Everything about CrossFit is completely within my reach. If you want it, then do it, whatever the goal is."
Marnel King is no stranger to competition. She has been a basketball player, soccer player and cyclist, all at highly competitive levels. Now, she brings that experience to the CrossFit Games.
King had to drop out of the Open in 2011 because of an injured shoulder, but in 2012 she is back with a vengeance. In four of the five Open Workouts, King finished in the top 10 in the Masters Women 55-59 category, including 90 snatches in 12.2 and a muscle-up for a score of 241 in 12.4.
After shoulder surgery in May last year, King knew she would need all of the time before this year’s Open to be competitive. “I began serious training in August and doing any overhead movement was difficult until November or December,” she says.
She was concerned about the Open snatch workout because of the injury, but she had done a lot of drills and was able to tie her PR of 75 pounds, 30 times.
The Open was a lot of fun for King. “When they announced the first workout, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but I was pleased in the end,” she says.
King says staying in the top 20 to qualify for the Games as a Master was exhausting. “More mental than physical, but I was tired when it was done,” she says.
She gives credit to her coach, Sam Radetsky, who has been providing her programming and helping her get through those five workouts.
King says CrossFit has made her strong. “I am not as fast of a runner as I used to be, but I’m stronger now than I was when I was younger, and I’m stronger than people who are 20 or 30 years younger than me,” she explains. “When I was 20, I didn’t see any point to weightlifting, but that might have been different if there had been CrossFit 30 years ago. Darn, I wish CrossFit was around then.”
King smiles as she talks about going to the Games in July. She says she plans to continue to improve her overhead movements and mobility in general, which she says is even more important as a Masters’ athlete.
“Really, I think my strength is never giving in to that number that says I am in my 50s, therefore I am over-the-hill and on my way to the golf course,” she says. “No offense to golfers, of course, that has just been a game I have saving for when lifting weights just isn't happening for me anymore.”
CrossFit has been a part of King’s life for several years. She did her first workout in 2007. “It was Angie, and I was paralyzed for two weeks,” she says.
Still, she had a great time and decided to go back for more. She began doing CrossFit as a way of supporting her cycling, but eventually she quit organized bike riding in favor of more time in the gym.
Now CrossFit is a huge part of King’s life. In addition to her “regular job” as a network engineer, she is the co-owner of CrossFit San Jose. She is usually in the gym at 5:30 a.m. for a workout, and then she returns in the evening after work for more training. She spends weekends working on the business side of owning an affiliate.
During the Games season, King is not teaching any classes at the box. “I am really focused on myself right now and it is hard to focus on the people in the class,” she says.
King enjoys being an inspiration to other athletes and showing others they do not have to limit themselves. “I don’t like artificial barriers,” she says with emphasis.
To King, wanting something is half the battle, and as long as she trains hard for the Games, she knows she can tackle whatever task is required. “Everything about CrossFit is completely within my reach,” she says. “If you want it, then do it, whatever that goal is.”