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Fighting Cancer and CrossFit; Ann Ritchie’s Story

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“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” — Winston Churchill 

Fighting Cancer and Castro: How the CrossFit Open is helping Ann Runkle Ritchie Battle Cancer


Ann Ritchie was staring fifty in the face and pushing 200 pounds when her son finally convinced her to join him at Allheart CrossFit in Brimfield, OH. That was in 2012 and Ritchie has been a fanatic since.

Four years later, Ritchie realized why CrossFit was so important to her. “CrossFit strengthened my body to begin a fight I didn’t know was coming,” Ritchie told the Morning Chalk Up.

What CrossFit was preparing Ritchie for is years of battling cancer.

It all started during 16.5 when Ann didn’t feel well. She almost didn’t finish the WOD, which is unlike her. One week later, she was in the emergency room being told that she had stage 3C colon cancer and her colon had perforated. For ten days, Ann fought sepsis before having surgery to remove her right colon, right kidney, appendix and lymph nodes.

Twelve rounds of chemo and multiple hospital stays later, doctors said her colon cancer was cured. Ritchie was eager to return to CrossFit, WODing while wearing her ileostomy bag, and went about her life.

But then, in October of 2017, the cancer returned. This time in her liver.

“I was told I had 4-6 months to live and to get my affairs in order. That was on October 11, 2107,” Ritchie said.

Ann, seeking a second opinion, headed to Cleveland Clinic and met with the top colon cancer oncologist and liver surgeon in the country. Together, Ann and her team formed a plan. She had seven more rounds of chemo and then a twelve-hour surgery where they removed more colon, half of her liver and her gallbladder. Her recovery went well, and while she completed five more rounds of chemo, she once again pressed her doctors to let her return to CrossFit.

They let her.

Continue reading…

O2 Launches O2 + Hemp CBD Active Recovery Beverage


Last month at the Natural Products Expo East, O2, the makers of the only oxygenated recovery drink, debuted their newest addition: O2 + Hemp CBD.

Yup, CBD in a recovery drink, which is just now available for pre-order only, comes in two flavors: Pomegranate Guava and Caffeine-Free Peach Pear. In an industry already saturated with both recovery drinks and CBD products, what makes O2 different?

Developed by a physician and a CrossFit trainer, O2 is a revolutionary line of post-workout

beverages, blending seven times the oxygen of tap water with electrolytes to help athletes accelerate their recovery. Paired with the benefits of CBD, you’ve got yourself a powerhouse of a recovery beverage.

The CrossFit crowd, being on the forefront of health and wellness, is no stranger to CBD and neither is the O2 team. So the decision to incorporate it into our recovery-focused drink was a natural evolution. We certainly recognize the dance floor of CBD drinks is a crowded one, but we’re excited about our dance moves and believe we have the best CBD drink on the market,” said Eric Le, VP of Marketing at O2.

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Under Fire, Lefteris Theofanidis’ 20.3 Video Receives Backlash


We’re three weeks into the CrossFit Games Open, and there has been no shortage of drama regarding penalties, video submissions, and standards. Now Greece’s 2019 national champion, Lefteris Theofanidis, the current worldwide leader on the men’s side, is in the crosshairs of some criticism over his 20.3 video submission. The resulting backlash has even drawn a response from Theofanidis via Instagram.

One big thing: The issue isn’t the movement but the standard of his video submission and how Theofanidis and his helpers take the measurements for his handstand pushup line for the Diane portion of the workout.

  • Red flag #1: When establishing the initial line at the top of Theofanidis’ head, rather than using a flat object to measure the line, the measurers appear to eyeball the measurement and place a finger on the wall that appears lower than the top of his head.
  • Red flag #2: The camera repeatedly lets the measurement lines, and process in general, move out of frame from camera view. The measure also switches which finger he’s using to mark the line on the wall, switching from his index finger to his middle finger, and it’s unclear whether the measurement line moves as a result.
  • Red flag #3: When measuring the length of his forearm from his elbow to the knuckle furthest from the wall (as stated in the workout standards), his forearm clearly measures between 35 and 36 centimeters. As stated by the rules, half of that measurement, roughly 17.5-18 centimeters, should be added to the measurement line, but the helpers only add 16 centimeters to the line.

