Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Where in the world...

Over the past two and a half months I've had the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles, Hawaii, Utah, San Diego, Hong Kong, Reno, New Orleans, Columbus and Cincinnati. Some trips were for competitions, seminars or special events with my sponsor LifeProof, and some were for training or visiting family.

I have truly enjoyed being able to travel to new places or return to places I've visited in the past. I have learned a lot over these past few months and took a lot of things to heart. I have been able to meet others in the community, while building friendships and it brings a smile to my face thinking just how lucky I am to have crossed paths with them.

There are genuine people in the world with big hearts who welcome you with open arms and it is incredible to see this both near and far.

I have this week at home but then have some upcoming trips that include San Jose, El Paso, Houston and El Paso. A majority of these trips are for Level 1 Seminars but one of the El Paso trips is to visit friends and family, and to train with my training partners Holly Mata and Paul Smith.

While in El Paso, Alex and I will be looking for places to live, as we are planning to move there at the end of the year. It's been an amazing time in California, meeting friends and enjoying life here, but as our lease ends in December, we've decided to move elsewhere for some time. Friends, family and training partners have drawn our attention to El Paso, as it is nestled in a higher elevation and is one of the safest cities in the country. I'm excited to move and live in a new area for awhile and coach for an amazing gym GetLifted, with such humble owners Maribel and Paul Smith.

Moving around when I was younger was fun, as my sisters and I got to explore a new town and our new home. I see this as an opportunity to explore this city, meet new friends, but equally important, this is an opportunity to elevate my training which is the catalyst I believe will get me on the podium at the 2015 Games. I will miss our friends and family and all the friendships that we have made over the years but it is not goodbye.

There are opportunities that come to you in life and when they present themselves, make the most of them.

~ MCA

Friday, September 19, 2014

Time away from the gym...

This past week Alex and I spent some time in St. George, UT to help my dad Roberto on the vineyard that he started working on a few years ago. I was very eager for this trip, as I have been wanting to return to help my dad with some of the day to day tasks.

In September 2012, my mom, sister and I went to visit him to help trim the vines and check out the land. It was a delicate process to trim the vines as we needed to only keep a couple of the stems from each vine. We would walk along one row at a time and slowly trim away. It was steady process because we had to be delicate to not leave too many stems, as it would take away the growth of the main vine.

It was a great experience and I learned a lot over the few days that we were there, but we barely made a dent in the vineyard and I knew that there was more work to do in the future.




Over the past two years I have received emails with updates about the vineyard and how the wine making was going. It has become busier and more time consuming as he has added more vines and is making some wine of his own. Alex and I decided to make a trip to help him and September was the time to visit as the grapes were ready to be picked and there was lot to do around the vineyard.




I know we were going to spend a lot of time on the vineyard but we talked about going to a gym and possibly getting in some training if it there was time. It turned out that we worked about 10-12 hour days so we didn't make it to the gym, but we still got some work in: raking weeds and clearing the vines, picking grapes and then shoveling them from a wheel barrow to a destemmer, a machine that separates the grapes and stems. We also got some good lifting in with taking out all the old flooring from the house on the property and organizing lots of wood, iron and steel items from the garage.




I did some strict handstand push-ups in at the hotel on two different days, but most of our time was spent at The Vine Yard and it was well worth it. To learn more about how the vineyard is operated and what it takes to manage and maintain everything was eye opening. There is still a lot to learn and experience on my end but I know that our trip there was amazing and worth every day. I wished we could have spent some more time there because there was so much left to do when we took off on Tuesday.

We had an amazing time in Utah and we look forward to returning and being more involved with the vineyard and helping out my dad more as there is a lot of potential for The Vine Yard. As for now, we created some amazing memories, worked hard and enjoyed the beautiful scenery that surrounded us.




The time away from the gym was worth it to help my dad, but I am really looking forward to getting back into training. It is hard because I want to jump right back into the volume that I was doing, but I am slowly easing back into it. I can tell the difference after taking a full week off and it motivates me to get back to where I was.


Here's a toast to everything the future holds!


~ MCA

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

As the dust settles...

It's been a little over a week now since the 2014 CrossFit Games has come to an end. It feels as though a lot more time has passed by though. The not so distant memory brings a smile to my face and warmth to my heart as I reflect back to my experience at the Games.

