The House That Hopping Built

by Rob on May 8th, 2015

She would never write a post like this herself, so please bear with me as I'm going to...

I'm extremely proud of my wife, Sarah, as she enters final preparation for her fourth CrossFit Games Regional competition.  The 2015 California "Super" Regional will take place at the Del Mar Arena (Del Mar, CA) on May 22-24, and will be one of the most competitive CrossFit competitions in the world this year, thanks to the ever-increasing difficulty of qualifying to compete at this high level, and the loaded pool of talent in our part of the globe (aka where CrossFit all started).  We're thrilled that so many Arena Ready athletes/members and coaches will be making the trip down to cheer her on in person.  Those who cannot make it can watch all of the action live via web stream on the CrossFit Games website.

Following an entire year away from competitive CrossFit, Sarah somehow found a way to claw through the 2015 Open and secure a spot to Regionals despite a tighter qualifying window than ever before, a painfully dislocated rib that continues to hamper her training, and the newly added five-day-per-week second job she has taken on (complete with a daily 2.5 hour round trip commute to boot).  How she juggles that combined with helping me run the gym and coach classes - and then somehow fits any semblance of high intensity training of her own into her schedule - I truly have no idea.  I marvel at her intense drive, her passion for life and those she deeply cares about (including her Arena Ready family), her commitment to excellence in everything she does, and her refusal to accept any of her responsibilities or obligations as excuses for not being the best she can be in any given moment.       

Sarah spent all of 2014 away from the sport of CrossFit, and dedicated herself to Olympic weightlifting in an attempt to make the Pam Am and World Team for the United States.  And although the grueling year presented her with a ton of adversity (including a broken femur prior to Nationals), she ended up just one snatch shy of the former goal.  By the close of 2014 she had been fortunate enough to train at the Olympic Training Center multiple times under the guidance of one of the greatest living coaches out there, set new personal records in her lifts and her competition total, and finished second in the American Championships in December, bringing home three silver medals.
Sarah at the USAW 2014 American Open Championships
(Photo courtesy of hookgrip)
As she moves on from her year of dedicated weightlifting and back into CrossFit, she's gained a new perspective on the sport and community she loves so much, and missed so dearly.  For the first time in a VERY long time she's looking forward to actually having fun competing - trying her best and laying it all on the line without the intense pressure or anxiety of years past.  She's missed being out on the competition floor with all of the friends she's made along the way during her competitive CrossFit journey - and I'd be lying if I said she wasn't also amped-up to leave it all out there on behalf of her dear friends, training partners, and fellow competitors, Liz & Coach Amy (since, for the first time in a several years, they won't be out there competing with her this time).
The official "Smile Like Sarah, Eat Like Liz" Regionals tank top from 2013
At the 2010 Southwest Regional Sarah finished 23rd (including two top-8 event finishes), just three months after she started doing CrossFit (Julian and I actually had to coax her into even entering the Sectional pre-qualifier because she felt like she didn't know what she was doing yet!).  In 2011 Sarah had to skip the CrossFit Games season entirely after breaking and then surgically repairing her elbow following a freak accident at the track.  That was not a fun year, as the healing and rehab process took much longer than we both expected - but it did light a fire under her to come back even stronger and fitter for 2012 and beyond.

In 2012 she made a big splash at the NorCal Regional, winning two events outright and finishing second in another.  She entered the final event of the weekend in 4th place (one spot away from making the Games World Final), and eventually placed 6th overall after realizing mid-workout that she was mathematically eliminated from the podium... and was happier turning around during the workout to slow down and face her crowd of supporters so she could smile and say thank you after each muscle-up.  What a freakin' nerd!  But what can I say, that's her style - and those of you who know her well can grasp how happy it made her to do that, particularly during that exact moment.

Here's Sarah in 2012, setting what would be the "CrossFit Games world record" in Event 5 (the double under/snatch ladder):
Photo courtesy of CrossFit
In 2013, Arena Ready had been open for about 7 months prior to the NorCal Regional and I think Sarah had slept exactly zero full nights during those trying times of our gym's early existence.  But somehow she entered the competition stronger and fitter than she had ever been, and went on to once again win two events outright, including the final event (Event 7, the rope climb/squat clean) in dramatic fashion.  When the official scores were entered, and the points tallied, Sarah finished 4th overall, just one point (and as it turns out, just one rep and literally one second) from the podium and a ticket to the Games World Final.
Sarah points and thanks her AR family in the crowd after the final event in 2013
The Arena Ready cheering section at the 2013 Regional
(Photos courtesy of oh happy dawn photography)
And now here we are, less than two weeks away from game day 2015, and Sarah is so grateful for another opportunity to compete and represent Arena Ready and all of our amazing people.  Sometimes she doesn't get the chance to say it as often as she'd like to, either because she's exhausted from the million things she does every day, or because she's engrossed in conversation with our members/friends/coaches whom she adores and is so happy to see at the gym, or because I've ordered her to start warming up already so that she can finally train in the hopes of us eventually making it home to eat dinner before her state of sleepy overtakes her state of hunger (we actually argue over why I think she still needs to eat before she goes to bed, and that it doesn't matter that she feels too sleepy to do so).  But what I do know is that she feels it every day - a huge sense of pride that we have such an incredible group of people we get to call our AR family, and an overwhelming feeling of love for the individuals that come together every day to create the "home" she helped build at 1263 Connecticut Street.

In many ways Arena Ready is The House That Hopping Built.  She would never say that herself, and in fact she'd probably adamantly disagree with me on that point.  But I know better - I have far more time on my hands than she does to reflect, and certainly more energy (thanks to having two less jobs) to reach rational conclusions.  Her determination over the last several years to make our little place in the world a great one is so strong that I think we may have actually done just that.  And all the while she's somehow had enough physical energy, mental fortitude, and unrelenting drive to excel individually in the name of Arena Ready collectively.

I couldn't be prouder of my wife, and I'm excited to be along for the ride.  And perhaps even more excited that all of you get to come along too - either in person cheering from the stands, or at home screaming at your laptop.

Go get 'em, Sarah.  I love you.
Sarah during Open 15.1a at Arena Ready
(Photo courtesy of
oh happy dawn photography)

WOD for 05-09-15:

With a Partner For Time:
BUY-IN: Run 800m
80 Wall Ball @ 20/14 lbs to 10/9 ft
60 Toes-to-Bar
40 Power Clean @ 135/95 lbs
BUY-OUT: Run 800m

Only one partner working at a time (one person works while the other rests). The work must be split evenly between partners, but teams may decide how to partition the reps (e.g. 5/5, 10/10, etc).

(Compare to 11-15-14)


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