CrossFit Open 2016, In Review

It comes every year; we are all full of anticipation for the big event “The Open”.  Some may have been participating for fun, others to gain experience in a competitive environment. We all sign up for different reasons as we all have different goals. For myself, the open is what I train all year for, twice a day five days a week all for five workouts. Yes, I train for a better life and to be the best version of myself, but I would be lying if I said winning doesn’t matter. Having been a competitive athlete since the age of six, competition has been my life; it is who I am. This is both good and bad, as I am hungry for success and willing to work for it, but at times the desire to be the best can be emotionally draining.  In the end it’s always worth it.

This year was completely different than 2014 and 2015. This year I had a REALISTIC shot at qualifying for the Canada East CrossFit Regionals. I emphasized the word realistic because I have a great understanding on what it takes to qualify and what it takes to be the top 0.38% that get to compete at the next level. Only 20 girls out of the 5,239 in Canada East advance to the next level. I put in the work all year after hiring one of Canada’s best coaches, Michael Fitzgerald to create individualized programming. On top of the personal programming, I hired a company to dial into my nutritional needs. With the combination of programming, nutrition and a desire to succeed, I was on the right path.

It was Thursday, 7:30pm and the first open announcement would be announced in 30min. It always feels like it is my first one as Dave Castro comes on to announce and my stomach is in knots. This feeling seems to never go away, week after week, the butterflies remain. Hoping he will announce something that is tailored to me while knowing that chances of that are slim. Regardless of the workout announced I felt confident the work I had put in all year would get me to where I wanted to be; and it did. Before the CrossFit open had even begun, I had added over 100lbs between by back squat, snatch, and clean and jerk and added 10lbs of body weight. I was excited to see what I next five weeks held. At this point there was nothing I could do to increase my chances of success other than performing to the best of my ability.

This year’s open was quite different than those in 2014 and 2015. There was a great emphasis on aerobic capacity with the time domains of the workouts. I always get excited about any sort of gymnastics movement in a workout as it is right in my wheelhouse. In 2015 the volume of gymnastic skills was much higher than 2016. This year we saw C2B pull ups, TTB and Handstand pushups with a little twist of bar muscle ups. Naturally 16.3 was my strongest workout given it required two of my strongest skills. You must always be prepared for anything, your weaknesses need to become your strengths and your strengths need to excel. Being in 34th place going into 16.5, I was very excited to try and improve my standing to achieve a possible Regional spot (top 20). Having been sick the week lading up to 16.5 I started to see all my hard work slip away. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t heart broken to end a great year off by having a to do a brutal workout while fighting the flu.  Some things we can control, and others we cannot. I gave all I had to give and ended up coming up short. I dropped out of 34th place all the way to 83rd after the last workout. It was over, or at least that’s how it felt. I took my time to be discouraged, mad, asked “why me” a handful of times and moved on. This was not and will not be my last year of competition. This would not be the end of my career, it is only the beginning. After having a much-needed conversation with my coach, I am dedicating another year to achieving my dream of competing on the Regional stage. Earning a spot to compete at Regionals would a shared success not only for myself but for my family who have supported me since I started my competitive athletic career at age six, all my coaches from gymnastics, to diving, to CrossFit and my West London CrossFit community and my competitors who drive me to be better.

With all the support of my West London CrossFit family, how could I not feel motivated to continue my competitive journey? I’d like each and every member reading this article to know how truly grateful I am for all of your support, not just through the open, but for the constant support all year long. I am pretty lucky to be surrounded by like-minded people who care for not just their success, but mine as well. For all those who changed their busy schedules to come out to the gym to push me through my workouts, I thank you. I am an athlete the same as everyone else, I get nervous, I have my battles, my weaknesses, and my fears too. Having my community behind me helped me to push past those factors from start to end.  Again my success is not purely my own, it is shared with my coaches, my community and my competitors who drive me.

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