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Finding Solace and Opportunity in CrossFit

Morning Chalk Up

February 10


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. Two Australian athletes are gearing up to challenge three world records on the Concept2 BikeErg. And, our social media manager finds solace and resilience through CrossFit. Today:

  • A million-meter challenge.
  • When things get tough, Katie Ferraro goes to CrossFit.
  • Fundraisers around the affiliate community.

Never miss a Monday! Hit that PR or big lift and send us a note at [email protected].



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“The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.” — Ernest Hemingway

Finding Solace and Opportunity in CrossFit

  Finding Solace and Opportunity in CrossFit  

Life happens and things get stressful, but one thing I can always count on to keep me grounded is CrossFit. It started as a curiosity, something new to try. I gave myself three months to feel it out and to see if it was for me. Fast forward almost six years and you could say I jumped in headfirst and never looked back.

In my time as a CrossFit athlete, I have not only grown stronger mentally and physically, but it became the avenue through which I built my career.

In 2015 I volunteered at the West Regional (RIP) on a whim. Every year since then, I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to the social media efforts for the West (California) Regional, Invitational and then the CrossFit Games for CrossFit HQ. I had no idea what doors it would open for me but was grateful to be able to combine my passions for journalism and CrossFit, sharing my words with over a million people.

My first story was published to the CrossFit Games Instagram in 2016. It was a 300-word micro-story, a brand new format that CrossFit was testing, the first of its kind. When I read it, I was more nervous than I ever have been, even more than I get during the Open (and that’s saying a lot!). Thankfully it was well-received, earning some of the highest engagement of any post that week. It was one of the proudest moments of my career.

Eventually, I was leading social media teams, mentoring other contributors and producing more stories in one weekend than I ever thought possible. Being on the sidelines, capturing the action, talking with athletes and sharing their stories fired me up. It made me love the sport and I saw this as a path to my future.

What I didn’t anticipate was the drastic shift in the media model — the elimination of the CrossFit Games Instagram and Facebook accounts — and in a flash, years of my published work vanished. It deflated me. The work I had so much pride in, wasn’t good enough. I was frustrated.

If there is one lesson above all that CrossFit has taught me, it’s persistence. I simply don’t believe in “no.” 

As the 2019 Games approached, I learned that I had a media credential safety secured, but no outlet to write for as CrossFit was no longer producing its own media.

Social Media (Instagram specifically) became my channel for communication and I reached out to the Morning Chalk Up. Everything was falling perfectly into place and I was booking my travel to Madison. Then, I received news that I had been laid off from my day job as a Communications Manager for a non-profit. It crushed me. 

I worked hard to see the silver lining, but what I was avoiding was the lingering feeling that I had lost my purpose. But at least I still had CrossFit.

Always thinking ahead, I enrolled in a CrossFit Level 1 Seminar. My intention for earning my L-1 was more for the knowledge I would gain than the possibility of coaching. However, the owner of my gym had other plans. It’s funny how life will hand you big challenges followed by opportunities pointing toward your future. I fell in love with coaching and Morning Chalk Up became my creative outlet.

Despite these positive developments, another thing I didn’t anticipate was how my mental health would suffer. WODs were rough, I was missing wheelhouse lifts, I had no energy, no creativity. CrossFit and creativity are my safe havens, but for whatever reason at this point, everything was just hard.

I took a week off from CrossFit — long enough to miss it — then cleared my agenda to travel to New York and train at Solace Strength and Performance. My soul needed a new environment, one that was both familiar and different, to refocus and recharge. It was the best thing I could have done for myself. CrossFit grounded me once again.

One of my favorite things about CrossFit is that no matter where you are, you can always find comfort by stepping into a box — to learn, to grow, to smooth a rough patch. It also reminded me that for some, drop-ins or otherwise, it may be more than a CrossFit class. You never know what kind of storm athletes are living through. Overall, being in a new space, surrounded by athletes who thrive in the gym, I was reminded to appreciate everything CrossFit has given me.

Returning to Los Angeles, the place I had called home for seven years, I felt like I had a new lease on life. The challenges didn’t feel as big, but I still felt like there was a massive hole. As a person I didn’t feel fulfilled, but considering everything I did have, that made me feel a little bit guilty.

So many questions swirled around my head. Was I asking too much? Had I reached my ceiling? Did I need to work harder? Why won’t someone hire me? It was a vicious cycle.

It got down to crunch time where I was so desperate that I was ready to take any job in order to keep the lights on. Coaching and my freelance gig wasn’t cutting it. I was tired. Tired of struggling to pay the bills, tired of feeling worthless and tired of feeling like my dreams were outside of my reach.

