The Fittest Games | Ryan Doonkeen – Amateur Division

The Fittest Games was an event I had been looking forward to, one, because it was in Austin and having moved back from Austin in 2012, I was still in love with the place, and two, because I knew that the Amateur Division was stacked with really good… amateurs. As described on The Fittest Games website, “Amateur does not mean ‘beginner’ nor does it mean ‘easy’. While the Amateur division will not be doing the same WODs as the Pros (nor will they be scored against the Pros) rest assured that the WODs will be challenging and you will need a high level of fitness across broad time and modal domains. Amateur does not mean scaled. NCAA Division I athletics is Amateur, but it is the highest level before turning Pro. College football players are ‘Elite Amateurs’.” This event was my Regionals.

Going into Day 1, I was ready. I was prepared and I knew which workouts I needed to do well in and which ones I needed to hang on and not get destroyed. After the first event, which was one that I knew I’d be in the middle of the pack after, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was in the top third of the competition. Next came “The Gas Mask V.2.” This workout was one that I needed a strong showing for. It was endurance based and that is one thing that I have. I finished 6th in that workout and pushed myself to 7th position after two workouts. The toes-2-bar workout was another one where I would need to hang on. After Day 1 was done with and we were back home trying to get warm, I was in 13th place with one more workout to determine the top 10 that would go on to the final workout.

Day two began with a version of “DT” using 130 pounds but with an axel bar. 5 Rounds: 9 Deadlifts, 6 Hang Cleans, 3 Shoulder to Overhead. I didn’t practice with an axel bar and figured what better time to figure it out than in the heat of the moment. I needed a really good score to move up 14 points and finish in the top 10. I finished the workout in 3:13, good enough to finish that workout in 12th place and was able to sneak into the Top after 4 workouts. I was more than excited. I worked hard in all the weeks leading up to the event and my goal was to make the final workout. As we walked into athlete briefing the morning of Day 1, I looked around and saw my competition. I would by lying if I said that I wasn’t worried about making the final workout after seeing whom I would be going up against.

Once they announced the final workout, a series of 3 workouts with cuts after each one, I knew what I could do. The first workout favored me a little, at least enough to where I could make it in front of the “Grandstands.” When this workout began, all I could hear was Brice yelling at me. I never heard the “stay coordinated” he was yelling or I would have lost it laughing, but I did hear him say, “You got this. Be Smart. Two still left on the wall balls.” I never heard anyone else except for him. I made the final 8 and was able to workout in front of the big crowd. That was my goal going into that workout. The next stage, 20 Ground to Overhead at 155 pounds was going to take me giving it my all. I did exactly that. I couldn’t tell you what was going through my head during this event and I couldn’t hear a soul. It took forever to get to 15 reps and then those last 5 were a blur. I struggled with rep 19 and heard Brice yell, “Split Jerk!” but I knew I couldn’t get my feet that far apart. The last rep, I took my time to make sure I got it and after I was done, I saw that there were still two boxes left to stand on. I jumped on it and was onto the final-final workout… Mini Fran. As I was on top of the box, my emotions went from being excited, to being relieved, to being worried. I had one more workout and I had absolutely nothing left.

I finished the last workout in 6th place but to know that I fought my way through that final workout and finished in the final heat, I was so happy and I could feel everyone in the stands being excited for me, with Chad, Jared and Brice being on top of that list. I have completed 5 marathons and an Ironman and this was by far the most exciting moment out of my athletic achievements. I was known as, “the guy in the purple,” by the end of that workout and I had a number of people come up to me and congratulate me. It was an amazing moment in my short CrossFit life that I’ll be sure to tell you about over and over again.

Being at The Fittest Games and watching Brice battle against Games Athletes, the Team lift an incredible amount of weight during CrossFit Total, and watching Jared win the entire weekend as well as the winner-take-all final was incredible. Having the support system that Koda CrossFit has is unlike any other. We had so many people come in from out of town to cheer on everyone and be there for each other. I can’t wait to go back next year.