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.
She skipped sailing aboard the Extreme 40 Alinghi in the Extreme Sailing Series in St Petersburg, Russia. But she will be back aboard as tactician for the next regatta in Wales
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. July 24th, 2014, Carson, CA The first day of competition at The 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games started in the most amazing way, with an event win.
The second event didn't go quite as planned, but it was what it was, and now we move onto Friday's events and the rest of the competition.
We arrived in California on Saturday to adjust to the time change, the climate and just get settled in. On Sunday we headed to the beach for a run along the boardwalk just to get the legs moving and then did a small WOD back at the hotel. Monday was checkin day, so we hit up some lifts in the morning, then headed to the beach for a beach WOD, and then back to the check in to get all my gear and do interviews.
Anna Tunnicliffe - winner of the first event at the 2014 Crossfit Games -
We did a beach WOD to get out of a gym, and to do a bit of practice running in the sand, and to put my feet in the water to prove to myself that it wasn't that cold. I remember last year when we came and I went paddling, I was shocked at how cold it was, but then I was coming from Miami. This year, it didn't seem too bad, but I was still a bit worried seeing as though we didn't know what we were doing in the announced 'The Beach' WOD. All we knew was that it would start on the beach.
Monday night we had an athletes' dinner at which Dave Castro would usually announce Wednesday's WOD's. He did, but just not all of the details. He explained that the second event on Wednesday, the one rep max overhead squat was to be taken from the rack rather than from the floor. He explained three other events that were going to take place on Saturday. Then after dinner, he showed us a teaser video as to what 'The Beach' could be, saying we needed to know the past events and draw off that to be prepared for what to expect. At the end of the video, he said '... and The Beach WOD, you will find out tomorrow night' and walked out, left the building. You want a way to shut up 80 athletes, that was the way to do it. We all just sat there in disbelief that he hadn't told us. It was quite funny.
On Tuesday, we just relaxed and got in a small workout not knowing what Wednesday morning was going to bring. Around 6pm, we had to go to a briefing and finally the event was announced to us. It was: a 250 yard Swim, 50 kettle bell thrusters, 30 burpees, 500 yard swim, 30 burpees, 50 kettle bell thrusters, 250 yard swim. I had mixed emotions. I was excited it was going to be a long event that included swimming, but I have a fear of the open water (I know it sounds silly, but when I'm sailing I'm generally on the boat, not in the water). What made it worse was that earlier that day we had been down on Manhattan Beach Pier and saw two small sharks swimming around.
I had a mini freakout that night, but Brad was able to calm me down and set my head on right. And Wednesday morning we woke up and I was ready to attack the water. Our race started at 10am, which meant we had to load busses at 7:15am. We got to the beach, and went to our warm up area and I just focused on anything and everything except the water. I made my game plan to get with the front group so that I would be focused more on the competition rather than the little fishies that were swimming around underneath me. I was also relieved to see the amount of support that was out on the water so I knew that that would scare away most wildlife.
Just before 10am we were lined up on the start line and waiting for Dave's count down to go. The horn went and we were off. We all sprinted to the water and dove into the surf which was now building quite a bit. I took to the right of the field, wanting to get away from everyone so I could swim freely, but also because there was a little less surf at that point there. Half way to the first bouy, I knew I was ahead and so I focused on trying to maintain a lead at that point. There were two girls right on my tail around the bouy and all the way back to the sand to do our thrusters and burpees. I finished the burpees at the same time as Kara Webb (AUS) and she led back into the water as I grabbed a sip of water from my water bottle.
As we headed back in, we hit a huge set of waves coming in. I decided that I was going to walk as far as I could and then dive through the waves vs swimming over them. I chose to do breaststroke initially to help the diving, and then noticed that I was gaining on Kara quite a bit so continued the plan. I managed to overtake and pull out a bit of a lead on this outward leg of the swim by switching between breaststroke and freestyle.
Montage of images of Anna Tunnicliffe - winner of the first event at the 2014 Crossfit Games - Day 1 -
This 500 yard portion of the swim was around the Hermosa Beach Pier. It felt like forever getting out there swimming against the big waves coming in, but eventually I made it to the end of the pier. At this point in the race, I knew I could win it if I kept pushing, but then sometimes you have funny random thoughts that go through your brain too. There was a rescue boat next to me that had the TV camera in it and my thought was, 'well if I get eaten by a shark, at least it'll be on TV and everyone can be entertained by it'.
Anyway, I quickly decided that that was a silly thought although it made me giggle inside, and I tried to get back to the beach as fast I could. On the way back in, I switched between backstroke and freestyle so that I could see the big waves approaching. I made it back to the beach and was the first to the burpees. I was four burpees in when the next person out of the water joined me. I just kept trying to push so that I could get a slightly bigger lead for the last swim. At that point, I was starting to feel sick and could only really focus on myself so I just kept trying to push and make to the finish line as fast as possible. I headed out to the surf and thankfully this lap felt so short compared to the last one. I rounded the bouy and checked in on where the next girl was. I knew that I just had to make it to the shore and sprint to the finish to win the event.
It was such an amazing feeling crossing that line in first. I did well in a few events last year, but never finished top three, let alone win them, so I was so happy to start out this year's Games with an event win. It felt like winning my first sailing race again.
Shortly after the race was done, we were able to go home and relax. I came home, ate some food, did my recovery and took a nap. My arms were screaming at me because they were so tired, but the recovery and a nap sorted them out. At 4pm we headed to the Stub Hub center to get ready for the evening event.
I know I'm not a 'strong' person and I do the best i can in those events. We warmed up and went into the arena with a game plan on weights. I managed to hit my opening weight of 190lbs, and then my second weight at 198lbs, but failed on my third weight of 206lbs. I got the weight up and then got to the bottom of my squat, but failed to stand it up as my shoulder collapsed. I was disappointed, but its one of those events, where looking back at it, I had only just hit 210 about a week ago and 205 was a hit or miss weight for me, so I managed to sleep it off and am now looking forward to tomorrow's events.
I had two amazing people help me get through today. Firstly, Brad who is without a doubt my rock! He keeps me level headed and mentally stable through these events and is there to give me my hug and kiss at the end of the events. Secondly, is our great friend Emily Friedman. Although her time is limited as she is on the Demo Team this year, she still makes time to come visit me and send me motivational texts and is a huge support! Thank you guys!!
Today is a day off. We have orientation around noon where we walk around the stadiums and they show us how the flow of everything will work, and then they will maybe announce another event or at least go over tomorrow's announced events.
The first event tomorrow is called the 'Triple 3's.' It is row 3000m, 300 Double Unders, 3 mile run! I'm obviously very excited about this event as I love running! We are doing it at the same time as the men, so it will be a big field and will be good to have lots of people around to run against.
For the rest of the day, we are going to relax, get prepped for the rest of the weekend, do a small recovery row/bike and then watch movie to distract the brain for a few hours. Then it's Game Time!!
You can follow along live at this link at games.crossfit.com
Thanks everyone for their amazing support! And, I have to thank my sponsors Inov-8, Skins, NormaTec, SpiderTech, Theromega Sports, RxSmartGear and FitAid for your continued support! committed.
Update: After the second event above, Anna did not score well, dropping back to 10th overall, however she placed second in the third event, after leading for all but the last few metres of the run, when she cramped up, and is now in third place overall. The updated results can be seen by clicking here
Day 2: The Triple
4D's: Dream;Desire;Dedication;Determination SM
3P's: Passion...Progression...Perfection SM