The 2012 CrossFit Games Open has started with a bang for CrossFit Jenks athlete, Paige Millspaugh. Taking 6th place in the North Central Region on 12.1, Millspaugh completed an impressive 124 burpees in seven minutes.
For Millspaugh, this is quite a different story compared to a year ago. A competitor with very few weaknesses, she was not thrilled to see double-unders as part of the first couplet of 2011 Games Season. Millspaugh finished 97th in that workout in the Region. Extremely disappointed in her start to the Open, she worked hard and put up some great scores in the remaining five workouts. In the end, Millspaugh was sitting in 32nd place. Not quite where she had anticipated finishing, but it did earn her a well-deserved spot to compete at Regionals.
In Chicago, Millspaugh proved she was a force on the North Central CrossFit scene when she took 1st place in the Run/HSPU/Row workout. A 7th place finish in the thruster ladder held her in 1st place going into the second day.
“Going into the 3rd WOD, I was aware I was in 1st place, but did not really feel a lot of pressure to stay there,” she says. “This was my first regionals as an individual and I really had no expectations. My only goal was to make it to Sunday.”
Millspaugh says the deadlift weight of 205 pounds wasn’t anything she had done before, but she felt calm going into the workout. “I wasn’t really too worried about it. However, this ended up being significant in my overall finish,” she recalls. “Since I wasn't sure how my body would handle 205, I paced myself way too much and fell way behind.”
Feeling let down, she succumbed to the fact that she would not be able to finish in the top three and move on to the Games. “Looking back, I don't think I gave the remaining three WODs my all. I finished 11th overall and really felt pleased with my finish. My goal was to make it to Sunday, and I accomplished that,” she says. “My only disappointment being my lack of fight in the final three workouts. I felt like I gave up a little and I just always want to give my best, which I didn't feel like I did.”
Training for 2012
A former competitive gymnast and college cheerleader, Millspaugh first found CrossFit in June of 2009. Her gymnastics background has been beneficial – she easily dominates chest-to-bar pull-ups, muscle-ups, and HSPUs.
However, more impressive is her proficiency in the Olympic lifts. Weighing only 125 pounds, Millspaugh has a 145-pound snatch and 175-pound clean and jerk. She recently competed in her first Olympic lifting competition, The Exile Open, where she won the Senior Division 58 kilo weight class and the Best Overall Female Lifter.
“Since Regionals, I have really worked on getting stronger and trying to stick to more of a strength bias programming,” Millspaugh says. “I was the typical girl that was hesitant to lift heavy weight because I thought it would make me big and bulky. I've got an awesome coach, Breck Berry (four-time Games competitor) and a great training partner, Christina Merlo (8th overall in 2011 North Central Regional); and together, I think we've made great strides in getting much stronger, while working on our weaknesses. I've also added in set work and rest days, and have paid a lot more attention to my sleep, adding about two more hours a night. The extra sleep has been huge in recovery.”
Millspaugh says she feels well rounded heading into the 2012 season. One of her biggest weaknesses was her mental game, which she feels has improved. “Just getting a few competitions in during the offseason and learning to push more when my brain says no. I've still got a long way to go, but I work every day to learn and get better.”
In an effort to improve her performance, she’s set higher expectations for herself, giving her more confidence. “I just want to give 100 percent and leave it all out there, and unlike last year, I'm not planning on repeating any WODs,” she says. “Last year, the Open felt more like a job and was so mentally draining to me. I'm trying to change my attitude and I'm not worrying about where I fall on the Leaderboard so much. At the end of the day, if I know I gave it my all, then that's all I can ask of myself.”