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Comeback Kid: Emma Cary

Morning Chalk Up

August 17   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • Shannon Jurden, mother of six, is using CrossFit to train for a 50-mile race
  • Emma Cary went from 40th to 8th place in 12 tests at the Games, what did that reveal about the talented youngster?
  • Kelly Baker thought her CrossFit Games were over; after a burger and a beer, she got an email telling her to suit up again
  • A look back at what we learned from the 2023 Men’s Division

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“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” - William Shakespeare

  Mother of Six Uses CrossFit to Take on 50-Mile Race  

Mother of Six Uses CrossFit to Take on 50-Mile Race

Shannon Jurden has loved running for almost her entire life.

As a high schooler, she ran cross country, and that continued over to college, too. As a young adult, Jurden kept running but was struck with boredom and frustration as her progress slowed. She started doing Beach Body workouts, but as she added more children to her family, fitness had to take a backseat.

Enter CrossFit

It all changed in 2020 when she and her husband showed up to their first CrossFit classes after years of suggestions from her brother. She instantly fell in love with it, which changed her outlook on life.

  • Now, at 35-years-old with six kids (four of them under 10-years-old) to wrangle, she’s at her fastest, fittest, and training for a 50-mile race that takes place in just two on August 19.

Interestingly, Jurden isn’t taking the typical route when it comes to training for an ultra marathon. She’s only doing one long run each week and otherwise is letting her CrossFit training do the talking. She says that just from the added strength and muscle stamina, she’s able to nearly match her times from years ago when she was solely running.

  • “It’s interesting to see what I can do, running-wise when I don’t hardly ever run,” Jurden said. “Crossfit has definitely helped (mentally), I know that when I go out, I can do it. It’s helping me be able to hold onto (paces) longer.”

Finding Balance

However, it’s not always easy to get a workout in with so many kids running around. Especially with all six at home for the summer, Jurden says she’s constantly breaking up tiffs and getting distracted. And while she admits that she would much rather get her workouts done without this obstacle in her way, she says it’s cool to watch.

  • “They’re going to join or they’re just going to play,” Jurden said. She hopes that her kids see her fitness regime as a positive influence on their lives. “It’s fun having them join in and seeing (me workout). Whether they do it in the future or not, they know it’s the healthy lifestyle.”

Jurden has definitely made an impression on the young eyes around her. She says that her kids will at times join in on her workouts, and one even brought home a crafted dumbbell from summer school, explaining to her teacher that it was for her mom “who works out all the time.”

Jurden knows that CrossFit has made a big impact on her life and athletic journey. And, with her longest run to date coming up in less than a month, she’ll have the perfect opportunity to prove her fitness to herself and her children.

There's a Reason the Fittest Man on Earth Uses Picsil Grips

There's a Reason the Fittest Man on Earth Uses Picsil Grips

Picsil has been the best known name in Europe for a decade, and now Picsil is determined to show what they are capable of to the US and Canada.

Their all-star roster includes Fittest Man on Earth Jeff Adler, 3rd Fittest Man on Earth Roman Khrennikov, 4th Fittest Woman on Earth Gabi Migala and more.

There’s a reason the top athletes in the world trust Picsil gear for their toughest tests. As the sport of CrossFit has evolved, so has Picsil’s products.

Picsil is offering an exclusive limited time code for Morning Chalk Up readers. Use code “MCU” for 30% off your purchase!


Interesting Read: Check out this report to the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives–“Use of Fitness Wearables to Measure and Promote Readiness.” The report outlines how the US Armed Services have deployed fitness wearables thus far and describes how the Defense Health Agency (DHA) will invest $337 million in six different wearable-related programs through 2027.

🙌 Anikha Greer is the newest member of the BPN Supplement team.

Not CrossFit: While this is not a CrossFit note directly, taking our fitness outside the gym is always a priority. Enter MUDGIRL, an obstacle race dedicated to women. Check out the upcoming races and locations through November.

ICYMI: Part two of our exclusive interview with CrossFit CEO Don Faul, reflecting on his first year in the role.

  Emma Cary’s Impressive Comeback  


Emma Cary’s Impressive Comeback

If an athlete wants to make the top ten at the CrossFit Games, a poor strategy would be taking a dead last 40th place finish in Test 1: Ride and then a 39th place finish just 3 events later in Test 4: The Alpaca Redux.

But that’s exactly what Emma Cary did, and still ended up as the Eighth Fittest Woman on Earth in 2023, only ten points behind two-time champion Katrin Davidsdottir in seventh.

  • And let’s not forget that Cary didn’t even compete at all last season due to a back injury.

In this article we will be reviewing Emma Cary’s incredible comeback at the 2023 CrossFit Games, and we will begin by putting her rough beginning to the week into perspective.

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  A Burger and a Beer: Kelly Baker’s CrossFit Games  

A Burger and a Beer: Kelly Baker’s CrossFit Games

If you ask spectators what they remember about Saturday night in the Coliseum at the 2023 CrossFit Games, the first things that come to mind are, no doubt, the big lifts–Jack Farlow, Laura Horvath, and more.

