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

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Pre-Games...

Our journey began about a week before we needed to check in for the Games. Alex and I headed to San Diego to visit my aunt Martha, uncle Rafa, my cousins Marisa and Cristi and Luis, Marisa's boyfriend. We spent the next few days in and around San Diego, visiting gyms, catching up with old friends, meeting new friends and relaxing before the big event.

On Wednesday we met up with a new friend, Courtney - a friend of Hilary's and went to La Jolla Shores to practice ocean swimming. She was very nice and had a lot of helpful tips in regards to getting in and out of the water. She took the time to spend her morning with us and help us with swimming, we were both very appreciative of this!! It is moments like this where you are thankful for the friends in your life and the events that unfold. Thank you Courtney, Hilary and James for all your help and friendship, means so much to us!

The following day we went to CrossFit Mission Gorge, visited the owners, ran into some old friends and trained. Let's rewind real quickly: two years ago I went the Left Coast Invitational competition in August 2011 at CFMG and met a lot of people from the gym. In the competition, I hit a personal record of 165 lbs. for my Clean and Jerk that year. Being back in the gym made it feel like it was just a few months ago. It was a great experience being there, as I got to reflect on where I was two years ago and where I am now. To also see the progress within a year was amazing and it light a fire in me to stay focused on my plan.  Thank you to Ian, Tami and everyone else at CFMG for letting us train there for the day. We appreciate your hospitality and look forward to returning in the future!

The next couple of days we checked out some other gyms, CrossFit Secutor, CrossFit Chula Vista and CrossFit 858. We visited with Mark from CF 858, stretched and chatting with some of the members there. It was good to talk with others and again reflect back from where I started.

My cousin Cristi introduced us to some friends of hers, Carlos, Evan and Dave - who coach and train at some of the gyms in San Diego. Evan allowed us to workout at his home gym, giving us a place to train for the afternoon. We were very thankful for his hospitality and generosity!! To Carlos, Evan and those at CF Secutor - Kyle, Dave and the others, we are very appreciative and hope to all see you again soon.

As the weekend came to a close, we made two final stops. The first was at Walnut CrossFit to meet up with owner Rob and some of the ladies and men that train there. We did some lifting and then talked with them about our training, nutrition and how everything plans a part into your life. It was great to be able to speak with others and share the information that we have learned together. Alex and I both have a passion to be able to help others and inspire others to work towards their goals, whatever they may be. This experience was amazing and we are blessed to have had this opportunity with them. Thank you Walnut CrossFit!!

The final stop was to my other aunt and uncle's house, BJ and James. We visited with them and my cousins Jenny and Austin, discussing about the upcoming events and what it would entail. We also talked about their goals and what they are doing in life. This was very refreshing as it allowed us to really see the bigger picture in life.

Spending quality time with your family, friends and important people in your life. We thoroughly enjoyed being able to sit down, have an amazing meal (thank you BJ and James) and have many conversations about a variety of topics. Yes, we had a lot going on in the next few days, but we relished the moment that we were in and stayed present. As the sun settled and the day winded down, we said our good-byes and wished one another well. A huge thank you to our family for always welcoming us in and having us over!!

As the weekend closed, we looked back at all the hard work we had done, all the fun we had this past week and got ready for the next page - the start of the CrossFit Games.

To wrap up my thoughts and words of the 'Pre-Games' it brings to mind this phrase: the calm before the storm. Something to think about before any big event or moment in your life. Take a moment to enjoy everything that you have worked for. Take the time to relish the effort you put forth, no one can take that from you, so soak it up!

~ MCA

Friday, August 2, 2013

2013 CrossFit Games

La Jolla, CA

The 2013 CrossFit Games... one of the best experiences in my life. There is so much to go over, review and reflect on. I want to talk about it all, but that will be a long post so I am going to give a brief recap and a shout out to those in my life. I will go in depth in a later post.

The attitude I had going into the Games was one of happiness and excitement. I was looking forward to this experience and opportunity and I made sure to make the most of it. 

Leading up to the Games, Alex and I had the chance to see family and spend time with them. We also got to see some old friends, meet some new friends and check out some boxes. It was very fulfilling to do this, as we got to enjoy time with one another and soak up some time outside of the gym.

