My First Rodeo

By Sarah Stejskal


I love CrossFit. Most people might think I’m a little nuts with

how much I like to work out and make it hurt. But I like to

think of every workout as an opportunity to grow and learn

something new about yourself.

Being super competitive my whole life, the CrossFit scene made

sense to me. From class WODS, to a couple small local team

competitions and online qualifiers, it was always fun to me to

see how I stack up against other athletes, but to be completely

honest, the thought of an individual competition scared the crap

out of me. So, when Jason approached me and recommended I sign

up for the Dakota Games, I really wasn’t too gung-ho about the

whole idea.


Come online qualifier time, it was just like any other one i’ve

done. They give you few workouts to complete over a couple weeks

and submit your scores. Top 20 girls made it into the

competition. I always get nervous whether it be a class WOD or

online qualifier, because I always want to do my absolute best.

Well, fast forward to the end where I took 9th overall! I was

pleased with my overall performance, even placing 2nd in one of

the events!


After qualifying, I knew I had some work to do in the couple

months I had before the competition. Coach Jason started

programming toward my weaknesses, and even several sessions a

day. More days than not I thought, “Why am I doing this? I hate

this. This sucks. Poor me!” But I knew if I wanted to podium

(top 3), I had to keep grinding, which even included running my

first 5K.


The competition workouts had been released so I could start

practicing them. The only event that I was semi excited about

was the last one, which had muscle ups in them which I LOVE! I

tried almost all of them out and ended up getting very

frustrated not being able to make the time caps and lift the

heavy weights. With Panic starting to setting in, the voices

“Why am I doing this? I’m going to get last place!” kept popping

in and out of my head. I felt like I had been getting fitter,

but still lacked a lot of confidence with the events.


Week of competition, my body felt horrible from me stressing

myself out thinking of nothing but the competition. I didn’t

want to let anyone down. Playing just about every different

situation in my head for every event, it was out of my hands at

this point. The sweat, tears, hours of training, and limiting my

doughnut intake had all been put in.


Words can’t express how nervous I was, but my facial expressions

could. I looked ill the whole car ride up, throughout briefing,

and I’m sure even when I was sleeping.


With time getting closer to my first event, I had to start

warming up in the athlete area. I became even MORE nervous

(which I didn’t think was possible) watching all the girls

get warmed up, looking confident. Being “in the zone,” I

don’t remember a whole lot after I stepped on the

competition floor. My focus was off everyone else and all I

focused on was each lift. I knew I wasn’t going to win that

event (being it was a heavy lifters workout), but my goal

was to be in the top 10 of each event. I reached my goal

and took 8th in the event. I was pleased but I knew I

had some damage control to do.


My nerves had somewhat settled and was ready for event 2.

Having double kettle bells, handstands walks, AND assault

bike, I was not looking forward to this one. Jason gave me

some advice beforehand on how to start out the workout, and

within 10 seconds of the start, I realized I had come out

too hot. Panic struck for a second, but I tried to maintain

and not fall on the face doing handstands walks and was a

success. I did way better than when I had practiced it.

Surprising myself, I took 4th in that event, bumping myself

into the 5th spot on the leaderboard.


Being the last event on Day 1, I knew I had to give it my

all. Normally I like chippers…but this one was not my

favorite. Practicing the workout, I didn’t get all the way

through. After watching the first heat of women go, I was

worried being that some had finished the whole workout in

the time-cap. I started the workout at a decent pace and

nearing the end, two girls were ahead of me on the rower. I

was an arm lengths away from the girl next to me (which was

the girl who ended up in second overall) and I could see

myself catching up to her on the rower. 15 calories left, I

had to sell my soul, and I did just that! I ended up

passing her up and taking second overall on the workout,

bumping me up to 3rd overall to end Day 1!


EVENT 4 & 5:

Waking up even more nervous than I was for the first day,

today was the day that would reveal what place I took.

There were two events I was really excited about! However,

they were both the later part to a two-part workout. Per

usual, I came out quicker than I planned on event 4, but

found myself taking 3rd. Now, was my event. The kind of

workout where you get to splash around in the pain cave. It

wasn’t a long event, so I knew I had to go for it. It hurt

like hell and I loved every second. I found myself getting

my first, 1st place finish! Boy, did it feel good! Bumping

me up to 2nd place, I gained some slight confidence and

thirsty for another first place finish.

Event 6 & 7:

“How bad can I make this hurt,” was the only thought I had

going into the final two events. I didn’t think I had a

shot at getting first, but I wanted a podium position so I

knew I had to perform to maintain my lead. The kicker…I had

never practiced event 6, and it was a good thing because it

hurt…really, really bad. I ended up winning my heat and

taking 2nd in the event overall. Not being able to feel my

forearms, I had 2 minutes to collect myself. With the

biggest surge of adrenaline i’ve ever felt overcome my

body, I felt ready to destroy the final event. 3…2…1…GO!

I went for it. I made it hurt as much as I possibly could

and it was worth it! I was the only one to make it through

the finish line in the time cap to win another 1st place

finish to pass up the girl in first place by 1 point. The

emotions that went through my head were unexplainable. My

training all paid off. I couldn’t believe it!


Reaching the podium for my first individual competition was a

dream, and I’m still shocked I was able to pull it off. The

experience was incredible and I learned a lot about myself. I

found new limits I didn’t know were reachable. If you want

something bad enough, you’ll do what you need to get there. I

couldn’t have, however, gotten there without the support of the

community and Coach Massie! The support you all provide is

incredible. All the encouragement throughout the competition was

amazing and what drove me to do the best I could.

I encourage you all to find something that seems a little too

far out of reach, and go for it. You may learn more about

yourself than you thought you could and even wind up with a

first place finish at the end! Now, back to the drawing board

and prepare for whatever may come next…after a few doughnuts

that is!