But a memory that also sneaks in is the easygoing interview with Kelly Baker and learning the power of “a burger and a beer.”

Remind me: Kelly Baker squeaked into the 2023 CrossFit Games, pulling off a tenth-place finish at the NA West Semifinal, beating veteran Dani Speegle by two points. It wasn’t the weekend she was hoping for.

  • “I didn’t have as great of a Semifinal showing, and I had a little bit of doubt in myself going into the Games. And before going into Semifinals, I had such confidence. I had a great offseason, with the Open and Quarterfinals. But then I just didn’t feel like myself at all at Semifinals.”

Even though she was in the last spot qualifying, it still meant a ticket to the CrossFit Games, and Baker settled in to prepare. But the Semifinal experience gave Baker a different mindset heading to Madison.

  • “My whole mindset going into Games was okay, I’m just going to go there and make sure I’m just enjoying myself because I felt so off at Semifinals; I didn’t really enjoy myself, and I was kind of wishing the weekend away. So going into the Games, I felt like I didn’t really know how I was stacking up against some of these girls.”

Some (behind-the-scenes) details: Baker was almost apprehensive as the weekend kicked off.

  • “For instance, I just stayed in my lane for the bike ride–I was timid to go with the top group. I felt like that’s how the first two days really went for me. I was just kind of playing it safe, feeling like I didn’t deserve to be in the top group.”

The rookie nerves were alive and well for Baker, which led to four finishes outside the top 25 in the first six tests.

  • “Yeah, I’m sure every girl, even the best of them, still has a part of it. It’s like, I don’t know how I will stack up right now. It takes a little bit to step back and remind yourself that these girls didn’t do anything much different than what I did. I also trained six to eight hours every day, dialed in my nutrition, and I gave up a lot to be here. And I think it’s always easy to think they must be doing something more. And I think it’s just like the human body trying to protect itself.”
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  A Look Back: What Did We Learn From the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games Men’s Division  

A Look Back: What Did We Learn From the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games Men’s Division

Now that we have had some time to digest the fitness we witnessed at the 2023 CrossFit Games, we can start to analyze it in greater detail. Here are some storylines and takeaways from the Men’s Division.

The Strong Can Still Stumble

Even with his uncharacteristic performance at the North America West Semifinal, we still saw moments of classic Justin Medeiros; we remembered him coming out to smash Test 6 in Pasadena and finish it up with a fifth place in the final test, his two best finishes of the weekend.

Most people still picked Medeiros to finish first at the Games or, at the very least, get on the podium. But we saw for the first time a champ struggle.

  • He opened his weekend with the two worst test finishes of his career, and even though he managed to redeem himself slightly with a second-place finish in “Inverted Medley,” he never seemed to look quite like himself, and the other men took advantage. CrossFit has never seen a champ return to the top of the podium after a year of not standing there, so will Medeiros be the first (the last to try on the men’s side was Ben Smith–Rich Froning and Mat Fraser both retired atop the podium)? Or has the door been kicked open, giving athletes the realization that champions are beatable?

Weather Wreaks Havoc

Athletes always say they try to focus only on what they can control, but this weekend we saw the impact of something out of anyone’s control – the weather. Anyone on the ground in Madison said it was the hottest Games yet, with the turf at North Park coming in at over 120 degrees at one point. It was reminiscent of some of the early years in Carson, with humidity. And we saw the effect it had on the athletes.

  • Jack Farlow could barely walk his bike during the transition period of “Ride,” and Colten Mertens had to be almost carried off the field after “Pig Chipper.” Athletes were cramping so badly that we saw them seize up, and people got heatstroke during the Team’s “5K.”
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10/6 - 10/8: Marbella Championship (Marbella, Spain)
10/7: Battle of Branded One at Redstone CrossFit (Littleton, CO)
10/13 - 10/15: Midwest Championship (Rochester, MN)
10/13 - 10/15: Midwest Championship (Rochester, MN)
10/14 - 10/15: 059 Classic (Modena, Italy)
10/14: Strength and Speed (Feasterville, PA)
10/14 - 10/15: The Vanguard (Lakeland, FL)
10/20 - 10/21: AAYMCA CrossFit Throwdown (Anderson, SC)
10/20 - 10/21: AAYMCA CrossFit Throwdown (Anderson, SC)
10/21: Festivus Games – Pairs (Savannah, GA)
10/27 - 10/29: Oslo Throwdown (Oslo, Norway)
10/29 - 11/19: CHLKDUP BOX LEAGUE – NASH (Nashville, TN)
10/29 - 11/19: CHLKDUP BOX LEAGUE – BHAM (Birmingham, AL)
11/4 - 11/5: Costa Barcelona Fitness Challenge (Vilanova i la Geltrú, Barcelona, Spain)
11/4 - 11/5: Hold Fast Competition Individual (Gerenzano, Italy)
11/11: War of the Masters (Elkton, MD)

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