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Emma McQuaid ‘A Mess’ As Her Dog was on Verge of Paralysis, Still Comes Second in Madrid
Emma McQuaid’s second place finish at the Madrid Championship seems near miraculous and is a mark of a deep well of resilience. She was in the middle of a sleep deprived emotional rollercoaster for her dog’s health.
A week before Madrid, Ellie, a French Bulldog, had a bulged disc that had herniated her spinal cord. McQuaid wasn’t sure if her pet would recover, be paralysed, or even have to be put down.
“It was a lot of tears. Both me and my husband, we were a mess,” McQuaid, 32, said.
Ellie underwent an operation. It was still unclear how she’d recover and McQuaid was getting up every 90 minutes to two hours to help Ellie go to the toilet.
It is unclear what caused the injury. McQuaid has a donkey, a horse and cattle, so the dog may have been kicked. But Ellie never had an obvious trauma. The couple took Ellie to the vet because she seemed to go quiet, not because she seemed to have been kicked.
“She is mental. She is one of the most energetic French bulldogs there is,” McQuaid said. “So, maybe it’s just a combination of her being crazy.”
This would be stressful for anyone, but there was another layer for McQuaid and her husband, David.
David suffered an accident 10 years ago that has left him paralysed and going through the episode with Ellie triggered a lot of old feelings.
“It was probably a lot harder. It’s not just about Ellie,” McQuaid said. “We relived the year post-crash. It brought back a lot of memories we put in the past.”
After a week of uncertainty, emotional lows, worry and lack of sleep, McQuaid flew to Madrid to compete in the Championship.
McQuaid was undecided whether to compete until the night before her flight. Her coach insisted. As long as McQuaid could sort the logistics for others to sit Ellie in her absence, she thought it best for her.
“We all made a decision that it would be good to challenge myself and see what my body can do in extreme high stress. I don’t think I’ve ever come into a competition with a mental state like this weekend. If I can compete with this mental stress going on, any competition will be enjoyable after,” she said.
“I didn’t feel like myself on the floor. Usually I don’t mind hurting. But this time, every time the hurt started, my body went ‘urrrggg’. My body was like ‘it is OK to slow down’. Usually there’s something in my mind that says it’s OK’ to hurt more. I certainly didn’t have that gear,” McQuaid said.
Operating at this impaired level, McQuaid still finished second. For McQuaid, the fun of competitions is the social aspect. She likes meeting other athletes, chatting in the warm up area and after each event.
In Madrid, she stuck to herself and headed back to the hotel between events.
“I love having fun on the competition floor. And this weekend, I couldn’t find the fun in it and I came second. I couldn’t find the fire and I came second. That has to be amazing.”
McQuaid’s next competition is Rouge in six weeks time. She will be in a far better head space, and Ellie should be on the road to recovery. But six to 12 weeks after the dog’s operation is crucial.
So, McQuaid is cutting back her training volume. Usually, she has defined sessions throughout the day for conditioning, skills, strength and gymnastics. Instead, she will have two sessions and merge all of the different aspects together.
“If it works, it works. We’ll see,” McQuaid said.
No doubt, McQuaid will be a force to be reckoned with at Rouge.
“There is just a mental resilience there that we’ve built up in the last couple of weeks. I’m definitely excited to know my body can go through that and still perform,” McQuaid added.
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In case you missed it: Lauren Kalil spoke to Patrick Vellner about his 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games finish and where he thinks he went wrong:
“There were just too many mistakes in a few areas which is frustrating.”
Comp update: The Norwegian Functional Fitness National Championship is this weekend in Stavanger, Norway (translation needed). The male and female national champion will be awarded the King’s Cup, which is a very prestigious award in Norway: “A sport can’t just decide it gets to award a King’s Cup to its athletes. This award is only allowed to be given out by sports recognized by the Norwegian Olympic Committee.”
“One of the big things that we focus on on the state level is making sure that CrossFit trainers and affiliates can talk about nutrition without having to get a state license. A lot of the issues we take on are regarding what trainers can talk about when it comes to nutrition.”
