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Vegas Fit Wars 2011

The CrossFit community held yet another wonderful, fitness event. This time to determine the fittest people in Las Vegas. It was sponsored by the United States Marines, and they were there in force to assist and support all of the athletes who participated.

The gyms that were there were CrossFit Max Effort, CrossFit 702, Apollo CrossFit, Camp Fit Force, Sin City CrossFit, Progressive Force, CrossFit Las Vegas and Kaizen CrossFit….I think that is it.

The morning started with a wrinkle in that the field was being used by two entities. Along with the Fit Wars, there was a Cricket tournament scheduled for the other half of the field. The problem was, the games set up as directed only to find that the cricket guys had also be told to


set up on the same end of the field. However, since they must have patches of grass specially groomed,the wars were required to move. So, everyone grabbed gear, apparatus, and display booths and simply…relocated.

Nobody seemed to get flustered or miss a beat. Everyone just settled in and got ready for what would be a long hot day of fierce competition. I must say that, once again, I was impressed with the camaraderie between all of the athletes as the day moved along. While each competitor clearly wanted to win and gave it their all, they seemed to be happy for the challenge others provided them and when the outcome was not a win, people were genuinely happy for each other.

The first event had each person doing weighted pull ups and one arm kettle bell extensions. This was brutal stuff.


Not only did the individual have to pull themselves up until their chin was over the bar, they had a belt around their waists and they kept adding more and more weight to it.

The nest round found them all having to do some grueling load carries…..ammo cans whilst wearing flack jacket, helmet and carrying a rifle, burpees, thrusters; wheelbarrows loaded with all the gear and some dumbbells to boot;and some out-and-out sprinting. All this while it was well into the 90’s on an October Vegas Saturday. Watching these competitors was unbelievably inspiring.  Hat after heat with all sorts of them were right back on the line supporting the next competitor.

Lauren on a Mission

In the woman’s division, Max Effort sported the 2nd, 3rd and 4th most fit women in Las Vegas! But it took all day in the hundred degree heat  to find that out.  Jen, Nicole and Lauren were joined by Adam, who made it to the finals for the men. There were several Max Effort guys on the field, and every single one of them impressed me with their fitness, their skill and their “dig deeper”.

Fight Gone Bad 6 – VEGAS STYLE!

Bomb Suit-- Imagine That!

Today was the day to get your workout on for our Special Ops wounded and lost heroes at Fight Gone Bad 6. Here in Vegas, it took place in a quiet parking lot south of the Town Square Whole Foods. Well, quiet until you assemble a bunch of throwing, jumping, thrusting, rowing maniacs who lay all they have out for those who truly laid it all down for us. Once again, CrossFitters from all over were represented — CrossFit Max Effort, CrossFit 702, Sin City CrossFit, Force, CrossFit Las Vegas. I saw Summerlin, I saw California, I saw

Honoring Our Heroes

Idaho. If I missed anyone, my bad because each and every individual who participated deserves a special mention of their very own. I took tons of pictures, the total of which can be seen on an album I made public on my facebook page. I hope that everyone who wants to get a gander of their workout is able to take a peek at the album. It was truly an amazing event! I read yesterday that there was nearly 2 million dollars raised so far and people can still donate. I would like to thank Maggie and Mac, two of my co-workers, for stepping up and donating to my page. Also, thanks to Renee, an old schoolmate who jumped on with some do re mi as well. Others can still take part by simply clicking here.

CrossFit is not just a great way to increase your fitness, health and ultimately your quality of life. Because so many are current or former military, law enforcement and fire there is a mentality of teamwork that transcends our civilian experience in team building. In our work places, it has been a trend for the last several decades to refer to groups of workers as teams. I say that is usually just a platitude because most of us truly do not know what it is to absolutely have to depend on another person for our very lives.  But I guarantee you that anyone that has had to go into battle, into streets

2011 Fight Gone Bad 6 Participants and Friends

where crime is the focus, or into a building aflame and falling down, has had to trust completely that their team members are there for them so they can go home and see their families when it is all over. This same dedication is brought into the CrossFit gym and as much of that team work and support as is possible is instilled in you as you train. I have yet to meet a CrossFitter who has not encouraged me as I try to get fit. That never happened at other gyms. I am not saying that only CrossFit is supportive of its members. What I am saying is that it is PART of CrossFit and as a result, the members tend to become a

Suffering for the Ones Who Suffered

community. When you see them gathering at an event, they compete against themselves to be the best and urge, cheer, push all the other competitors on as well.  And when the reason you are together is to support families who have suffered as a result of their family member having fought for our country, it is clear that the CrossFit community is up to the challenge.