As I close my eyes, I see the Manhattan Beach Marriott through my windshield as Alex and I drive up to the front lobby entrance. I feel the excitement run through my body and a huge grin comes across my face. I can feel my eyes widening with joy, like a child who sees a playground, ready to run around and play.  "We made it!" I say in a high pitch voice, as we pulled up and parked the car.

Opening my eyes, I smile, as it was the beginning of a great week that was to unfold. All the preparation that we had done leading up to the Games was finished and we were ready to enjoy the week of competition that was ahead of us. One of my goals was to appreciate every moment I had while I was down in Carson, California. Whether that was meeting new friends, catching up with old friends or taking a moment to look around the stadium while I was in the arena, I wanted to be able to look back and say that I savored each day and didn't have any regrets.

As I think back to each workout each day, I remember the feelings and thoughts going through my head. I remember being present in each moment to really soak up everything around me.

I think back to Wednesday, the first day of the Games, standing on Hermosa Beach gazing out into the Pacific Ocean, focusing on the waves and how they came crashing down on the sand. I felt the warmth beneath the soles of my feet, as I jogged across the soft sand. The cool, refreshing salt water splashed up against my skin as I ran into the ocean. I recall the taste of the salt water as I tried to swim out to the buoy, focusing on my breath as I slowly got closer to the turnaround point.

There were so many vivid memories and I am glad that I took the time to really soak up each moment, to feel the environment around me and be present. When I was on the soccer field or in the tennis stadium, I always looked up into the stands and waved to friends, family and everyone in the crowd. Seeing the people cheer on the athletes brought a feeling of joy and happiness to me. I was thankful for their support and wanted to recognize  them for all that they did and that their love does not go unnoticed.




To be in that stadium again a second year in a row, competing with other athletes from around the world was an amazing experience and I am very grateful for it. I enjoyed my time at the Games and will continue to make the most of all the opportunities that come my way.

Even though the dust has settled, there are a lot of things upcoming in my life and I look forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences. There is more work to be done and more to be explored in life. Here is to the road ahead...

~ MCA


Monday, July 14, 2014

Moment in time...

In a dream, you can feel the wind across your skin. You can feel the warm breeze slowly brush over your body, sending a chill down your spine. As you lay down, you connect with the damp grass, feeling the coolness on your back. Gazing into the sky, the rays of sun shine bring warmth to your face. Smiling, feeling happy for this moment in time, you close your eyes and take a minute to appreciate it. 

As you take a deep inhale, filling every part of your lungs with air, you slowly open your eyes. Adjusting to the light, you gaze up looking at the bright white clouds that ever so gently pass over you. Focusing in more, you see the details of each cloud, the contrast against the vibrant blue sky. The clouds appear so close to you that you extend your arm, reaching for the sky, tracing the outline of a cloud with your fingertip. 

As you bring your hand back down, you intertwine your fingers and place your hands behind the back of the head. Exhaling, you close your eyes again and sink deeper into the grass underneath you. Letting go of any thoughts that enter your mind, you feel as though you are in a state of bliss, enjoying this moment in time. 

~ MCA  

Photo image from: fineartamerica.com

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Thoughts...

I have been meaning to write some thoughts down for a while now, but as I go to the computer and type, I get stuck and am at a loss for words. I think it is a combination of wanting to talk about everything that has been going on in my life and wanting it to sound fluid and perfect right away.

The last time I had the chance to sit down and write a little was in January, and that was a very brief moment. I wanted to just take some time and write ideas, questions and phrases that popped into my mind or have been swirling around for some time now. No agenda, just thoughts that I wanted to express...

What is the purpose of life? Is it to uncover your untapped potential; is it to help others in their life? Is it to travel the world and see the beauty in foreign countries, or build a place of beauty around ourselves?

What is it to succeed in life? How do we define ourselves, by our work, our happiness, our material possessions? What defines us, our attitude in life, our family, our passion? 

What happens when someone close is taken from you, does is spark a light inside you to really start to live life or does it crush your heart or both?

A song that has some meaning to it.... 

