Hotshots and heroes

Posted: September 6, 2013 in Crossfit Lifestyle
Tags: ,

If you do Crossfit you probably did – or attempted to do – the Hotshot 19 WOD over the Labor Day weekend.

As soon as I heard about the Hotshot 19 WOD I knew I was going to have to do it. WODS like the Hotshot 19 make me want to cry – and not the kind of crying I do after Fran. Real crying.

The Hotshot 19 WOD was done by athletes across the country to honor and raise money for the families of the 19 firefighters who perished while battling wildfires in Arizona on June 30.


Firefighter Johnny Mac, Masters 45-49, doing Hotshot 19 WOD in his gear

6 (As in June) rounds of

30 (as in the last day of June) air squats

19 (total number of Hotshots killed) power cleans (135#/95#)

7 strict pull-ups (a requirement to become a hotshot)

400 m run (another requirement to become a hotshot)

I get excited about WODs we do in honor of heroes even though every single one brings me to my red line. I always go online and read about the soldier or Marine or cop who died while protecting us and say a little prayer before we start. And when the going gets barfing-tough, I remind myself of that soldier or Marine or cop.

But the Hotshot 19 WOD hit me hard when I walked into another box – Crossfit BGI – last Saturday and watched two local firefighters in do  the Hotshot 19 WOD in their gear – in South Florida, in the middle of the day, without A/C. One of them was Johnny McLaughlin aka Johnny Mac – one of the top Master’s (45-59) on the planet.

I busied myself with taking photos but my friend Deb – also a Crossfitter of a Certain Age – captured my feelings exactly when she looked at them, looked at me, her eyes welled up and she said “That just makes me want to cry.”

We joked as to whether it was just a menopause moment and decided it was not. Tears were totally warranted.

My box, Crossfit Cityplace, did the WOD on Labor Day. Tania, with whom I share the title “Gym Mom,” wrote the names of each of the 19 firefighters and their ages on the white board. It really hurt to see their ages. So many of us showed up that we ran out of barbells and had to share. That made me happy.

I scaled it a bit – took my power cleans down to 75# and kipped my pullups – and finished in 37:38. Afterwards the youngins sat in front of large fans and drank beer while I passed around a couple of batches of my paleo chocolate chip cookies. And then we left.

For me, it was the best two hours of the weekend. Not just the workout – which was awesome – but honoring these guys together – as a group. Paying our respects in our own way – together.

You just don’t get that going to some boot-camp or kickboxing class no matter how hard you try.

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