CROSSFIT FRANKLIN OPEN Games 2015

The CrossFit Games OPEN is now complete! This has been one of the most positive OPEN seasons we’ve ever had. I can’t begin to say how proud I am of each of you for what you’ve accomplished and learned over the course of the past 5 weeks. Thank you to all our coaches Amy, Colleen, Dan, and Eric for being there to support all our athletes in prep, motivation, strategies, judging and more! I know that our minds, our bodies, and our fears were challenged and pushed to their limits, but CFF athletes faced each WOD head on and pushed through with such support from fellow athletes. That is what makes magic happen! I’m so proud to be your coach and an athlete by your side each and every day training hard against the unknown factors.

As you may know, the next big phase of the CF Games is the Regionals held in May, however, just before that comes the Masters Qualifiers. The Masters Qualifiers will begin on April 23rd. The world’s top 200 masters athletes in each age division in the Open will be automatically entered into the Masters Qualifier. The workouts will be released at 5 p.m. PT on Thursday, April 23rd and the competitors will have until 5 p.m. PT on Monday, April 27th to video tape, perform, and submit their scores. The top 20 athletes in each age division at the end of the qualifier will be invited to compete in the Masters Competition at the CrossFit Games. The most exciting part of all this is that two CrossFit Franklin athletes have qualified! Myself (women’s 45-49) and Karen Bartlett (women’s 50-54). Check out the leader board for our placement in NE, Mass, and Worldwidehttp://games.crossfit.com/leaderboard

Karen started at CrossFit Franklin exactly 2 years ago this month.  She was a former gymnast, so she felt like this would be right up her alley.  Karen began gymnastics at the age of 5 and started competing at age 11 until she was a freshman in college.  The majority of her workouts after that were your typical group exercise classes, weight machines, and running.  However, it was CrossFit that made her a little intimidated and extremely nervous when she first started CF.  Karen had told me that all of the CFF coaches could not have been more helpful and supportive along the way for her.  Karen did her first Masters Competition last June 2014 and placed 6th.  A short time after that comp while running and jumping rope,  she heard (and felt) a pop in her right knee and all the swelling and pain followed.  She tried taking a few days off, but it continued even while trying to modify WODs.  So, Karen had knee surgery in early August 2014 for a lateral meniscus tear.  Even though she was back in the box within a week, her recovery was tough.  Her goal was to compete with me in the January 2015 Dynamic Duo…which she achieved and we were by each other’s side every step of the way.  This year was Karen’s 2nd CrossFit OPENs and she is turning 50 in May, she moved up to the 50-54 Masters Division.  She has been a force of strength and inspires so many athletes in our box.

As Karen Bartlett’s coach, an athlete sweating next to her each day, and as a friend I’m so PROUD of all of her accomplishments, her leadership, and her motivating force in the box!  Karen finished 103 out of 3,140 Worldwide and 14 out of 449 in the North East!!! 

CONGRATULATIONS KAREN!

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I am so honored to be by your side for the Masters Qualifier and together we will give it all we have!

“We CAN and We WILL!”

Each one of us has a trail of footprints which tells a story of life experiences and each footstep unique to each of us.  My footprints leading up to the 2015 OPENS is one that I’d like to share, because as with the stories of others, it may affect or change someone else’s future, possibly with a feeling of hope, inspiration, maybe a helping hand, or just a reminder of how precious life is and that anything is truly possible, if you believe.