Another turning point
A fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist
Directs you where to go

So make the best of this test
And don't ask why
It's not a question 
But a lesson learned in time

It's a something unpredictable 
But in the end it's right
I hope you had the time of your life

So take the photographs
And still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf
In good health and good time

Tattoos of memories
And dead skin on trial
For what it's worth
It was worth all the while

It's something unpredictable
But in the end it's right
I hope you had the time of your life

It's something unpredictable
But in the end it's right 
I hope you had the time of your life

It's something unpredictable
But in the end it's right
I hope you had the time of your life


This is 'Time Of Your Life' by Green Day (written by Frank Wright Iii, Mike Pritchard, Bille Joe Armstrong). This song reminds me of my sister Kerstin who passed away in 2008. She was someone who had the time of her life each day, she lived each moment to its fullest and it was amazing to watch and truly see someone who didn't hold back. 

I learned from her to really live in each moment, as you are not guaranteed the next one. There was a time where my heart was crushed by her passing and it still hurts to have her missing from my life, but I know that she would want me to keep living life and to continue forward with my goals and aspirations.

My outlook in life has been to make the most of every moment that you have, whether you are spending it with family and friends, or at work, or by yourself, appreciate that day or hour that you have. Be thankful for all the people that are in your life, whether are they are still in your life or not, they are or were there for a purpose. 

Follow your heart and passion and surround yourself with people that believe in you and support you. Live your life as if there are no limits, smile at those around you and have the time of your life...

~ MCA




Friday, January 17, 2014

Grateful & Thankful...

It has been a little over two months since I have sat down and blogged. There have been many thoughts pass through my mind. Thoughts of training, thoughts of my family and friends, thoughts of life and what is important while we are on this planet.

Today I have been thinking of how grateful I am. I have been very blessed with the life that I have, the family and friends around me and the opportunities in my life. I have been lucky to have traveled when I was young and to travel now as an adult. I have been fortunate to have met some great people through my life. To have the ability to play sports and numerous activities has been a blessing and I am thankful each day.

As the New Year starts to unfold, I continue to appreciate everything in my life. I try not to take things for granted as life can change in the drop of a hat. Treat others like you want to be treated. Show respect and consideration for those around you. Be grateful for those special people in your life and enjoy each day that you have.

~ MCA

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Games Week, Sunday...

It's been a long time since I've had time to sit down and write the final post to the Games but here it is...

The final day...

Sunday - July 28th, 2013
Sprint Chipper
Rise and shine for the final day of the 2013 CrossFit Games. The first event for the day was the Sprint Chipper: 21-15-9 of MedBall GHD Sit-ups, Power Snatches with 100# and 9 burpees over a wall. This workout was a quick one. How fast can you move through these three movements?

I remember sitting in the GHD, getting ready for the horn to buzz, looking up in the stands and smiling. Soaking up the moment as the next few minutes would be a fast pace hustle to the end. I was calm and collected one moment, feeling my heart beat within my chest. As soon as the horn blew, the high pace competition began and my heart started to beat faster. I reached down and picked up my MedBall and tapped the top of the GHD. I made sure to hold on tight for all 21 reps.

As I finished the GHD sit-ups, I dropped the ball to the left and climbed out to the right to minimize my transition to the snatches. I ran to my barbell that was set up on the platform in my lane. I had my mind set on doing all 15 snatches in a row, but as I got to the 8th snatch I was not able to hold on to the bar. I dropped it to platform. Before the event Alex and I had talked about the plan, go for 15 snatches in a row; if I wasn't able to keep going, drop to doubles or singles, but keep moving. I picked the bar back up and finished the snatches as singles.

As I finished the last snatch, I dropped the barbell behind me and ran to the next obstacle, a 6 ft. wall built with Plexiglas and wood frames that we had to climb up and over. As I approached the wall, I dropped my chest to the floor, pulled myself up and jumped up and over that wall. I threw myself to the floor as fast as I flipped over the wall. I told myself one more burpee, one more burpee, all the way to the 9th rep.

