My 2017 Crossfit Games Experience
Written by: Mekenzie Riley – 23rd @ The 2017 Reebok Crossfit Games
Follow Mekenzie on Instagram: @itskenzieriley
Photo Credit: @misfitmedianman (Ted Bonenfant)
Making it to the CrossFit Games was my one sole goal for the 2017 season. There was no real thought, expectation, or question beyond that ONE focus for the last 12 months of my life. It's amazing to self-actualize a once in a lifetime dream like that; it's IMPOSSIBLE to be anything but elated and overwhelmed with joy upon realizing "I actually fu*king did it!"
My Mindset Going In
My rookie debut was a mix of about every emotion you can think of, however, I recall mainly positive feelings to describe my experience. As much as I believe I belong amongst the fittest on Earth, I also knew I had a lot to learn and didn't expect to steal the show in my first run at it. I entered the weekend with a few intrinsic goals and an open mind as a blank mental note pad.
Just like with any other competition; I expected to have highs & lows, I expected to have my strengths shine through & my weaknesses exposed, and never once did I throw out the possibility of being faced with that real-time-on-the-floor-decision of losing my shit or keeping my cool, adapting, and overcoming. In hindsight, over the 4-day contest, I am pleased to report out that despite being greatly challenged, I remained mostly consistent in my performance and mindset. This consistency proved to be reflected on the event leaderboard. So no, I didn’t lost my shi*t, lol.
2017 Crossfit Games Best Advice
I was once told this season by one of the wise coaches on the Misfit Staff to control the 2 things I could: my attitude and my effort. I tried to keep this close in mind and heart through the weekend and I think it paid off. However, I have come to realize that by nature I tend to remain grateful and hopeful in attitude and try and be conservative and smart in my effort. None of that is bad, it's just very cavalier. With no experience at this level of competition, it's hard be more aggressive than that. I think building on my confidence to take more chances and approach events with an "I can't fail!" attitude could boost me up to a new level.
Lessons Learned Going into the 2018 Season
What I learned most from this experience that I'm taking forward into the 2018 Crossfit season has more to do with mentality than any physical skill or capacity. There is a certain confidence it takes to GET to the Games; all CrossFit Games athlete have that. But it takes another level of that confidence to HANG at the Games, better yet WIN the Games. I think experience breeds that confidence, but it also comes from understanding yourself as an athlete, believing in yourself under all circumstances, and trusting your ability/plan to execute.
Continuing to learn from myself every day in training, continuing to become more comfortable with my skill sets despite being a strength or a weakness, and understanding my capacities and making them work for ME...this is where I am.
Closing out the 2017 Crossfit Games Season
It's hard to not just feel completely grateful and honored to just earn a numbered jersey with my name on it, to get to stand alongside the fittest women on Earth as we walk down the competition floor, or to know some of the Fittest people on Earth who are also some of kindest and funniest as well, AND I get to call them my friends!
This to me is enough...or WAS enough. Those might be my favorite elements of the Games experience, but I'm in it for more now. Now, I know what I'm capable of and am demanding more of myself. I know what it's like to make it, to be out there, and to do what I love in front of the whole community of people who support it. I'm doing all I can to get back out there and prove to myself that Kenzie Riley wasn't a fluke, but rather has what it takes to one up herself in 2018!!!