Weight: 147 pounds
Home: Montreal, Quebec.
Michele Letendre is another reason to believe that “good things come in small packages.” At 5 feet, 1 inch, Letendre is agile, quick, and very likely to return to the CrossFit Games in 2012. Always gracious, and always upbeat, Michele shared some of her experiences with us.
You competed in last year's Games series and placed 2nd in Canada and 25th overall - congratulations. How do you feel about what you achieved?
I am more than happy about what I was able to achieve in 2011. I worked hard all year and it really paid off. It took me quite some time to realize the importance of what happened, in fact even now it still stuns me that I was able to achieve 25th in the world!
What has changed for you since last year? Are you planning to compete again in 2012?
I’m definitely going to compete in 2012. The biggest change for me this year is the amount of support I’m getting from friends, family, and the CrossFit community in Montreal. Last year I was still relatively unknown in the community and now the support I am getting is unreal. My boyfriend has helped me tremendously coming back from the Games. He gave me a rehab program for the injury that I sustained during the Games and I feel great now. My training program hasn’t changed but I have made great progress and I feel stronger and faster than ever.
In terms of training, did you feel prepared for the unknown? What areas did you feel especially strong or challenged in?
Now that it’s done, I can definitely say that I was prepared for the unknown. But did I know that before the Games? No, I was scared and pretty nervous. Physically I knew I was ready and well prepared, but I knew that there were some things that would pop up that would hurt my performances. Things like running, I’m not a good runner and, at 5’1”, I hate wall balls more than anything, but on the other hand, I had great programing from Darren Coughlan from CrossFit Newcastle and my boyfriend Sean Lind gave me special programing for gymnastics so I was definitely prepped.
Mentally, it was much harder to feel prepared. I’m really afraid of heights and the one thing that scared and impressed me from 2010 were those enormous walls they had to climb over. I just kept hoping that I didn’t have to face physical exhaustion at the same time as my fear of heights! When they announced the first workout and Dave Castro started by saying there would be a 200 meter swim, I was so happy – being a swimmer turned water polo player for nine years – but then he said 1.5k run in soft sand and my heart dropped. Then 50 chest-to-bars, then 100 push-ups and 200 air squats, then another 1.5k run; I quickly realized that I needed to mentally prepare for that much running.
The swim went great. I was third out of the water but quite obviously the running hurt me a lot. I still feel I did well in that event with an 18th place finish. It was probably the most challenging event I have ever faced so far, and I have to say that after doing that, everything seems a bit easier, both physically and mentally.
Please share your thoughts on what you're expecting in 2012 and your plans for training and securing a strong finish at the Games.
My expectations for 2012 are to progress as a CrossFit athlete in my areas of weakness. I’ve worked tremendously on my running, I’ve improved my diet, I’ve tweaked my attitude toward my weaknesses – less complaining more doing. In essence, my plan for 2012 is to go back to the Games and place higher than 25th.
Do you have advice for someone who will be trying the Open for the first time this year?
Have fun with it. The open is a great community builder and a great opportunity to have fun with your local community as well as the worldwide CrossFit community, a really great experience!