"I think I am a doctor for the same reasons I am drawn to CrossFit. It's hard and challenging."
Tracy MacEachern, a former figure skater, has only been doing CrossFit since 2010. However, it’s quite clear her drive, ability and sheer will to succeed makes her a very strong contender for this year’s Masters competition.
Life Before CrossFit
“I was a competitive figure skater when I was in high school,” MacEachern says. “And while in college, I took a leave of absence to skate with Disney on Ice. During medical school I started rock climbing and cycling.”
With the experience gained from various sports, she walked into the gym with some skills already mastered. “Skating has given me a great sense of balance. Pistols have been easy since day one and frankly, I’ve never been afraid to jump on anything,” she explains. “Climbing is a bit like CrossFit in developing that mental and physical toughness, but certainly not as functional. And the cycling was a great for developing my endurance.”
First Time at the Box
Looking for ways to stay in shape with her husband Paul, MacEachern watched her first CrossFit class with a smirk.
“Ah, the right of passage,” she recalls. “Interestingly, the first workout we ever watched, and did, was Fight Gone Bad. What a start right? Anyway, we watched for a few rounds and thought it looked pretty easy. During that minute rest, people were rolling around on the ground groaning. I was a like, ‘Is this for real? Come on, what’s with the drama?’ Anyhow, fast forward 17 minutes, we were on the ground ruined! We signed up and haven’t looked back.”
Addicted to Change
Along with her physical abilities, she also just so happens to be a residency-trained emergency medical physician. “I think I am a doctor for the same reasons that I am drawn to CrossFit,” MacEachern explains. “It’s hard and challenging. I love working in the emergency department because it is constantly changing and no two nights are the same. I never know what I will see or who I will take care of on my shifts.
“These are the same reasons why CrossFit is perfect for me. I think I might have attention deficit disorder because I get bored easily which is why I chose emergency medicine and again, why CrossFit has been great for me.”
The Balancing Act: When to Eat, Sleep and Workout.
MacEachern’s schedule is insane to put it lightly, but she makes it work no matter what kind of day she may have. “I usually work three nights on, four nights off. The only problem is training during those night shifts, which can be fairly brutal,” she says. “A typical 24 hours usually goes like this: sleep during day, wake up at 4 p.m. and head to gym for few hours, eat dinner, go to work all night, get off at 7 a.m., stop at the gym on my way home to get some work done, eat, go back to sleep, and finally back to the gym.”
With a schedule like that, MacEachern’s coach and training partners look out for her when she gets too tired or needs to step it up. “They know when I’m tired and they know when to push me and when to cut me some slack,” she says. “They’ve also been great about coming in the morning, so I’m not working out by myself.”
She says she also receives greats support from her husband. “He really spends a lot of time preparing food for the week even though he has a crazy schedule himself.”
MacEachern had rough start to the Open, and after a disappointing first workout coming in 87th, she spent the remainder of the time playing catch up. Astoundingly, she placed 3rd in Workout 12.4 and 7th in 12.5, narrowly making the cut.
“Honestly, I think the burpee [workout] was weighted too heavily, but I say that as someone who didn’t perform well on that day,” she says. “Otherwise, I think the [workouts] have been brilliant. I was a little disappointed to see a repeat from last year, but that was the last thing I expected, so I should have expected it. A group of us were talking about thrusters and pull-ups since our coach had actually programmed that as part of our skill work that week, which is always an omen.”
The Masters Competition at the Games
With the Masters competition on the horizon, MacEachern has very specific goals in mind. “I’m looking forward to working on improving my motor a bit. I’ve got the lifting under control and the skills, but I need to work on not being so form-oriented when snatches or clean and jerks come up in a workout,” she says. “I’ve dumped the bar during Amanda because of a snatch that I didn’t think was perfect. I’ve taken some of the workouts just too literally, like Grace, insisting on split jerking every single one. That’s a big time suck that I need to work on. I need to move quicker through those lifts. I’ve made big improvements this past year, but there is always something to work on or some new challenge, which is why I can’t get enough of CrossFit.”
She’s keeping this positive approach in her Games training. “One of the most important gains from CrossFit is overcoming the mental obstacle of ‘I can’t do that’ because people are really capable of much more than they think,” she says. “It makes everyone more confident and crosses over into other aspects of their life. It’s not just about getting physically fit – it’s about getting mentally fit as well.”