Continue reading…

Things To…


WATCH: Jacob of All Trades Episode 1: High Heelin’
Four-time CrossFit Games athlete Jacob Heppner is trading in his barbell for new experiences every week to see if he really can become the “Jacob of All Trades.” In this one, Heppner dons a pair of high heels for a good cause.


APPLY FOR: Morning Chalk Up’s Sr. Managing Editor
The Morning Chalk Up is looking to hire a Senior Managing Editor. We’ve grown up a little and need to add a key member to the team who wants to help shape and craft the editorial tone and voice of the Morning Chalk Up with a growing team.


KNOW: How Not to Get Tricked by the Treats
It’s Halloween! And with that comes an onslaught of chocolate bars, candy corn, and empty calories. Between the scary or costumes, fun and games, it’s important to be prepared and understand your boundaries when it comes to sweets. We asked SteadyMD Dr. Shani Muhammad for her tricks on staying healthy during Halloween.


EAT: Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
Stuffed acorn squash with cranberries, pecans, and orange-infused quinoa then drizzled with a simple goat cheese or feta crema. Perfect vegetarian side dish or main to serve at Thanksgiving, or anytime you’re looking for a gorgeous, healthy plant based meal.


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Sign up now and get a one-on-one and app intro with your coach, not to mention an additional 50% off your membership! Don’t miss out! This offer is exclusive to Morning Chalk Up readers only!

Use code: “OPENPREP50” Hurry! Expires November 3.

Chalk Up Community

  • A FRESH CUP OF FITNESS — Episode Four of A Fresh Cup of Fitness, Morning Chalk Up’s first podcast, is out today. Managing Editor Jessica Danger and CrossFit L2 Coach Brittany Marsh discuss the importance of setting boundaries in and out of the gym. 
  • HELP A FAMILY IN NEED — Thirty-year-old Aly Jenkins, a mother, professional curler, and CrossFitter recently passed away form a childbirth complication. Her box, Synergy Strength in Warman, Saskatchewan, is collecting monetary donations, frozen meals, and toys for her kids to help the family during this time.

CHALK UP IN 2 MINUTES (a highlight reel around social media of CrossFit pros and average joes)

Matt Rattay hit a lifetime clean and jerk PR at 396 poundsJacob Heppner does some front squat + split jerks at 315 pounds Dusty Hyland power cleans 270 poundsJaRon Moore clean and jerks 308 poundsElaine Tsay gets five cleans at 185 pounds • Sean Hutchinson hang snatches 225 pounds for three. 

…and John Wooley has the inside scoop on the 20.4 announcement right here, folks. 

Open 20.4 Announcement — The fourth WOD of the CrossFit Open will be announced tonight at 5:00 PM PT. 

— Here’s how to watch and our expert predictions. 

Dave Castro revealed a clue

— And here are three 20.3 videos to watch while you wait: Kari Pearce, Noah Ohlsen, Amanda Barnhart, Annie Thorisdottir v. Sara Sigmundsdottir, and Jacob “Fitst Bump” Heppner

Michele Letendre on Life Lessons — Michele Letendre posted a meaningful message on Instagram yesterday in which she listed all the jobs she’s had that prepared her for what she is doing now.

— “I was speaking with my mother not long ago about leadership and gym ownership, she offered her help and it seemed so simple and effective. She said to me, Michele, I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and only have I really put things together in the last 5. That got me excited… to know that I can only get better and more concise with my message to the world through time and experience I felt a surge of confidence that through my continued exposure to the world and the multiple roles I will take on, i will end up with a solid and meaningful contribution.”


“Italian Showdown is First Sanctional to Forgo Qualifier,” by Niki Brazier, Morning Chalk Up 

The 2020 Sanctionals season will showcase 28 different events on six continents, and all but one are using an online qualification process in order to determine who will take to the competition floor. But for the CrossFit Italian Showdown, now in its fifth year, the entry process will look a bit different from the other events. 

