Day Two

July 22, 2015

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I woke up this morning feeling fresh, despite the effort of yesterday, and I entered the stadium energized. My training partner, Jessica, had looked at the grind of the Long Chipper and the time cap, and decided that it was unlikely that I, or anyone else for that matter, would make it to the sandbag run. So she came up with the idea of warming up backwards: a few minutes on the sandbags, just in case, and then wall ball, pull-ups, box jump, D-ball, then running.

As we finished the first circuit, I could feel what a difference the good coaching from Chris Hinshaw was making. My legs felt strong. And taking the steps reminded me of my daily routine: I live in a house taller than it is wide, three stories high, so taking stairs fast and in twos is something I do multiple times in a day, without even thinking about it. I guess that is the definition of functional fitness.

Coming to the end of the run in first place, I knew I had challenges in front of me. I felt well-prepared for the D-ball ground-to-shoulders, thanks to Logan at Deuce Gym, who taught me good technique (squat over the ball, straight arms, and hip kipping the lift) for picking up heavy balls and chucking them over my shoulders. Then I treated the box as a restful movement, a time to gather my breath.

I knew that the high pull-up bar would take it out of me. I can’t link many pull-ups yet, and each jump sapped a little more strength. I have the deepest respect for my competitors who were able to link them, which takes months of practice, and particularly for the one I spied out of the corner of my eye performing butterflies, which is a fast link, and one of the very hardest moves to master. Brava.

Afterward, I went to StretchLab, in Venice to prep for tomorrow morning. The therapist concentrated on shoulders, in anticipation for the morning’s overheads and the row.

As ever, I’m incredibly grateful to my training partner Jessica, who is generously, kindly, capably working as my coach for the Games (practically every Games-level athlete has someone working in this capacity). Her knowledge and experience in competing, something I’ve never done before, have been invaluable. She gives me sound advice, backup plans, pacing ideas, and plants positive images in my head before I leave the warm up area, and she has been my rock throughout.

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The judging standards at the Games are very precise: must touch the chess piece, move the block to a certain place, face a certain direction, touch a certain ball, etc. Facing the long and complex Long Chipper this morning, I was concerned I might make a small mistake that would cost me points. So I made up a wristband whiteboard to make sure I hit every mark.

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