June 4, 2013
Preparing for the Podium: Michelle Crawford
By Christina Roth

"I came back from Regionals last year and immediately went to work on my weaknesses."

Photos by Christina Roth

Michelle Crawford is familiar with the demands of Regional competition. This year, she plans to prove she is ready for the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games.

Crawford hovered at the top of the Mid Atlantic Leaderboard for the majority of the Open, securing a first-place finish in 13.3, with a score of 263. She scored 157 on Workout 13.5, tying with Amy Bright of CrossFit Northlake. Crawford is currently seated in second place going into the Regional.

And, after a disappointing fourth-place finish at the 2012 Regional, she is eager to put her preparation to the test.

“Last year going into Regionals, I was hoping to make the Games and came in fourth, so I missed it by a spot,” Crawford recalls. “I was disappointed. I left very disappointed.” 

Despite this setback, she says she became more motivated.
“I also left with a renewed sense of ‘Let’s get it in gear,’” she explains. “I am like everyone else after a competition. I came back from Regionals last year and immediately went to work on my weaknesses. I love met-cons and could do met-cons all day long, but I know that snatch is my weakness and heavy, heavy weights.” 
Crawford continues to train weekly with Josh Elmore, owner and head coach at CrossFit Eternal. Elmore approached Crawford shortly after the 2011 Mid Atlantic Regional and offered to build her a training program. 
“Josh has really helped me to dial in on my training needs,” Crawford says. “I train with a team on Saturday mornings at Eternal and we just show up and have no idea what the workout will be. It helps me get in that competition mindset of being ready to step up and perform.” 
Preparing for Regionals is about more than physical training for Crawford. 
“For me, it was more mental. I am the type of person that’s like, ‘I am going to go Rocky-it and move to Russia, and live in a cabin and train 24/7, but that is unreasonable,’” she jokes. 
Crawford and her husband, Casey, have two young daughters and live a busy lifestyle, which includes managing the Ballantyne YMCA CrossFit, in Charlotte, N.C. Learning to balance family and training has proven to be difficult at times, but Crawford makes it work. 
“I’m a wife, I’m a mom, and I don’t want to be the mom who is too busy to watch her kids because I am working on my muscle-ups,” she laughs.
She adds: “I am thankful for the support network of my family, close friends and the members of my box, as well as CrossFit Eternal. I am going into Regionals this year in a much different position mentally. I want to make it to the Games and I have been training really, really hard. But I also know that it’s not my identity — my success or failure will not define me as a human being. When that idea finally clicked a while back, that’s when I was able to really focus on my training.”
To prepare for the Mid Atlantic Regional June 7 to 9, Crawford will test out the events. 
“The first day is going to be the toughest because of the rowing,” she says. “I am looking forward to the burpee/muscle-up (event) and very glad to see the deadlift/box jump … back on the list. I have never done rope climbing in a formal competition, so I am interested to see how it feels with the adrenaline pumping. It should be a great showdown at the end.”