Anna Tunnicliffe - from CrossFit to Extreme 40's

Anna Tunnicliffe - combining CrossFit with Extreme 40 sailing
These days, twice Rolex Sailor of the Year and Olympic Gold medalist, Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) alternates between sailing aboard Alinghi in the Extreme Sailing Series, and chasing a serious ranking in the world of CrossFit.

Born in England, Tunnicliffe moved to USA at the age of 12, and pursued a promising track career before giving that away in favour of sailing, where she won a Gold Medal in the Womens Singlehander in 2008 and won the Womens Match Racing event at the 2011 ISAF World Championships in Perth. She represented USA in that event at the 2012 Olympics but did not make the medal podium.

CrossFit is becoming increasingly popular amongst sailors as a way of physically preparing for the sport, as it is less monotonous than other physical training processes and better replicates the physical sailing activities on board a racing boat.

Anna Tunnicliffe - combining CrossFit with sailing
In her blog, Anna Tunniclffe gives an insight into the world of CrossFit, before she heads for Qingdao and the next round for the Extreme Sailing Series:

The CrossFit Opens have ended, and the invites for Regionals head out to the qualifying athletes today. I am happy to say that my finish in the Opens qualified me again for the Regionals, the next step towards the final goal of the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games.

The Opens were a five-week series during which each week we were given one workout to perform to the best of our ability.

The WOD (Workout of the Day) was announced on Thursday evening, and we had until Monday afternoon to submit the scores for our performances. In addition to doing the workouts, we had to video them so that when the time came for the qualifiers, we could submit the video that proved we did that workout to standard and we hit the reps that we recorded.

The Opens this year were definitely up a level from the last two years. I remember my first Open WOD in 2012 being 7 minutes of Burpees; by no means is that easy, but it's a pretty basic movement. This year started out with Double Unders as the first movement of the Opens; quite a challenge. But regardless, all of them were a ton of fun and pushed us all to our limits.

My coach, Brad, came up with my strategy for all the WODs throughout the five weeks. He pretty much nailed on the head the rep schemes, to the point of pushing me to find new limits in my abilities and how far I could push myself before failure.

Anna Tunnicliffe leaps for her coach just after winning the Gold Medal in Qingdao

The last WOD, 14.5 as it was called, I did with my friend Emily Friedman who came into town for the week to do some training with me. We had a few hard days of WODding beforehand, and then hit 14.5 head to head on Saturday morning. The WOD was 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 each of Thrusters and Bar Facing Burpees.**(see below for description) It was an intense battle with just one or two burpees separating us the whole time. And that was great week of training too, as we both never wanted to let the other person win.

Overall, I'm not sure of my Opens' finish as I have had the same rule for the last couple looking at the leaderboard. But Brad was kind enough to tell me that we did OK. And that we qualified for Regionals.

So on to Regionals it is. The Mid Atlantic Region's regionals take place over Memorial Day weekend in DC. I will have more info on them closer to the date.

Extreme Sailing Series - Act 1, Singapore 2014 - Day 4 - Alinghi
© Mark Teo/Red Bull Content Pool

I do have to brag about my parents though before I sign off. Mum has been CrossFitting since around October, and Dad started in December. Both completed the Opens this year and managed to survive every WOD, hitting new PR's.

In addition to completing them, Mum finished top 200 in her age group worldwide, qualifying herself for the Masters' Regionals, which is a weekend event held in a similar format to the Opens (WOD's performed at your own box and scores submitted online). She will have four events to do over four days! And that starts in two weekends time!! So proud of you both!!

In a couple of weeks, I'm heading to Qingdao, China for Act 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series with Team Alinghi.

Never Give Up!

You can follow Anna on her blog

Victory celebrations for the winning Alinghi team - Extreme Sailing Series, Nice France
© Lloyd Images/Extreme Sailing Series

Alinghi Tactician, Anna Tunnicliffe - Extreme Sailing Series - Act 2. Muscat.
© Lloyd Images/Extreme Sailing Series