The Gunfight Update!

So we're only a few days out from The Gunfight: Honor Every Second. This Saturday, April 23rd, will mark the one year anniversary of Amanda Miller's departure from this life. Amanda was tough competitor, a friend to many, and an inspiration to all. This event is our tribute to her. Any and all donations received will go to the Melanoma Research Foundation to assist in their endeavor to combat this awful disease.

Amanda Rose Miller: July 16, 1985 - April 23, 2010

The event kicks off at 10AM with workout heats going until 2PM. Heats will consist of 4-5 people and will run every 15 minutes. Afterwards, there will be grilling and drinking. Classic Balance Gym style.

The Workout
At the 2010 CrossFit Games, the first event was named after Amanda to memoralize her in the annals of CrossFit. We felt there'd be no better way to remember her than to do that very same workout.

Snatch (135/95)

As this workout will be extremely tough - if not downright impossible - for some people, we have provided the following scaled versions so anyone of any skill, strength, or fitness level can participate.

Scaling Options:
C2B Pull-up
Power snatch + OHS (Load options: 135/115/95/75/65)

Power snatch (95/65)

Pull-up (band-assisted)
OHS (Load options: 95/75/65/55/45)

People are encouraged to donate on site either via cash or check. All proceeds will go directly to the Melanoma Research Foundation. If you're unable to attend, you're still encouraged to donate online HERE. Anyone who donates $100 or more online or on the day of the event will have his or her name put into a drawing for a free, one-hour Olympic lifting training session with yours truly. Singlet will be worn if so requested.

Other Info
I've been contacted by John Weiss of CrossFit 757 in Norfolk and they will be holding a similar event this Saturday. They will also be raising money for the MRF. Big thanks to him, his gym, and his clients for their support.

As I've mentioned before, Dave Lipson of 365 Days of Squatting is also in the midst of a brutal tribute to Amanda. He squats at least 450lbs. Every day. For an entire year. Dave has teamed up with AgainFaster to sell Amanda Miller t-shirts to also benefit the MRF. I highly recommend them. The material is great and the design is awesome - two pistols on the hips, just like Amanda's.

About Amanda
For more information about Amanda and her struggle with melanoma, please refer to her blog here. Her friend Emily posted the following in the comments after Amanda's passing...

"In this legacy you have left for all of us to ponder and reread whenever we struggle, you have touched countless lives, probably more than you could comprehend in life. Your short time on this earth and epic battle with an aggressive disease will be talked about and used as an example of the way to live life. Never let anything stop you and never give up. I love you to pieces, girl. I will carry you with me in my heart through every competition, struggle, and challenge in life."


Competing Yet?

Okay, I admit it - these blog post titles are getting ri-goddamn-diculous, but bear with me, as this should be my last installment on competition (for now, at least). This past Sunday was the first-ever Capital City Open at Balance Gym Kalorama right here in Washington, DC. Personally, I think it was a huge success. Over 55 lifters competed, male and female, ranging from a bright-eyed 16 year-old kid to a 40 year-old former Lebanese National Team member.

Two weeks ago, to prepare mentally and physically, a group of us organized a mock meet. It was an opportunity to find out what our openers would likely be, how a weightlifting meet works, and most importantly, lifting in a singlet (one of the greatest privileges in sport). Two weeks later, the Capital City Open was upon us...

Here's a breakdown of each lifter's performance...

Sai hit her first snatch easily - something many people struggle with in their first meet due to nerves and all. On her second snatch, she lost tightness in the bottom, and regrouped like a badass to recover and stand. Unfortunately, her arm bent at the bottom and the judges red-lighted her lift. Her third attempt also got a bit wobbly, so the bar went back and fell forward after she tried to correct. Later, she annihilated all of her clean & jerks. In retrospect, I should have forced/tricked/persuaded her into going higher on them, but I'm happy she went 3 for 3 on them.

Lauren missed our mock meet because of a trip to Vegas. She hit her first two snatches quite handily with power snatches. Her hesitance to get under the bar was evident on her third attempt, though, as she couldn't quite finish her third attempt. The fact that the bar was elevated enough to nick her forehead means she has a lot more in her. For her clean & jerks, Lauren also went 3 for 3, again opting for the power versions. She finished with a PR of 59kg.

Quick note: The difference between Sai and Lauren is very interesting. Sai has excellent technique, but needs to get a lot stronger. Lauren, on the other hand, is very strong, but needs to further develop her technique. These differences aside, they both performed great at their first meet.

After an amazing women's session (one 58kg girl clean & jerked 87kg!) it was onto Nick's and my session. Nick (69kg Master Division) went pretty conservative with his openers as it was only his second meet. He is still have some bar path issues with his snatch because of an early hip rise, but he ended up hitting 71kg on his final attempt. Some other issues arose with his clean & jerks. He opened solidly with 90kg, missed 96kg because of a press out, and then hit 101kg like a champ. Short as a mouse, but strong as an ox. As we continue to iron out his technique, his numbers will only go up.

Personally, I (77kg Senior Division) hit several meet PRs. I hit 76kg on my second snatch and missed 80kg because I'm a pansy. Still need to strengthen my overhead position, but looking at the video, 80kg shouldn't be giving me problems... ya know... if I man up already. At my last meet, my final clean & jerk was 94kg. At this meet, 94kg was my opener. I then hit 100kg to match my PR, and then finished with 103kg to set a new personal best. All in all, a damn solid day.

And lastly, there was Chris (85kg Senior Division). Chris was very quiet before his session, but I couldn't tell if it was nervousness or focus. I think it was a little of both. He decided to open with 90kg, a weight he has routinely hit in training. He put a huge amount of velocity into the bar, let his hips rise early, and just missed it behind. We only jumped a kilo to give him a little rest and to ensure he got on the board. He hit it with ease. From there, we went for a PR attempt of 96kg, which he couldn't finish. On his clean & jerks, he hit his opener and missed his second attempt of 118kg because of an incomplete pull. Since we were only 3kg away from a potential PR, we said screw it, and loaded it up to 121kg. Unfortunately, his drive was a bit sluggish. In the end, he only hit 2 out of 6... but because his openers were so high, he finished in 2nd Place in the 85kg Senior Division, arguably always the most competitive division at a local meet.

So in the end, five lifters went in - three with absolutely no meet experience at all (Sai, Lauren, and Chris) - and everyone did amazing. Sai finished 1st in her weight class, while Lauren took 1st in hers as well. Nick took 1st in the 69kg Masters. I finished in 2nd for 77kg Seniors and Chris took 2nd in the 85's.

All in all, it was an exhausting but incredible experience for all. Everyone was almost anxious and eager for another meet. The truth is, there's no real reason not to compete in something. Hell, I actually knew I would finish in 2nd Place because Tyler Miller competed and I don't live as much as he does... yet. But that's the beauty of it. You come, compete, meet new friends, test yourself, and just have fun.

So with that in mind, be sure to come out to The Gunfight: Honor Every Second, our Amanda Miller fundraiser for the Melanoma Research Foundation, on April 23rd! Donations can be made HERE!

Thanks to everyone who attended to show their support for all of the Balance Gym athletes, thanks to all of the judges, volunteers, and Kalorama staff, and thanks to John Filippini of South Baltimore CrossFit for setting up the whole damn thing!