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