February 28, 2012
A New Season, A New Region: Miranda Oldroyd
By Sam Radetsky

"I am happy to be in NorCal, but this region is terrifying."

Miranda Oldroyd is used to interviews; she is just not used to being the subject. As a seminar trainer and CrossFit Media personality, Oldroyd is possibly one of the most recognized females in the CrossFit world.

But, an athlete is exactly what she is, and she is planning on proving it in the NorCal region. “I am happy to be in NorCal, but, God, this region is terrifying”, she says with a half grimace, half grin.

Oldroyd and her husband, Tyson, recently moved to Santa Cruz, Calif., from Salt Lake City and CrossFit 801, which they founded in 2007. Working for CrossFit as a trainer means Oldroyd travels a stupefying amount, teaching more than 40 seminars in 2011, and that included taking a month off to work with ESPN.

Getting in quality training with her travel schedule is not easy and Oldroyd turned to CrossFit legend Chris Spealler to do her programming. Spealler, also a seminar trainer, understands the rigors and challenges of frequent travel — jet lag, food, time, uncertain equipment and facilities, as well as the toll on the body — while trying to be a competitive CrossFitter.

Because of Oldroyd’s work obligations, she and Spealler need to be very smart and realistic about her training. Oldroyd first started working for CrossFit as a “demo girl” at the Level 1 seminars. “Being a demo girl means that you can do anything, all the movements, because that’s the job,” she says. She is strong, but she “runs out of gas.”

Enter coach Spealler. Oldroyd is doing lots of conditioning, especially track work. “I hate it,” she says with a sigh. She typically lifts only two days a week, with one day being an Olympic lift and one day reserved for a slow lift. Oldroyd says she is PRing on her lifts regularly, proving that there are many paths to progress.

Competing seems like an impossible task for anyone in Oldroyd’s shoes, but she is adamant that competing brings out the best in her. “Go head-to-head, get judged, get nervous.” Only by competing can she “find out how good I can be.”

Oldroyd has already stood on the CrossFit Games field once, in 2008. That was the last year the Games did not have qualifying events, and she says that now you have to want it more and really work for it. Very few high level competitors are lone wolves in their training, and Oldroyd used to miss the camaraderie of her affiliate. She realized her fellow seminar trainers are her affiliate and she regularly trains under the eyes of some of the best coaches in CrossFit.

Oldroyd’s job as a top seminar trainer imparts a certain technical authority as an expert on CrossFit movement, and in the past she was fearful that any defeat on the competition field could mistakenly be seen as a lessening of that authority. However, the previous competition seasons have proven that fear to be unfounded. Oldroyd says she is constantly impressed with the sportsmanship of her fellow competitors and the support of the CrossFit community, which are “just great.” Now, any pressure she feels comes from within.

CrossFit’s early reputation as a bad ass training methodology was partially, maybe even largely, built by women, three of whom are still very active in CrossFit—Annie S., Eva T., and Nicole C. Oldroyd is very conscious and honored that she is part of this lineage and she says these women inspire her still. It blew her away when she met Sakamoto at last year’s Regional and Annie said, “I’ve been looking forward to meeting you. I’ve seen so many of your videos.”

“The Nasty Girls video, wow, they were doing strict muscle-ups,” she says. Those videos were part of what drew her to CrossFit in the first place. Oldroyd wants very little more than to be in the Games this year, but her foremost desire is to “serve the community.” 

After the close of Week 1, Oldroyd is comfortably sitting in 22nd place in the region after completing 119 burpees.