"As an affiliate owner ... I feel like my gym name is more important than representing my name."
Months before the Open, Lauren Plumey had already set her goal.
Still, she competed fiercely, finishing 5th in the North East Region and besting her 2011 performance by three spots.
“My goal was to come in top 10 because the last thing I wanted people to think is, ‘Oh, she’s going team because she’s not good enough,’” Lauren says. "As an affiliate owner … I feel like my gym name is more important than representing my name.”
And so the CrossFit Games veteran — competing in 2009 and 2010 — is a team competitor for the first time. The 32-year-old high school English teacher says she made the move because she wants to get pregnant next year.
Lauren and her husband, David, own Shoreline CrossFit in Branford, Conn. Lauren says joining the team has been a morale boost to the Shoreline community. “People are really proud that I’m representing the gym,” she says. “It’s weird. [I’m] less nervous in the sense that there’s less focus on me. And [I’m] more nervous because I could potentially let down our team.”
Plumey trains six days a week individually and two to three times per week with the rest of the group. Every other Sunday, the Shoreline team does a triple, consisting of a strength component or a technical movement, a team workout and then a stadium-style workout. As if that weren't grueling enough, those workouts are judged and filmed for review.
“Sometimes I’ll play them against each other. Sometimes I’ll have them work together in a stadium-style workout,” Lauren’s husband, David, says.
David is also the team’s coach. “I want them to get comfortable working out next to each other. Knowing each other’s weaknesses is valuable knowledge on game day,” he adds. “Tough decisions will need to be made and no one’s feelings can get hurt.”
Months ago, he put team members through a series of test workouts to identify glaring weaknesses. “Everyone is different, so I make sure that they have basically a custom program.”
For his wife, the goat training has focused on weight overhead and gymnastics movements. “She’s not particularly good at any one thing,” he says. “But she’ll get the job done.”
Although she is more of an individual competitor than a team competitor, David stresses that his wife is a fierce competitor. “For any team event where only one athlete is required to compete, that’s where she will shine,” he says.
Lauren says her strength lies in staying consistent throughout long workouts. When it comes to shorts bursts of power and speed, however, she feels she’s just OK. “I’m not sure I’m the best and that’s where I have some fears,” she says.
As in the past, her mental approach continues to be a daily battle. “I always think that’s the most important component in CrossFit. Some days I’m a rock star and nothing can stop me, and other days, I’m like, ‘Ugh,’” she says. “If your mind’s not in the right place, you’re defeated before you even begin.”
Nonetheless, she feels her previous experience is useful to the team. She acknowledges that just because you don’t finish at the top of a workout, it doesn’t mean you’re out of the competition.
“I definitely feel like that’s a lecture I might give to our team,” she says.
The stern words won’t come soon, though. Team SCF 1 of Shoreline CrossFit sits in the 1st place spot in the North East Region.
Lauren would like to keep it there. “I want to come in 1st place,” she says. “I feel like our team has a ton of heart and this year we’re training a lot harder.”
David, meanwhile, says he’d be happy with a top-three finish. “My athletes are not the youngest athletes and I recognize the fact that some of us are planning to have families and we are getting older and the game is changing,” he says. “I really want them to just seize the moment.”
Lauren says Shoreline has many obstacles and the biggest falter last year was wasted transition time.
And there’s the most obvious hurdle: CrossFit New England.
The affiliate swept last year’s Regional and went on to win the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games Affiliate Cup. It would be a huge accomplishment if Shoreline were to win the Regional this year.
“CFNE has a strong, tight-knit community with great training,” she says. “But I think we can step up our game.”