As the final heat was finishing, there was a sudden roar that stopped us all. I looked up and a fighter jet streaked across the sky low overhead. Then another, then another. It was moving to experience that symbolism of what had just happened and was happening all over the country to honor our heroes. Maybe next year you should find out where the Fight Gone Bad 7 is happening near you and plan to attend. I know I will.

Fighter Jet Streaks Through the Vegas Morning

I Can’t Help Myself

Some things just deserve more coverage and this is one of them. One of the members of CrossFit Max Effort spent the same day I did taking picture at the fundraiser for Falynn Gabriella. But he was shooting lots of cool video and put together something very nice, truly showing what Max Effort hosted last Sunday. Take a couple minutes and see for yourself:

I really cannot say any more than what this video does so, if you feel moved to help, please do!

Muscle Bound Hearts

Falynn Gabriella with her parents

People who have read posts in this blog before know that I train at CrossFit Max Effort. Today I was there, not to train, but to attend a fundraiser for one of the members whose daughter has a rare condition known as Spinal Muscular Atrophy. The turn out was nothing short of amazing! over 150 people were there to participate, observe, donate and commune. Gyms from all over town were there: CrossFit Las Vegas, Sin City CrossFit, CrossFit 702, Camp Fit Force, were shirts I saw as well as CrossFit Bishop. If I missed any I am sorry because all these training communities came and gave the obstacle course a true work out! Fox 5 news was there, several people snapping off photos, and a whole bunch of people making a difference for the search to cure SMA.

CrossFit is really a wonderful concept. In addition to the incredible workout and

Community is in the forefront at CrossFit Max Effort

conditioning, it is clear that the community built in the gym is important as well. People actually get to know each other and take time to care about more than how much weight they picked up. They encourage far more than fitness.  At Max Effort I have been welcomed and respected by the other members. That has not been the case in the many conventional gyms I have been to over the years. They were OK to work out at but there was no core of people working together to support the goal of true conditioning, fitness and well-being.

Leaping up with the med ball....still more after this!

So what actually happened today? Well. There was an obstacle course that sent each participant through their paces. There was some running, and some squats and push ups and sit ups, and then inside the gym where each individual had to work their way down the wall ball zone, then go over the bars, then over and under with a med ball in hand, then three level box jumps, rings, burpees, rope climbs (2) and a romp through the tires.

There were men……….


There were women………..

Climb On!

There were kids……..


It was truly a fun and amazing day. But the real purpose was to raise money for Falynn and with over $12,000.00 raised for her and research into curing this awful thing, the day was truly a big success. I am happy to have been able to attend.

Falynn Gabriella

T-Shirt and Tattoo….(along the way to trekking).

I decided to design myself a T-Shirt to celebrate the path to Nepal and the trek itself. Well. That is not entirely accurate. I have an IDEA for a t-shirt that my friend Sonya Vasilieff (proprietor of Pink Bird Studio) is actually designing from my very limited artistic abilities. Therefore, I am sure it is going to rock.  I am going to use the front as a tattoo that will offically embed the trip to me externally as well. AND  the design will become the avatar of WhelanTrek.  

The front (and ultimatly the tattoo) will be an image of the mountain itself encircled by a border of celtic knots. The back will list all of the locations I will hit along the way and their elevations overlaying a map of Nepal. I am learning a bit about how to get parts together for use in the design. Vector graphics. Never heard of it before this. See how much fun this adventure is? Anyway. Sonya worked up a graphic of Mount Everest that will adorn the front of the shirt. Around it will be a very nice Celtic knot circle.

In the process of doing what has been done so far, Sonya attached a quote from Tom Whittaker. Whittaker was the first one legged man to climb mount everest. He overcame much to do such a task. But the quote is apt for anyone who seeks to reach a goal: “Everest for me, and I believe for the world, is a physical and symbolic manifestation of overcoming odds to achieve a dream.” — Tom Whittaker.

I used Everest symbolically to achieve my dream of becoming an attorney. I actually used the Seven Summits, but Everest was the top of them all, the last one after conquering each of the six achievements along the way that I needed to get to that ultimate goal. Now I am going to Base Camp to physically achieve my own Everest goal. No. It is not to the top of the mountain, but rather to the bottom of the mountain. I never yearned to climb it, only to see it, touch it and be there. That is MY Everest and I need to overcome the odds of age, decades of sedentary living, and weight to achieve it. I have seen the reaction in people’s faces when I tell them what I am doing. Many faces are skeptical and more are down right dismissive. As if, in my age and condition, it is a pipe dream. I have my own demons of doubt to battle. I am learning how to push harder when I think I have reached my physical limit. Because the truth is, we each have far more in us than we are willing to believe.