As I finished the last rep, I sprinted my way to the finish line, pumping my arms back and forth, moving my body as fast as I could. I finished with a time of 3:27, landing in 30th place for that workout. As I stood in the field with the sun shining down on me, I could see the crowd in the stands.  I saw my friends and family in a sea a red, cheering me on, waving their arms in the air. The handmade signs that were held up by friends brought a huge smile to my face. I threw my arms in the air, waving my hands and blowing kisses to everyone as I was so grateful to have all of their support.

Cinco 1 & Cinco 2
My goal for the Games this year was to make it to the final workout on the final day. The top 30 athletes after the sprint chipper were selected to move on, and I was one of those athletes. I was excited and thankful to have made the last workout. All of the training that I had put in this past year paid off. All the hours in the gym, working on my weaknesses to get better, stronger and faster was all worth it to make it to the final event. I proved to myself that I could do it, that I was able to do everything that was put in front of me. It had been a long week, but one with some fulfilling moments and experiences.

Cinco 1, the first part of the event was composed of three rounds of five deadlifts at 265# and five weighted pistols (one-legged squats) on each leg with a 35# kettlebell hold. Once the three rounds were finished, we had an 80 ft.  handstand walk to complete. All this work needed to be done within seven minutes. Once the time was up, we had a one minute of rest, which then started the second part of the final event.  Cinco 2 was three rounds, of five muscle ups and five deficit handstand push-ups. After the three rounds were completed, we had to complete an overhead walking lunge at 100# for 90ft.

Going into Cinco 2 I knew that the deficit handstand push-ups were going to be very challenging, but I told myself that I would try my very best.

The first part, Cinco 1 was fun for me, as I like to lift heavy weight and the pistols are an easy movement for me. As I stood in the arena for the last workout, I looked up in the stands and smiled to everyone. This brought a feeling of calmness in me. I knew that in a few moments that may change but I made sure to take a deep breath and enjoy that moment.

As the horn blew, I pulled the 265# bar off the floor and those first five reps felt smooth and easy. By the last round, the bar felt like plus 300#. As fatigue started to set in, my back started to round and my neck started to arch. I knew that my body and mind would be tested to it's limits. I had prepared for this and put in the days, weeks and months of training to be able make it to the final event.

As I finished the last set of pistols, it was on to the handstand walk. The goal was to complete that walk and I got close. Kicking up into a handstand after 15 heavy deadlifts made the walk more challenging and was hard to stabilize. I felt the heat of the sun on my skin and the sweat rolling down my face as I kicked up into a handstand. As I started to walk down the black mat on my hands, I could feel my heart pounding through my chest. I told myself, one more step, just one more step. I kept trying to cover more ground, but I lost my balance and came out of the handstand. I shook out my arms, closed my eyes for a second and took a deep breath. I stayed calm and kept kicking back up into the handstand to complete the walk, but time ran out. I made it past the half way mark and finished with a tie for 20th place.

As the minute of rest started, I got ready for the next event. Even though I didn't finish the handstand walk, I let it go, as it was already in the past. The focus now was to perform single muscle-ups so I would be able to complete some handstand push-ups. I followed my plan for the muscle-ups and moved to the deficit handstand push-ups. I placed my hands on the blocks and kicked up into a handstand. I lowered myself until my head touched the floor, brought my knees to my chest and kicked my feet up, but I fell away from the wall. No rep for my first attempt. I rested a little, filled my lungs with air and then tried it again but I couldn't lock it out and fell off. I had hope that if I could get at least one rep, then that would maybe lead to another rep.

One attempt after another I would fall off that wall, but I didn't give up. I could feel my emotions run high, I could feel the tears swell up in my eyes. I looked up to the crowd and saw the people cheering for us, screaming and waving their arms. I saw one lady who was right in front of my wall encouraging me to keep going; I smiled at her, took a big breath and kicked up again. As I kicked my feet up, I tried to press my hands against the blocks, but I again, fell away from the wall. My judge offered some words of encouragement to me to help as I had yet to complete one rep of the handstand push-ups. I appreciated the help and said thank you.

At the end of the seven minutes, I had only completed those first five muscle-ups. I thanked my judge, signed my score card and turned to the woman in the crowd that had cheered me on. I waved to her, said thank you to her and everyone else in the stand. I walked up to the other athletes and congratulated them, hugged them and gave them high fives. I finished with a tie for 29th place.