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It was 16 months ago and I woke with a classic sinus  headache, the kind I may get one or two times a year, but this was a bit  tougher to work through, but kids were waiting at the top of the stairs to see  what Santa brought, so I got up and went down stairs to start the day with the  hopes the pain would just pass.&nbsp; Within 4  hours it had progressed to a migraine that I wasn’t able to manage to the point  I needed to stop by urgent care, because I wasn’t seeing any relief.&nbsp;&nbsp; That’s when things started to change a bit for  me.&nbsp; I found myself transported via  ambulance to the hospital.&nbsp; I was unable  to talk much because of the pain and so sensitive to light and noise that tests  were immediately done along with a couple spinal taps. &nbsp;All I knew was I had a bad migraine and wanted  someone to help me, but they were focused on more serious things and needed to  rule them out.&nbsp; Hours turned into another  day there, still the same head pain and no answers.&nbsp;&nbsp; The following day a Neurologist came into my  room to inject a medication into my IV, thinking to myself “ok she’s a neurologist,  she can help me”. I felt like I was at the mercy of others due to the  unbearable pain I was in. Someone else’s footprint then shadowed over mine,  which changed my life. I was given a medication that shouldn’t be given to a  person with a low blood pressure. It was clear by my medical record, that I was  one of those people physically fit having a normally low blood pressure.&nbsp; The medication wasn’t even all into my IV and  it put me into a 10 ½ minute seizure, 4 minutes of it that I had to endure  still awake.&nbsp; All I could do at this  point was the only thing I knew that would save me from the unknown and the  unknowable, my inner strength.&nbsp; This was  something CrossFit had trained me for every day through sweat and determination  at CFF.&nbsp; I had a choice in that very  moment to give up or the choice to fight with all the strength I had, for my  life. I couldn’t take another minute of what was physically happening to me and  couldn’t understand why no one could stop it. So, as some of my CFF family sees  me do during a class, I closed my eyes and felt what I do each and every day  during my WODs, I went to “<em>that place</em>”  I go to. You know that place as CF’s we go to during our toughest moments. That  was the only thing I had left.&nbsp; My body  stopped seizing 10 ½ minutes later.&nbsp; &nbsp;Next came a fever of 106.2 and my blood  pressure plummeted, so immediately to the ICU I went.&nbsp; A few days later came my chest pain but I was  told, “Don’t worry honey; you’ve been through a lot”.&nbsp; Come to find out I had severely aspirated  from the seizure causing me to have both lunges full of fluid and double  pneumonia.&nbsp;

Eventually they moved me out of ICU but still with the same migraine. A few days after that a new doctor came in and brought a little cocktail of medicines that allowed me to open my eyes again and to actually sit up a little.  At that point I wanted out fast.

The next day, I got home but  unable to really walk, just too difficult. I was taken to my doctor who filled me in on what had really happened to me and my body. My liver count was now almost 8 times the normal level, so to bed I had to stay.

I had so many close friends who brought us food, covered all my job responsibilities, and Bob and Tricia Flynn, CFF owners who allowed me to take whatever time I needed to heal.  To everyone I am forever grateful.

The most important part of all this was the footsteps I took back to the box, being told I would not be able to move my body the same anymore and I may never get to where I was before physically.  But, my CFF family helped me each and every day. They held my hand as I stepped on a plate, they held my hips to do modified push-ups, and they brought me equipment and cleaned it up.  Each and every day I tried to workout, my community stayed by my side giving me their hand and helping me up.  It’s because of everything they did and how they believed in me that I was able to find a new strength and acceptance.

karen-mc-picMy goal was to do every Open WOD this year, not focusing on anything other than my personal accomplishments and being able to do what I love; to coach and be the best athlete I can be for me. When I saw my name on the leaderboard, I typed it 3 more times to make sure there wasn’t another Mary Catherine Alexander.  I had placed 15 out of 461 in the North East.; So, for me it’s not  about the place or a number, it’s about being here, persevering and believing  that anything is possible!&nbsp; That’s one of  the things I love about being a CFF coach.&nbsp;  I can teach athletes to believe in their potential and then I can watch  as they transform into both seeing and feeling that anything is possible, if  you just believe

Upon completion of the Master’s Qualifier…

Karen Bartlett placed 78th Worldwide in the Women’s age 50-54

Mary Catherine Alexander placed 93rd in the Women’s age 45-49

“We CAN and We DID!”