2012 Reebok CrossFit Games Recap: Saturday - Day 6

  • Aug 03, 2012

    CrossFit Games



    Saturday 7/14/12:

    Saturday morning I woke up so stiff.  I could hardly rotate my head and I was having shooting pains down my spine.  My right shoulder and arm were tingling with a bit of numbness and I was scared out of my mind.  But the competitor inside meknewthat I could do this.  Iknewthat if I could just get through a few more workouts I would have the next couple of months to recover.  So, with my family, friends and fans behind me I headed out for day 3.


    First workout was a 300m shuttle sprint.  On the football field, after the gun fired, we were to sprint to the 50-yard line and back, then turn to the 100-yard line and sprint to the finish.  With each turn we were to touch the ground with both hands and both feet.  I knew this was doable as I could keep my neck neutral.  I overheard some athletes questioning whether or not to go all out on the sprint because they didn't want to waste themselves for the sled push that immediately followed.  But my outlook was that the sprint was it's own individual event and I knew it was an event that I needed as it wouldn't effect my neck as much…so I went for it.  I felt pretty good after the sprint and tried to slow my breathing down as we headed over to the mats where we waited for the count down to jump on the crash mat to head up the rope.  As I looked up at the rope I felt my neck twinge and immediately looked ahead and shook it off - trying to focus on the task at hand and ignore the pain in my neck.  The countdown came and went and we were climbing up the ropes.  First one felt good and I headed to the football sled, touched the ground (per instruction) and hit the sled trying to stay low with short choppy steps.  The sled was heavy, my quads were burning, but it was fun and the adrenaline was taking over…I didn't feel my neck.  Come round 3 though, I hit that sled and knew I hit it sort of funny as I felt a shooting pain down my spine, but readjusted and got the job done.  I wasn't winning my heat, but I was making it through.  As I attempted round 4 for the rope climb I jumped on the mat and felt pretty dizzy and took a moment to collect myself before jumping up on the rope.  It was definitely getting harder (which was a surprise to me as rope climbs have never been something I've struggled with), but I made it up and down and hit the sled.  "Only one more rope climb" going through my head as I made my way back to the rope.  I hopped up on the mat and all of a sudden I couldn't focus…the instability on the mat, the heat, my neck, the fatigue…I don't know what it was, but I couldn't find my balance and literally felt like I was going to pass out.  I grabbed ahold of the rope and wasted several seconds as I tried to regain my equilibrium, but it wasn't happening.  I knew I had to go for it, so I jumped up on the rope and felt my way up as I was struggling to even see.  Somehow I made that last assent and new that it was over and I made it through.  I hit the ground, ran my way to the sled, touched the ground and hit it with all my might trying to jog it across the finish line.  The jog was more of a trudge, but I made it and collapsed. 

     300m Shuttle

    Sled Push

    After catching my breath, I stood up and it felt like the track was spinning around me.  I made it off the track and bolted straight for the medic tent as I knew something wasn't right.  They threw ice bags on me and laid me down thinking that it was heat exhaustion/dehydration, but I knew that wasn't it.  I was peeing almost clear and had been drinking water like it was going out of style all week.  I laid there for a while as the chiropractic did some traction on my neck for what seemed like an hour but was probably closer to about 20 minutes.  I was feeling a bit better, but when I sat up and tried to rotate my head, there was major restricted range of motion.  My chiropractor, John Fragoso, used Marcus' coach's pass to jump into the athlete area and took over.  He did some manipulation and active release work and it eased some tension to where I had more movement, but it still wasn't good.  But I just kept thinking, "one more workout down…only 6 to go." 


    Spending the next couple of hours with ice on my neck, ibuprofen in my system and Marcus by my side, I knew that I was going to attempt the next workout…the clean ladder.  Marcus was not pleased with my decision and was asking me to stop, but I had worked too hard to quit now.


    I did a warmup, but not too much as I didn't want my traps to fire up more than they already were.  I was going to need them for these cleans.  Luckily it was hot outside so my body was warm and didn't require a whole lot of movement to get/keep my muscles warm.  As I watched the girls ahead of me rock the ladder I was massaging my traps and focusing on positive thoughts.  I headed out there and the first couple of lifts felt okay.  When I hit 185# my trap decided it was done and the focus I had on the movement was taken to my neck.  I tried to escape it, but going into my 190# lift that's all I could think of…I made the lift successfully and stepped onto 195# at the 30-second mark.  Going into that attempt, I took a deep breath, visualized me nailing the lift and went for it.  Unfortunately I couldn't hold it…I caught it in the rack position, but all I could feel was spasms on my right side and I couldn't stand up with it.  I was bummed to say the least…but now looking back on it, I hit my PR and can't be upset with that considering the circumstances.

