“I'm at the point in my training that I need to be tested. There is always something that comes up in the Open that's tricky for me, and each year, my coach and I have used that as valuable information for my training.”
Deb Cordner Carson, a two-time CrossFit Games competitor, isn’t done learning.
“Learning to take something, anything, from every training session has been key for my progress,” she says.
Each day, the 31-year-old athlete returns to CrossFit St Paul to train, and refine her skills. Although she has reached the furthest stage of the CrossFit Games season twice, she’s not content. She trains all year, every year to maximize her potential.
The CrossFit Games are just one part of that journey. You could call the Games her “final exam.”
Both years, the Games ruthlessly revealed her fear of the open water. Standing on the beach, she had a choice: swim, or accept that she was dead at the start.
In 2011, she stayed on the beach.
In 2012, she swam.
The experience has helped her learn about herself as an athlete and a person, she says.
“Each year that I ... compete, it's interesting to see how I evolve into a different athlete,” she adds.
After two weeks of competition, Carson is in first place overall in North Central with just six points.
Although she is at the top of the overall standings, she has yet to win a workout (second on 13.1, fourth on 13.2). The number of fit women in North Central has grown, and Carson welcomes the challenge.
“I always love seeing the girls (on the Leaderboard) that I've been competing in the North Central Regional with for the past few years,” she says. “We're a tough bunch, and I think we keep each other pretty honest with the efforts we put out. North Central represents well at the Games and I hope this year we can dominate even more than previous years.”
Before she starts the week’s workout, she analyzes each component, sets a goal and determines the pace at which she’ll need to work in order to achieve that goal.
“With these AMRAPs (in the Open) I see the time, I see the movements and I work backwards,” she explains. “From there, I can usually figure out a pace based on numbers I'm working towards. After that I just do what I've been trained to do.”
Once she has a basic plan, she tries not to overthink it.
“At some point, I just have to let go of the planning,” she says.
At this stage of the CrossFit Games season, she’s looking for any gaps in her training. The Open, she hopes, will reveal what she needs to improve.
“I'm at the point in my training that I need to be tested,” she says. “There is always something that comes up in the Open that's tricky for me, and each year, my coach and I have used that as valuable information for my training.”
The one thing she isn’t looking forward to is a “repeat” workout (like 11.6 and 12.5).
“I will say that I don't like repeating workouts from previous years. I don't like competing in the same (Open Workout) twice. I'm not even sure why because I have no problem testing my fitness with benchmark (workouts) from time to time. I just think when I compete in (an Open Workout), I expect to never see it again. That's half the fun of how Dave Castro programs this stuff. You never know what he's going to think up.”