Sometimes life changes in ways you never could have anticipated. In 2011 I completed 11.1 less than three months after having a plate installed in my broken elbow and scored just over 7 rounds. Today I completed only 33 reps of the same workout because I'm competing in a qualifier for the Pan Am Games in weightlifting next weekend, and that was all I felt comfortable doing without influencing my chances of competing well.
As recently as mid-January, my training was pretty much 95% CrossFit weaknesses and 5% weightlifting program. My training was at the highest volume it had ever been, but I never did heavy squats or squat cleans because my primary focus was on getting 10 consecutive muscle ups, 40 consecutive handstand pushups and a time on "2007" that I wouldn't be totally embarrassed about. I believe I was fitter than I had ever been, and more excited than ever to try to make the CrossFit Games. I believe that my chances were better this year than ever before.
But, suddenly a dream I've had my entire life has actually started to come true. It appears I may have a shot at representing our country in weightlifting. I was about as close as a person can be in track and field in 2008 despite some tough circumstances, and I was about as close to making the CrossFit Games as you can be in 2013. I want to write a different ending to this story. I want to find a way to make it the rest of the way to my goal, and it seems this may finally be my chance. My PRs are climbing, I'm squatting nearly every day, and I believe I'm just getting started.
When I initially considered this change of focus, and this new pursuit, I found myself wishing for a guarantee. I wanted a guarantee that I would make it, that the sacrifice would be worth it, that I wouldn't find myself disappointed again. But, I finally realized that not trying is the basis for the only guarantee I could possibly have: that I will not make it if I don't try.
As a weightlifter, I get to spend every single day focusing on my strength. As a CrossFitter, I've avoided pushing my limits in weightlifting because developing a specialty tends to come at the expense of general physical preparedness, i.e. being a better weightlifter made me a worse CrossFitter. Now, I get to wake up every day excited to be a better weightlifter, and my joy about that has only grown in the past six weeks. I've already formed wonderful relationships within the weightlifting community, and I'm thankful for the warm welcome I've received.
At the same time, I still love CrossFit with every ounce of my being. It is the foundation of nearly everything positive in my life. It's created two careers that I love - the Seminar Staff and my affiliate Arena Ready, it's the basis of a community I can't imagine my life without, it's helped me to finally form a healthy relationship with my body, and establish an identity that I desperately needed. And, in four years of CrossFit (including a year healing the broken elbow) I've added 60 pounds to my snatch, nearly 100 pounds to my squat, 20 pounds to my clean and learned to jerk. I wouldn't have had this opportunity if I weren't a CrossFitter. So, although I can't compete in CrossFit while I'm pursuing weightlifting, I can certainly cheer, judge, coach, and love it, and I plan to do just that.
I plan to come back to the CrossFit Open at some point in the future. I still hope to make the CrossFit Games someday, but for now, I am a really happy, excited weightlifter. I hope to represent our country on an international stage, and I hope to finally reach a goal I've had since I can remember being capable of setting a goal.
Best of luck to my friends competing in the Open, and those who will go on to test their fitness at Regionals and the Games. Now that I'm a spectator, I'm even more in awe of your incredible capacity and humble hearts. I'll be cheering for you.