As a preface..
I write how I think. I go over it 1x to check for errors or rambling non-coherent statements or thoughts. I don’t like having others correct my train of thought as it became my thought;. Because then they’re not my real thoughts. So, I know there will be stuff spelt wrong, I know there will be grammatical errors, you don’t have to tell me :).
It’s Thursday night and I’m headed home from my first experience coaching at the CrossFit Games. I’ve been telling myself for a while now that I’d start writing, personally, for myself, about thoughts and feelings that come into mind regarding leadership and character for those that I’m fortunate enough to lead in one capacity or another, and fitness/lifestyle bits for the gym and Black Sheep Training, Unfortunately, in the rat race that is life, I haven’t made it a priority to find time to write / reflect in an organized fashion about any of the aforementioned. I’m hoping that my current flight home’s lack of wifi, and my desire to document the experience that was witnessed at the 2023 Crossfit Games by a very good friend of mine will be what creates the habit that has yet to be created.
I won’t go into great detail about how we met or the specificities of our friendship here, we recently shot a podcast where we dove into those specifics, along with the details/statistics of her 12 year Crossfit career. You can find that video/podcast on youtube under the Crossfit Boynton Beach account. For today’s sake I’ll leave it at.. Jaci and I met in 2011, since then, she’s been to regionals as an individual, and on a team (multiple times). She’s been to the games 1x on a team, and she qualified 1x prior to this year, but declined her invitation because of school.
As the 2023 Crossfit season approached, Jaci was doing nothing more than class workouts. I’m sure she was ‘playing around’ and doing some extra stuff lifting/conditioning wise when it felt right, but she absolutley wasn’t ‘training’ in the sense that the sport suggests when the word is uttered. Jaci’s always been a freak athlete with strengths and weaknesses, but what she did in the 2023 season, in my opinion, is one of the more impressive feats one could have.
The 2023 season began, and progressed, and finished. And with it, Jaci Cale advanced, advanced and advanced.
If you ask anyone who’s known us for long enough, they’ll tell you I’m one of Jaci’s biggest fans, and have been since we both started CrossFit together 12 years ago. Even with that being said, I couldn’t believe Jaci’s finishing places in the 45-49 year old division in all 3 phases of the 2023 season leading up to the games. I consider myself to be somewhat of a rationalist, and I’d be lying if I told you she would have finished the way she did after each step.
My thought process was..
Jaci is fit as fuck. She’s been doing this for a long time and I do believe that fitness and even more specifically the skill related nuances of the sport do have some residual. She’s going to do great. But when we get to a certain stage, the test demand and frequencies at which they need to be performed (1 per week in the open VS 4-6 in a weekend in Quarters and Semis) are going to prove to be too much for this full-time job working, mother of two teenage boys. The residual fitness factor will become less and less apparent as we progress. I would bet my top dollar that there are PLENTY of masters women in the 45-49 year old division that 1) aren’t currently working like she is. 2) don’t have kids and a husband that they are incredibly involved with like Jaci is. Both of those factors + a passion for Crossfit would = a much much more rigorous training schedule, a shitload more volume tolerance, and a shitload less stress, be it good or bad stress. And that will play a huge factor in ending an upper hand to other women over her And wow. I was wrong.
Jaci Cale fucked around and finished in 9th place world-wide in the masters 45-49 year old division working out just as much as any other passionate but busy member at a Crossfit.
Let that sink in..
Pick the 1 think you love doing, whether it be your career or a hobby. Now imagine the joy and accomplishment it would bring you to once day be the 9th best in the world at that thing. Jaci did it, without uprooting her personal, family and work life.
That is absolutely incredible.
Post-qualifiers we started training. Jaci was hitting double sessions 2-3 times per week and was spending her 2-3 hours a day in the gym in her ‘main session’ like it was 2016 again. She dialed in her nutrition and her recovery at the drop of a hat. She worked her fucking ass off to ensure she had a great Games experience.
Let me re-iterate one more time, because the more I think about it, the more impressive it is…
Jaci beat THOUSANDS of women who I guarantee were dedicating their entire life to this Crossfit season. Because she’s just a gansgter. And that’s what gangsters do.
Jaci had 3 top 4 finishes at the 2023 Crossfit Games in her rookie Games experience. Some workouts we knew would be good for her going into them. Some workouts we knew would be worse off for her. No matter what the vibe was going into the event, Jaci was Jaci. She was light hearted, good spirited, yet focused. You could tell that she was ecstatic to be there, but you could also tell that in her mind, she knew who she was, and she wouldn’t let one events success or lack there of change that.
I have a strict rule with athletes I coach, especially at live events. If a workout goes in a way we didn’t want, we’ll de-brief as coach/athlete about what went wrong, what we could have changed, what we’ll focus on moving forward etc.., then I start a 5 min timer and tell them ’You’ve got 5 minutes to vent/think about that event. Get it all out, then when this timer goes off, we’re done with it, we move on.” not to be discussed or worried about again during the week/weekend
This week after Jaci’s 5k, was the first time I’ve had an athlete tell me “I don’t need the 5 minutes, I’m good and done with it.”
Whatever the personality trait is that manifests that response to an outcome that was less desirable, we as a society need more of.
Jaci showed strength, resilience, maturity, composure, drive and a high high level of elite fitness (obviously) and I’m honored to have been there to witness it.
I’d regret if I didn’t mention in this rant, the demand it takes on these athletes spouses to be able to train at, then compete at these high levels. Seeing Stan his emotional investment, dedication and passion for his wives success was telling to say the least and I hope that backing, support and love is something all of our wives, daughters and friends get to feel one day.
CONGRATS TO JACI CALE ON BEING THE 8TH FITTEST 45-49 YEAR OLD FEMALE IN THE WORLD