Prior to leaving for the live 22.1 announcement in Boulder, Colorado, a conversation with my barber helped remind me how lucky I am for the life that I’m living. My “job” had me traveling across the country to work out in front of hundreds of people, while being broadcast to hundreds of thousands more worldwide.
That thought made me smile and shifted my perspective for the rest of the week. I had the opportunity to do what I love, for the community that I love, all while traveling with friends that I love, and making memories to last a lifetime.
It also shifted the lens through which I’d view the workout, allowing me to see it as an exhibition, rather than a competition. We were headed there to put on a show. I was ready to put my training to the test and give it everything I had, but I also recognized that our positive energy could excite the CrossFit community to kick off the 2022 season!
We landed on a snowy runway and believe it or not, that was another thing that put a smile on the face of this Miami boy. We don’t often (ever) get snow down there, so it was a nice change of pace for a few days. With four of my best friends in tow, I was eager to explore the wintery west.
Looking at the announcement as more of a fun show for the people was a sigh of relief, and a stark contrast to the typical tension that comes with a high-stakes competition. That was directly reflected in my WHOOP data, as I woke up in the green the first two mornings we were there!
I was worried that the altitude might have had an impact on my body, but I don’t think I felt much of anything as we moved around those first couple of days. Granted, I was doing everything recommended by my nutritionist, Mike Molloy, to fend off any ill effects (hydrating, abstaining from caffeine, and increasing potassium, carbs and overall calories).
The morning of the 22.1 announcement was full of interviews and rehearsals, but the vibe was positive and the excitement was palpable. When you’re one of the athletes chosen for a live Open announcement you’re not given any hints as to what the workout will be, only a warmup area equipped with an array of tools to get your body primed and ready for anything.
As Pat [Vellner], Danielle [Brandon], Bethany [Shadburne], and I all bounced around to get touches on different pieces throughout the room, we could hear the crowd starting to file in. The one-by-one intros out on the floor echoed like its own mini WWE, and I was fired up to get to throw down in front of so many pumped up people that were there just to cheer us on.
After Tia-Claire [Toomey-Orr] told us virtually what we’d be getting into, we had about five minutes to wrap our heads around the movements, rep scheme and time frame, and to come up with a strategy on our own. Then it was 3, 2, 1, go!
It may sound silly, but a 15-minute workout can actually feel long when it comes to repeating quick simple movements like wall walks, dumbbell snatches and box jump overs, over and over again. I could feel the positive momentum of an early lead over Pat and was still feeling pretty good just past the halfway point.
Around the 10-minute mark, a bit of fatigue started to creep in. By the time we had three minutes to go that felt like an eternity, and I was running on fumes at that point. It was a bit of a bummer not being able to hold on, as Pat managed to sneak on by with just a minute left. Regardless of how I felt in that moment, I congratulated Pat and made it a point to walk around and high five as many fans as I could, thanking them for their enthusiastic encouragement.
We wrapped up with a post-event podcast as a crew and had the rest of the day to explore Boulder, celebrating the start of what I hope will be my 9th consecutive season as a CrossFit Games athlete. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for everything this sport has given me over the last decade, for the friends and family that have supported me through it all, and for the exciting possibilities this season has in store!