Almost Abs Throws Down

On April 18th, four of our team competed in Solcana Crossfit‘s Throwdown for Trans Health. This was a fundraiser for the MN Transgender Health Coalition. In addition to raising money to support the organization, Solcana is partnering with GLAAD to petition CrossFit HQ to add language that will allow transgender athletes to compete in the CrossFit Games. You should sign it!

This day-long competition included three workouts and tons of fun. Abe, Alice, Denise and Tim discuss the experience:


Sally made us a sign. Just because.

Alice:  THROWDOWN! This entire day was nothing short of awesome. I showed up super early, the first athlete to check in, mostly because I live about five minutes from Solcana Crossfit, but also because I was bored stiff waiting at home. Denise and Abe showed up shortly after. Once they were signed in, we chatted with other athletes and stared impatiently at the wide open garage door (it was a glorious day, and the whole front of the gym was open) waiting for Tim to show up. At one point just before the athlete briefing on the first workout, Solcana owner Hannah looked worriedly at IMG_0669Denise and asked where her partner was. We said that Tim has never been on time to anything, and Abe suggested that Tim would probably show right when Denise was done with her first round of WOD #1, jumping in just in time to keep them going. I think he was only partly joking.

Abram:  When I arrived Denise and Alice were already checked in and dressed to work. While most athletes had a gym bag with maybe an extra shirt and some food my hands were full with my food bags full of protein rich and dairy free (I didn’t want to throw up like I almost had at a stair climb two years prior) snacks for the day, exercise equipment and stretching pole. I was clearly over prepared.

The lack of machinery in the gym was the first thing I noticed.  No weight racks loaded for bench presses or squats. No machines with serpentine cables to decipher. In fact, there were no padded seats at all. What equipment there was stood in neat stacks or on shelves against the walls. On one side of the room were racks with two dozen pullup bars, lightly dusted from chalk. God I love pull-ups. There was collection of furniture—couch, chairs and coffee table—at one end of the large room that could have come from any young single’s living room. Odd, I thought.

IMG_0668I had started my Crossfit training weeks earlier.  Now I was finally at my first Crossfit competition and I was jazzed.  I couldn’t stop smiling.  Oh yeah where was Tim?

Denise:  I knew Tim would be there eventually (maybe at the very last second as Abe proposed) but a tiny little part of me hoped he wouldn’t show up. As usual, I was crazy nervous. But my son Will was there—who is really the reason I ended up signing up for this particular bit craziness—so I couldn’t wish too hard for Tim to ditch me. This was the first event I competed in that Will actually attended. Two weeks prior, Will saw a Facebook post about the Throwdown and noticed that it was a fundraiser for trans health. Being transgender himself, he immediately asked, “Are you doing that, Mom??” What could I say? Anyway, as always, I was a little early and little terrified. And Tim was a little late; I think he arrived as the athlete briefing was taking place for WOD 1. The weird thing is that as soon as I saw Tim outside the open gym doors, I had an overwhelming flash of fear (oh crap, I actually have to do this), followed by the first sense of calm I had felt all morning. And I’d been up since 4:26 am.


Tim:  It all started the night before the Throwdown….it was terrifying. No matter what I did I couldn’t run from it!!!! I got ready for a solid night sleep. Just as I dozed off, the noise started……it startled me awake. I fell back to sleep, and yet again the noise hit, and then I remembered: I forgot the BANANAS….but that was the least of my worries because the noise kept on and on until finally, I poked it! Sandra was at it again…..snoring. 🙂

I woke up late, started boiling the eggs, slammed my cup of OJ and then began to down water until I had to pee…..well hydrated. Peeled the eggs, threw my lunchbox together and ran out to the truck. I made it to South Minneapolis from Saint Paul by way of 94. I quickly stopped by Cub Foods and grabbed THE BANANAS…..phew……I was ready to throwdown at Solcana Crossfit. I parked, grabbed my gear and went to the sign-in table.  The gym was awfully quiet and the woman said, “You must be Tim Pearson.” I felt special for a split second until I looked up and noticed everyone quietly listening to instructions of WOD #1 given out by Solcana owner Hannah. The moment I noticed everyone, the woman at the table said “you are the last one to show”….SAD FACE.


