After winning the Australia Regional, Chad Mackay delivered an exceptional performance at the Games, claiming first place in Pendleton 2 and the Ball Toss. At the end of the weekend, Mackay sat comfortably in ninth.
Not a bad finish when you take into account Mackay’s injury and delayed training. “Going into the Games, I had no specific goals or expectations after only just coming back from injury and eight months on the sideline,” Mackay says. “I was happy to be training again, let alone competing. I was starting to feel like my old self again, and everything just fell back into place just in time.”
Mackay finished 12th at the 2010 CrossFit Games. That year, he said one of his goals was to slim down to less than 200 pounds. Mackay weighed in at 225 this year, but not to his detriment. He demolished Pendleton 2: an endurance event many thought would not be favored by larger athletes. “In order to get below 200 pounds in 2010, I added more long distance running to my training program, which consequently landed me on the surgeon’s table with an overuse injury to my groin,” Mackay says. “The only way I could drop 25 pounds is either stop eating or stop training, and I love my food and love my CrossFit, so there’s no chance of either of those happening.”
Mackay’s strategy on the Ball Toss event was all about the set-up. “My set-up position on the GHD in general is a little different,” he says. “I like to have my lower back supported on the pad at full extension, which helps me to generate more power from my legs on the way up. During the Ball Toss event, I tried to focus on delaying the throw, while using a little topspin so the ball would land and continue to roll on.”
Mackay says his favorite event of the Games was the Double Banger, where he took fourth. “I love anything out of left field,” he says. “An event like this is almost impossible to prepare for, so it is a true test of the unknown and unknowable. I love it. It was a great event for the spectators as well, the atmosphere in the arena was electric.”
Mackay could have done without the Rope-Sled event, where he finished 21st. “It was brutal,” he says. “I think it was the combination of going all out on the Sprint beforehand (bad idea) and being inefficient on the rope climbs and pulling with my arms. Ouch, just thinking about it brings back memories, but I would love to give it another go.”
Running his affiliate, CrossFit Active, keeps Mackay busy. He often squeezes solo training time in between clients and classes. Looking ahead to 2013, he hopes to train more with other athletes. “This year, I want to make an effort to train with other athletes consistently … It is a different energy when you and a mate are training the house down and pushing one another to new levels,” Mackay says. “It is an exciting time to be involved with our sport as it continues to grow and develop and pave the way for future years, and I can’t wait to see what next year will bring.”
Mackay plans to focus specifically on one aspect of his training: gymnastics. “My gymnastic movement has always been a bit of a weakness of mine, so I want to devote as much time as I can to working on ironing out the creases and turning that into a strength,” Mackay says.
An additional focus will be his health. Mackay is acutely aware of the risk of injury after being forced to take time off during the 2011 season. “Everyone who’s tried their hand at competing in CrossFit knows injury can ruin even the most flawlessly trained athlete, so 2013 will be about monitoring my body, watching out for any signs of niggling injuries developing or resurfacing (having suffered hip/groin/shoulder problems),” he says. “Ultimately, the goal is to stay healthy and have fun.”