As I started to walk across the arena, tears started to fill my eyes and my chest felt as though I had a heavy sandbag wrapped around my shoulders. I poured all of my energy into those last seven minutes and felt exhausted both physically and mentally. Was I defeated? No. Was I disappointed in myself? No. I was overwhelmed with emotions because I wanted to complete at least one handstand push-up, but no matter how hard I tried, it wasn't there for me. I could feel my tears swell up and start to roll down my cheeks, but as I looked up to the crowd, I gently wiped them away and smiled. I achieved my goal of making it to the final event on the final day at the CrossFit Games. I was proud of myself for accomplishing the goals I set out.

The CrossFit Games to came to a close for me, but it was one of the best experiences ever. I am forever thankful for all the encouragement and love from Alex, Jane, Roberto, Remy, Martha, Rafa, Marisa, Cristi, John, Amy, Austin, Lynnie, Marco, Marco Jr., Steve, Connie and Diablo. I am appreciative of all the support from my friends and family from DCF, back home and around the world, thank you!

So, what's next? Practicing more deficient handstand push-ups.

~ MCA

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Games Week, Saturday...

As the journey continues...

Saturday - July 27th, 2013
Naughty Nancy
Saturday was our earliest day, reporting at 7am for an athlete briefing, but it was another day filled with challenging events for everyone at the Games. The first event looked exciting as it had more running, but the run was up a big hill with lots of stairs and then lots of squats... hello quads. 

Looking back at this workout, I would actually like to try it again and see how I would do. It would definitely be hard to replicate unless I'm in the Stub Hub Center again, but to approach the workout with a different plan and see how it would unfold is enticing to me. 

The runs were challenging but I was able to be consistent with my pace and move through the course relatively well. The overhead squats were broken into three sets of different reps to make sure I didn't blow up, but as I approached the final round, I completed 22 overhead squats in a row as the buzzer went off, signaling the cut off time. It brought a question to my mind, would I have been able to complete the workout if I had done larger sets?

As I reflect back, it might have been possible to do larger sets of the squats, which in turn might have allowed me to finish the workout underneath the time cap. But how do I really know this? You cannot go back and say, oh if I would have done this, or if I would have done that, I could have finished... I did what I did, I followed my plan and did the event. Another workout under my belt. I finished with a tie for 26th place. 

1RM Clean & Jerk
The Clean & Jerk, one of my favorite lifts. This was another event that I was really looking forward to. In one of our athlete briefings, we were informed that we needed to provide our opening lift. The options were to start at 145, 165, 185 or 205. 

Right off the bat, I thought I could start at 185, as my max Clean & Jerk was 200. Alex and I talked about it and we were discussing how opening at 165 would be a better plan. At first my ego kicked in, start at 165 when I have been hitting over 185? I felt that I could start at 185, complete that lift and then move forward from there. But Alex knew what he was talking about, it was my ego that was getting in my way. My heavier lifts (185 and plus) had not been very consistent in the past couple of weeks to put it all on the line and risk missing my opening lift. 

There was a rule that stated if you didn't complete your opening lift, you were finished with the competition. So, with this in place the best plan was to open with 165 and have a few additional lifts to warm up and be ready for the heavier weight. A great plan. Thank you Alex for all your guidance and coaching, I couldn't have done it without you. 

We were all lined up and were called out to our starting weight. I approached each bar and lifted the weight, resting after the completion of each lift. I worked up to 190, hit the lift and then moved on to 195. I cleaned the bar, but missed the jerk so I rested and then reattempted the weight. I was able to clean it, but again, missed the jerk. So close. 

I was happy that I hit 95% of my max Clean and Jerk, and almost completed the 195 lift. I finished with a tie for 27th place. This event ignited my fire to get back to training after the Games. But until then, we focused on the next event.

2007 
Looking back this event, it was one of the most memorable workouts of the entire competition. I remember walking out onto the stadium floor, seeing the bright lights fill the arena, waving to all the fans in the crowd and smile as I jogged to my rower. While they called the other athletes onto the field, I set up my rower and got ready. Alex and I knew that this workout was all about the pull-ups for me.  Going into this workout I had both my plan and a back up plan that would allow me to complete all 125 pull-ups.

