Most of you know Emily. Because of the kids she can be found in our gym at varying times of the day. Her presence is always a good thing. Fun and high spirited, and always one to support anyone who is present. If you haven’t met her first hand, you have certainly seen her name on the board any time a workout requiring massive leg strength comes around. She holds the gym’s women’s deadlift record, and a completely uncontested women’s back squat record.
Emily came on board about a year ago. Her transformation has been spectacular. She is super consistent, works hard every time she is in the gym, listens to her coaches and has even adjusted her food intake to further improve her performance and health.
When the CrossFit Games were coming up this year we encouraged a lot of people to sign up. Our main focus was participation, not necessarily winning. These events are a lot of fun, and worth being a part of. Emily decided to sign up. I was thrilled. She was nervous.
In talking with Emily after the games, she was telling me what a great experience she had, so I asked her to write up something about it. I’ll let Emily tell the rest.
“The Three Best Things about the NorCal Sectionals
Many of you reading this already know me pretty well. I’m a plump but hard-working 43-year-old mom and I have been a non-athlete all my life – until now. Ten months ago, I started working out at CrossFit Marin and have progressed steadily from my weary, sluggish state (that was so last year!) to a fitness level I hadn’t imagined. So this winter, thanks to Roger’s and Andres’s encouragement, I decided to take a stab at qualifying for the 2010 CrossFit Games.
Although it was very freeing to go into this for fun, I was still nervous and uncertain what to expect. The trainers and previous competitors provided encouragement and tips, and Ben’s advice from his own competitive experiences (http://thequestfordunkage.blogspot.com/2010/03/tips-for-crossfit-games-competitor_21.html) provided tactical suggestions for the days leading up to the event. I kept “eating clean” and tried to stay relaxed and optimistic. Having a chance to do the workouts at the gym last week helped me to set goals in advance. Dean and I went down to San Jose without the kids, deciding to make a weekend of it. I packed my gear, snacks and cameras and tried to keep an open mind.
So without further ado, here is my number one takeaway from the Sectionals: I am a rock star.
No, I didn’t make the top 20. I didn’t even qualify for the Day 2 workouts, nor could I have finished the chipper before the 29-minute ‘mercy cutoff’ even if I had. But I went out there and did it. I got such a boost of confidence and energy from participating in this event that I am on a three-day high (and counting).
Thanks to my training and a certain amount of natural strength, I finished Day 1 at a higher ranking than I had believed possible: 65 out of 141. A top half finish for the day! My goal was just to finish in the top 90%. In fact, Adrian’s parting words on Friday were “Good luck, Mom, I hope you don’t come in last.” Me too, buddy.
During the event, the positive vibes we got from everyone – spectators, fellow athletes, trainers, staff and volunteers – made the experience a blast. I did better than I hoped, increasing my own self-confidence. And now I know what to expect for next year’s qualifiers.
My second takeaway is that CrossFit Marin is the best “whole fitness” affiliate out there.
I got to see first-hand the benefit that Andres and Roger’s gymnastics backgrounds bring to the CrossFit community. I heard time and again, “CrossFit Marin? They’re the gymnastics CrossFit affiliate, right?” and “Roger’s the guy who got me my muscle-up!” and even “You’re the ones that have kids’ classes too.” The community respects talent, and we are lucky enough to have a tremendous source of that talent in our own gym.
Also, while the majority of CrossFit folks I met this weekend were approachable, I sensed two types of division. First, between affiliates, at least for the top athletes, there was competitive ribbing on the field and in the blogs. But in humor is truth, and the ribbing didn’t always feel good-natured. And second, there was in general a barrier between CrossFit and outsiders – perpetuated unnecessarily by many in the CrossFit community. This is a sweeping statement, but it is not without truth. There were several situations I witnessed where simply extending a greeting could have allayed the obvious suspicions of local folks. It doesn’t hurt to make eye contact and say “good morning” to a stranger. It can make a sport a new fan, an affiliate a new client, or a person a new friend.
CrossFit Marin gets this. We welcome new people, strange athletes, strange not-yet-athletes, kids, dogs, and delivery people. I can’t even say it’s extending an olive branch, because there is no feeling of division there to begin with. We have great trainers, great athletes and great people working out in our gym, and we can say “we’re elite.” But we say it without the unspoken conclusion I felt at some other affiliates: “…and you’re not.”
My third takeaway – yes, I did eventually remember that I had a list of three – is that CrossFit itself is run by a great group of athletes and administrators, and although there were some snags in the two-day event, the team was responsive to feedback, listened to their customers, and tried to fix problems on the fly. They’re not professional event coordinators, but they did their best. The sport is growing fast, and with some constructive input from us, they’re going to bring this successful training and conditioning approach to more and more people over the coming years. I for one am looking forward to helping spread the word.
I am a rock star.
And guess what? You can be one, too.”