Judging and More Respect for Dave Castro

As mentioned in my post the other day judging at Regionals, I really felt that the head judges (Dave Osorio, EC Synkowski, Eric O’Conner, Todd Widman, Keith Wittenstein, and Jesse Cook) had our backs the entire time.  If there were any issues at all, they were right there, supporting us and helping us in any way we could.  When you’re a judge, you kind of have to take all emotion out of what you’re doing and focus on good reps and bad reps (oh, and a decent amount of counting as well!)  Sometimes, things get difficult for the athletes and they react in all sorts of manners.  They are out there, giving it everything they can and sometimes hearing and seeing a “No rep” can be devastating.  I understand things get emotional and don’t take things personally.

Having said this, this dude (Ryan Fisher), in the video below, was totally bouncing some of his deadlifts and from the video, deserved every no rep he got.  When the judge no repped him, he handled it like an ass, even going so far as to tell his judge “I will fucking kill you.”  He then ignored his judge and wouldn’t sign his sheet (even though he wasn’t appealing).  One of the head judges had to come over and force him to do so and had to tell him to shake his judges hand.  The athletes were clearly told that no bouncing of the deadlifts were allowed and if they did, they would get no repped.  They were also told that if there was any bending of the arms in the deadlift, they would be no repped. So, Ryan Fisher knew the standards and didn’t achieve them. I get that athletes get upset during workouts and like I’ve said before, I’ve judged people and had them be less than nice to me after the workout. Not a big deal. But when an athlete actually threatens the life of a judge. I think that’s just too far.

Okay, you’ve seen the video above, and now look at Dave Castro’s response in the athlete briefing following.  This just reinforces why I felt supported all weekend during the North East Regionals.  I love this. The only thing I’m a bit conflicted about is whether or not he should have DQ’d him from the competition, as it was a clear violation of the rules.

2013 Crossfit North East Regionals Judging

I took a couple of days off before judging at the Regionals.  My shoulder was bugging and I just wanted to rest a bit before what I knew would be a physically taxing weekend.  Had the judging briefing and couldn’t have asked for a better head coach staff.  I think that it’s super important to have a supportive head judging staff to make sure that they have your back should ANYTHING go wrong.  It was EC Synkowski, Jesse Cook (he was the cat herder), Eric O’Conner, and Todd Widman.  I love them all and hope to do more events with them.

What a great weekend!  On Friday and Saturday, I was assigned to group A, lane 7.  I started the day judging two of the Team Jackie heats and one of the men’s heats for Jackie.  You can see a full list of all the team and individual workouts here if you want full explanations of what they were.  Team Jackie was a good way to kick off judging.  It’s a fairly easy one to judge and the workout was really straightforward.  1000 meter row, 50 thrusters, 30 pull-ups.  I judged two team heats.  The first team I judged finished right under the time cap and the second team, the female member struggled a ton on the thrusters and pull-ups and didn’t end up finishing her portion of the workout until about 13:30 (time cap was 15 minutes).  The male only got a portion of the row in before they called time.  I think that’s the hardest part about judging these major events.  You have to remain without emotion and just be a judge, holding the athletes up to standards – blocking everything out.  I really wanted to cheer her on and give her some coaching / encouragement … but you just can’t.  I was super relieved she fought through and finished the workout.  The next heat I got to judge was the male individual Jackie and I got Austin Malleolo.  He is an amazing athlete.  He did Jackie in a smoking 5:22 by doing his thrusters and his pull-ups unbroken.  He’s serious business during the workout, but the consummate athlete – always cheering his other heat mates on after he’s done and with a smile on his face.

Spent the afternoon judging events two and three for the female individuals and the teams.  Overhead squats and burpee muscle-ups.  The OHS had a lot of no reps on depth, but the weight the women were putting up was awe-inspiring.  The burpee muscle-ups were a bit more of a struggle for the women – but I got to judge one group where one of the women got her first two muscle-ups ever.  Love what competition brings out in people.