As we got ready and the horn blew, we started to row the 1000 meters. The 1k felt like no big deal compared to the half marathon a few days earlier. As soon as I completed my row, I walked straight to my bar and did butterfly pull-ups. I broke the 25 up into small sets and then moved on to the Push Jerks, completing all 7 in a row. As I continued on to the following rounds of pull-ups and Jerks, I could feel the intensity of the workout set it. My arms started to fatigue, my breathing got heavier, but I focused. I took deep breaths, shook out my arms and continued to move through the reps, one at a time.

As I approached that final set of Jerks, I finished the 7th rep, dropped the bar and jumped onto the finishing mat waving to the crowd and camera. Looking up to the crowd filled with family, friends and other Crossfitters, I blew kisses and waved because it was their support, their cheering that made it all worth it. With the contrast of the dark skies, the bright lights lit up the crowd, illuminating the arena and stands. This was a very memorable moment for me.

I walked up to my fellow competitors and cheered them on, encouraging them to keep going and keep fighting. One more rep, one more pull-up. It was an amazing feeling to be out there and cheer for them. Once our heat was finished, we gave each other high fives and hugged one another, congratulating them on their hard work.

Looking around and taking it all in, I smiled, feeling great about accomplishing something amazing. This accomplishment was doing butterfly pull-ups for the entire workout. For some Crossfitters, it might not be a big accomplishment, but for me, this was huge! A couple months prior at the NorCal Regionals, I had a hard time doing butterfly pull-ups in Jackie, I was able to complete about 10 reps, then I went to kipping pull-ups to finish the workout. Butterfly pull-ups were a hit-and-miss, but after all of Alex's programming and working on the butterfly pull-up, I was able to complete 125 reps. Again, this was a huge step for me and I was proud of myself. I finished that workout with a time of 11:59.7 for a 20th place finish.

My friend Hollee took a video of the end of the workout. She posted it to my wall after the Games and it brought tears to my eyes hearing all the support from everyone in the stands... thank you all for cheering me on and supporting me reach my goals!



As our Saturday came a close, Alex and I looked back on the day and talked about what we learned. Day two was in the books. We prepped for Sunday and turned in for the night.

~ MCA

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Games Week, Friday...

To follow up my first post, I wanted to finish writing and share my experience with those around me, both near and far.

Friday - July 26th, 2013
Burden Run
Looking back at this day and getting ready for the whole weekend, I remember it was full of emotion and excitement. The first workout of the day, the Burden Run, was a challenging event and looking back, it was one of the hardest. 

The run was good, only a little over 2 miles, but you had to be smart in how you started off. My goal was to keep a 7 minute pace for the run so when I approached the Pig I would get started right away. I was able to stay pretty much on pace, a little over 14 minutes by the time I reached the Pig. 

We didn't have the opportunity to flip the Pig before hand, so when we all started to arrive at the field, everyone was on the same page, flip this bad boy, end over end until we reach the end of the field. That little Pig was heavy but there was so much adrenaline going through my body. I bent over, loaded my body, heaved it up and then pushed it over one rep at a time. Taking deep breaths, filling my lungs with oxygen, telling myself I can do this and getting prepped for the next flip. 

I reached the log, rolled it up my body and held it close to my head and left shoulder. As I turned on to the track, I tried to shift the weight to have a better grip on the log, but it slipped and rolled off my back. I lifted it back up to my left shoulder and wrapped my arms tightly around it, interlocking my fingers, holding on to it for dear life. 

As I reached the stadium, I dropped the log and grabbed the straps for the sled and got ready to pull. I drove my feet into the damp grass, leaning forward and putting my weight into those straps. It started to move slowly, inch by inch, foot by foot, I pulled it forward. As my legs started to burn, the momentum started to slow, coming to a halt. I launched forward, driving my feet down but I did not move. I could not get that sled started. I tried and tried again. Finally... I started to move, I leaned forward with all my might and finished the workout in 35:07, 20th place in that workout. 

Going into that workout, I thought I was going to be able to move that sled a little fast than I did, but I was happy that I finished the workout underneath the time cap. I learned a lot of things from this workout and I stuck to my plan for the weekend, which was to enjoy each event, stay present and then reflect on it when it was completed and then move forward to the next. 