To some up the week and weekend, incredible and breathtaking! As we got checked in, we absorbed as much as we could; meeting athletes from around the world, talking with some of them and getting to know them a little better. We shared our experiences and enjoyed each day. The workouts were great, testing a variety of pathways and skills, just as you would expect. There are lots of things Alex and I learned and have added to our list of things to work on. I will talk more about the workouts in the days to follow.

I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported Alex and I. My family, his family, our family - my mom, dad, sister(s), cousins, aunts, uncles, second cousins, etc. Friends from California, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Mexico and all the other places. Your support has meant so much to us. The texts, messages, posts, emails, hugs, smiles, cheers... they are all very much appreciated. We can't say thank you enough!!

I wouldn't be here without you all. Looking into the stands, smiling and waving to everyone was one of the biggest things I was looking forward to. And I did it every time I walked onto that stadium floor. It is about community; it is about the support of true friends and the belief in the dreams that one may have. I had a dream of going to the CrossFit Games and I made it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for believing in me! Thank you to Alex for being my best friend, boyfriend, partner and side kick!

I opened a fortune cookie before the start of the weekend and below is what was revealed... 






It brought a smile to my face reading it. Life has so many ups and downs, forward and side way turns, but it's how you absorb them. It's how you reflect on these experiences in life and how you move forward. 

I had a goal of making that final workout on the final day and I achieved that. I placed 26th overall and I am happy with my result. Since starting CrossFit in Feb/March 2011, I am happy with my progress and growth. All the hard work that has been put in, has paid off. I will continue to work hard and will continue to learn and grow. 

I look forward to the path that is ahead. I look forward to helping others and being an advocate for positive change. For each individual out there working towards your goals: 

Surround yourself with positive people. 
Write down your goals so you see them everyday. 
Make a plan, work hard and stay focused.
Enjoy the process and have fun.

Thank you again to everyone who has provided support! Enjoy your day and smile :)

~ MCA

Friday, June 7, 2013

NorCal Regionals...

It's been about two weeks since the NorCal Regionals. Some times it feels as though it's been longer, other times it feels as though it was just the other day.

There have been so many emotions and feelings since then. First thing I want to say is thank you to all those who have supported and believed in me. To my man, Alex, who has been there every step of the way, loving and encouraging me. To my family who supported me, in person and in different states, cheering me on every day and every workout. To my friends at Diablo, who cheered me on and my friends across the states supporting me - in Boston, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Montana and other parts of California. I hope you all know how appreciative I am of your support and love!! Being able to think of you and see you in the crowd, brings a smile to my face. I love seeing you all and waving to you all, as you all mean so much to me!

This has been my goal now for two years and I have put so much blood, sweat, tears and time into this goal... and it has all been worth it. Reflecting back on the regionals, I look at each workout and see my performance. I wanted to write and share my thoughts...

Workout #1 - Jackie: 1000m row, 50 thrusters 45#, 30 pull-ups
I had performed this workout a few times before in training. Alex had programmed it for me after Craig and I were coaching one morning. The workout for the day was Jackie and it was revealed that I have not done it before, so it quickly became on the top of my workouts 'to do', haha. Thank you Craig for your encouragement. :)

So fast forward to regionals. Alex and I had prepped for this workout and I had a plan. It was a workout I was looking forward to doing, but had some nerves because it was the first workout of the competition. I focused on me and what I needed to do. The row was a steady pace but fluid, staying at a 2:00 min pace, then dropped to a 2:02 min pace. Straight to the thrusters and 50 reps unbroken, these felt good - as good as 50 unbroken thrusters will get lol. Then, the goal with the pull-ups was 10/5/5/5/5, as this was the hardest part for me. I was able to maintain that until I got to the 20th rep, and the rep scheme got a little shorter. I finished with a 6:38, a PR for me, so I was happy. This time put me in 7th place. I would have liked to stick to my plan of doing 5/5 the last 10 reps, but again, I was able to improve my time, so I was happy.

Workout #2 and #3 - 3 RM OHS; 30 Burpee Muscle-ups for time
This was a workout that made me a little nervous when it first came out, but after practicing, I felt better about it. Overhead strength and overhead movements has been something that Alex and I have been working on improving. He has done an amazing job of helping me increase my overhead strength and increase my shoulder stamina. Last year, I was not able to do any muscle ups in the regionals. I tried and gave it my all; I got on top of the rings but could not press out. I spent 17 minutes trying. This year, we hammered muscle ups and I have gotten a lot better. I still have a lot of growth and improvement, but I am happy and grateful for the success I have made.