The next day, I had some stomach issues in the morning and didn’t feel it would be good for anyone if I was out on the floor for a 25 minute chipper.  I stood on the sidelines and watched people give it everything they could.  It was a nasty looking workout for both the teams and the individuals.  By the afternoon, I was feeling a ton better and managed to judge event 5.  Fast workout, fun to judge.  Tricky with the deadlifts and the box jumps.  All about opening up the hips, standing up fully on both accounts.  Since it’s so quick, you have to be right on top of the athletes.  I judged Amanda Goodman in her heat and she got 2nd place by 1 second.  Her problem was that she faltered on a box jump and that cost her the heat.

The third day was a crazy workout day.  I judged the team and women for event 6.  As a judge, we had to count the double unders and then roll as quick as we could under the partition before the athletes came coming our way.  The team workout was a ton of stuff to keep track of and lots of concentration required, possibly the hardest event I’ve judged but also the most fun!  The women’s heat was a bit easier to judge, and you can see a bit of me in this video below (of the heat).  I’m in lane 8, judging Stacey Kroon.

Went into the final workout of the day, rope climbs and cleans.  Judged different parts of this one, ropes, cleans, etc.  Then, the finals.  I got the opportunity to judge the finals of the Regionals for the team, men and women.  I was in lane 8,  judging the rope climbs.  The rope climbs are crazy because they go flying everywhere when the athletes are climbing them.  You have to watch your lane but also the lanes beside you to not get whipped by a rope.

What an experience.  Exhausting, a lot of hard work for a t-shirt, but for some reason, I love it and hope to go back next year.

Here are some pictures from the weekend:

Getting ready for Jackie!

Getting ready for Jackie!

Craic and Florian boys

Craic and Florian boys

Head Judge, the amazing Eric Widman

Head Judge, the amazing Eric Widman

#gunsandbeer #lifeasrx

#gunsandbeer #lifeasrx

Amanda Goodman, event 5 © CrossFit, Inc. 2013

Amanda Goodman, event 5 © CrossFit, Inc. 2013

Judges ready for ladies event 6 © CrossFit, Inc. 2013

Judges ready for ladies event 6 © CrossFit, Inc. 2013

Event 5 © CrossFit, Inc. 2013

Event 5 © CrossFit, Inc. 2013

Eric O'Conner, floor judge boss man

Eric O’Conner, floor judge boss man

All the weekend's winners!

All the weekend’s winners!

Had a couple of breaks throughout the days and I spent way too much money shopping in vendor village.  The LifeasRx tent turned into the Craic tent because Jarrod and company were all working there…and it’s just a fun place to be.  Love my new LifeasRx hat and headbands.


Judging and Some Snatch Work

So this video I’m about to post has nothing to do with Crossfit, but it’s really embarrassing for this dog and I felt compelled to share:

Anyway, some good news to share. As mentioned in my previous posts, I’ve been judging like a crazy woman at Craic to get credit and standing in order to judge at the Northeast Regionals  this year.  I knew I would be stoked if I actually got selected to judge, but also I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed if I didn’t get in this year – as I went to the Regionals last year and it was blast to just watch the competition and cheer people on (and that would afford me more free time and flexibility over the weekend).  But I got the email yesterday and I was accepted as a judge at the Northeast Regionals!  I’m super excited and nervous all at the same time.  While I take judging seriously all the time, this is on such a larger stage!  I’ll be sure to blog about my experience when they come around (in May).

Today went in for the workout and Glen was coaching.  Sometimes when I’m in a class, one of the coaches will say the littlest thing and it makes things just click!  This morning before the workout, we did some snatch skill work.  I opted to use the PVC pipe since snatches are a little tricky for me and Glen took us through.  We were working on the hang power snatch and instead of the usual cues like “Bend your knees” Glen said “Slide your knees forward” and something just clicked about my initial dip before the lift.  Loved that cue.

After the skill work, we had 20 minutes to get to a heavy 3 reps of hang power snatch.  I opted to do hang power cleans instead to not aggravate my shoulder.  I managed to get to 105# but when I went to 110#, I failed twice on the third rep.  Blargh.  Frustrating.  Glen said my first two reps looked good, I guess I just didn’t have it in me for the third.  Oh well, another day!

