Our herculean efforts in the Spartan Run had lifted us from 39th to 37th with a 22nd place finish. Now all eyes turned eagerly from Josh's man-gina to the swimming pool...
The Gospel According to Mark
The Spartan Run
Reeling from the disappointment of the mornings events, it was time to brush it all off and go on a Spartan run as a full team of 12. The course started on the 400m track, with a series of walls ranging from 4-8 feet for us to get over, before heading off into the mud with barbed wire and other obstacles to piss us off.
For a while it seemed our poor start would continue as - while we shivered on the start line, waiting for 3,2,1 Go! - the head judge started questioning my ability to get over the walls and sombrely reminding me that I had signed a waiver, so if I drowned in the steeplechase puddle it was on me.
As I was about to respond with some pointed joke about his ridiculous Irish accent, the rest of my team piled in with yet more short jokes. I had no choice but to stand there and take it, while Josh rubbed me on the top of my head and said: “Grumpy.” I told him I wasn’t, and then sneezed.
Fired up with the rage only a midget can muster, I joined my team in charging at the first wall - thankfully it was a little one.
As they grew bigger and bigger, I began to panic but no one was more surprised than I when I cleared a big one all by myself. The panic returned when I realised how skinny the top of the wall was and fell down the other side. I recovered well, landing like the elite gymnast I am, before getting back into my gazelle-like stride and continuing along, leading from near the back.
With the 400m almost complete, we approached the steeplechase water hazard that Irish arse had warned me about. Determined not to drown, I jumped about halfway across the water to land in ankle deep water.
The ankle deep water crept up my shins, past my thighs and both of my testicles briefly dipped in, before immediately ascending into my chest.
As I screamed “my balls! my balls!” I heard Josh laugh. I glanced over at him in his ludicrous white leggings (I thought he was naked for a moment) and realised he must have had the same issue, as he was sporting a camel-toe. Together, freshly castrated, we headed off-track into the mud and the unknown.
The first obstacle was a really long, low barb wire net for us to commando crawl underneath. While Josh’s ever-present Dad screamed “get your bum down!” to Jane over and over again for 3 minutes straight, I wondered if Jane was deaf or just enjoying the attention.
With all 12 team members safely through, I turned to Josh and asked in my best unimpressed voice “pfft, is that it?”. He smiled at me for a moment, then said “no, pal.” and he was off again, like a little white rabbit.
And so, led by a human jellyfish in leggings, we ran to the next obstacle. Eddie was going well, firmly in the middle of the pack, and I recall thinking that after a rough morning in WOD 1, he was out to prove his worth. Then he totally stacked it and slipped in the mud. I considered stopping to help him, but realised we were on a slight decline and, not one to ignore a bit of gravity assistance, I left him to it.
By now, having already ran further than I felt was necessary, we had to put some sandbags on our back and run in a loop. Again, I asked Josh “Is THIS it”. Again, the pasty twat grinned and said “no, pal” and sped off like a Kenyan albino.
This was where the WOD kicked me in my recently re-descended balls.
Thankfully, this was also where it kicked Hayley in her balls, so I had the excuse of hanging back with her and Joe to “help encourage her on”. Hayley’s run was affected by an old injury, mine was affected by running being totally fucking horrible.
By now we had been running almost long enough for Kieron to finish a deadlift, so I was suffering badly. We turned a corner and I heard the drum band that heralded the beginning and end of each heat, and could see them playing underneath a big cargo net climb a few hundred feet away.
At this point I abandoned Hayley in a bid to look good and broke into a sprint finish. (Anyone who knows me know that this basically means I pushed my chin out and pumped my arms faster, but ultimately maintained pace).
Haring up the cargo net ladder like some sort of Pirate God, I gave Jane a quick kick in the face as I swung my leg over the top, misjudged my step a few rungs down and stood on a hapless drummers head before scrambling to the bottom.
Safely down, I turned to Josh for confirmation that this was indeed it. But Casper The Sarcastic Ghost was already off, headed up a hill.
But the next one WAS “it”!
As I turned the next corner, I could see a few of our team mates just crossing the line and taking a seat - all that stood between me and them was a balance beam.
And, of course, THIS was where all the spectators had decided to congregate - no doubt hoping for the chance to see some poor bugger faceplant off the beam.
I decided the only option was to use momentum and hope for the best. I walked quickly up the beam and felt good halfway across when I heard some helpful member of the crowd shout “use your hands”.