Photo courtesy of Solcana Crossfit

The gym was super clean, and the athletes were ready, based on the buzz in the air.  I was excited and happy to be competing with friends. The owner came up to me after her instructions and said, “You must be Tim.” I replied yes and she said, “I’m Hannah…..nice to meet you.” She then said, “Your friends told me that you are notoriously late for EVERYTHING,” with a smile.

I found Denise—my partner—and began to tease her because I have found out that is the best way to calm her down…….DON’T THINK, JUST DO…….that is my line for her. Abe and Alice were as cool as cucumbers. All of us fit right in with the crowd although we do not belong to what CrossFit calls a “box.” Our crew knows what to do with fitness equipment.


Scaled: AMRAP/9 (switching off rounds with partner)

12 deadlift (95/65)
9 power clean (95/65)
6 burpees to plate (45#)

Rx: AMRAP/9 (switching off rounds with partner)

12 deadlift (135/95)
9 power clean(135/95)
6 burpeebox jumps(20”)IMG_0645

Denise:  WOD 1 was definitely the most physically challenging for me, but also ended up being my favorite WOD of the day. You may think that 9 minutes of exercise would not take much endurance but you would be wrong! Luckily, endurance is one of my strong points. Once I got through my first round and worked hard enough to distract myself from my nervous hyperventilating, I feel like I did pretty well. I have to admit that I did yell at Tim once to QUIT flying through his rounds so fast… I needed more time to catch my breath! I was definitely questioning the wisdom of asking my trainer to be my partner in my first CrossFit competition. But soon enough the 9 minutes were over and I felt fantastic when we were done! I do love a good high intensity workout! Even when it includes way too many power cleans.

Alice:  Ugh. Endurance people. I’m equal parts envious and envious. WOD 1 was the hardest for me and the one where Abe and I had the lowest rank. Having to do burpees right after power cleans was the WORST. We got 4 points off that one. Predictably, Tim and Denise were first. (Quick note on scoring: the lower your points, the higher your place. Abe and I had 4 points for WOD 1 and were in fourth place; Denise and Tim had 1 point and were in first place. Jerks.)

Abram:  I felt WOD 1 was the most difficult WOD, too. Our Scaled category was all about speed and agility. Then you had to throw in doing the IMG_0609movements to standard. That tripped me up. After I got a no-rep on a burpee I got spooked and slowed down a lot. Many athletes in the Rx category were dropping the bar during the cleans. That wasted time. It would be interesting to watch the slowest Scaled team with the fastest Rx team to see how they matched up round-for-round.

The WOD 2 snatch ladder was the highlight of the day for me.

WOD 2 Snatch Ladder


female-identifiedlifters: 45, 55, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85
male-identifiedlifters: 85, 95, 105, 110, 115, 120, 125


female-identifiedlifters: 75, 85, 95, 100, 105, 110, 115
male-identifiedlifters: 115, 125, 135, 140, 145, 150, 155

Denise:  Okay, well I loved WOD 2 also! But only because I got to watch my fabulous friends kick some ass! I couldn’t even do a snatch AT ALL two weeks prior to this throwdown, so I was happy to be able to do the first and second snatches in the sequence (45 and 55 lbs). But Alice, Abe and Tim completely dominated the snatch ladder! Alice did multiple reps at the highest weight … how many was it, Alice? And she made it look easy! Abe madeIMG_0614 it through the second to the heaviest weight, which was a PR for him by 15 pounds! He tried multiple times at the heaviest weight and came so close to succeeding that I actually thought he had done the heaviest when I first wrote this! And Tim….well, we managed to end up in first place for this WOD too, despite my inability to do more than two snatches. Not only did he perform all the snatches, he did seven at the heaviest weight! They really should have gotten a picture of some of the faces HE made while doing those snatches though. And yes, Tim, you do have a nice snatch.