Then everything fell into place.

I got my dream job as a social media manager for LIFEAID Beverage Company and enrolled in a social media certification program at NYU. And, I moved to New York City. Going to NYU and living in the city had been on my bucket list for as long as I could remember. I went back to Solace, but this time as a member. Everything fell into place exactly like it was supposed to.

I learned that what I was missing wasn’t a job or school or a new city, it was joy. Pure, simple, unconditional joy. I wake up every day now wondering if I’m dreaming and when I realize I’m not, life becomes even more vibrant.

The future is always unknown and that’s equal parts exciting and terrifying, but one thing that is certain is that my purpose is in CrossFit. Both as a writer and a trainer, supporting fellow CrossFit athletes in their life journeys, that’s my calling.


Two Mates, Three World Records, One Million Meters

  Two Mates, Three World Records, One Million Meters  

Two “Aussie Blokes” will attempt to clock one million meters on the Concept2 Bike Erg to raise awareness and cash for mental health.

Seb Ashton and Jesse Gale-Driscoll will attempt the unprecedented distance as a pair this April at CrossFit Active in Sydney. If they make it — they’ll lay claim to three new World Records.

  • World’s first 1 million meter cycle on a Concept2 BikeErg
  • World’s fastest tandem 1 million meter cycle on a Concept2 BikeErg
  • World’s greatest distance cycled on a Concept2 BikeErg

It’s expected the effort will take more than 36 hours to complete and there’s every possibility it could take closer to 48 hours.

  • The goal is to raise $10,000 for the Black Dog Institute. All of the proceeds will go to the Australian charity dedicated to understanding, preventing and treating mental illness.
  • Seb Ashton: “For us sitting on a bike for 2 days straight may be uncomfortable, but nowhere near as uncomfortable for the 1 in 5 people that suffer from mental health or for the 1 in 2 sufferers that don’t feel comfortable talking about it.”
  • “We’re not cyclists in any way, just a couple of guys who want to have a go and show the world you don’t have to be a pro to do something extraordinary,” he added.

Their efforts have already attracted the support of former Games athletes Chad McKay and Alethea Boon. The pair have raised $2,000 two months out from d-day. Their biggest difficulty between now and then might be mastering the transitions.

  • “From our discussions with Concept2, to be regarded as a record the flywheel,  or BikeErg, cannot stop moving, so change over will be very fast transitions,” Seb Aston added.

The boys also plan to livestream their marathon efforts (well, multiple marathons, actually). You can stay up to date or donate here.


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Sanctional News and Notes




How to Train When You’re Sick

In this episode, Jacob Heppner discusses whether you should train or not when you’re sick. Some things to consider: are you contagious, why do you want to train and how to gauge your intensity level to avoid injury.

  Morning Chalk Up  


The Best Sleep of Your Life, Every Dang Day

The Zoma Sports Mattress uses cutting-edge design and technology to facilitate faster muscle recovery, improved athletic performance and of course deeper sleep. Don’t let all those hard training days go to waste with a poor night’s sleep. Shop now and save $150 with the code “CHALK”.

  Morning Chalk Up  


Live and Loud Sports Podcast with Special Co-Host Mat Fraser

Matt O’Keefe and special co-host four-time Fittest Man on Earth, Mat Fraser caught up with the Buttery Bros in Madrid, Spain. The crew discusses everything the filmmakers went through over the past year as they transitioned from the CrossFit Media team to independent producers and influencers in the sport.

  Morning Chalk Up  




Prospera Naturals CBD softgels work with your body to unwind muscles and mind, helping you get the full recovery you truly need. And, due to their highly available Nano CBD formula, your body can absorb more of it for more noticeable results with every dose. Use the code “CHALK20” for 20% off sitewide

  Morning Chalk Up  


Ginger Chicken Meatballs with Peanut Sauce

These ginger chicken meatballs are infused with herbs and spices and coated in a creamy Thai-inspired peanut sauce. It’s an easy weeknight dinner and is perfect for meal prep! Serve with brown rice, cauliflower rice or quinoa.



  • Rafaela Lima does 2 cleans + 2 front squats at 105 pounds.
  • Matt Rattay jerks 405 pounds from the blocks.
  • Jack Antonowicz front squats 420 pounds for a 15 pound PR.
  • Emily Pursehouse overhead squats 176 pounds for 3.
  • Christian Whittaker cleans 365 pounds for a PR.
  • Mick Keogh snatches 165 pounds for a PR.


