JENNA AT THE GAMES RUNNING BLOG: EVENT EIGHT
This is it – the final event of the 2022 Games. Amazingly, Jenna has gone through the entire week without looking at the leaderboard at all. She has asked us how she placed after each individual event, but everyone in her crew was expressly forbidden to tell her where she was on the overall leaderboard. Once again, this strategy paid off for Jenna because she wasted no mental energy stressing about it, especially considering her overall position varied significantly throughout the week. In fact, on Day 1, Jenna couldn’t even tell you the events on Day 2 because she didn’t waste time looking – all her energy was always focused solely on “the next event”.
Though she didn’t know it, Jenna came into this final event in 7th place overall – only 10 points behind the athlete in 6th and 30 points behind the athlete in 5th. If she could beat the girl currently in 6th by at least 2 places (i.e., have 1 athlete “get in between them”), she could overtake 6th place overall. At this point we weren’t giving much thought to her overtaking 5th place overall, because she’d need to beat the girl currently in 5th by at least 4 places – and that’s extremely difficult to do when you have a field of only 10 athletes.
The Final Sprint
25 cal Echo Bike
20 burpee box jump-overs (30 inches)
10 sandbag-to-shoulders alternating 100#
Time cap: 5 minutes
For anyone that’s ever seen Jenna in the back of the gym killing herself on Echo bike interval sprints, and collapsing on the floor in tears – all that work was for a moment like this. One week before leaving for the Games, Jenna did a workout with 100# sandbag-to-shoulders with Carlos and her father (her father did a 70# sandbag) – it was for the possibility of a moment like this. Throughout the Games, Jenna consumed 600-800 carbs per day (!!) – keeping her body fueled was a part-time job itself – and it was for a moment like this. She was prepared for this event and she knew it.
There would be no “strategic pacing” in this event – it was time to Send It!
The event starts and we’re watching her moving the Echo bike FAST. We see her judge’s hand go up (to signify 5 cals remaining) at the 58 second mark – she completes her 25 cals at 1:14 and she’s 4th off the bike – significantly in front of the girl currently in 6th. Onto the 20 burpees – if she can avoid any costly no-reps (for feet going outside the plane of the box), it is highly unlikely she will be caught.
Jenna completes her burpees and she is in 4th. There are 5 athletes way ahead of everyone else – the top 4 girls on the overall leaderboard, plus Jenna. Jenna starts the 10 sandbag cleans and her pace is faster than anyone else – 2 cleans, then advance each time until 10. She quickly moves into solid 3rd. But the athlete in second is struggling with the 100# sandbag and gets no repped. Jenna continues to quickly advance and appears to move into a tie for 2nd! The #1 athlete finishes and Jenna has 1 rep to go. She completes her rep and crosses the finish line at the exact same time as the athlete next to her. BUT…Jenna has the presence of mind to kick her right foot forward (i.e., the foot holding the timer chip) as she crosses the finish line and grabs 2nd place by 14 one-hundredths of a second!
Jenna’s support crew are all ecstatic! We then look back at the rest of the pack and realize the athlete in 5th overall is far back – she finishes in 8th. Through her final push, Jenna’s performance in the final event elevated her to #5 overall for the 2022 CrossFit Games.
This has been the culmination of a year of hard work, adversity, overcoming injuries, brutal workouts, sacrifice, and a ton of mental challenges. Jenna came in with an unmatched mindset and a mental toughness that was focused only on maximizing her own performance without focusing on other external distractions around her. It’s now time to celebrate and eat all the cheese curds and ice cream!