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