Last year, I watched my best friend compete in her first Festivus Games and I thought to myself, “I want to do that.”  Because of her, and shortly after Festivus, I joined Cross Fit Encino/Lift Off Strength. I was hooked. At the beginning of 2018 I saw a posting for Festivus 2018 and I knew I wanted to compete.  I talked with the coaches and then agreed that I should go for Intermediate instead of starting at Novice.  For the next few months, I was looking over the workouts and increasing weights to build up to the games.   A few months later, lots of hours at the gym, a two week break to be a part of my Niece’s birth, and then a week and a half of crunch time and the games were upon us.   The morning came and I was stoked, nervous as hell, but ready to get it started.  There were four of us competing with LOS and I was so happy to have my gym family there for the support.  The announcers explained the rules, competitors were standing around warming up, eating breakfast, and getting amped up.  Unlike some, I didn’t practice a full run through as that’s not my style and because I didn’t want to feel like I did better in practice then on performance day.  WOD 1 was about to go down.  All my team mates, coaches, and boyfriend were around saying “you got this!!”  I took my lane, had a gut check, a few deep breaths, and 3,2,1… GO!  The bar was up and off I went.  The weight was challenging and then I went for my first wall walk and knew as soon as I was done, I was going to puke!  The 6 mins was up and about 5 mins later I puked.  All kinds of thoughts were going through my head…  that was harder than I thought, I wonder how I did, I should have done better, and so on.    Time to shake it off and get ready for the next one. Time to cheer on the rest of the group and get the energy back up.  Not sure at exactly what point but the results went up for round one and sure enough I was on the bottom.   I was pissed and had a f*** it moment.  A few motivating words and a reality check and is was time for the next WOD.  I was reminded of what I said when I signed up, “My goal is to make it to the final 5 to do the Unknown WOD.”     WOD 2 count down and off I went.  This took every part of the body into account and I was on a mission to do better.  It was hard, it was long, and when I finished I was spent but so happy.   Floater WOD was up next.  I thought in my head rowing and jump rope I got this.  I had my best friend and my coach in my ear keep it at 1:40 if you can.  1 minute done and then it’s time for the jump rope.  I was so frustrated cause I kept messing up.  How could this be so easy normally but I was struggling so much.  2 minutes done and that one is over.  I was reminded after that my body is beat and while it’s simple it’s still a challenge when you’ve already done so much. WOD 3 this was it!  The final chance to give it all I had to get to the finals round.  The scores hadn’t been posted again, so no one knew where they stood.  It was time to leave it all on the floor.  I had a long break, ate some food, drank some fluids, laughed, cheered on my team, and now it was time.  The time goes and it was time to do Thrusters like my life depended on it.  4 rounds, I maxed out every single rep and left it all out there.  After it was done I felt good, I was happy with my performance and now it was all up to the judges.   It was time to announce the semi-finalists, of course my division was last. 4 names were called and I was waiting on the 5th. Butterflies were in my stomach, and then I heard my name.  What!?!?!? I was so happy I had accomplished my goal and now I had a chance to medal; but whether or not I did I was happy.  WOD 4 – the final WOD.  My boyfriend asked are you tired? “Yes” I said. He replied “no, you’re not! You aren’t finished yet! When your done, then you can be tired”.  I was nervous for this one.  I hadn’t used these weights in this scale before, but it didn’t matter.  The time starts and the KB swings were a b**ch! I went to the Wall Balls and could feel everything in my back.  I knew that I wasn’t going to win this one, but I wasn’t giving up.  And then it happens 3,2,1, and time! I was finished! This had been one of the most challenging things that I had done in my life and it was over.  So many thoughts went through my head as I lie there exhausted and sweaty on the floor.  I had a whole new mind set on what I needed to focus on to do better next time.  I had put in a lot of work but now I needed to put in more.  I had an overwhelming amount of support from everyone and was so grateful to have them in my corner.  I got the biggest hug from Nicole and she told me how proud she was and it made me feel great.  My coaches applauded me for my hard work and I couldn’t have done it without them.   The time came for the awards, and as I thought ,I didn’t medal but 2 of my teammates did and they so very much deserved it.  I was so happy to be a part of the event and watch everyone push themselves to the max.  It such a wonderful feeling to be around lots of people that eat like you, train like you, live like you, and push hard like you.  I can’t wait for the next event!! Michelle McClean