"At first, I had no idea what the hype was all about, but when I came home during the summer, I realized it was definitely something I wanted to pursue."
Jennifer Lymburner is getting stronger.
In her second Open experience, Lymburner is still a relative newcomer to CrossFit. She started in February 2012.
“CrossFit Cordis had just opened, so we really just threw a team together for fun, looking to have a fun experience rather than trying to place in one of the top spots,” Lymburner says. “I think as a newbie, competing as a team was a good decision for me as it made it a little less overwhelming.”
She wasn’t a completely inexperienced athlete. She started gymnastics when she was 3. After 10 years, she switched to power tumbling.
“I was a national power tumbler and became a member of Team Canada, where I had the opportunity to compete at many international competitions including a World Championship in Hanover, Germany representing the 13/14-year-old age division,” she says.
For her last two years of high school and university, she competed at cheer, and was a NCAA cheerleader for three years at Hawaii Pacific University, a school she chose for its top cheerleading program.
When she came home after her four years away, her sister Merritt was doing CrossFit. Merritt qualified for the Canada East Regional last year.
“At first, I had no idea what all of the hype was about, but when I came home during the summer, I realized it was definitely something I wanted to pursue. After gymnastics, I had never found anything that really challenged me the same way and I knew that CrossFit would give me the challenge I had been missing. As soon as I finished school, I found an affiliate and signed up right away,” Lymburner says.
She immediately seized every opportunity at CrossFit Cordis — developing logos, building the website and marketing the affiliate.
“Not only was I immediately hooked on CrossFit, but my community here at CrossFit Cordis is unbelievable and has made my CrossFit journey even more enjoyable,” she says.
Having obtained her L1 Certificate, she now trains other members.
The 2012 Regional events were an eye-opening experience for Lymburner.
“They were significantly heavier than the Open (workouts) and strength was my weak point,” she admits. “I was proud with how I did – getting through the 15 135-lb. hang cleans and getting even my one rep of the 70-lb. dumbbell snatches was a big deal for me at the time.”
“As soon as I got back to Cordis after that weekend, I was ready to start preparing for 2013. Regionals got me excited to really pursue CrossFit and gave me the extra push I needed. It was time to start working on my weaknesses.”
Her Games preparations have included extra strength, conditioning and skill work on top of the gym’s daily workout and strength training. Gymnastics movements are her forte, but she has been working on becoming more efficient.
For 13.1, she managed 190 reps for the 19th spot in Canada East. In 13.2, Lymburner tied Annie Thorsdottir’s score of 361 reps. However, she strained her hamstring and was told not to lift for two weeks.
When 13.3 was announced, Lymburner was disappointed.
“Wall balls aren’t my forte — the joy of being 5-feet tall,” Lymburner says. “But I was also happy to use it as a gauge to see my improvement from last year. I got six muscle-ups last year and 20 this year.”
In 13.4, the hamstring strain made Lymburner nervous, but the toes-to-bars encouraged her onward, and she scored 100 reps. She’s now ranked sixth in the region.
“So far, I’ve reached or surpassed my goals on each Open (workout), so I’m happy with myself,” she says. “I hope to do the same for the final workout. Now that my hamstring is feeling better, I need to get back to lifting in preparation for Regionals.”
Lymburner would like to qualify for the Canada East Regional, and has a long-term objective of making it to the Games. She is thrilled with her progress to date.
“I have only been doing CrossFit for a little over a year now and am really happy with the gains I have made. Although my strength isn’t quite there this year, with an extra year of training under my belt for 2014, I think it’s a feasible goal. Canada East has a lot of really strong females so it will definitely be a huge challenge, but one I’m willing to take.”