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Blind Athlete Kym Dekeyrel Finds New Life With CrossFit 

 
Morning Chalk Up

October 20   |   POWERED BY

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Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • Kym Dekeyrel opens up about losing vision and how CrossFit helped her find a new life
  • Caffeine and Kilos CEO and co-founder talks how to gut check investments
  • Are super teams good for CrossFit?
  • CrossFitters set to take on CHAD1000X for veteran suicide awareness
  • What did we learn from Adrian Bozman’s latest CrossFit podcast appearance?
 
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“When all else is lost, the future still remains.” - Christian Nestell Bovee

 
GOOD
  Kym Dekeyrel Challenges CrossFit Community to Workout with Eyes Closed for Blindness Awareness Month 

Kym Dekeyrel Challenges CrossFit Community to Workout with Eyes Closed for Blindness Awareness Month

When Kym Dekeyrel woke up from emergency surgery in 2014 after experiencing liver failure because of a flare up of the autoimmune disease lupus, she was completely blind.

At first she wasn’t all that concerned, because when she was 5 years old she was diagnosed with a rare eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa (PR)—which leads to the gradual degeneration of the retina—something she had lived with her whole life. But until her surgery in 2014, she still had some of her peripheral vision.

“It wasn’t like I woke up from surgery and was like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t see anything, My life is over. Because I really thought once my body heals itself from this then maybe it will come back,” said Dekeyrel, now 40.

“So I just kind of kept waiting and waiting but nothing ever came back.”

After that her body healed and she got her lupus symptoms under control, but without her sight she “felt lost.”

“I basically went from being able to do backflips on the grass to not being able to step off of a curb, so I lived pretty miserably for a lot of years,” Dekeyrel said. “I just didn’t know anymore what I could do. I felt like I had zero purpose and zero self-worth.”

Then one day her husband Adam told her he was taking her to the CrossFit gym.

“And I said, ‘No, I’m not going to the CrossFit gym. I will die. I’ll smash my face on everything…I have never done anything CrossFit-ish in my life. So I cried all the way there, and I cried when we got there,” she said, now laughing.

But then other members started walking in for class and they approached her and greeted her and said they showed up because they knew she was coming.

“They didn’t know me, but Adam had told them, ‘I’m bringing my wife.’ And really, on that day, I was like ‘I can do this.’ Instantly it changed me,” she said.

And then she started going two days a week, and then three days a week, and soon she “wanted to go all the days of the week,” she said.

Fast-forward to today, and Dekeyrel is one of the fittest blind women in the world. She won the Open in the Women’s Vision division in both 2021 and 2022. She also would have won the 2022 Semifinals, as well, however a technical submission issue caused her to drop to fifth overall as her score for Workout 3 was never counted.

Though what happened during Semifinals was “devastating” to Dekeyrel, she said the experience made her realize that CrossFit is so much bigger for her than how she does in a competition.

“This journey for me has not been about the titles. Just how much this sport has changed my life and has allowed me to have this platform to help change other people’s lives. And even just my whole family dynamic. It has just been beyond rewarding,” she said.

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SPEED READS

In case you missed it: Lauren Kalil, the host of The Bottom Line, spoke to Josh Bridges and Chris Spealler about programming the 2022 Rogue Invitational and how they got into programming competitions in the first place.

Helping hand: The co-owner of Triform Athletics in Edmonton, Alberta recently experienced a house fire and a local gym member set-up a GoFundMe account if you’d like to help.

Comp update: The full competition schedule for Rogue is out, and we also have you covered with the best places to grab a beer and/or coffee, and workout in Austin, TX. 🤩

Athlete comp update: Canada’s Samuel Cournoyer is out for the 2022 Dubai Fitness Championship, and Germany’s Moritz Fiebig is in.

Yay or nay?: Mat Fraser’s new Nike shoes have lit the internet afire with comments, so what’s your take on his latest shoe offering? 👟

Turf and turf: NOBULL has a new shoe and it’s all about training on the grass.

New signing: Underdogs Athletics has a new coach, his name is Tony Koens, and dude can front squat like an absolute savage.

 
INDUSTRY
  CEO of Caffeine and Kilos Talks “Belief” in Investments as Defining Factor 

MEMBER EXCLUSIVE

CEO of Caffeine and Kilos Talks “Belief” in Investments as Defining Factor

As the CEO and co-founder of Caffeine and Kilos and the owner of Excel Health and Fitness, Danny Lehr is well acquainted with getting big ventures off the ground. It’s no secret that the level of time, money and energy investment it can take to bring an idea to life and then grow it to a successful business is not for the faint of heart. Perhaps you can relate; whether it’s a gym, relationship, career or other avenue, our personal life investments expand far beyond what we’re putting into a gym membership or showing up to CrossFit class.

How do you decide what to spend time and money on, with an ever-growing list of options and distractions? We caught up with Lehr to get his advice.

“Number one is you got to look at, do you actually have the capacity to do this? And that doesn’t mean that you need to do everything for it. In fact, I think that’s a big mistake. There’s a book called ‘Who, Not How,’ which, like most business books, you can know the entire premise just by the title. It’s like you need to know how to do everything, but you should hire someone who does or work with someone who does or partner with someone who does,” Lehr said.

He continued that once you get past the “how”, you have to evaluate your personal values and make sure they’re aligned.

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CROSSFIT GAMES
  CEO of Caffeine and Kilos Talks “Belief” in Investments as Defining Factor 

Do Super Teams Make the Division More Interesting?