An open registration process: When registration opens for the CFIS on November 13th, 1500 spots across six divisions will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to anyone who wants to register. All 1500 athletes will take to the competition floor for day 1 of the event, held in Riccione, Italy April 24-26, 2020, but only the top-ranking athletes will move on to the second and third days of competition.

Here’s how the competition structure breaks down:

Divisions include Elite 18-34, Master 35, Master 40, Master 45, Master 50+ and Teams of 4 (MM/FF). At the end of the three days of competition, the top elite male and female athletes will advance to the CrossFit Games, along with the winning team of 4.
All 1500 athletes will compete on day 1 in a series of 3 consecutive max-effort workouts, with a 1 minute break in between. The events are performed by all the athletes in a continuous flow throughout the entire first competition day. Once the day wraps, the athletes with the lowest scores will be eliminated from the competition.
Athletes have the option to register as an individual as well as in the team division. The 3 elimination workouts are the same for individuals and teams, and scores are tabulated by each team member performing the events individu


11/2: Best of the Wurst (New Braunfels, TX)
11/2: Gangs of the Midatlantic Team Competition (Williamsburg , VA)
11/2: Second Annual 12-Hour WODathon (Houston, TX)
11/2: Coed Clash Competition (Oneonta, AL)
11/2 – 11/3: USAW Level 1 Training (Kansas City, MO)
11/8: Veterans Day Bash 2019 (Lubbock, TX)
11/8 – 11/9: WOD for Warriors (Waite Park, MN)
11/8 – 11/10: The Kalis Games (Manila, Phillipines)
11/9: Patriot Challenge 3.0 (Longview, TX)
11/9: The Garage Games Masters Tour (Rochelle Park, NJ)
11/9: The Battle at Branded One (Las Vegas, NV)
11/9: Battle on the Airfield at Skyraider CrossFit (Riverside, CA)
11/9: The Goat Gauntlet (Hartford, CT)
11/9: The Bay Games (Huskisson, NSW AUS)
11/9: Third Annual Battle on the Airfield (Riverside, CA)
11/9: Sweat For Sweeney (Keene, NH) 
11/9 – 11/10: Fallout 2 Presented by Battleground Events (Long Beach, CA)
11/9: Emerald Coast Honor Games (Destin, FL)
11/16: Warrior Affiliate League Delta Force (City of Industry, CA)
11/16: O-Town Throwdown 2019 (Oconomowoc, WI)
11/16: The Garage Games Masters Tour (Blue Springs, MO)
11/16: The Garage Games Masters Tour (Clemmons, NC)
11/16: The Garage Games Masters Tour (Plainville, CT)
11/16: The Pain Cave SD (San Diego, CA)
11/16: 2019 Graveyard Games (Kenosha, WI)
11/16: Mid-Atlantic Masters Classic (Abingdon, MD)
11/16: 3rd Annual Bombs & Barbells (Pooler, GA)
11/16: Mama Said Knock You Out (Canton, CT)
11/16: Olson WOD (Hanford, CA)
11/16: CFP’s 6th annual Fall Brawl (Pittsfield, MA)
11/16: 4th Annual Battle of the Badges (St. Louis, MO)
11/16 – 11/17: 24 Hours of Heroes (London, ON)
11/17: Annual Ghetto Games (Plainville, MA)
11/17: Crews For Brews (Windsor, Ontario)
11/22: Sixth Annual Gobbler Gauntlet (Scottsdale, AZ)
11/23: Kettlebells for Balls (Newburyport, MA)
11/23: Keep Austin (Austin, TX)
11/23: CrossFit XLTs 6th Annual Turkey Bash (Chatham, IL)
11/23: Fitness for Ellie Fundraiser (Amherst, OH)
11/23: Rise of the South (Statesboro, GA)
11/23 – 11/24: South Loop Games (Chicago, IL)

+ Send us an event
Is there something we missed? Email us at [email protected].
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