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Lina Augaitis

May 2009 I was introduced to a different form of training, well a whole new sport in itself really. CrossFit began in California and has been storming the world ever since. In May 2009 CrossFit Vancouver was willing enough to take me under their wings and teach me the ways of this new sport. Being an ultra endurance athlete I had my doubts of the promise CrossFit would give me for my performance as an endurance athlete. Nonetheless, I quickly fell in love with going to CrossFit workouts. I would attend CrossFit between 2 and 3 times a week amongst my other training (mostly long endurance workouts…putting the miles in). image (Lina is second from the right) CrossFit was a fresh of breath air with quick snappy workouts. I felt pain in a completely new way. My first test of my improvements was a 6 day adventure race in Sweden July 3 2009. This race was to be completed in teams of 4 where all teammates complete everything together. Most teams consist of 3 males and a female but ours was different, we had three females and a male. My team consisted of three Americans and myself called the Yogaslackers. We began the race in a town called Sundsvall up in Northern Sweden. The complete race was a total of 1069km to be completed in less than 6 days using a large variety of sports. Our team began the race with high hopes for a good finish, we all felt strong but also had never raced together as a team beforehand. The events were pretty wild considering sleep deprived endurance junkies were going to complete them. Mountain biking, white water kayaking, river boarding, rafting and canoeing, mountaineering, inline skating, ziplining, sailing, rock climbing to name a few of the events in the race. Not only is adventure racing a very physically demanding sport but it requires an unbelievable amount of mental strength as well. In a 6 day race anything can happen (good and bad) and each team member needs to keep a strong mental game going (despite fatigue, distress, diet, fear, etc).Some serious navigational mistakes in the beginning of the race put our team behind the others. Our strength as a team would have been trekking/running but as luck would have it this race was a bikers paradise. A touch of bad luck would be our story for the next 5.5 days. It seemed like the gods up above just wanted to make an already demanding race even more so for us. Navigational errors, different strengths, flat tires, mechanical bike issues, losing out on the DH bikes, rain, were just some of the unlucky patterns we experienced. I am proud of the team for keeping the spirits high and the motivation going through the easy and the tough. When just about everyone thought we were done, we kept on going. We were one determined team. It was a beautifully run race and I am so delighted I was lucky enough to participate. Personally, this was my first big race since my introduction to CrossFit. I felt healthy and strong going in to the race. What was different? I had energy and I had power. The areas in which I noticed my improvements were on the uphills. Although I have always been naturally strong on the uphills; what I lacked was power. We were forced into a final sprint up a 5km hill on the bikes after 5.5 days of racing. I was shocked at my ability to find it in my legs to move strong and fast. I was able to push and motivate my teammates up the massive climb and felt strong with each pedal stroke. On the mountaineering stages I had confidence when boulder hoping and scrambling across the ridges and up the peaks. I had a new found confidence in my legs which I always seem to lack. It was my first experience river boarding; I had a wild experience boarding in class 3+ waters. You need an incredible amount of upper body and grip strength to hold onto the board while the waves and rip are trying to tear it away from you and suck you underwater. I had one thought in my head throughout the entire rapid section: Lina, whatever you do DO NOT LET GO of the board. I did it! It wasn’t easy but easier maybe than 100 pull ups followed by 100 push ups as fast as you can…. Or maybe knowing if I could manage those holding on to a board in the white water would be nothing. Another tough strength focused sections (one of my favorite) was pulling myself and my bike across a zipline above a deathly waterfall. FUN yes. TIRING AS HELL yes. Who ever knew my carbon etc bike weighed so much when pulling it up a cable upside down!?! All in all I was excited by my strength, power and speed and look forward to the many more ultra endurance races ahead of me and seeing what the powers of CrossFit will provide me and my body. Thank you CrossFit Vancouver! Live, love, laugh,…DREAM! Lina