Dean Kelleher – Pound for Pound Podium

Pound for Pound Crossfit 2016.

dean pound for pound

Friday 17th June marked the day that myself and my fellow friends (soon to be competitors) flew to Northampton, England, to compete in Pound for Pound Crossfit 2016. The previous 7-8 weeks of both physically and mentally tough training, for all five of us, had come to a close and now it was game time. Our coach David Kelly (co-owner of Elevate Fitness and Performance), combined an outstanding amount of quality coaching as well as smart programming in order to have us as ready as we could be. Without his guidance and support I can honestly say that I would not be the athlete I am today. Now, the time had arrived to go have fun, compete and trust that we were fully prepared.

Saturday morning started bright and early as registration and weigh-in was at 7:30am. Thankfully, I had a relatively good sleep and I felt calm and ready to go. The first workout for me started just after 10am so I got comfortable, had my breakfast like every other morning and started soaking up the atmosphere.
I was really fortunate to have all my meals prepped and at hand by BuffBox meals for the entire weekend. Working with Matt Hodges has been an amazing experience for me. The man is a complete genius when it comes to performance nutrition as well as nutrition for health. To have all my meals prepped and ready, made it was one less thing for me to worry about. I’m truly grateful for the support BuffBox gave me and the support they continue to give me.
Now, back to the competition. The first workout was a Clean complex and I went in with a goal of hitting a specific weight. I hit that target which was a good start and now I was calm, focused, and looking forward to the next workout.
The second workout was 150 Thrusters as fast as possible with a 7 minute time cap. This is when adversity hit. Midway through the thrusters I began to receive a lot of no-reps from my judge. When ur pushing yourself to get a fast time and your getting constantly penalised, it can be tough to take. However, there was no time for arguing and I just had to deal with it. I finished the workout with 130 reps, but with all the penalties I missed the chance to fully complete the workout and perhaps move me higher up the leaderboard. After talking to some of the spectators it sounded like I was unfairly treated. At the end of the day you respect your judge and accept that’s the way it played out and you move on. Thankfully that’s what I done and now I knew I had to finish the day strong in order to make up for the previous workout.
The final workout on the Saturday was fast paced and I knew I needed to push hard. I forced my body to a place I don’t think it has gone before, which was evident when I was left flat on my back “recovering” for a long time afterwards.
As I left the venue and went back to my hotel I was really pleased with my overall performance. How I dealt with setbacks and also how I focused on my own performance by taking each workout one at a time, was a big positive to take away from day one. So, it was back to the hotel for some well needed rest and also to refuel for day two.

dean pp2

Before competing I made it clear that I didn’t want to know my placing or results. All I was just concerned about was giving my best and letting the outcome take care of itself. However, I always take my coaches opinion/advice on board and he felt I needed to know my placing before starting the day. He told me I was in 4th place overall and I was surprised, but I got an uplifting sense of energy. That did not phase me though and I approached day two with the same attitude as day one, give my best effort one workout at a time.
There would be one workout and then a cut from 84 athletes down to 12 for the semi-final. Therefore, there was no room for error, as one bad workout in Crossfit can push you down that leaderboard very fast.
Thankfully, I had another good start and stayed consistent as I only dropped one place overall. My name was announced that I made the semi-final cut and that I was 5th place overall. I was thrilled as this was a big improvement from my 13th place finish the previous year. That happiness turned to complete focus very fast when the head judge stated only 5 athletes make the cut for the final and the points were extremely close. I was not willing to give up my spot so I needed to dig deep regardless of tiredness and soreness.
I gave the semi-final all I had right to the end but inside I was unsure if that was going to be enough. The next 10-15 minutes waiting for the leaderboard to be refreshed and the organiser to announce the finalists, felt like a lifetime. I was so happy with my improvement on the previous year but now that I was so close to making that final I didn’t want to miss out by 1 or 2 spots. Finally that announcement was made and I maintained my 5th place overall and made that cut. I was beyond happy, but like any competitor knows it was time to re-focus and prepare myself for that last workout.
The final would have a staggered start. Meaning if you caught up to the guy in first who had a head start due to points, and you pass him, you win. This made it exciting not only for the athletes but also for the spectators.
The workout started with 5 rope climbs and then broke into a separate workout with double-unders and shoulder to overhead with a barbell. My aim was to stay relaxed on the rope climbs as it was something I had not practiced a lot, and then once again force my body to that dark place as I liked the next two movements. It was a tight race the whole way through and it was down to who wanted it the most. I was so physically drained I didn’t really know where I was in comparison to the others. All I could hear were the voices of my coach and my friends screaming at me to keep moving and not to slow down. That’s always the tough part. Grinding through that pain and feeling like your body has nothing more to give, but you keep pushing and almost go numb to the pain in order to get those few reps. However, on the opposite side of that pain comes success. I was overcome with joy and felt that success as I stepped on the box to realise I had finished 3rd. All that hard work and long hours spent in the gym improving everyday is all worth it, and when you get the reward for that effort it’s icing on the cake.
Standing on that podium beside some fantastic athletes is something I always strive for when I’m competing. However, knowing that you gave 100% every workout is the advice I’d give to any athlete. All you can do is focus on yourself and let the results take care of themselves, as that is out of your control. What you do control is your effort so don’t have any regrets with lack of effort. To be able to make my coach David proud and realise the hard work from both of us has paid off is always special. Also making those people who support me and believe in me proud, no matter the outcome, is always a great sense of achievement. That also goes for the support I’ve been getting from UGD Apparel since I became an ambassador for the brand. They supplied me with quality kit for the entire weekend, which I was proud to wear and represent. However that’s not all they done. They sent me messages off support, they wanted to be informed on how I was going and they showed there appreciation of me regardless of the outcome. That shows the professionalism of the company and that they care for all athletes. I am beyond grateful to be apart of teamUGD.

My next competition will be the Waterford Throwdown on Sunday 10th July, which I am looking forward to competing in against some top athletes. Then it is on to my final competition of the year which will be the Belgian Throwdown in August. I’m excited for this 3 day competition and I will be working extremely hard in the weeks leading up to that. Let’s hope I finish the competition session strong.!
dean pp3