CrossFit recently announced changes to the 2023 Games season structure, which included a few updates for the team division. Morning Chalk Up’s Lauren Kalil sits down with Dex Hopkins and Chase Ingraham to discuss how the return of Super Teams could potentially add more interest to the division…at least on paper.

Watch Now...
 
GOOD
  CrossFitters Set to Take on CHAD1000X for Veteran Suicide Awareness 

CrossFitters Set to Take on CHAD1000X for Veteran Suicide Awareness

On November 5, CrossFitters in Ohio will take part in a special event. They will complete the Hero WOD “CHAD 1000X” at the National Veterans Museum and Memorial in Columbus, OH, to raise awareness for veteran suicide.

Remind me: Chad–or CHAD1000X–is a straightforward, yet grueling, Hero WOD. It consists of 1,000 box step-ups (20” box). RX’d requires a 45-pound Ruck for men and a 35-pound Ruck for women. The score is the time it takes to complete all 1,000 step-ups.

  • The Hero WOD is a tribute to Navy SEAL Chad Wilkinson, who took his life on October 29, 2018. The goal is to raise awareness about veteran suicide, as well as funds for The Step Up Foundation.
  • The CrossFit community has stepped up quite literally to support this cause. In 2020-2021 alone, members helped raise more than $226,000.

The in-person edition of CHAD 1000X–organized by PSKC CrossFit with support from GoRuck and the NVMM–will feature numerous participants. There will be people from CrossFit HQ, veterans, and community members. The goal is to have 100 participants taking part in the grueling workout on the steps of the NVMM amphitheater.

Get involved: The special event featuring the Hero WOD will be free to those interested in taking part. They can register on the event site and sign up to complete Chad, or they can register as a volunteer for the workout and the reception that follows.

  • Even if members of the community can not make the trip to Columbus for the workout, they can still show support. They can complete CHAD 1000X on November 5, and they can also make a donation to the event fundraiser.
  • Per the workout website, “All proceeds of the CHAD 1000X fundraiser will go to support Veteran Mental Health Initiatives through The Step Up Foundation, which, in conjunction with Sara Wilkinson, will provide financial support to other nonprofits dedicated to Veteran Mental Health initiatives.”

Training is underway: CHAD 1000X is not an easy workout, rightfully so, and it requires some preparation. Residents of Jacksonville, FL, can actually join forces with GORUCK for some training. Every Tuesday in October, the company heads to Ink Brewery at 6:30 p.m. for some preparatory workouts.

Even if RX’d is not a possibility, there are some other options for those wanting to show their support. The “Slick” version does not require a Ruck. Participants can select the height of their step-ups. The “Standard” version requires a 30-pound Ruck for men and a 20-pound Ruck for women. The participants can select the height of their step-ups.

 
CROSSFIT GAMES
  Five Takeaways from Adrian Bozman's CrossFit Games Podcast Interview 

Five Takeaways from Adrian Bozman's CrossFit Games Podcast Interview

In the latest episode of the CrossFit Games Podcast, host Chase Ingraham had Adrian Bozman, the Competition Director of the CrossFit Games, as his guest to go into further details on the latest changes in store for the CrossFit community and its athletes for the upcoming 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games season.

Here are five key takeaways from the nearly hour-long podcast.

Representation at the Games: Boz stressed that finding the “Fittest” on earth is still and will always be the purpose of the Games but also discussed the importance of having global representation is just as important to the growth of not just the sport but in the reach of the CrossFit methodology.

He cited Annie Thorisdottir and Guilherme Malheiros as two athletes who were vital in the growth of CrossFit in Europe and South America respectively. Both athletes are ambassadors of not only the sport but their countries as well. Current and future athletes from their part of the world have been influenced by them not by just showing up at the Games but gaining success.

With growth, such an important component of the success of CrossFit, representation from countries not traditionally known as hotbeds of competitive CrossFit appears to be sticking around.

  • “The competition needs to be skewed towards the fittest field we can get,” said Boz. “However on the other end it’s important that these other regions have some visibility and therefore, hopefully an accelerated path to interest in the sport and therefore adoption of CrossFit.”
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HIGHLIGHTS

Celebrating a PR, hosting a fundraiser, this, that, or otherwise. Send us a tip.

  • 🎂 Happy birthday, Manon Lesur.
  • 🎉 Happy Affiliate Anniversary to Red Wolf CrossFit in Huntington Beach, CA
  • Congratulations to Andrew Cossentine from California on his second-place finish in the Bridgetown Throwndown Masters Men’s division.
  • 🎃 15-year CrossFitter Pat Barber from Santa Cruz, CA has one pumpkin-picking rule for his kids: if you can’t lift it, you can’t take it home.
  • Roman Khrennikov pumps out a set of five thrusters at 225 pounds/102kg as he prepares for next week’s Rogue Invitational.
  • Jess Krezmien from CrossFit Guava in Tampa, FL completed the “Foot Ball Challenge” — think you can do it?

Big Night Fitness in Boston, MA is hosting a men’s mental health event and fundraiser on November 13th, where they will complete the hero WOD “Chad” and hear from retired Navy SEAL, Chris Irwin.

 
 
LOCAL COMPETITIONS + Submit an Event
12/2 - 12/4: WheelWod Games (Raleigh, NC)
12/3 - 12/4: Torino Challenge (Moncalieri (TO), Italy)
12/3: Reindeer Rumble (Ocala, FL)
12/9 - 12/11: Fall Series Throwdown (Desio, Italy)
12/17: The Midwest Championship (Warrensburg, MO)
1/15 - 1/31: Athens Throwdown Qualifiers (Athens, Greece)
1/21 - 1/22: Modena Challenge: Beginner and Master (Modena, Italy)

See all upcoming events

 
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