April 24, 2013
Ginny King: The Good, The Bad and The Painful
By Sarah Buzynski

“I plan to make sure I keep having fun with training. I love training. I plan to soak up every second ... The good, the bad and the painful.”

Above photos by: Jeffrey Cohen
Above photo by: Adam Trosclair

Ginny King plowed her way through the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Open with one focus: a chance for redemption at the North Central Regional.

Last year, King trailed Elisabeth Akinwale, Stacie Tovar and Deborah Cordner Carson for a fourth-place finish — just one spot away from the podium and a trip to the Games.

King finished day one of the 2012 North Central Regional in second place after two events, and was feeling good. Then came Event 3 — the 70-lb. one-armed dumbbell snatches. By round three, she was struggling. She remembers Akinwale, who had already finished, screaming in her ear, “This is for the Games!”

“That (workout) killed my score. I underperformed and was much slower than I ever was in training,” King remembers.

“I walked away letting myself be disappointed, because it is disappointing, but I also have used it as motivation. Our region is ridiculous, and it will take perfection (to qualify for the 2013 Games) for any of us.”

Putting it behind her

This year, King has focused on having fun. She and her workout partner, Drew Hymer, went into the Open with the intention of competing as Individuals at the North Central Regional. Both athletes take training seriously, but recognize staying relaxed is beneficial.

“Typically you will find both of us dancing in front of our barbells before a set or (workout) … I perform 10 times better when I am relaxed and happy,” King says.

The two keep each other in check mentally.

“We regularly give each other pep talks and tell each other to just suck it up.”

In December, King’s mental toughness was tested when she injured her shoulder. All overhead training ceased for six weeks, and she was forced to sit out of a few local competitions.

“She had to rest it,” Hymer says. “Elite athletes want to train nonstop, but (the injury) gave her time to work on weaknesses, which has made her better.”

The Open

King finished the Open in sixth place in North Central and secured her spot in the Regional competition.

She had a rough start in 13.1. Sick with bronchitis, she had trouble breathing.

“I was walking around the gym with a Vicks Vapor inhaler glued to my face before the (workout),” she says. “You never know what circumstances you are under week to week during the Open. I guess that makes it kind of exciting.”

King made up any ground lost by placing among North Central’s top 10 in three of the four following Open workouts, including 13.5.

Many athletes dreaded the twisted Fran workout. Not King. She likes thrusters, and she has spent time mastering butterfly chest-to-bars.

“One of her biggest improvements (this year) has been butterfly chest-to-bars, which obviously helped her a lot in 13.5,” Hymer says.

Another quality King loves about Fran is that it’s short. While she welcomed the surprise time element of 13.5, it provided yet another mental challenge.

“The knowledge that after you finished one Fran, you would get the ‘opportunity’ to do it again — that was a little unsettling,” she admits.

Her strategy for the workout was to keep moving, but work smart to avoid burning out early. Her plan was to do sets of five chest-to-bars.

“I knew if I tried to do too big of sets early, I would be trashed.”

The strategy worked to her advantage. She was able to keep up the rep scheme for the first phase and well into the second before having to drop down to single, regular kips.  

King churned out 145 reps for ninth place in North Central.

Redemption day

Redemption day is coming.

The North Central Regional is less than two months away and King has put her body through tests of strength and endurance throughout the offseason. Fine-tuning is all that’s left, she says, so she is focusing on the little things like efficiency and skills.

King says she has to be flawless at the Regional.

“This year, I don’t want to leave qualifying for the Games up to other people making mistakes,” she says.

King fully intends to keep a relaxed and stress-free mentality leading up to the Regional.

“I plan to make sure I keep having fun with training. I love training,” she says. “I plan to soak up every second of this. The good, the bad and the painful.”