     Clean Yell

    From there, I cheered on the other girls…celebrating their performances and being awed by Lindsey Valenzuela and Elizabeth Akinwale as they blasted through the entire ladder.  Impressive!  As we headed off the floor I didn't realize that that was the end of The 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games for me.

     Lindsey V

    Just a short while after the completion of the Clean Ladder, Dave Castro called the athletes onto the floor where he would announce the final workout for the day in front of the spectators.  I walked out to see several bars set up with rings at the end of each row.  My heart absolutely sank.  I couldn't take my attention away from the lack of range of motion in my neck, the pain shooting down my spine, the numbness in my right side and empty feeling in my gut - I knew that those pieces of equipment meant something overhead and muscle ups in some form.  As Dave announced The Chipper workout my eyes were welling with tears and I choked them back until he finished.  The athletes took deep breaths and the crowd roared with excitement in anticipation of what was about to go down.  Once I got back into the tunnel headed toward the athletes' area, the tears started flowing and I knew that my time this year was over.  It was too much of a risk and going to be impossible for me to go out and perform those movements.  Marcus was there, waiting for me with open arms, as I struggled to catch my breath and control my emotions.  I didn't have to say anything, but he knew I was done.  All of the blood, sweat and tears from 10 months of training and 7 months of struggling through an injury were overflowing at one time.  How could this happen?  Why did it flare up this weekend?  Are my family, friends and fans going to be so disappointed?  I've let so many people down.  These thoughts were all racing through my mind as I was trying to make sense of what was happening.


    We went straight to the standards meeting after the announcement of The Chipper workout.  I sat among the other athletes trying to hold myself together (and failing miserably) with CJ and Marcus right by my side.  I asked CJ to please tell them that I had to withdraw, which he kindly did and I reluctantly had to confirm.  I felt empty.


    I wasn't able to watch the girls for final workout of Saturday…I was trying to pull myself together.  Friends and family surrounding me, supporting me and grieving with me as I had to make this hard decision.  Saturday night was a bittersweet night for me.  I was among all my family and able to actually hang out and talk to them without needing to quickly eat and get to bed to prep for the final day.  But, my entire body was emotionally exhausted, in pain and a bit lost as to what had transpired that day.

    • Gravatar of Liane


      Posted Saturday, August 04, 2012 at 4:44:17 AM

      Jen, your writings are beautiful and touching. You know that everyone that knows you loves you, that you are an amazing athlete and person and that you never, ever have let us down. May you have years of health and athletics ahead of you. Liane

    • Gravatar of Bree


      Posted Saturday, August 04, 2012 at 10:35:46 PM

      You are such an inspiration! This post left me with tears. You're such an amazing athlete and person! You rock girl!

    • Gravatar of Steph McCormack

      Steph McCormack

      Posted Saturday, August 04, 2012 at 11:25:26 PM

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, Jenny. Injuries are one of the hardest things about being an athlete, I think. You gave it everything you had. Full effort. Full victory.

    • Gravatar of Kayla B

      Kayla B

      Posted Saturday, August 04, 2012 at 11:30:23 PM

      Ugh! Don't make me cry lady! You persevered through so much and it's so inspiring

    • Gravatar of LaVonne Brown

      LaVonne Brown

      Posted Sunday, August 05, 2012 at 12:42:53 AM

      Jenny, I cried for you then, and now your poignant recall brings tears again! You are my champion, my hero! How many athletes have pushed themselves so far for so long? You gave your all to the very point of near destruction. No one could doubt your strong will and determination in the face of pain and exhaustion. Your family and friends are so
      proud of you, your multitude of accomplishments and all that you stand for - a true inspiration! We are just blessed to know and love you! You will be back!!!

    • Gravatar of Mauricio Leal

      Mauricio Leal

      Posted Sunday, August 05, 2012 at 5:48:22 AM


      This struggle and perseverance of yours confirms to me what I already knew: you are a warrior, and such a wonderful spirit.

      "In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail."

      But you did not even fail, you did so much more... Can't wait to see what fire you bring to the next one. Keep rocking you!

    • Gravatar of Lyle


      Posted Sunday, August 05, 2012 at 9:57:18 PM

      Don't you dare think you let anyone down. So much respect and admiration for you here...thank you for this series of posts, great to read.

    • Gravatar of Melissa Varty

      Melissa Varty

      Posted Thursday, August 09, 2012 at 9:36:03 AM

      Jenny, this brought tears to my eyes. Your writing really brings the story to life.
      As an athlete myself I can understand how hard it would have been to make the final decision. But just know that the entire world is looking up to you. I respect you even more as an athlete for your strength in pulling through as far as you did and for listening to your body and finally knowing when to stop. You are a champion in ever aspect of the word and an outstanding role model in the CrossFit community. Thank you for being you! I am honored to have met you.