This post is way over due but I haven’t been able to set aside time to write it up. It’s been a month since Wodapalooza. My previous post I discussed each workout in detail and my experience throughout the competition, with a focus on my performance and mindset at the time. Here I wanted to shine a light on some other parts of the weekend. First of all, lets talk about the obvious part of being star struck with all these Games athletes gathered in one place. Wodapalooza is the second only to the Games as the biggest competition in CrossFit with the highest number of Elite athletes competing. This year was their biggest year in terms of the number of divisions and participants. Walking around the festival you see all these familiar faces, from Miranda Oldroyd, Camille, Sara Sigmunsdottir, and Chyna Cho to Dan Bailey, Elijah Mohammed and Ben Smith. And then you have all the Instagram famous CrossFitters such as @Jackie585, @beastitlikebecca, and @chuckiewelch among others. Every CrossFit related store or product had a booth at the festival and they had their sponsored athletes with them.
The warm-up area for athletes had competitors from the Masters, Teens, Adaptive, intermediate, scaled, Rx and Elite all in one place. I would be on the rower with Lauren Fisher and Stacie Tovar on the rowers next to me. Then I would be warming up with an empty barbell and sharing it with Graham Holmberg because there were no other free bars. At one point I was waiting for a piece of equipment to warm up with when I noticed Valerie Voboril standing next to me. Valerie is an athlete I’ve looked up to and admired ever since I got pregnant and become a “mother athlete”. Valerie came in 3rd place in the Games in 2013 a little less than a year after having her daughter. Whenever I was at a low point in my training after giving birth to my daughter and felt that it was impossible to train competitively with a baby, I would have Valerie in my mind. It’s a struggle everyday to be juggling competitive training and motherhood. There are a handful of mother athletes that make it to the Games, such as Denae Brown from Australia. But no other Games athlete achieved what Valerie did with a child under the age of 2. Anyways, there I was standing next to her and I couldn’t get myself to say hello. I got so emotional. I wish I did say hello. Moving on from this drama and back to warming up, when suddenly there he was…Rich Froning. I mean seriously, it was unreal to see him right in front of me. He is a legend and he carries that image with him.
So before flying to the States, I was worried about how I would be treated with the hijab on. It would be my first time traveling to a non-Muslim country since I wore it. To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised with how friendly everyone was. I mean don’t get me wrong I got many funny looks but anyone I spoke to was super nice.
Now being the first woman in a hijab (I think the first Arab women too!) to be competing in Wodapalooza was something else. I know how much I stood out between all these other CrossFit athletes in booty shorts and sports bras, especially in the swim workout! The judges, volunteers and the girls in my heat were super supportive and very interested in my ‘story’ and how CrossFit is in Kuwait. But I have to talk about the reactions of the Elite athletes and my hijab. Noah Olsen and Brooke Ence were saying hello to me as if we were old friends and I’m sure it’s because they just got back from having a great experience with the locals in Dubai during the DXB Fitness competition. But then you had Talayna Fortunado and Josh Bridges looking up and seeing this hijabi girl in black headgear and military print leggings coming up to them, the look on their faces honestly still makes me laugh. They looked freaked out once I made eye contact with them and looked away so quickly. I can’t blame them hah! The sweetest thing though was Andrea Ager randomly walking by and giving me a smile and a pat on the back as she walked out to compete. Overall the best part had to be the spectators. People I didn’t even know where cheering and calling out my name, and coming up to me after workouts and telling me I did a good job. It was so nice to see the appreciation and support. It was overwhelming and wonderful.
I wanted to add to this post how exhausting and challenging it was for both Yousef and myself to compete together with our 22-month-old daughter with us. All the fun adventures she had, while we suffered during this trip, haha! But I’ll keep that for another time.
Time to focus on the Open!
Thanks for reading.
Mashallah sounds like a wonderful experience! I’m so happy to hear that no one gave you trouble. Your such an inspiration for all of us Muslim women. Keep doing you thing!!
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Thank you so much Chelsea ❤️. The positive vibes in the CrossFit community there were honestly overwhelming. I felt so blessed. il7amdullah.
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