Pulling the sled across the finish line.


Zig Zag Sprint and Legless
The following events included the Zig Zag Sprint and Legless. I was excited to do sprint as it was a short, fast and explosive event and definitely something different than a day in the gym. It was also interesting as it was a bracketed scoring, the top three individuals in each heat would continue on. I went out there and gave it my best and ran my hardest. I was finished after just one round with a tie for 38th. 

As all the women stood on the field, waiting to see who would go on, I could see friends and family in the stands and the incredible crowd, cheering for everyone. It was sight to see. As I close my eyes now, I see everyone screaming and yelling, holding their signs and water bottles and I remember seeing the emotion on peoples faces, the passion and zest that they have for this sport.

They were all there to support and watch everyone. They connected with us and I know I connected with them. I have said this before to friends and family: I'm a part of the community and the community is part of me. I wouldn't be here without all the support and love from everyone. For everyone out there, thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

For the next event, Legless. This was one that was going to be more of a challenge, how many legless rope climbs can I complete? I practiced and was able to get two while warming up and I felt good. The minimum requirement was one rope climb, our goal was to get through those first four rope climbs. 

As I walked on to the stadium, I waved to the crowd and smiled, soaking up the moment. I focused on the workout and my plan. After completing the thrusters, I jumped up to that first rope and got up pretty smoothly. I rested and then went for my second climb, completing it with a tap at the top of the rig. I moved over to my third rope and shook my arms out, jumped up and climbed the rope. Once I got to the top, I swiped the top of the rig, but as I descended the judge called it a no rep as the contact at the top needs to be more controlled verses a swipe. I said ok, let's try it again. I tried and tried, but could not make it to the top. I was a few kips away, my grip started to give and my hands started to slip. I didn't give up though, I kept trying and kept fighting for the remainder of the time. 

As the clock hit 10 minutes, I had only completed 2 rope climbs, but again I put it all out there and didn't give up. I finished with a tie for 34th place. 

As the day came to a close, I knew I tried my best on each event and put everything on the table. I was proud of what I had accomplished and was lucky and grateful to have Alex, my family and friends by my side. I learned a lot this day. I shared with family and friends that we will be adding more legless rope climbs into my training.

Yes, I will admit that I wish I could have gotten more rope climbs, but I am at where I am at. I didn't have the upper body strength to complete all those rope climbs. This workout is one that showed a weakness of mine, or an 'area of improvement' as I like to think of it. How did I learn this? By going through this event and gaining valuable experience. One of our goals this year at the Games was to gain experience and I did.

With day one in the books, we reflected on the day and then focused our energy to the next day...

~ MCA

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Games Week...

It's been awhile since my last post, Pre-Games, but life has been busy like always and I have been occupied with other events.

My mind flashes back to the Games, I think of all the memories that were created and all that unfolded. I want to go into all the details but I'm going to try and give an overview of the days and the amazing experience that I had.

Monday - July 22, 2013
I went to the check in area to get all of my athlete gear for the week. It was incredible, so many people volunteering and working to make it all happen. I met some women and men while in line and chatted with them briefly as we made our way through the line to collect everything we needed. Shirts, shorts, bathing suit, shoes, bag and accessories. It was an incredible amount of gear. A huge thanks go out to Reebok and CrossFit for making this all happen. 

As the day unfolded, Alex and I had time to relax and unwind before the athlete dinner. We soaked it up and enjoyed the moment.

Monday night dinner: There were two large buses that transported all the athletes, all the women in one bus, all the men in the other. At the beginning of the bus ride, Lindsey V. stood up and shared how we should all go around and introduce ourselves, saying our name, where we are from and share a something about yourself. I really liked this, because it made me think of all the classes I coach and all the fun and interesting things I have learned from my friends and members at the gym. It was cool to hear what everyone shared; I found out that one of the girl, Natalie, races motocross. I thought that was pretty awesome and I definitely learned more about the girls. This was a great way to break the ice.

We approached the Stub Hub Center and got seated for dinner and had some of the workouts announced. When Dave asked if anyone had ever done a half marathon, my arm shot high into the air, I was super excited... a long run!? Omg, yes, this will be great!

