Last weekend I attended the SuperFit CrossFit Games in Richmond, VA. I was there for a couple reasons: 1) To cheer on all my friends who were competing, and 2) to get a feel for the games myself. I’ve signed up to compete in August and I want to know what I’m facing. If you missed my recap of the competition, click HERE. One part of my story that I purposely left out last week, might have been one of the most unbelievable events I’ve witnessed up close: the perseverance of a determined heart.
One of our contributors, Tori, just flat out defines all the definitions of STRONG. Physically, mentally, emotionally, you name it. Tori competed last weekend in the Rx division (non-scaled) with her brother, Grady, as her team partner. I’m always impressed when I watch Tori lift because she lifts heavier than most guys I know and she never seems to get tired. She can push herself beyond limits I’ve never seen, and she walks away with a humble attitude. Tori is a true inspiration.
Tori and Grady were about half way through their final CrossFit workout–the third and most grueling of the day–a 14-minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of the following exercises: 8 pullups, 10 overhead squats, and 12 burpees over the bar. The way a team competition works is that only one member of the team performs at a time, but the members can switch off at any point when one gets exhausted, tired, or flat out fatigued. So about halfway through the 14-minute workout, Grady–who was doing mostly pullups and burpees–found himself somewhere around the “really exhausted” mark and needed a few seconds of rest before picking up again. Tori knew–as well as any competitor–that no team could afford wasted seconds. She immediately jumped to the bar and started to kip. What she failed to do was the one thing that everyone else did at that particular moment: look up. Tori kipped her face right into a steel bar that ran across the pull-up rig. Blood flow was immediate, but Tori didn’t stop. While hanging from the bar she flipped herself around and started her pullups before even realizing she was seriously injured. When she dropped to the ground, the look on her face was of utter disgust–it was clear to every person in the room that she DID NOT want to stop the workout. Blood dripped on the floor, towels were pulled left and right, ice was sought after and thrown into half-empty chocolate protein zip lock bags, and yet Tori did not stop.
Grady finished the pullups, and Tori went right into overhead squats. She couldn’t stop the bleeding from her lip–the bar not only forced her upper teeth to sink through her lower lip but she also chipped a tooth–and while she squatted, her judge held towels to her face to put pressure on the wound. I give serious props to this judge: she made sure Tori finished her competition and did so safely. Who else holds blood-stained towels for strangers? It’s just one more thing that I love about CrossFit: the community shows its heart–no matter what!Tori burpeed with a paper towel in her mouth. She even got back on the pullup bar and kipped–chest to bar–every last pullup that was needed for her team. The crowd watched with awe, shock, and admiration. I watched with tears in my eyes.
When the 14-minute clock ran out, Tori walked away–a little pissed off that she lost time in the workout, a little worried about the hole in her lip, and a little giggly at her own mishap. “The judge and Grady told me to stop, but I didn’t know why!” she said when someone nearby asked her why no one stopped her from hitting the bar. Tori laughed the entire incident off, blamed herself and no one else, and got directions to the nearest hospital to get herself checked out.
I’ve never met someone so determined, yet so easy to laugh off something most would be in tears over, and walk away knowing she still worked her hardest. Overall, Tori ended up with three stitches and a chipped tooth. After a trip to the dentist to find out more information, Tori will know more of what to expect after her mouth starts to heal further. In the meantime, Tori hasn’t stopped working out, instructing others, and is working harder every day. When I told her that I was going to write a story about her experience, she just laughed and said, “Make sure you title it Always Look Up!”
Is there anything you’d like to ask Tori about her experience? Fire away in the comments section below!