“My ultimate goal is to go out there and perform up to my standards,” she says. “I am a competitor and I believe I should be there."
After pursuing the podium for three years, Michelle Crawford took third place at the 2013 Mid Atlantic Regional, securing a trip to Carson, Calif., for the CrossFit Games.
Crawford entered this year’s Regionals with a renewed perspective.
“Going into Regionals, I had a feeling that the (events) were going to be more in my favor,” she recalls. “For me, I typically struggle on the strength events, so I hoped they would be a little more manageable than in years past because the weights were less heavy.”
Crawford’s successful performance at Regionals proved that intentional training, dedication and perspective go a long way. She’s also built a support network over the past few years.
“Coming back to the gym that week was so amazing,” Crawford says. “Everybody was so supportive and I am extremely appreciative for all the well wishes. I feel really loved.”
Despite the support and her positive outlook on the Regional Events, Crawford remembers feeling more anxious than she expected.
“I definitely came into it probably more nervous because I had greater expectations this year than ever before,” Crawford says.
“Once the (events) were released, and I remember thinking this could really happen, this is actually a possibility, that was almost more nerve-racking,” she says. “When you get that close to a goal, the reality of it happening, started to give me that ‘I don’t want to screw this up’ feeling.”
Although she is a seasoned competitor, Crawford has not always participated as a solo athlete.
“I have always been a team-sport person, so I am very much a people person and I love to talk with everybody,” she says. “But this third time through, I really learned to take some time out of the arena, to separate myself and learn to relax, and I think it really helped. This was a big step for me towards learning how to become a better individual competitor.”
She hopes these lessons from Regionals will help her succeed as she prepares for the Games.
“It’s really hard to know how to train for it because you don’t know what to expect,” she admits. “I sat down with my coach and really tried to predict the best we could. I resumed doing some strength training from before Regionals and focused on more heavy, overhead movements.”
In early July, Crawford attended a training camp at CrossFit Mayhem in Cookeville, Tenn. She spent some time training with Talayna Fortunato and several other South East Regional athletes.
“We spent about four days doing very intense, high-volume workouts,” she says. “We did some more traditional workouts, but then we also did some really unique workouts like swimming in a pond and lunging up a nearby hill. It was cool to have four days dedicated to just eating, sleeping and working out.”
As for the Games, Crawford is not setting any specific goals, but she does have overall expectations.
“My ultimate goal is to go out there and perform up to my standards,” she says. “I am a competitor and I believe I should be there. I just want each (workout) to be what I am capable of doing.”
Crawford is beyond excited to have an opportunity to compete on the big stage.
“I love to compete in everything and to have the chance to be out there, in that atmosphere, knowing I am going up against some of the best athletes in the world is awesome. I feel incredibly blessed.”
As a first-time Games competitor, Crawford shows no hesitation about the upcoming experiences.
“I love Nancy and I am not sure what Naughty Nancy could be, but I am psyched to find out,” she says. “I am sure there are a lot of things that will be new for me. I just want to take it all in and have a great time. I cannot wait to feel that intensity and to walk out in that stadium.”