Then we did 5 rounds for time of (with my revisions):

  • 5 deadlifts with snatch grip clean grip
  • 7 hang power snatch cleans
  • 9 burpees

Rx weight was 55#.  Since I was doing hang power cleans, I did 65#. The first set was a breeze, I was able to do everything (yes, including the burpees!) unbroken.   Then second set the deads and the cleans were unbroken but I had to break up the burpees.  The third round is when things started going off the rails and I had to break up the cleans and the burpees.  The fourth round was a mess, the burpees were really slow and it took me a little too long to start that fifth round.  I had to break up the cleans into 4 and 3, but I managed to do all the burpees unbroken for the last set.  Final time was 8:11.


Judging and a Firehouse

This weekend I was really focused on getting some judging sessions in.  I missed last week (only got to judge Ann) due to being in Dallas.  I basically judged all weekend.  A lot of people PR’d this workout and I was really happy with them.  13.3 is an easy workout to get no repped on, and I’m pretty sure that every athlete that did 13.3 got no repped at least once.  Some people had trouble getting to depth, but the biggest problem for most was hitting the target properly.  I judged this one guy, Dave twice this weekend.  He came in Friday and got the same exact score he got last year on 12.4. He had a loose plan, but just couldn’t get that muscle up.  I was judging some people at Craic today and in walks Dave, determined to get at least one muscle up.  On Friday, he was just too gassed to get one.   Today was different.  He had a concrete plan. 10 wall balls every 30 seconds.  He pretty much stuck to it and his pacing was great.  Finished the double unders and had a little over two minutes to do the muscle-ups.  Man, was he determined.  He failed the first one and I was a bit worried for him.  But then he got up!  It was awesome.  Everyone was so pumped for him.  Then he got a 2nd one!  Just proof what good planning can do for you going into a workout.

This morning, I got to Craic early to judge Stacy.  After I judged her, I went home and helped Niko assemble the latest addition to our Lego Modular City Set that he and I are working on.  The series started in 2007 and they come out with a new building once per year.  We have the Grand Emporium, Pet Shop/Apartment, and now the Fire Brigade complete.  We have the Town Hall and the Movie Theater to go.  We don’t have the earlier ones because we were a little late to the game and they go for like thousands of dollars on eBay.  We’re addicted to the series…but not that addicted! Later that morning, I went back into Craic to get some more judging in and got to judge 3-4 people.  It was a great weekend overall.  Niko and I went to a nice dinner for his birthday.

Have to go and finish packing.  Off to San Francisco tomorrow (let’s hope I don’t get sick!)

Lego Town...so far!

Lego Town…so far!

Garage Games – New England Finals – Judging

Yesterday, I got to judge at another Garage Games event called the New England Finals at Crossfit Southie.  I’m really loving judging, and as I’ve said before, it really allows me to participate in the competition without competing.  This time, there were two other Craic heads judging with me – Karen and Katie:

The three workouts that required judging yesterday were:

Queezy baby

8 minute amrap
6 burpee up and over the box
7 pull-ups- c2b for guys

Hulk Salad

8 minutes to establish max weight without removing hands from the bar:
2 Power Cleans
2 Front Squats
2 Shoulder to Overhead

Loop, Swoop, Pull

In 11 minutes
Run 1 mile
then in the remaining time AMRAP squat snatches 

I didn’t get to judge the Hulk Salad workout, I spent the entire morning judging Queezy Baby and then all the heats for the women for Loop, Swoop, Pull.  The burpee box jumps looked awful.  The athlete had to do a burpee (chest to the ground), and then jump over the box.  They could jump up and over onto the box or jump over it completely.  I saw a mixed bag of strategy, but I had two women that CRUSHED this workout.  One did 9+12 and the other did 10+3 which were, I believe, the top scores.  A couple people fell while doing the box portion of it and fell on me.  They just got up and kept on going….LOVED IT. I had to no-rep a bunch of people on their pull-ups.  For the men it was chest to bar (their chest had to make contact with the bar) and for the ladies they had to get their chins above the bar.  Other than that, it was really straightforward and a fun one to judge.  As I’ve mentioned previously about judging, it’s great to go and just watch the athletes go about their different strategies and form, you basically become a better athlete by just watching them go.  