This is what a wall ball workout looks like

This is what a wall ball work out looks like.

Yesterday I was doing a wall ball workout at CrossFit Max Effort. I was required to throw a 10 pound medicine ball above the low target 150 times. I was given 15 minutes in which to do it. This was after what was a nice, big, warm up that included a 500 meter row. After a fast start, I was bogging down. Pretty soon I was resting between 2 to 3 throws. I kept having the same conversation with myself. “Stopping is not going to get you to base camp.” and “The trek will be at LEAST this hard with no O2 and steep terrain.” I had to remind myself “You are not crawling on your hands and knees on the floor so you must have more in you.”  I found that there is more there to access. I got 146 throws and know that the reason I did not get 150 total was because of my mind and not my body.  As I train my body, I will train my mind to overcome the odds to achieve my dream! overcome the odds to achieve my dream

For Falynn Gabriella

While at CrossFit Max Effort yesterday, one of the young men in my class was really just laying it all out. Doing 400 meter and 800 meter sprints at 80% he really pushed himself. Then when he finished the last 400 meter sprint at all out, he had nothing left at the end. It was brutal, what he put himself through to work that hard, in the Vegas heat of 110 plus. But he did it and now we were stretching. I noticed that his water bottle was empty and offered him my extra bottle of water. Which he needed badly. As he took it we chatted a minute. His daughter suffers from a rare condition known as Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy. As bad as Gonzalo looked at the end of the difficult workout, it is nothing compared to what his daughter faces in her young life. I am proud that CrossFit Max Effort is holding a fund-raiser for her this sunday and encourage anyone who is of a mind to do so, to attend and to help out.

Hitting the Wall, or the Floor, at CrossFit Max Effort

The Workout is Under Way

 I was at CrossFit Max Effort yesterday as part of my amped up efforts to prepare for my Trek as well as simply to get in shape for the health of it.  Because I have not been consistent, it was a tough one. But they always are. I love the feeling of working at maximum output.

 It was nice to see owner Zach Forrest after his weekend at the 2011 CrossFit Games where he came in at 12th in the world! That is quite an endorsement for the gym! 

The first sign that this was going to be brutal was the buckets of sweat rolling off my face…..during the warm up. Lauren does a good job of getting the muscle groups ready for the impending onslaught of horror. She also gets the joints ready to contort and bend in ways never intended by the gods of sedentary behavior.   

When the workout began in earnest, I was apprehensive. Healing up from the blister hike had taken me out for a few weeks and the rounds of scaled Muscle Ups, Sit Ups with 10 pounds on my chest, dead lifts and rows were bound to hit back hard. And they did not disappoint. Lauren scaled me to three rounds. I got the fun I AM GOING TO BLOW CHIPS feeling and the great ROOM IS SPINNING that comes with not being there working out consistently. But in the end, it was great to be back and to know that my schedule will allow me two days a week for the next two months. After that I ramp up to three.   

I am the old woman in the room. I love seeing the young people working out so hard to stay in shape and enjoying the toughness of it. I will take a CrossFit Max Effort banner with me to Everest Base Camp to celebrate what they are doing to help me get there.


Back To CrossFit @ CrossFit Max Effort!

CrossFit is one of the ways I am trying to get this body ready for my 2012 trek. The gym I started at has dissected and I will be at the grand opening of CrossFit Max Effort today for a workout, to take pictures and to eat some great Paleo food. The owners of Max Effort are Zach and Lindsay. Both total wonderful people and they will push me where I cannot get myself to understand that I can go. So today is going to be GREAT!

Iron Makes You Stronger

It will be hard work and that is what gives the payoff. After my Colorado River paddle of two days ago, my shoulders are still a bit sore, but I am sure that more work, not less, is exactly what they need. Today’s workout is Deadlifts, Burpees and Pullups. Not a bad way to get back into the game!

CrossFit for More Success!

Karen and Vili, January 2011

A new phase of my trek prep has been underway for about 2 weeks. I have joined Las Vegas CrossFit (which is now CrossFit Max Effort)  in an effort to break through this fitness issue I have been facing, I got a personal trainer at the gm and he and I have been hard at if for 6 sessions. It is hard, hard work. A different concept than anything I have done in fitness before. It is fast and intense and the goal is to improve. Again. Faster. Improve. There are no gym heads here that give off the BARBIE ONLY, IN MY GYM crap at the gyms I have tried over the decades. Just a desire to work and improve individually. I will begin the class sessions after two more with Vili. I am PUMPED!

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