As the second workout began, I focused on my plan again... open with 175, load the next weight, rest. Overhead squat 180 for three, add the next weight, rest and try to get as many reps with 185. The platforms weren't as stable as I had practiced on but oh well, this is our lifting platform, do your work. I hit 175 and got ready for 180. I actually hit the back of my head while jerking it up, but it didn't hurt too bad, I stayed focused and hit 180 for all three reps. I continued to 185, I was able to get it up but was not able to stabilize it. Completing 180 for three put me in 8th place with a tie. My plan was, if I missed it, stop, get ready for the next workout.

My goal was to be nice and steady for the muscle ups, as this was one of the harder workouts for me. My adrenaline got me amped up and I started out a little too fast, feeling good the first minute, but the energy started to fade as the minutes progressed. I ended up with a final score of 19 reps, with three no reps. The goal was to get 22, so I was a little shy of that but it was a learning lesson. My 19 reps placed me in another tie for 14th.

Workout #4 - 100 Wallballs, 100 C2B, 100 Pistols, 100 DB snatches
Out of all the workouts that were to be performed this weekend, workout #4 challenged me the most. Some movements were easy, others were discouraging. Not because of the volume, but because the movement in itself was hard. This movement was the chest to bar pull-up. Pull-ups and chest to bar pull-ups have been challenging for me, but I have worked on them and will continue to do so.

My plan was to break up the wallballs into sets of 10, chest to bar in sets of 2, steady on the pistols and keep moving on the snatches. I felt nervous for this workout but I kept breathing and focusing on my plan, one rep at a time, one movement at a time. The adrenaline was a factor for the wallballs, which brought me too fast out of the gate, but I stuck to my plan on the chest to bar and hammered through those 100 reps. The pistols were the easiest movement for me and I was able to flow through those at a relatively quick pace. The dumbbell snatches were another obstacle, but I tackled it, one at a time, completing 60 snatches. My goal was to get to 70 snatches, so I was 10 reps shy but again, I gave it my all and tried my hardest. I tied for 6th place with this finish.

Workout #5 - 21-15-9 DL 205# and Box Jumps 24 inches
I was looking forward to this workout, as I felt good with the deadlifts and box jumps. This was a different workout from what was programmed at the 2011 Regionals. I didn't participate in the 2011 Regionals as I had only started crossfitting 3 months prior, but I had volunteered for the SoCal Regionals so I remember seeing the original workout.

I stuck to my plan with breaking up the deadlifts and keeping the box jumps fluid. The goal was to hit a sub 4 minute time. My plan worked for me and I hit my goal, completing the workout in 3:58. This score placed me 3rd in the workout and I was very happy.

Workout #6 - 100 DU, 50 HSPU, 40 T2B, 30 Push Press, 90ft Front Rack Lunge
When I first saw this workout, I thought it would be awesome and it shouldn't be too bad. Well, it was little deceiving to say the least. After doing a run through, it was a little more challenging than I anticipated. Thinking about our plan approaching this workout, we decided to break the double unders, 50/50, handstand push-ups 10/10 and sets of 5 after. The toes to bar were going to be broken into sets of 4 and push press into sets of 5. The 90ft of lunge was going to be unbroken.

As I started this workout, I focused on my plan and breezed through my double unders, which was not the case when I first started crossfitting. The pic below was posted on the DCF blog by JJ the other day, the photo on the left is me trying to do double unders in the first Open work out in 2011, a couple weeks after starting CrossFit. The photo on the right was after the fifth regional workout 2013. A flashback for sure but a great memory.


Back to the workout... I moved on to the HSPU, doing my first two set of 10, but then had to break the reps up more as my shoulders started to fatigue. The toes to bar went as planned and moved through the rather easily. The push press was a challenge however, I had to break away from sets of 5 to sets of 3 and 4. As soon as I finished the push press, my focus was on the 90ft unbroken lunges. That was my goal and I was sticking to it. I focused on the sign in front of me and lunged out the first 45ft. The second half took a little bit longer but I kept grinding, I fought for every step and as my elbows started to drop I could feel my legs burning more, so I kept pushing. I crossed the line and jumped to the finish mat, so happy to have accomplished my goal. My legs burned and it was a challenge to walk after, but it was all worth it, as I finished 3rd place.

