to Breaking Muscle for sponsoring Team Central and helping us get to the Games! Our dream could not have come true without you!

Until next year, train hard.

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