In the afternoon, I judged Loop, Swoop, Pull.  This looked terrible.  It would take me almost the entire 11 minutes just to do the mile.  I think that the highest score was 31 squat snatches.  Each athlete had to stay within the running lane and their own workout lane or they got a three burpee penalty on the spot.  One of my athletes in the workout was running down the correct lane, and was gunning back to her spot and a judge / organizer walked right in front of her, forcing her in another person’s workout space. I made a judgement call right there not to penalize her, as it wasn’t her fault that someone forced her into the other box.  That’s the only controversial thing that happened yesterday.

The athletes were all super nice and respectful of the judges.  I even had a couple of people that I had judged at Firebreather that recognized me. Wish I could judge for the 2nd day, but I’m going to a wedding this afternoon for two very awesome people…

I think that the Garage Games season in New England has come to an end and people will spend the winter preparing for the 2013 Games Open.  Can’t wait for next year!

Judging at the Master’s Throwdown

Saturday I judged at the Master’s Throwdown at Crossfit New England.  I was a lot more confident going in from a judging perspective because of my time at Firebreather and also at the Garage Games accreditation.  Words can’t describe how inspiring it to be at the Masters.  The oldest competitors were around 64 years old (and coincidentally, they are also Craic members!) Susan (see below) even had her AARP bag with her at the competition.  

I got a lot of great feedback from the athletes that I judged.  They said that I did a great job, no reps were fair, clear and I counted and kept them on track.  I think I might be getting the hang of this judging thing.

Here are some shots from the Masters:

Johnny D (top left) got 2nd in his age group. Here’s his blog post about his time at the Masters. Neil (top right), the 64 year old from Craic cleaning some heavy weights.  Jay (bottom left) has only been Crossfitting for 3 months!  And the last pic is the calm before the storm (athlete / judge meeting).  I could go on for days about all the other amazing people from Craic that were there – but suffice it to say – everyone made me proud.  I’m so incredibly fortunate to be part of such an amazing group of people at Craic.

Here’s me judging the guy who beat Johnny D out for 1st place. (Photo courtesy of VBS Crossfit Photography)

And here’s one more of me judging (Photo courtesy of VBS Crossfit Photography)

Those wall balls were tough.  That’s where the most people got no-repped.  They either didn’t hit the target or didn’t get below depth at the bottom.  

Overall, great day.  Left feeling exhausted and motivated all at the same time.

Garage Games Judge Accreditation

Today I went to Crossfit Providence to get accredited as a Judge for The Garage Games.  Which means I’m an official judge who, if they ever do start paying judges, can get paid.  The Garage Games are trying to create a standard where all judges go through this so they can make sure that the athletes and competitions are fair and balanced.  The instructors were Jesse Cook and Jeff Fincher from New London Crossfit.

We didn’t learn how to judge every movement, as standards vary from competition to competition.  There was a little bit of a “lecture” period and then we did some role playing which included: how to greet an athlete, how to prep to them on expectations prior to the workout, where to stand to judge properly, how to no-rep them, how to count for them, how to be consistent and confident.  

Part of the roleplaying was doing a WoD, while another participant judged.  My partner’s name was Heather and she works out at Crossfit Newton.  She was a very seasoned Crossfitter and just participated in the Firebreather Festival in the Rx division.  Her workout was: 21-15-9 Deadlifts, Pistols (alternating legs) and 50 double unders after each couplet.  The deadlifts were easy enough to count.  Pistols too.  The double unders are also pretty standard, but they are going so fast it’s hard to breathe while you’re counting their reps!  She dominated the workout.  I had to no rep her once on the pistols because she didn’t come up at full control before she dropped her other foot.  Her time was 7:12 and it was a good way to role play.

My WoD was also 21-15-9, but we did power cleans and alternating 1-arm dumb bell snatches.  I did 65# for the cleans and 20# for the snatches.  I am really tired from the week of testing and it was my 8th day in a row working out so I went with 65#.  It’s one of those situations where I knew I should have gone for 75# (which was the “Rx” weight for the WoD) after I was done.  But I was being a baby and went lighter than I should have.  Oh well.  I got no-repped on one of my cleans because I didn’t bring my elbows forward.  My final time was 6:02.

I love having the opportunity to participate in the competitions without having to compete.  I get stressed out enough before a WoD at Craic starts, I can’t imagine competing!  Maybe some day. In the meantime, I’m thrilled to be able to contribute to the Crossfit community and  I hope that more people volunteer to judge, these competitions wouldn’t happen without us.