Workout #7 - 2 rope climbs, 100ft sprint, 4 Full Cleans 135# - Four rounds
The final workout was another one I was looking forward to at the day of competition. When the workouts were released, the rope climbs made me a little nervous as I had not practiced them regularly. With some practice, I felt good about my technique and was excited to do this workout. As the final heat of ladies lined up, I reflected back on the past couple of days, I was happy with my performance and had enjoyed each day to it's fullest. I repeated my plan inside my head and would focus only on my lane.

My goal was to get a sub 5 minute time and place first in this workout. It was one of those workouts Alex and I felt I could perform well in. I met one of my goals and finished with a time of 4:48. I finished 2nd overall in that workout, but I know there was nothing else I could of left on that field.



As soon as the work out was over we were all asked to wait in the arena until the final scores were submitted and calculated. I was unsure if I qualified for the Games at that moment, as the competition became so close. As we waited for the final results, I congratulated everyone and was talking with Amy and Rachel and we were excited for the day to be finished but happy for all the hard work we put into the weekend. I was dancing to the music, enjoying the moment and happy to be where I was, thinking, whether I qualify or not, I gave it my all. I put everything out there, I didn't hold back and didn't have any regrets.

Then, they called out the last name of the top three athletes and we were pulled to the side. We were standing next to the announcer, waiting to go on the live feed and it was so surreal for me. Did I qualify, what was the final score?

It was so surreal, I have worked so hard for this goal and here I was. I have talked about my goal since competing last year; I am going to compete as an individual again and my ultimate goal is top three at regionals. I want to qualify and compete at the CrossFit Games. I have written it down, I have repeated it numerous times. I have poured my heart into this goal of mine, putting all my energy into it and it has been well worth it!

I want to say thank you again to all of those who have supported me, believed in me and have let me do my thing to reach my goal. Knowing you are in my corner brings such happiness, I feel lucky and blessed to have so many amazing friends and such a great community by my side and in the stands. Your smiles, high fives and cheers mean so much to me. I'm going to continue to train hard and work towards my goals!!

~ MCA

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The up and coming weekend...

This up and coming weekend is the CrossFit NorCal Regionals. There have been so many emotions leading up to this weekend.

Excitement. Nervousness. Happy. Calm. Worried. Stressed. Overjoyed. Definitely up and down emotions. I have wanted to make sure that I am ready for all that comes my way. I have realized that I have trained hard. I have put the work in that had needed to be done. I am at where I am at. 

Alex has been an amazing boyfriend, coach, friend... my everything. He's seen the ups and the downs. I have worked on all my weaknesses and I am happy for all that I have accomplished in this past year. Yes there are still things to work on, to fine tune and sharpen, but that will be continuous. And to me, that is a great thing because it shows that you are constantly learning and growing. 

I am going to go out there and give it my best. I am going to have fun and enjoy this competition, as I have trained for it all year. As my good friend Roni said, "you have everything to gain and nothing to lose." Thank you for those words Roni, appreciate it!

Thank you to my Alex whose been there since day one, you've been my rock and you've helped me in many ways. Thank you to all my family, the support has been amazing. I'm looking forward to seeing my mom, dad, sisters, aunt and cousins. Thank you to all those friends who have supported me and have  cheered me on. The smiles, the high fives, the positive screams... all have been incredible and hope you know that I appreciate each and every one. 

Out of all the emotions I feel, I am grateful. I am grateful for this opportunity and I am so very blessed to be able to compete. For all those who aspire to compete, whether it be CrossFit or anything else, dream big, follow your heart and never let anyone pull you from your passion. Life is meant to be lived and you should live each moment to it's fullest as you never know what is next. 

Life is beautiful in so many ways. 

~ MCA

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bliss...


Found this photo while going through my photo booth on my computer. Words that come to mind: bliss, ease, happy, relaxed, enjoyment and many more.

I'm blessed to have found a man that I can have so much fun with. We have our silly moments, our serious conversations, deep and meaning talks and then our adventures. He's my best friend and everything wrapped into one. I'm so lucky to have Alex as my man, as my partner and other half. Te amo Alex.

To all those who have found their other halves, enjoy your time with one another, tell each other how much you mean to them. Don't be afraid to show it or tell them. If there are people that tease you for that, then they are missing something in their life for sure.

To all those who haven't found their other half, or are still looking... it will happen. It will unfold when you expect it least. Still make the most of life and enjoy all that you have.

~ MCA