Not a lot of people easily snatch 35 pounds over their own bodyweight. Doing so takes strength, flexibility, power, skill, technique, and a lot of hard work. I thought snatching 35 pounds, give or take a couple, over her bodyweight was the second most impressive thing Brooke did this last weekend at the NorCal Regionals. A distant second at that. The most impressive was another show of strength, but a very different kind. True strength, the kind that doesn’t reflect weights or muscles or low body fat percentage (all pretty noticeable in a CrossFit gym), is in the mind, and in the heart. It is what pushes someone onward and forward when the goal is out of reach or unattainable.

After a killer first day of competition, there came a moment when one of the top three spots and a ticket to the Games was very difficult mathematically for Brooke. I have to admit that I held my breath a little as I waited to see what kind of Brooke would start the third day. Among a field of very experienced and high level women– 8(!) of the athletes in her heat had been to the Games before–Brooke stood out as a newbie. An untested babe in the woods compared to these vets. This was her first Regional as an individual, and Brooke had yet to establish a precedent as to her actions under fire.

 “Remembering why I am here! To better myself and do work with the hottest ladies in NorCal !!!” “Time to keep smiling!!!! Tomorrow is another day and I’m ready to fight! “

Brooke posted these lines on facebook after a tough Day Two of the competition. When I read them, I knew that she would be ok, that her heart was strong. The ability to take a punch and come back unfazed is strength, just as much as a big number on a lift. I think it is the more important of the two. Brooke battled her way to 6th place, which is frikkin awesome when you think about the field of badass women she was competing with. And that she was surrounded by Games athletes with years more experience than her. Years of training go into a trip to the Games and Brookie is just beginning.

Brooke was just one example of strength at the NorCal Regional. CrossFit abounds with people who go harder than most. The West team had its highest two placings on the final day, on the last two workouts. That’s strength. Great work guys. All in all, the NorCal Regional was made up of some pretty inspiring stuff.