Every Experience Is a Teacher (Athlete Journal 20)

Last weekend I competed in my first big individual CrossFit competition, and it was an incredible experience.

“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Every experience, no matter what it is, has something to teach us. This past weekend I competed in my first big individual CrossFit competition, the SteelFit Championships, and it was an incredible experience for me on many levels.

A brief explanation – the SteelFit Championships are the product of a series of what they call the “Core Four” qualifying competitions. Athletes compete at the qualifiers, and then the top-placing athletes move on to the finals, which are held on the New Jersey beach at the end of June. The competition I did this past weekend was a qualifying competition.

And I’m proud to say that I not only made it to finals, but I also set a personal record in my jerk and finished first in the third of four WODs that day. Those were the high points. But despite the competition being peppered with those incredible highs, there were also some pretty deep lows.

It’s never an easy thing having your physical weaknesses exposed and vulnerable in the heat of competition. Gutting through thrusters at a snail’s pace while other athletes blew through them made me feel like I had wasted an entry fee and a two-plus hour haul to New Jersey. And failing on my back jerk during the bear complex strength ladder, when I had seen women ten-plus years older than me lift that weight, made me question myself and my abilities as an athlete.

As always, I draw similarities between aesthetic and performance-based competition. Much like putting your physique on the line for a figure show, competing in CrossFit is about putting your fitness on the line. And regardless of which you’re doing, it’s certainly a very raw, vulnerable, and scary position to be in.

But here’s the one thing I took away from the combined highs and lows of this experience: I DID IT. I proved myself capable. I took on a challenge that was far past my comfort zone and I conquered it. I struggled, sure, but I also dominated. I failed miserably at points, but I also succeeded. And I placed third. I qualified. I will be going to the finals in June, and out of the hundreds of athletes who competed in the qualifiers, that makes me feel honored and privileged.

No, I didn’t win my division, but that’s okay. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn. Winning is wonderful, but it doesn’t foster self-improvement. Learning, however, does. I’ve had time to both celebrate the victories of Saturday and reflect on the struggles that kept me from placing higher. I know what I need to do differently, I know how I can be better, and I am aware of the weaknesses in my fitness that I need to improve.

Every experience is a teacher. And you can’t learn if you play it safe and hang out where you’re comfortable all the time. I learned a lot from this past weekend. I look forward to putting my fitness to the test at the end of June and learning from that experience as well.

I tapered down the week prior to the competition, reducing all of my weights to no more than 65% and keeping all of my aerobic work at 80%. I also didn’t do any 100% effort metcon work, and everything I did was paced with rest breaks.

Training Log

5:30am Training Session

Ran 1600m at about 80% (kind of went off of how I felt). Rested exact time it took me to complete the 1600m, then ran a 1200m at that same pace. Rested exact time it took me to complete the 1200m. Did the same pace/rest ratio with an 800m and a 400m.

P.M. Training Session


3x1000m row – again, easy pace. Nothing too strenuous. Rested between intervals until I felt ready to go again.


Lats and traps were in HELL today. I spent most of my time attempting to get those two issues ironed out.


  • 1 Snatch + 1 Hang Snatch EMOM x15

@ 50% for five sets, @55% for five sets, @ 60-65% for five sets

  • 1 Clean + 1 Hang Clean EMOM x15

@ 50% for five sets, @55% for five sets, @ 60-65% for five sets

  • Jerk from rack EMOM 6×2 @ 55-60%


Back Squat 6×2 @ 55%


5 Rounds, paced

  • 10x Pistols
  • 10x Wall Ball
  • 10x KB Swings
  • 10x Burpees

60 seconds rest between rounds


3 rounds, not for time:

  • Wall Walk/Climb 4-6x
  • Skin The Cat 4-6x
  • Strict TTB 10-15x
  • 3×10 Pendlay Row

EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the athlete journal of Allison Moyer. Allison is a nationally ranked NPC Figure Athlete, nationally and internationally published fitness model, an avid CrossFit athlete, BSN, C.P.T, C.S.N, C.N.W.C, and owner ofAlli Fitness Systems and Predator Diet. Read all about Allison’s unique approach to training and diet every other week.