Fundraisers Around the Affiliate Community

It’s overwhelming to witness all the great work CrossFit boxes are doing around the world. Here’s a little roundup of a few that have come across our radar recently.

  • CrossFit Eternal in Charlotte, NC is hosting OutWOD for a community fundraiser on February 22. All proceeds will benefit The OUT Foundation.
  • Pike Fitness in Chadds Ford, PA holds a partner WOD every Saturday at 7:30 AM to benefit the Weekly Fight Organization, a nonprofit that raises funds and awareness for post-traumatic stress in veterans and their families. The workouts are free for any active duty veteran, first responder and their family and friends. A different local hero is honored every week. 
  • CrossFit Undisclosed at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar will host The Deid Throwdown 3 Fitness Competition on March 22. The proceeds will go toward providing safe, reliable, and effective workout equipment for the troops deployed to CrossFit Undisclosed. There is also a GoFundMe page for those who can’t attend.
  • Run Ranger Run is a fundraiser takes place throughout the entire month of February. Individuals pledge to run, walk, or bike at least 56.5 miles each as part of a team of 10. The fundraiser benefits the GallantFew, a nonprofit organization that helps veterans and their families. Many CrossFit boxes field teams and the clock is ticking, so register soon.


+ Submit an Event

2/15: Swolemates (Northville, MI)
2/15: Valentine’s Day Crush (North Hollywood, CA)
2/15: Hail to the Team (Astoria, NY)
2/15 – 2/16: Tribal Clash Australia (Wollongong, NSW, Australia)
2/15: Sweat-Heart Throwdown (Barre, VT)
2/15 – 2/16: 5th Annual Double Barrel Classic (San Marcos, CA)
2/15: Love is Love Partner Comp – Austin (Austin, TX)
2/15 – 2/16: The Tactical Games (Meridian, MS)
2/22: Battle of the Lake IV (Denver, NC)
2/22: Battle of the Fittest VII (New York, NY)
2/22 – 1/22: Shake N Bake Throwdown (San Antonio, TX)
2/22: Masters of Fitness 2020 (Cape Coral, FL)
2/22: Granite Games Spring Throwdown (Snyder, TX)
2/22: The Do More Charity Challenge (Castle Rock, CO)
2/22: HYROX Dallas (Dallas, TX)
2/22: GRIT Strength Challenge (Ocala, FL)
2/28 – 3/1: True Strength Camp (Vancouver, WA)
2/28 – 2/29: CrossFit West Richland’s One Ton Challenge (West Richland, WA)
2/28: Community WOD for Trevor (Fuquay-Varina, NC)
2/29: On Track Team Challenge II (Olathe, KS)
2/29 – 3/1: Gi’s and Janes (Jackson, MS)
2/29: 151 Marion Mad Hatter (Marion, IA)
2/29: 2nd Annual Heartbreakers Competition (Fort Sill, OK)
2/29 – 3/1: War of the WODs Team Event (Greensboro, NC)
2/29: No Millennials Mash- Up (King of Prussia, PA)
2/29: True Paw Throwdown (Annapolis, MD)
2/29: Steel Rail Shootout 2020 (McComb, MS)
2/29: Operation O’Dowd (Lakewood, NJ)
2/29: On In The Gong 3 (Wollongong, Australia)
2/29: Raven’s Pursuit Twisted 5k, Row-for-a-purpose (Greensboro, NC)
2/29: Leap Year Competition (Stilwell, KS)
2/29: Red River Riot (Moorhead, MN)
3/7: NO BOYS ALLOWED (Plymouth, MI)
3/7: No Boys Allowed (Wyoming, MI)
3/7: The Burpee Mile (San Diego, CA)
3/7: Victory Games (Columbia, MO)
3/7: Granite Games Spring Throwdown (Paramus, NJ)
3/7: Swolemate Showdown at Outlier Crossfit (San Diego, CA)
3/7: Spring Granite Games Throwdown (Hollister, CA)
3/7: No Boys Allowed (Grand Rapids, MI)
3/7: Showdown in the Valley (Clemson, SC)
3/7: Indy Iron Games (Indianapolis, IN)
3/7: Granite Games Spring Throwdown (Klamath Falls, OR)
3/7: sheSTRONG (Collingwood, Canada)
3/14 – 3/15: Sector Games 6 (Manati, Puerto Rico)
3/14: Going HAM TxFit Games 2020 (Southlake, TX)
3/14 – 3/15: The Tactical Games (Burnet, TX)
3/14: Granite Games Spring Throwdown (Lancaster, OH)

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