A little confused about what she meant, with my arms hanging by my side, I shuffled forward and flapped my hands a bit. I looked like a bemused penguin.
Against all the odds, I made it down the other side, took my place with the team and waited for the others… wondering, as he began walking up the beam, if Eddie’s day was going to get any better…
In a WOD nobody really thought would be a good one for us, we finished a creditable joint 22nd with finalists Team Hood from Nottingham. It had cost us a couple of pairs of testicles, the arse in Janes leggings and a little more of Eddie’s dignity, but we had made it.
Team Napalm was ready for the pool. But was the pool ready for us?
Strength In Depth 2016
The Gospel According to Mark Williams
After 3 months of qualifying WODs against 80 other boxes in Europe, Team Napalm made the cut, finishing in joint 26th and joining only 3 other boxes out of 40 in making their debut at the biggest team comp in Europe.
With around 15 athletes all contributing scores to get the team to the final, it was a tough job picking the 12 who would go, but we made a call and went with it. To be honest, there were several combinations that would have worked, but the decision was made and Team Napalm, led by the devastatingly handsome Mark Williams, packed up their shit and headed off to Bath. I say “led”, but Mark and Kie got stuck in a sat-nav-time-loop at a diversion on the M5 and arrived just before 1am on game day.
WOD 1 A/B
“Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!”
WOD 1A and B involved all 12 team members, in sub-team of males and females, some spending 5 minutes hitting 1RM hang snatches, some 1RM deadlifts, and each sub-team getting 5 minutes on a rower to hit max cals.
The big lads - Kie, Joe and Scott - spent 5 minutes trying their best to break the rower (presumably so that I wouldn't have to have my go) while the girls went for the hang snatches, and then it was time for Mark, Eddie, Carl and Josh to take a shot at the barbell.
With all 4 putting in a solid showing and hitting the numbers they were shooting for, with a minute left, Eddie stepped forward to take a crack at the 90kg hang snatch.
The music was cranked up, the crowd was electric, and the scene was set for Eddie to show the world what the men of Napalm were made of!
With a deep breath, he dug his hook grip into the wildly-overpriced Klokov bar and stood up into the hang. Lazer focus in his eyes. Adrenaline in his veins. Another deep breath, and he dipped to the low hang and pulled.
With the bar at a little over shoulder height, but atleast a foot in front of him, Eddie could see that recovery was impossible.
Our hero was ready to give up.
But suddenly, Eddie remembered a motivational instagram post he’d seen not so long ago that proclaimed “IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING”!!!
Eddie knew - as do we all - that if it’s on a motivational instapost, it’s basically science.
With the grim determination of a man who’s woman is watching, Eddie chased the bar to the end of the platform. And beyond.
The giggles of his ever supporting team-mates stopped when the judge informed us that all of our scores were zeroed out and we had 50 seconds to move some weight!
Mark - brave and fearless leader of Team Napalm - stepped forward quickly. His long golden locks blowing in the breeze, his steely blue eyes locked on the clock, he grabbed the bar and hoisted it over his 6’4” frame, letting out a blood curdling roar while men everywhere cowered and every woman in the room became instantly pregnant.
Quick thinking from the rest of the team had the bar stripped to a guaranteed weight, and Eddie and Carl made quick work of hitting lifts to get some sort of score on the board. Josh, with 5 seconds left, decided THIS was the time to show the CrossFit community how to backflip while
holding onto a barbell… without holding onto a barbell.
As the boys sheepishly moved onto the rower, the girls rocked the deadlifts. A particular point of note was Claire having what can only be described as angry sex with the barbell as she tried desperately to lock out what became her new PR! Other great lifts from the girls followed, and then it was time for the strong men of Napalm to do their thing.
Joe and Scott hit awesome 250kg deadlifts, with Kie on a creditable 240kg. With time for 3 attempts left, Kie decided to use the entire time for 1 looong-ass attempt. He pulled it quickly to just above his knees and then stopped.
Later that evening, we were looking at photo’s of the event and only realised Kie’s was actually a video clip when people in the background started looking at their watches and looking embarrassed. It was like one of those photographs from a Harry Potter movie.
With great lifts all round, but a lot of kilos wiped off (as a penalty for Eddie trying to run off with the Klokov Competition plates) Napalm finished in 39th out of 40 after 1A and B.
“Nevermind", we told Eddie, “atleast we have the swim coming up in event 3 for you to make up for it…” (to be continued)