Alice:  Seven! That’s seven power snatches at 85#. As a fan of and participant in strength sports, WOD 2 was, IMG_0572understandably, my favorite. Even though I don’t train Olympic lifts, this was the WOD where I got to show my stuff. As the editor on this post, I am NOT including the pictures Sally snapped of my final lifts. Suffice to say my teeth-gritted, eyes-squeezed-shut, straining-to-get-under-the-damn-barbell face isn’t one I want to share with the internet. Despite that, the snatch ladder was super fun, and was definitely my moment of triumph. I walked away from that one with shaky noodle appendages—thank you adrenaline and exertion!


Scaled AMRAP/6 minutes

10 KBswings(35/25)
10 ringrows

Rx AMRAP/6 minutes


Photo courtesy of Solcana Crossfit

10 KB ground to overhead(50/35)
10 pull-ups

Denise: I enjoyed WOD 3 almost as much as WOD 1 since it was another work-as-fast-as-you-can style workout. The ring rows were tougher than I expected but it was a happy moment for me when my partner wanted me to finish a set of rows for him. I was definitely not expecting that! Kind of made me feel like Wonder Woman (until I saw the faces I was making during those ring rows in the photos on the Solcana website – I am well aware that I am not photogenic but those are some goofy looking faces). I was almost sad when WOD 3 was over because it meant the day was coming to an end.

Tim:  One thing that did make me super happy: In WOD 3, Denise did more ring rows than me……thanks, Denise!!

Alice:  Those ring rows. They made me want to cry! And, I’m here to tell you that overhead kettlebell swings always feel slow, no matter how hard you’re pushing. Fortunately, this WOD could be split in any way, so Abe and I frequently traded mid-ring row, which seemed like a common tactic.

Tim:  The day went on…..grunts……chalk dust…, some running around and some corralled in a play area. Crowd + family + cheering = community and fun. I was proud of our crew because we worked hard, not just for this event but for ourselves and future fitness endeavors, and we made sure we did every repetition with solid form. The day was about 7 hours and not a dull moment thanks to the fabulous organization by Solcana.

Our two teams took 1st and 2nd place in the scaled division…..Alice called it days before the event… was an awesome feeling standing on the rogue box podiums!!!! BAM!

Alice:  In fairness, Abe and I tied for 2nd place with team Rincana, with whom we were neck and neck the whole day. Overall, this was a super fun time. I got to watch my friends kick ass (in addition to the four of us, my sister-in-law who coaches at Solcana competed in the Rx division, as did several other people I’ve met through Solcana events). Thanks to Sally for the amazing photos (and to Solcana because I swiped some from their Facebook page), to all our friends and family who came to cheer us on, and to our fellow athletes who were an amazing, super fun bunch of people!

Denise:  Solcana did an amazing job organizing this event; made me want to join the gym! I am happy my first CrossFit throwdown was a benefit to IMG_0630help out the transgender community in Minneapolis. I may have never experienced the fun of a throwdown if that had not been the case and Will had not encouraged me to do it. Having my son there and seeing him impressed by what the athletes were accomplishing (“mom, how do they DO that?!”) was definitely the highlight of the day for me! As was seeing all the friends who showed up to support us, especially Sally and the rowdy boys who took over the gym for the kids workout in the middle of the day! The other athletes were inspiring to watch and the Rx division athletes especially (love to see a group of women who can do pull-up after pull-up!) made me eager to improve my skills and go on to do more of these events. And yes, of course, it was also super exciting to take first place in the scaled division.

Abram:  I am most grateful for all the friends and family who showed up to watch. I think this will be the first of IMG_0679many Crossfit throwdowns for me.

Interested in competing in or watching a Crossfit competition? Throwdowns are happening throughout the Twin Cities metro area. Check out upcoming events or register!


2 thoughts on “Almost Abs Throws Down

  1. Pingback: The GoRuck | Almost Abs

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