After dominating the East region and beating the defending fittest woman on earth, Carol-Ann Reason-Thibault's advice to those who are yet to compte is simple:
"Stick to your game plan. It will be easy to try to go faster, but I think it's not the right thing to do," she said.
Reason-Thibault (right) with Dani Horan
Over in the south region, 25-year-old Zachary Moran placed an impressive 8th overall, and placed 1st in Event 2 (21-15-9 DB snatch and ring dips).
Some of Moran's event-specific advice included:
Event 1: "Pace the run in the beginning. The event is won during the 12 rounds...and run between movements."
Meanwhile, Madeline Senkosky, who competed against Reason-Thibault in the East and placed an impressive 26th in her rookie debut to regional competition, offered some logistical and emotional advice.
One logistical thing that really helped the 31-year-old was staying right next to the venue, so she could leave between events without having to worry about driving and traffic and finding parking, or being stuck at the venue like some athletes who stayed too far away.
“Seems like a no brainer, but we all seem to sacrifice proximity for affordability. I’d pay double to be able to walk back and forth from the venus to my room. It helped alleviate the stress of having to leave extra early to find a parking spot,” she said. “The walk allowed me to get my mind right for competition, and it became an opportunity for me to immediately reflect on my performance following the events.”
Another simple, but useful tip she gave is to plan your outfits ahead of time.
"This is definitely a girl thing, but the last thing I wanted was a wardrobe malfunction on the competition floor,” she said. She went so far as to run through each workout beforehand in the clothes she intended to were for each event.
“To make sure they stayed in place, and I wasn’t distracted during certain movements by tugging on my shorts, or having my shirt flip upside down in my face.”
As for the most important part of the weekend—the competition itself—she said the most valuable thing for her was having a specific goal for each event.
“I’m a super goal-oriented person, so defining sets and numbers that I wanted to hit allowed me to focus on the movements themselves and let go of the things I couldn’t control,” she said.
That being said, it’s also a competition, and sometimes you have to push that much harder than you want to, she added.
“Have an awareness of where you are and what other people are doing. Stick to your strategy but also look for opportunities to use the adrenaline and push the pace a little bit. Compete. Sounds funny, but there will be an opportunity for you to make a breakaway or to get ahead,” she said. “You just have to be aware enough to see it, and I wasn't the best at that this past weekend.”
Another important aspect of the workout that can easily get away from you are the transitions, she said.
“For the vets, this is probably a no brainer. But for me, I didn't sprint my transitions enough. (Dave) Castro wants it to be easier for the spectators to figure out where any athlete is in relation to their opponent, which means we have to sprint, not jog, to get to and from the implements. The transitions are a part of the workout, and if you don't run to your spot, you'll lose multiple seconds over multiple rounds. It can make a difference by ten place points at this level. You don't think you can do it, but you can. Get where you need to be, and then rest if you really can't perform the movement.”
For rookies specifically, Senkosky said this:
“Know that you earned your spot to get there. Being a rookie, one of the biggest takeaways I had from the weekend was having the confidence that I belong on that floor.”
She added: “It’s something I'm always working on: Believing that I'm deserving of a top-20 spot from my region. But after this weekend, I won't let my confidence prevent me from doing what I'm capable of.”
Finally, take the time to appreciate being there.
“It goes by so fast,” she said.
“Take five minutes at the end of each event to cool down and look around. Squeeze the people who came to support you and respond to all the messages. It was an emotionally-committed weekend for them, too, and they're proud of you no matter how you did. We are lucky enough to be in the top tier of our sport, so be proud of what it's taken to get you there.”
Good luck week 2 athletes!