Emily Abbott’s alarm went off “way too early” Wednesday morning on Day 1 of the 2015 CrossFit Games.
“4:50. We had to be in the lobby at 5:30,” Abbott said.
An hour and a half later, Abbott and 39 of the most fit women in the world attacked the Pacific Ocean together at Hermosa beach.
“It was a mass start. It was super crazy. Everyone jumped in the water together. I got kicked in the face and swallowed big gulps of sea water,” Abbott said.
After surviving the swim, Abbott said she wasn’t aggressive enough on the 2-mile paddle board portion of the event.
“I don’t think I attacked it as hard as I should have. People were passing me on the paddle board,” Abbott said. In the last 500 meter, she found her groove and made up some ground, but it was too late to get back into the top pack of women.
“I was just too conservative,” she said.
She admitted she drove back to the hotel with her boyfriend Tom, feeling somewhat disappointed and physically off.
“I was a little bummed I was 29th. That’s not where I want to be,” she said. “I had a headache and just felt wiped out.”
After a shower and a nap, Tom brought Abbott her “go-to breakfast” of pancakes, bacon, eggs and potatoes. They watched a movie—Tremors—together before going for treatment, and then it was time to get going to the StubHub to the 1 p.m. athletes’ briefing for Event 2.
At this point, Abbott decided she was going to attack the event to redeem herself after the morning’s swim.
“My new motto for the Games is…I saw this on Amanda Goodman’s Instagram: ‘Expect nothing, but appreciate everything.’ I just have to go out and smash everything. This morning, I kind of thought, ‘Ok, I did ok on the swim last year so I should be middle of the pack.’ Fuck that. I need to attack it,” she said.
Attack it, she did.
Before the event, Tom, who spent his afternoon scouting earlier heats for his girlfriend, joined Abbott in the warm-up area and gave her some last-minute advice.
“He told me, ‘Don’t put stuff down. You’re strong. You grew up doing this on the ranch,’” Abbott said.
Abbott was a bit apprehensive, though, because she was having a hard time practicing throwing the sand bags over the rig in the warm-up area.
“I kept failing,” she said. So going into the event, her goal was simply not to panic. To keep her calm, she remembered her boyfriend’s words.
“Tom told me, ‘Listen, this is a clean and jerk. Get tight and drive it over the wall. Go for speed, not load’” she said of her boyfriend’s advice.
His advice paid off.
Abbott stayed with the leaders the entire heat, and then pulled away from Iceland’s Sara Sigmundsdottir in the final stretch of the event, as the women carried sand bags side-by-side up the stairs to the finish line.
“I kind of elbowed Sara a little bit, but I needed to get through with my bag. She was going too slowly. She might stomp on my foot during the one mile run of Murph on Friday,” Abbott joked, adding that the hardest part of the event was the lactic acid that built up in her legs.
Abbott’s time of 9:03 was enough for second place in the event and 11th place overall heading into Day 2 of competition, which continued on Friday. She admitted she breathed a sigh of relief after finishing the second event.
“I feel pretty chill now,” Abbott said. “Just need to rest and recuperate.”
With a 185-lb. snatch and a 235-lb. clean and jerk to her name, Abbott is excited about what she sees in her near future heading into the snatch ladder and max clean and jerk events coming up later in the week.
But before that, food was on her mind.“Tom’s pretty hungry and dehydrated. I need to get him a good steak,” she said.
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