I want to start by saying I love CrossFit and what it’s done for my life!
When I started CrossFit I had no intention of competing, so much so that after a year of asking me I finally took Tyler’s advice in 2011 and did The Open. I was actually surprised at how well I did compared to the rest of the world in my first Open; I got first in my region! And then making it to the Games was so difficult but also exhilarating. To immediately contrast my excitement, being disqualified on the first event in the Games was plain embarrassing, but really after that I was just so mad. I was pissed the Games would introduce an ocean swim and deem us all safe after swimming only twenty-five meters in a pool. I knew that if I could have just finished, even poorly, in that first event I would have ended up in the top 10 overall. I knew it standing on the beach watching everything, all my hopes and dreams slip from my fingers. And what I learned is that the CrossFit Games didn’t play. Anything goes. So I adopted that attitude and used it as fuel. From then on you couldn’t convince me that anyone was better than me. It’s funny that after reluctantly competing in 2011, I really became a different animal in 2012, with the biggest chip on my shoulder. I was so angry about what happened and I wanted to “fix” it. And after that, I’d be done with this CrossFit thing. So with a lot of Olympic lifting thanks to Jake Rubash, and just plain old CrossFit training thanks to Tyler Quinn. I qualified for the Games again. I was stronger, fitter, and still angry.
The first Games event in 2012, somewhere in the middle of the swim in the ocean, all I could think about was getting to the land. I wasn’t even competing at that point. And when I realized I was gonna make it, there was a part of me that was embarrassed for making such a big deal about it. Then I got pummeled by a wave trying to get out and I quickly came to my senses and realized for as much as I hate open water swimming, what I did was a big deal. And there in that ocean in 2012 is where I left my anger, my chip, my reason for doing this. I didn’t know that then but I know it now.
The rest of that competition I was just thankful to have a chance and felt like it was a fun game seeing how many places I could jump after coming in last in the first event. Around 34 spots I jumped, to 13th. Won the Spirit of the Games, in front of my family and those there supporting me. Tyler even gave me a hug at the end. For two minutes straight they talked about me on ESPN. It was a great ending. I was ready to start a family and be done… or so I thought…
I remember Greg Glassman coming up to me after I won the Spirit of the Games and congratulating me and saying “If we can get your swimming down you’d be on the podium” Could I have done better? Tyler and Patrick certainty thought so. So there I went into 2013. To prove I was the best. Biggest highlight of 2013 no doubt was finishing 5th in the world in The Open. That was pretty cool. No other way to say it. Only four people did better than me in the world! 21st at the games was admittedly not what I wanted, but I was proud to walk away a three times Games athlete, and a respected one. I wasn’t just the girl who didn’t make the swim. I was DCC! And I love that that name means so much and carries so much weight.
The 2015 season was finally for fun and I had a great time seeing what I could do after pregnancy. After a c-section and six months after having Sydney I qualified for Super Regionals. Then nine months after Syd, competing at Regionals- breast feeding between each event- I ended up in 15th. I’m so very proud of that and I know that feat will always be important to our family.
The 2016 season brought Paul Begich! I’ve known Paul since watching him come up through the ranks in class, training with him, to coaching him. BBP (Big Booty Paul)! Man, I remember telling him he was the future of our team (sorry Ian, he was first). I never could have imagined just how influential and inspiring Paul could be; he is quite the leader of this Union Competition Team. So, with no real intrinsic reason for competing, Paul kept me in it. Meg Walters kept me in it. Andee Keefe kept me in it. Ian Earp kept me in it… I can go on but as much as you guys might think I’m kind of a lone wolf, I showed up because you all showed up. ALL OF YOU!
I’m not sure how to explain it. Other than the love is there but the reason, the drive is gone. I’ve paid my dues, I’ve cried, bled, been knocked down and gotten back up. I’ve inspired people I’ve never even met and I’ve been a positive role model for the Lymphedema community.
I’ve had some amazing training partners who are still up to big things and superstars in their own right: Addison Bain, Britt Ringstrom, M’Kelle Tomberlin..
It’s funny to think back to 2011. It was just me and Tyler. I was the original competition team.
Now look at all of you! Time for me to pass the torch… your turn!