Local CrossFiter wins regional event

By Paul Harder / The Observer September 06, 2013 10:31 am

Erin Creech, of La Grande, performs a deadlift at La Grande Crossfit. (Courtesy Photo)
Erin Creech, of La Grande, performs a deadlift at La Grande Crossfit. (Courtesy Photo)
 

Most people don’t know what CrossFit is, or that La Grande has had a facility for the sport since December 2012.

One of those people who flock to the building, formerly called “The Place,” has been waiting a while for the workout facility to make its way here.

“I was introduced to CrossFit more than 10 years ago in California,” Erin Creech said. “My friends in the Portland area have been doing it for a while. It’s just something I gravitated towards. It’s great to finally have it here in town.”

The CrossFit brand was founded by Greg and Lauren Glassmen in 2000. There are now more than 7,000 CrossFit members nationwide. 

The workout is a mix of aerobic exercise, gymnastics (body weight exercises) and Olympic weight lifting. CrossFit describes its strength and conditioning program as “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement.”

Creech has made the gym owned and operated by Tony Peterson and Jon Wicke, a home away from home, a long with her husband, Steve. She works out six times a week, sometimes going twice a day.

“It’s a good stress reliever,” Creech said. 

Those months of grueling Workouts of the Day paid off for Creech at the Oregon CrossFit Summer Games held in Bend Aug. 24.

She had planned on going to watch the event, but wound up competing. 

“My friend called me and let me know that there was a spot open,” said Creech.  “I was a little unsure about actually doing it. It took me about a week to think it over. 

“I didn’t think I could compete against people who had been doing it longer than me. That was the biggest hang up.” 

The two-day event opened with Creech’s nemesis — cardio. 

“When it comes to strength stuff, I can do that all day,” Creech said. “I just don’t like the running or burpees.”

The first WOD consisted of 10 burpees, 20 double unders with a jump rope and a 220-yard sprint. Creech had to do as many rounds as she could in nine minutes.

“It started off with adrenalin to get through it,” Creech said. “Plus, the crowd was amazing. It was a different atmosphere and you feed off of that too.”

After one event Creech sat in fifth place.

Next, Creech had six minutes to establish her one-rep max for a front squat and a shoulder-to-overhead jerk.

With the emphasis now on strength, she relaxed and did what she knows how to do.

Creech set a personal best in the shoulder to overhead by 35 pounds, lifting 175 pounds. Her front squat came to 185 pounds.

“It felt great to be able to accomplish that right when I needed to,” Creech said. “I didn’t see that coming at all.”

The other thing that she didn’t see coming was her name moving up the leader board. Despite having four other competitors in front of her after the first round, she jumped to the top of the leaderboard.

Creech could only look and smile when she realized where she stood.

“It was a surreal feeling,” Creech said. “Standing there and seeing my name above everyone else was something I didn’t expect.”

The next event was named “Fran”. Many of the CrossFit WOD’s have names. When you talk about the girls of CrossFit, Fran is of one those names that strikes fear in a competitor. Typically it’s three rounds of 95-pound thrusters, a squat to overhead press motion, and pull-ups. Twenty-one reps followed by 15 and nine, respectively. 

However, for the game it came in a modified format, using 45-pound thrusters and push-ups.

“I thought it was great,” Creech said. “I can do push-ups all day long. It didn’t bother me that they changed it at all.”

The lead remained substantial after Day 1. That allowed Creech and the supporters who traveled to watch the competition, including her husband, Steve, a chance to relax. 

“All I had to do was finish at least eighth in the last event and I had it,” Creech said. “Obviously, I wanted to finish as high as I could. The goal was to finish strong.”

All that stood between Creech and a first-place finish was 40 hanging knees to elbows, 20 65-pound power cleans, a sprint across a football field, carrying a 45-pound weight plate back across the field, 10 push presses with 65 pounds of weight and two sprints across the football field.

“I ended up passing someone that was young enough to be my kid,” Creech said. “That was a great way to end the day. It’s a pretty awesome feeling to do something you didn’t know you could do.”

She finished with a total of 13 points over the four events. The second-place finisher had 23 points.

“I just want to thank everyone who came out to support me,” Creech said. “Plus, there were people following along on Facebook. I can’t wait to do it again.”