10 Minutes with Val Voboril
Happy happy Friday and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up, where we caught up with Val Voboril, the 6th time CrossFit Games athlete, after she gave up her spot at the California Regional so another competitor could have a shot. Here’s what she had to say.
MCU: You gave up your spot at the California Regionals after qualifying for the 7th time (we think?) “so that another athlete may have a chance to go.”- The natural next question is will you be competing for a spot next year? Are you officially retiring as an individual competitor?
VAL: I am not officially retiring. I am using this time to shore up some “weaknesses and imbalances” and to complete my Masters in Education. I will play it by ear to see if I am ready (physically, mentally, emotionally) next year or the year after.
MCU: You’re 37 years old on the cusp of being able to compete in the masters division. Are you considering competing in the masters division in a few years?
VAL: I would love to play it the way Cheryl Brost does – which is to qualify for Regionals, qualify as a Master, compete at Regionals and then depending on how I place go to the Games as an Individual or as a Masters Athlete. She totally inspires me!
MCU: Chris Spealler nearly qualified for Regionals. Julie Foucher did and accepted. You qualified and declined. All three of you talk about only working out 1 hour a day as opposed to some athletes who boast multi-hour daily workouts. Talk about your workout evolution over the past few years. What does it say that three older veteran athletes are working out less and still landing in the top 100 in their regions?
VAL: I think it shows that three “older veteran athletes” who have very busy and full lives (family, career, training) have learned to be very efficient and effective with their training. Gone are the days and time when I could spend hours at the gym working on everything. I really have to be reflective and evaluate where I need to focus my time and energy. What activities will get me the best bang for my “buck” (i.e. time). My training has changed from lots of time in the gym to condensed time, yet similar volume just compacted into less time. My training has also become more focused – for me that means working on strength and range of motion, olympic lifting, and gymnastics. I get the conditioning through cramming a lot of work into a smaller amount of time, so I am constantly moving and working. My rest periods are putting away weights or setting up for the next part of the wod, that type of thing.
MCU: Why do you think we haven’t seen a Rich Froning on the female side? Is Rich just that much better than everyone else? Is the female competition a lot tighter?
VAL: Rich is a phenomenal athlete. As a woman, I believe the responsibilities that women shoulder are far greater than men, that women do a juggling act that keeps them pulled in many directions. Because of this balancing act, the female side will see a greater variety of female podium finishers.
MCU: As a school teacher, do you think PE and fitness education in our public schools needs an overhaul?
VAL: I am lucky that we have a Physical Education program and teacher at my elementary school. Some schools don’t have that luxury and have teachers teaching PE themselves. Our kiddos at an early age need to see fitness (the ten recognized fitness domains) as fun. These basics will serve them well as a foundation for any sport they chose to pursue. It is also the responsibility of PE programs to expose kids to as many sports as possible.
MCU: What’s your all time least favorite workout you’ve ever done? Over your long career in CrossFit, what’s your favorite moment?
VAL: My favorite moment has to be 2013 CrossFit Games Friday night lights 2007 “Hopper” wod! That is such a memorable event! I remember thinking to just row, but not worry about going fast and planning to keep everything else unbroken. My favorite memory is of the electricity and energy of the amazing crowd cheering and feeling that energy rush through me and keep me on that bar. It was fun coming from behind and slowly but surely catching up and pushing for that finish. I felt like the turtle that beat the hare! As a long time crossfitter who followed the OGs like Jolie Gentry – it was a rush and an honor to perform the original “Hopper” WOD.