"My first reaction was, 'Uh oh.' Then I began reading the workouts and started to get really excited," Humphrey says. 'They all look fun (in a sick sort of way)."
The 100-pound dumbbell sat in the corner of Play it Again Sports, a new and used sporting goods store, for years. Then one afternoon in mid-April, people started calling the store, desperate to get their hands on the weight.
The 2012 CrossFit Games Regional workouts were announced on Wednesday, April 18. Once the shock wore off, many competitors zeroed in on Event 2, the combination of one-arm 100-pound (70 pounds for the women) dumbbell snatches and sprints. Dumbbells are not a staple in most CrossFit gyms, and it turns out they aren’t that easy to find.
Tommy Pease, 10th in the Southern California Region after the Open, was the guy who first called Play it Again Sports in Vista, Calif. He was looking for a rubber dumbbell, and they only had a metal one, so he said he’d call them back.
“When I called back to Play It Again Sports, they said, ‘Another dude just called!’ He beat me to it. So I found two 95-pound dumbbells and I’m taping 2.5-pound weights to the side,” Pease says.
Pease, who competed on the CrossFit 760 team at the Southern California Regional last year, didn’t realize the Regional workouts were being released on April 18. He was about to go to bed that night when a friend texted him, saying, “The WODs are fucking amazing!”
Pease follows the Outlaw CrossFit programming, which has been incorporating many elements of the Regional workouts. Still, Pease wanted to attempt to do the 100 lb. dumbbell snatch. “I was intimidated the first time,” Pease says. “My wife said, ‘Just go for it.’ I did a WOD with it and it felt good.”
A New Attitude
Shanon Humphrey will never forget the 2011 Southern California Regional. She injured herself so badly in the 100s event that she spent two nights at Long Beach Memorial Hospital, with what doctors think was an injury to her brachial plexus, the nerves that feed the arms.
“My arms were paralyzed from the shoulders down for a few weeks with limited movement and feeling,” Humphrey says. “Eventually, after a couple months, full feeling and movement came back in my arms and I was able to start doing WODs again.”
Humphrey has been building her strength since then and placed 19th in the Southern California Region after the Open.
She was at her affiliate, CrossFit Temporary Insanity, teaching the 4:45 PM class when the Regional workouts came out. Her husband, who is also her coach, came in with his iPad. “He just put it in front of my face with a huge smile. My first reaction was, ‘Uh oh.’ Then I began reading the workouts and started to get really excited, and nervous. I instantly picked out my weaker movements and was getting panicky and my husband just rolled his eyes at me.”
Humphrey is nervous about the handstand push-ups because of her injury. She has not been able to practice stringing together muscle-ups, because if she taxes her shoulders too much she experiences a shooting pain down her arms and spine. The mother of three young boys, Humphrey has taken a more relaxed approach to training this year. She and her husband opened their affiliate in August, and the stress of running the business has meant less training volume.
“My goal is to not get injured and go out there and have fun. I put too much pressure on myself last year and made it to where I wasn't having as much fun as I should have been,” Humphrey says.
She is looking forward to the events with heavier weights. “They all look fun (in a sick sort of way) but the chipper at the end starts with my favorite lift, a heavy deadlift, not to mention it is the last WOD,” she says.
Time to Get Stronger
Taylor Yaffee was at home when the Regional workouts were announced. He got a call from Rich Truong, his coach at CrossFit South County. “He was going crazy describing the WODs to me,” Yaffee says. “I couldn't believe him when he told me what they were, so I rushed over to the gym and stared at the computer screen for about 15 minutes. All I could think was, ‘heavy’.”
This year is the first time 19-year-old Taylor Yaffee will be competing as an individual at Regionals. He competed last year on the CrossFit South County team after a 109th place finish in the region following the 2011 Open. This year, Yaffee placed 15th in the Southern California Region, a huge leap in a more competitive field.
Yaffee has not done any of the Regional events as written yet, but he has tried variations of many of them. “Being only 19 years old, there are definitely some advantages and disadvantages,” Yaffee says. “The 225-lb. hang cleans, snatch ladder, and 345-lb. deadlifts are going to be difficult. I can definitely do all of these movements, but I can't move with the same efficiency that the top guys can. But my coach always tells me that my advantage is time. I have lots of time to get better and stronger.”
When Jon Pera, 3rd in the Southern California Region after the Open, saw the workouts, he got really excited. “I think Diane is a great way to start. But then I saw 100-pound dumbbell snatches … and I thought, OK, I got my work cut out for me,” he says.
Pera has been training to earn a spot at the CrossFit Games all year. He started off with what he calls an “off-season”, which focused on strength training. He then combined strength training and Olympic lifting, focusing on technique. Two months before the Open, Pera began integrating heavy met-cons, all with the goal of peaking during the Regionals.
Unlike many of the athletes who are holding off on doing the exact Regional workouts, Pera has tried out a few of them. “At this point I am dialing in [on] efficiency in the movements, and getting more and more comfortable every day with the workouts,” Pera says.
Pera is most looking forward to the first event. “I think Diane is going to be a shootout,” he says. “People are going to be moving so fast during that workout, it's going to be fun.”
Sitting in 3rd place going into Regionals, Pera is an athlete to watch. “My goal is 1st place,” Pera says. “I am going to give it everything I can!”
The Southern California (SoCal) Regional is May 11-13th at the Pomona Fairplex. Find more details here.