Athlete Spotlight; Valerie Calhoun
Another week is in the books.
Tons of athletes saw new PRs this past weekend after putting last year’s Open workout 14.2 back to the test in 15.2.
OPEX athlete, Val Calhoun of Northern California, is one of those athletes.
“My biggest goal was to improve from last year and maintain the same strategy as I had done the previous year. I did that with 321 reps (compared to 312 last year),” Calhoun said.
This year marks Val’s fifth year competing in the Open (i.e. she’s competed every year since its inception in 2011), and she is hopeful to compete at the California Super Regional this year as an individual, after competing with Team Rocklin CrossFit for the past four years at the CrossFit Games.
Here she shares a little bit about what she’s been up to this past year in order to hopefully make the 20-athlete cut for Regionals at the end of the Open.
Q. You’ve been to the Games a total of four years! How does this year compare to year’s past as far as your goals and your training are concerned?
Val: My goals for this year are to qualify to Regionals as an individual and do my best! I have been working with Coach Mike Lee on my biggest weakness: strength work, and I am excited to see the improvement paying off now! Competing individual is a lot different than going team because it is truly you versus yourself. It is a whole different mindset, but I have always been super driven and competitive. My nine years competing in gymnastics helped me with mental mindset and competing as an individual now.
Q. What was your strategy for 15.2?
Val: My strategy was to break up the pull-ups in half every round while pacing myself on the overhead squats. The biggest thing I reminded myself was to slow down the squats, in order to keep my heart rate down. In between pull up sets, I gave myself enough recovery time to keep my heart rate low. Also, during my last round of overhead squats, when fatigue started to build in, rather than drop the bar, I rested it on my shoulders for a few seconds, then finished the set.
Q. What advice would you give to other athletes wanting to do well in the Open? (after all you have some experience).
Val: My advice for others going through the Open is to remember to have fun with it and enjoy it! Often times, we get too caught up on scores or our placings in comparison to others, instead of focusing on the positive aspect. I am not saying don’t be competitive or don’t try your best, but instead remind yourself how far you have really come! That alone is something to be proud of. Also, it is important to have the proper mindset. Every week, a new workout is released, so just because one workout last week maybe didn’t go as well as you’d hoped, does not mean you should get discouraged this week. Focus on one week at a time, with a positive mindset!
Q. How has OPEX played a role in your journey and progress as an athlete?
Val: In my opinion, the coaches behind OPEX are what make this gym so special. They care, are committed, and work with you on a daily basis. I have been fortunate enough to get coached by Mike Lee, who has worked with me on many things.
Mike has had me increase my diet especially in protein and carbs. With the amount of my training, I was not eating enough to keep my energy levels high. He also has had me focus more on recovery work, including airdyne, rowing, and running (OPEX has given me have a love/ hate relationship with the airdyne). Both eating more and focusing on recovery work have definitely helped me improve as an athlete! Mike genuinely cares about his athletes and wants the best for us. I have improved on a number of things and that is a big big thank you to my coach!
Q. What are you looking forward to in the Open’s remaining weeks?
Val: For the next few weeks left in the Opens, I hope we see box jumps and muscle ups! Although I have a prediction wall balls and rowing may be coming this week. Who knows though?! I am excited to see what is in store for us!
A1. RDL – 12, 12, 12 – rest 90 seconds
A2. KB front rack WL steps – 3×10/leg – rest 90 seconds
For total repetitions
60 sec AMRAP – Ball slams – 40/25#
Rest 60 seconds
60 sec AMRAP – Burpee box jumps – 20/18″
Rest 60 seconds
60 sec AMRAP – Assault bike calories
Rest 60 seconds
Row 400m 90% aero
rest walk 2 mins x 8
AD 5 min @80%
rest 2 min
Row 1k @85%
rest 2 min
A. Emom 15 min – CGBP w/chains – 1 rep per min, increase weight, STAY fast, keep % low
B. DB incline chest press; 6-8 x 3; rest 2 min
C. WCU @20X1; 5,4,3,2,1; rest 2-3 min
3 sets @increasing effort per set:
20 bj – 24″
20 cal ad