Top 10 Athlete Payouts for the 2022 CrossFit Season
The 2023 CrossFit season has begun. Whether you decide to call it the offseason or the preseason, the season has begun and with it a number of Games athletes have already started participating in competitions to put some extra money in their pocket.
But if we look back at the totality of the 2022 season, that includes all stages of the Games season (the Open, Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Games) and the three major offseason events (the Rogue Invitational, the Dubai CrossFit Championship and Wodapalooza) that extra money last year came in the form of some huge paydays for some athletes.
We have compiled, to the best of our knowledge, the 2022 season final payout list. This list factors in prize money awarded for individual performances at the Games, the Open, Semifinals, event win bonuses from both the Games and the Open, three major offseason competitions as well the Reebok Bonus Program from the Games…
Less Work Same Payout? Sneak Peek into TYR Wodapalooza
We took The Bottom Line on the road in Madrid, Spain! Morning Chalk Up’s Lauren Kalil caught up with Dylan Malitsky, the VP of Sports for Loud And Live to chat about the decision to change the competition format allowing athletes to compete in team and individual. Malitsky discusses how this will impact the future of Wodapalooza, what athletes are saying, and even gives us a sneak peek into the elite payouts.
Why Were the Madrid Championships Workouts All Short?
The Madrid Championship wrapped up this past weekend, and you don’t have to be an analyst to notice that all of the workouts were relatively short — less than 10 minutes in most cases. A core tenant of CrossFit is balanced, varied fitness, so a major off-season competition lacking longer time domain tests in their programming begs the question: why?
As some background, for the top ten, men worked an average total of 46 minutes and women, 50 minutes, over the course of the three day competition. When compared to a Semifinal event or popular off-season event like Wodapalooza in 2021, this ranks lower by 15-20 minutes overall. It’s common to have one or two longer events that end up taking up close to half of the total working time per athlete.
That said, analyst Brian Friend makes a key point: “It’s more than just the total time that’s important; it’s the ability to recover from a workout that’s longer, which is why those usually show up earlier in the competition that is lost without at least one 20+ minute test,” he said.
The Critical Piece You Don’t Think About That Might be Hindering your Performance
You’re into the round of 15s during Fran, and you feel it starting to happen: Your body is overtaken by lactic acid that you just can’t flush out, and your vision is blurred, but the most painful feeling is the fact that you’re sucking wind so bad you actually aren’t sure if you’re going to die.
As CrossFit athletes, we have all done this to ourselves before, we are all familiar with those feelings, and we have all largely accepted that this is part and parcel with high-intensity fitness.
On the one hand, it is. Going hard in a workout will always hurt. But on the other hand, if you learn how to breathe more effectively, you’ll have a better chance to push through the pain, maintain your intensity longer, perform better, and simply not be in as much pain.
“During exercise, we do not typically think about breathing. We just breathe. But that can be missing a critical piece in our exercise success,” explained Dr. Dena Garner, Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology, Professor of Health and Human Performance at The Citadel, and Head of Research at AIRWAAV, the company known for its mouthpiece that helps decrease respiratory rate, improve muscular endurance, and increase recovery through reducing cortisol build-up.
Deadlifts, highly functional, highly technical, and highly done wrong. Sometimes, after that heavy weight comes off of the ground, we forget all the things we once knew about “form” and get it up there, whether it’s ugly or not. Introducing your new cue, The Triple P.
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⚽️ Not CrossFit, Still Cool: The goalkeeper for Cadiz Futbol Club in Spain, Conan Ledesma, sprinted across the pitch to deliver a defibrillator after one of their fans suffered a cardiac arrest in the stands.
CrossFit Games Teen athlete Kaiden Hogan cleans a 200 pound/91kg sandbag during a clean ladder workout.
Ricky Garard got his chest pump on with this Man Maker workout in 3:56— 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Dips, 1 parallel bar traverse each round.
Congratulations Coach Andy Sambell from NTRS Performance HQ in Tasmania, Australia on this 276 pound/125kg snatch and qualification to the Down Under Championship in November.
Lauren Fisher‘s Santorini wedding photos are just too good.
Mayhem Mission is gathering donations to help the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi as 150,000 residents were left without clean drinking water after recent flooding. Those that wish to help can donate at mayhemmission.org.
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