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Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. Today’s edition is brought to you by Macrostax.

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“Gratitude is about letting go of desired outcomes and fully embracing the privilege and process of pursuing goals and dreams.” — Matt Fitzgerald 

Forget The Comeback Kid: Mom’s The Word For Kara Saunders


Australia’s Kara Saunders is on track to be the first mom in the modern era to qualify for the CrossFit Games postpartum as an individual, just five months after having her baby Scotti.

  • After 20.3, Saunders is placed 23th on the worldwide leaderboard – and given that the cutoff line was extended to 35th for women in 2019 – she’s entering the final two weeks of competition in hot contention to qualify.
  • Saunders is also only five points behind the reigning Fittest Woman on Earth Tia-Clair Toomey for Australia’s National Champion spot.

Kara’s thoughts: “I had no expectations when it came to the Open considering I had my first baby 5 months ago,” she told the Morning Chalk Up.

“However I realized very quickly that I’m just wired a particular way. I don’t know how to ‘dip my toe in’, and I just love competing and get so caught up in it.”

She’s not been gone long: In fact, this Open marks less than a year since Kara and her husband Matt announced their pregnancy after Kara’s 4th place finish at the 2018 CrossFit Games.

The former 2nd Fittest Woman on Earth closely documented her tailored training both before and after the birth of her daughter Scotti Madison in May.

“I haven’t done anything unsafe or forced but I’ve certainly put my head down and hustled as best I can. I’m very surprised at how I’ve progressed at this point but also don’t really accept much less of myself,” Kara laughed.

Continue reading…

20.4 Kicks Off with a Bang


Welcome to week 4 of the CrossFit Open. 

Athletes in three separate countries squared off for the live 20.4 announcement which pulled in around 35,500 peak concurrent viewers. 

  • Fun Fact #1: This is the first time pistols have appeared in the Open.
  • Fun Fact #2: This is the heaviest clean and jerk weight ever programmed in the Open. 
  • Fun Fact #3: This is the first time clean and jerks have been in the Open since 15.1a’s 1RM clean and jerk.
  • Fun Fact #4: Clean and jerks have only ever been programmed for reps twice in the Open and they showed up in the same week: 13.4 and 20.4. 

For time:
30 box jumps (24/20)
15 clean and jerks, (95/65)
30 box jumps (24/20)
15 clean and jerks (135/95)
30 box jumps (24/20)
10 clean and jerks (185/115)
30 single-leg squats
10 clean and jerk (225/145)
30 single-leg squats
5 clean and jerks (275/175)
30 single-leg squats
5 clean and jerks (315/205)
Time cap: 20 minutes

One big thing: Diablo CrossFit made history Thursday night by being the first Open announcement to include prize money for the winning athlete. The owner of a local Toyota dealership, who is a member of the gym, offered up $2,000 to the winner (Ben Smith) and $1,000 to second place (Sean Sweeney). 

  • Craig Howard: “I want to get these athletes paid for their work.”

Live viewership: Live Open announcements kicked off in three countries on three separate continents. 

  • Diablo CrossFit — 30,500
  • Tork CrossFit — 2,600
  • CrossFit Italian Showdown — 2,400

Things To…


WATCH: A Day in the Life of Amanda Barnhart
Nate Edwardson spent a Friday with Games athlete Amanda Barnhart for a look inside the day of a Games athlete on an open Friday. See how she recovers, eats, and gets mentally prepared for the Open WOD.


GET: A Free Turkey
ButcherBox delivers 100% grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage breed pork, and wild-caught Salmon all free of antibiotics and added hormones right to your door. From now until November 17, new ButcherBox members will get a free all-natural turkey in their first box.


GET: FREE Posters for Your Gym
Calling all gym owners and CrossFit enthusiasts! Blonyx is the creator of better sports nutrition products focused on fueling your athletic ambition. One of the ways they fuel ambition is through educating athletes. Download their FREE gym posters to support your athletes. Posters include: barbell best practice, LB to KB conversion, and 1RM percentage calculations.


EAT: Paleoish Detox Salad
If all that Halloween candy has you feeling sluggish and sugar hungover, consider making yourself a big bowl of this Paleoish detox salad full of greens, olive oil, avocado and chicken to whip that digestion right back into shape.


Today’s edition of the Morning Chalk Up is brought to you by


More Than Chicken and Broccoli

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Chalk Up Community

  • HONORING BRENDA STERN — Franabel and Heartland Strength Gyms-giving will take place on November 15 at CrossFit at Heartland Strength in Omaha, NE to honor Brenda Stern, who passed away from lung cancer in January. All profits from the event are being donated to the American Lung Association.
  • 2019 VETWOD RESULTS — The 2019 VETWOD fundraiser raised $24,000 in total. The funds raised went to Gallant Few, which will use these funds to facilitate a successful transition for veterans into civilian life, helping to prevent veteran unemployment, homelessness and suicide.  

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

Roy Gamboa does a power snatch + hang power snatch at 250 poundsAJ Davis does a power clean + hang power clean at 365 poundsNoah Corrigan back squats 405 poundsMichelle Basnett does two thrusters at 185 pounds for a PR • Congratulations to Kenzie Riley on the baby announcement.

…and nothing has ever made more sense than Joe Scali as Freddie Mercury.

One thing you might have missed among all the news: “The Fittest On Earth Among 40 Penalized in 20.2”

Dean Linder-Leighton on His Open Scores — Games athlete Dean Linder-Leighton took to Instagram yesterday to explain why his Open scores have been pulled from the leaderboard. 

— “Last minute, sitting on a plane I decided to sign up, not for any other reason but to enjoy it with all of the Lionmode members! For the first time in 8 years I would do it without checking the leaderboard or worrying if my camera was setup correctly, I would also see how my new training and nutrition paid off. So I joined in.

— “To my surprise I was doing better than I thought, but because of my placings I was asked to submit my videos to keep my scores valid, I asked them to simply not send me an invite if I earned one and let me compete, but they said no. My scores would be removed from the leaderboard even though I was being judged and performing them at an affiliate.”

— “So no I didn’t test positive for anything or have a video invalidated or receive any penalties, I simply chose to not submit a video each week and unfortunately that means that HQ will remove my scores each week if they are in the top 40. I am confident I am as fit as ever, I’ll see you all at a sanctionals and in Madison!”

New and Fresh Cup of Fitness — Episode Four of A Fresh Cup of Fitness is out. Hosts Jessica Danger and Brittany Marsh share the how’s and why’s of setting and upholding boundaries in your life.

— “If you take just one thing from this episode: Teaching people how you want to be treated is your responsibility.”


“Fighting Cancer and Castro: How the CrossFit Open is helping Ann Runkle Ritchie Battle Cancer,” by Jessica Danger, Morning Chalk Up

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.


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: FRANABEL + Heartland Strength Gyms-giving (Omaha, NE)
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)

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