January 12, 2012
When the Going Gets Tough: Azadeh Boroumand
By CrossFit

Azadeh Boroumand had a promising start to the 2011 Games Season. Ranked 25th in the world and 3rd in South Central at the end of the Open, the rookie individual competitor appeared poised to earn one of the three berths to the Games.

Yet to make it to Carson, Azadeh had to beat at least three of the five Games vets who were competing at the South Central Regional, and do so on their turf — live CrossFit competition. 

Azadeh faced Carey Kepler (2009 CrossFit Games — 3rd, 2010 CrossFit Games — 16th), Candice Ruiz (2010 South Central Champion, 2010 CrossFit Games –17th), Lindsey Smith (2009 CrossFit Games –5th, 2010 CrossFit Games –12th), Whitney Welsch (2010 CrossFit Games — 21st), and Lisa Bender Thiel (2008 CrossFit Games — 27th). By the end of the weekend, the Games vets had taken the top five positions in the region and Azadeh followed behind in a tie for 6th overall.

Azadeh’s promise as a CrossFit athlete was exhibited during “Amanda” on the final day of competition. As she dropped from her eighth muscle up, the ring strap got caught around her neck, sending the rings flying up and out of position. The judges hurried to fix the rings, but a minute into the fix and with the rings still uneven, the judges gave Azadeh the option of restarting. Azadeh decided to keep going. Despite the setback, Azadeh finished 3rd overall on “Amanda”—17 seconds ahead of Carey Kepler. 

We caught up with Azadeh about the incident, where she finds her inner drive, and how she plans on preparing for 2012. Here’s what she had to say.

The Ring Slip

I don’t have any resentment toward what happened. Everybody did the best they could in the given situation. The experience has helped make me a stronger athlete.

Things happen and you just have to take them at face value. I realized at that moment I could do one of two things: 

1) Pout, thereby allowing a malfunction to mess up my performance on the workout and potentially the entire final day of competition.

2) Take it at face value. Skip complaining and finish to the best of my ability.

I chose the second option. God puts us in certain situations for a reason and a lot of times it’s to test our character and strength. I feel at that moment, I was given a test, and in my mind I passed it. We either allow adversity to break us down, or we allow adversity to make us stronger. In that moment, I became a better person and a better athlete.

I'm a firm believer in taking misfortune and turning it around for the good. Things don’t always go our way, but we can learn and become better from it. 

Learning from Regionals

This was my first year competing individually, and with each competition comes experience — something that I lacked.

I don’t blame placing outside of the top three on what happened in “Amanda.” My weakest movement is the handstand push-up, and it was amplified in Workout 1 (12:52, 15th). Since I placed 15th on the first workout, I had to play catch up the entire weekend. I came into the final day ranked 7th overall, and even with slightly better performances on “Amanda” and the final Chipper, I wouldn’t have made the cut.

To prepare for next year, I plan on traveling to unsanctioned CrossFit competitions at boxes in the area to get used to competing against talented athletes. I also plan on incorporating more bodyweight and endurance work into my programming while still maintaining my strength. 

Inner Drive

Joss McKernan reported that you sometimes channel an inner anger to fuel your workouts. Could you talk more about that? Were you upset when you came back to the rings, and if so, did that help you catch up to Ingrid and Lindsey?

When I feel like giving up I think of my mother who is a schizophrenic. She has had a rough life and is a very strong woman. That's when I feel I can do one more rep, take one more step and continue ... because she did the same for me growing up.  

Also, I push for one more rep for my Get Lifted “family.” They are genuine, kind people who took the time to understand who I am — and they’ve been nothing less than patient. The Get Lifted owners, Paul and Maribel Smith, have taken me under their wing and helped me grow as a woman and an athlete. 

I truly believe that CrossFit is so much more than just a sport. It represents overcoming hardships in your life. If you can handle a workout when everything in your mind is telling you to stop, you can achieve anything in your personal trials and tribulations. It represents your character and who you are as a person. When the going gets tough - get tougher baby! 

So how do I plan on getting better for next year? I’ll put God first and train hard. I plan on training to the point of physical and mental exhaustion. When everything is telling me to stop, I’ll just keep on going. 

Lastly, I would like to wish luck to everyone who made it to the Games. It's a blessing to them and my prayers go out to all of them!