During Saturday afternoon’s event, teams were required to complete an 800 meter run which included such obstacles as picking up and carrying 95-145 lb. Atlas stones for 200 meters.
Photo by Mary Witko
There’s still another hour to go before sunrise, and it’s a numbing 30 degrees Fahrenheit inside the Field House at South Run Rec Center. And yet, hundreds of competitors continue to stream inside, dragging coolers, gym bags, bedrolls and cases of water—anticipating two full days of pushing themselves to their physical and mental limits.
And so began “Cold War II,” a CrossFit competition for the Mid-Atlantic region, held last Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1-2. Sponsored by Intelligent Decisions, Inc. and hosted by CrossFit Liberation of Lorton, the competition was the second annual challenge with both team and individual competitor divisions. Teams were comprised of four athletes, at least one of whom was required to be female. Designed to be a training tool for CrossFit participants, this year’s competition attracted 42 teams from six states—more than doubling the attendance from last year’s inaugural event, and included many active-duty personnel and reservists, as well as military veterans and wounded warriors.
“I’m not sure why I do this, but there’s definitely an adrenaline rush.”
-- Craig Griffith, a competitor from Lorton
CROSSFIT IS A NATIONWIDE PROGRAM which was developed to enhance an individual’s physical competency in order to prepare him/her for dealing with life’s challenges. Dominique Sineski, a member of CrossFit Liberation and a Cold War II volunteer, remembers making the decision to join CrossFit. “I was feeling old, tired and achey. I felt like I was 70, but I was just in my 40s. The first week of training, I was in pain, but I kept going. All the coaches were very encouraging. And here I am, still working out.”
Megan Murray, member of CrossFit Rubicon in Tysons, added: “There are a number of veterans at my gym who are amputees. It’s hard for me to complain about how hard my workout is when I see them working out next to me.”
The original idea for a regional competition came from Adam Ziniewicz, a coach and trainer for CrossFit Liberation until his death in September 2012. His wife, Carrie Satterlee, organized this year’s event in his memory: “The first Cold War competition was my husband’s brainchild. We just took what he built and went forward this year because there was so much interest.”
The weekend’s activities included challenging and sometimes grueling tests of physical strength, endurance and teamwork. During Saturday afternoon’s event, entitled “the Green Beret,” teams were required to complete an 800 meter run which included such obstacles as picking up and carrying 95-145 lb. Atlas stones for 200 meters, scaling a six-foot wall, and completing as many as 80 swings with a 16-20 lb. sledge hammer. Michael Hmara, a physical therapist from Springfield, came to watch the events. “It’s important to do the exercises correctly. Some people might see these big guys here and want to do what they’re doing right away. You have to go slowly and do it right, otherwise you’ll get hurt.” Despite the physical toll, many athletes said they look forward to competition. Craig Griffith, a competitor from Lorton, said, “I’m not sure why I do this, but there’s definitely an adrenaline rush.”
PROCEEDS from this year’s event will be donated to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and to Hidden Wounds, a non-profit organization providing counseling services for combat veterans and their families. Event Organizer Carrie Satterlee said: “Adam [my husband] suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. It’s important for people to get the support that they need. We’re so proud for this event to raise money for these causes.”