Then, he said, "on a rower?".  I think everyone's jaws dropped haha. It was one of those moments for me where I thought... yeah, I have never done that before. But there's a first time for everything right?

The other workout that was released while we were at dinner was Naughty Nancy. We got to stand by the edge of the balcony and watch as Pat Barber demonstrated one round of the workout; it looked like a fun but challenging one with the stairs involved, but I was looking forward to this experience.

Tuesday - July 23, 2013
This was a day to prep and run through things before the competition started. The athletes were taken to a pool to practice getting into the water and have the opportunity to try a few bar muscle ups. It was a good dry run as it allowed me to feel how the muscle ups were going to feel soaking wet.

What did I learn? Tighten my goggles and get a good grip on that bar. With every experience, you learn something new, so go into it with an open mind and see what works and what doesn't work.

Wednesday - July 24, 2012
Swim workout 
Rise and shine! Alex and I got up early, got ready and prepped for the first day of competition. All the athletes were transported by bus again to an aquatic center for the workout. The plan was to leave at 6:15am, well the buses were a little late and there was a lot of traffic, so we got to the aquatic center with very minimal time to prep.

It was a little sporadic and hectic with 44 women trying to use the restrooms and get prepped for the first workout. I was in the first heat, so we only had about 5 minutes to get ready and get lined up. We had the opportunity to hop into the pool for a 25m warm up swim then had our timer chips put on our ankles and then lined up to start exactly at 8:00am.

I understand that we had to go at a certain time, as we were going to be broadcasted on TV. I would have loved to have at least 20 minutes to warm up and practice a bar muscle up, but you cannot worry or stress about the uncontrollable factors. As Alex told me, adapt and overcome, a saying he heard in the Marine Corps.

So we got lined up and got started right on time. Being in the water offered a feeling of calmness at a certain point, as it is just you in your lane and your stroke. I focused on my stroke through the water and made sure to get to my bar quickly, dry my hands off and get prepped for the bar muscle ups. I finished in 16:30.4, second in my heat and 15th overall. I was happy with this, as the goal for this workout was top 15. I gave it my best and that was what mattered.

Row workout
After everyone completed the swim we were transported to the Stub Hub center again for the half marathon row. All athletes were going at the same time, so we all got prepped and dressed to sit and row for over an hour. Some athletes had long pants, some had shorts, some had arm sleeves, others had gloves. It was interesting to look around and see other athletes and what they were going to wear for this event.

All the athletes got seated and waited for the beep. We had a 2k row for time, then straight into the half marathon: 21,097 meters. The first 2k was ok, I believe a majority of people were all pushing to get the best time. Compared to the half marathon, the 2k went by pretty fast.

Reflecting back on this workout, it is one that I will probably not repeat, but it was a good experience. I learned what I would need or want for a workout similar to this. People would ask me, how did you do it, what did you focus on? I would focus on a few different things: my stroke rate, how my body was feeling, my support - Alex, friends, family. I would also look up into the crowd, glance from side to side, take in the moment, then back to my stroke rate.

This workout had a big mental component - you are on a rower for over an hour, moving your body, but not having different scenery. Being able to see the meters slowly count down but know that you have a good amount of distance ahead. It's funny because I remember looking the monitor and thinking, oh great, I only have 8,000 meters left. Only? Haha, but in the big picture I was almost finished.

I completed the 2k with a time of 7:42.6 and the half marathon with a time of 1:29.02, finishing 13th and 2nd respectively. It was one of the many highlights of the Games as it was one of my highest finishes in the events.

I learned a lot from this day and was looking forward to the rest of the weekend and competition. This was just the beginning but it was a great start. Alex and I focused on one workout and one day at a time. Thinking back on these memories make me smile as I had an amazing opportunity.

Thursday - July 25th, 2013
Our rest day before the big event. The athletes had some mandatory things to do, such as a press conference - first time for everyone so it was different, but again a good experience. It was the day to prep and get ready for the weekend. Alex and I enjoyed the day and soaked up it all up.

I wanted to keep things short but there were more thoughts and emotions behind my words. I will write another post to share my thoughts and experiences for the rest of the weekend. Thanks to everyone for reading my blog and supporting me, it means a lot!

~ MCA