"To be a part of this unprecedented step in Games history made me very excited." - Lucas Parker on the announcement of the Triathlon
Lucas Parker quickly became a fan favourite and earned the nickname "wolfman" at the 2012 CrossFit Games held in Los Angeles, California.
I had the privelege of sending the 2-time CrossFit Games athlete a few interview questions about his preparation, the competition, and his experience.
Lucas was also kind enough to share some advice for aspiring regional and games athletes.
How happy/surprised/relieved are you with your 15th place finish at the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games?
Honestly, I don't have much of an answer for that one. It will take at least another week for me to reflect on my performance, retrace my steps through the events, watch footage, and write down the things I did well and the things I didn't do so well.
This was your second appearance at the CrossFit Games. In regards to your training and preparation, how was this one different than last year?
Looking back on my training, the main thing that changed for me this year was that I actually did some cardio. Actually, a lot of cardio. I ran to and from class every day (sometimes twice), biked to the box, took swimming classes, and bought a C2 rowing machine. I’ve always been a pure power athlete, so this was a big experiment for me. I still made strength gains, and got a lot fitter, so I couldn’t be happier with how it went.
During the Games, did you do anything different than last year that can be attributed to your success?
That’s a tricky question… If anything, I made MORE mistakes this year; I had a pretty significant goof-up on nearly every event, even the ones I did well on. For example, in the O-course semi-final I had the win in the bag until I just flopped onto a log and Froning passed me. On the sprint, I lost my balance waiting for the gun, and got off to a terrible start. On the hammer event, I hurt my hand very badly.
I think I had a good mental approach, though. For the most part, I was very relaxed and happy to be there. I had A LOT of fun, as compared to last year, where I felt intimidated and overwhelmed most of the time.
What was your reaction/thoughts when the triathlon was announced?
Last year, when the beach WOD was announced I felt sick and needed to chug a glass of wine to calm my nerves. This year, when Pendleton was announced I had a huge grin on my face and was able to enjoy a fruity cocktail. I wasn’t hoping to win the triathlon, but I knew I would be able to complete it and absorb the experience. To be a part of this unprecedented step in Games history made me very excited.
"Accept your goats, and then slaughter them".
Which WOD was your favourite? Why?
My favourite event was probably the “double-banger.” It was a completely novel task to almost everyone. It was fast and powerful. It tested a competitor’s ability to adapt on the fly and apply force outside of the typical dimensions seen in classic barbell and bodyweight reps. And of course, I also got to enjoy a bit of glory standing on top of my box. The energy from crowd was incredible.
Which WOD was your least favourite? Why?
My least favourite was the rope sled. It was a HUGE dissapointment. I realistically expected to be able to win, but I DNF’d the damn thing. I have lots of sled experience from rugby and football, I have a 20+ foot rope in my back yard, and the interval style of work/rest favoured me. I still can’t figure out what happened…my legs just wouldn’t go. I could barely walk. My theory is that the blood was trapped in my legs by the compression gear I was wearing. I had lower leg and upper thigh pieces on to offer some support after all the damage done at Pendleton. However, they seemed to act like tourniquets and turned my legs into useless sausages.
Your best wod was the sprint, is this due to your high school and collegiate sport background?
Yes and no. I never really ran track and field, but my dad was a sprinter, and in my early years he taught me how to run fast for the other sports I played, like soccer and rugby. I’ve been lucky enough in my athletic career to be trained by some great sports coaches who emphasized running mechanics. I was also invited to a Bobsleigh national development camp in 2010, so I had to sprint in preparation for that.
Who was your favourite fellow competitor? Why?
I have to say Chris Spealler is my favourite competitor. Words cannot express why.
What is your best piece of advice for aspiring competitive CrossFitters?
Two parts: one, “don’t get caught up in the hype,” and two, “be honest with yourself.” Don’t get consumed in what other people are preaching; maybe you don’t need 3-a-days; while everyone is talking about strength, maybe you need to train endurance. The supplement or equipment that the top guy is using didn’t make him the top guy.
Take a long look at yourself and be very objective. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Train them both in a way that fits YOUR body and life. Accept your goats, and then slaughter them.
What is the #1 difference between athletes that make it to the Regionals vs athletes that make it to the Games?
I’d like to give some inspirational answer about heart, dedication, and commitment. But every CrossFitter has those things. The #1 difference is much less romantic: Time. You need to spend quality time, in high quantity, training for the Games. Look at Matt Chan: he stopped firefighting this year and BOOM, 2nd place finish. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but as the sport evolves, you will not be able to be a full-time student/family man, holding down a job, AND qualify for the games. A sacrifice needs to be made somewhere in your life to allow you to focus on your training.
What was your reason/inspiration behind the "wolfman" look and did you shave after the Regionals/Games?
This comes back to my previous answer. Every time I look in the mirror, I am reminded of all the time I’ve put in to my training since back in September. Every day, my beard grows a little bit more, and I hope I do also. When other guys look at me, I want them to realize that every morning when they are in the bathroom shaving, I am training. Every Friday night when they are grooming themselves for the club, I am training.
I trimmed it a little bit after regionals as a way to mentally refresh myself, but I decided it would be an exercise in commitment to keep the beard through the Games. It will be fully shaved on August 11 at the CrossFit Vancouver’s Nutts Memorial Cup, to raise money for charity.
The wolfman was exposed to CrossFit style training in 2005 while training for rugby. He didn’t get into it on his own until 2009, at the University gym. He then joined CrossFit Zone the next year and started coaching and competing. Calling Victoria, B.C. home, Lucas juggles his time between training and coaching at CrossFit Zone and studying Kinesiology at the University of Victoria.
Photos courtesy of The CrossFit Games Facebook page