Yesterday I had the opportunity to head over to the Reebok Headquarters in Canton, Massachusetts, to participate in a small focus group. I have been to the HQ before, and was looking forward to a return trip, especially since I had heard a rumor that there was now a permanent, mini Spartan course on premises. The last time I visited HQ, it was with a large group of women in social media (seriously, a sea of pink tank top wearing bloggers, everywhere you turned), and it was basically one big blogging “intro to Reebok: 101”. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fantastic and fun experience, but this visit would be vastly different.
Six of us met with an even larger number of Reebok employees to basically talk about what we like, and what we dislike, regarding fitness gear. We were shown a large portion of the 2014 women’s line and asked for honest feedback (sorry, no pictures were allowed, it’s all top secret…but I can tell you that I can’t wait to get my hands on most of it. AND I got to hold the 2014 OCR shoe…). Sometimes the feedback was positive, sometimes negative, but always brutally honest, and in my opinion, it felt like a very productive, successful day. I genuinely appreciate when companies sincerely take our opinions and feedback and apply it towards their product line. The reality is, there are significantly more “fitness enthusiasts” than elite and professional athletes, so our likes and dislikes really should matter. Reebok seems to get that, and they certainly listened to what we had to say.
And then we got to go play on the Spartan course.
During the day we had discussed numerous times my love for all things obstacle course racing, and I had hinted more than a few times at hoping to “see” the course. With a tight schedule and a WOD already planned at CrossFit ONE , I didn’t want to be so bold (and rude) as to straight up ask if we could play on the course. So imagine my excitement when Coach Erika Snyder told us we got to warm up on the “O Course”.
All I wanted to do was run around like a kid at recess, but we walked through the course as a group. It was a warm-up after all. Specificity of training (if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times) was blatantly obvious in this instance. ALL of the people in our group were in fantastic shape, yet it was obvious that this was the first time many people had ever attempted to climb up and over even a 4 foot wall. You could see the hesitation in their body as they tried to figure out the best way to maneuver up and over the walls.
(Sorry guys, I’m calling you all out. You can all do the same to me over the fact that my “jumping pull ups” were atrocious and pathetic, haha)
Anyway, the mini course contained some of the key Spartan obstacles, minus of course, the mud and water. Over, under, throughs, herculean hoist, the traverse wall, the log hop.
And then we hit the big walls…7 foot? 8 foot? They were big, and I wondered if I was going to make them without a step or assistance from someone. But while everyone else began their air squats (penalty for skipping an obstacle) I got a running start, hit the wall with my right foot, jumped off the wall, and what do you know, barely grabbed the top of the wall with my right hand. I jerked my left hand up, and don’t ask me how, but eventually got my legs up and over the top. I love when I surprise myself, and I’m telling you, I second guess my abilities far too often. I better make a point to fix that…
Anyway, after the warm up, my big-bad-ass Spartan racer ego was about to be crushed, as we ran into the box where we would complete the WOD known as “Jackie”. I cant tell you what the exact RX was, because I wasn’t listening very well, instead focusing on how not to break myself. I did 1,000 meter row, 25 horrible thrusters (this was the first time I had ever done a thruster) and hen smashed my chin on the bar doing 25 “jumping” pull ups (which, for the record, made no sense to me, as I used zero arms and instead all legs).
The entire time, my form was criticized, I was sucking wind, and my body felt incredibly awkward…and I freaking loved it. And the entire time I was thinking ‘DAMNIT, I FORGOT THAT I LOVE CROSSFIT AND I HATE THAT I LOVE CROSSFIT.” (but that, my friends, is a post for another day, where I whine about how expensive box memberships are, and honestly no one wants to hear that).
After the WOD, we were set free to shop at the onsite store with a gift certificate Reebok generously provided as a thank you for participating in the focus group. And though we aren’t regular “CrossFitters”…I had to pick up these shirts for Geoff and I (they are from the Reebok CrossFit line). I find them hilarious, and to boot, we matched at the gym this morning. How cute, eh?
|I really need a better camera phone…sorry for the shoddy pic quality.|
All in all a good day was had. I will admit I went in with reservations…while I like Reebok, I had a few concerns I wanted to address (as in, are you taking the needs of the OCR world seriously? Can us non CrossFitters get some kick ass clothing too that doesn’t say “CrossFit” all over it? etc). I’m excited to see the direction Reebok has taken with their focus on fitness (and obviously, their partnership with Spartan Race). And after seeing a preview of the 2014 line, I can’t wait to see what else they have in store…especially for the obstacle course racing world.