USA Rugby is now WorkForIt Rugby
Colleen Fahey, a member of the 1991 Women’s Rugby World Cup-winning Eagles, competed in the Masters Category at the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games July 22-28 in Carson, Calif. After a grueling three-day, six-event journey, Fahey stood above the rest of her competitors on the podium.
Fahey competed in the 50-54 age group and finished fifth or better in each of her six events on the way to a $3,000 purse. She finished second in the first event – Nancy – and first in the second event – Push Drag Pull.
“That gave me a big lead right off the bat,” Fahey said from the Games. “Then throughout the rest of the events I never finished below fifth. The consistency throughout all of the different exercises and events was the key for me.”
Fahey, along with her competitors, qualified for the Games from March to April in a month-long Open competition. Athletes performed the prescribed exercises and workouts under the supervision of a certified CrossFit judge and reported scores online for rankings. The rankings were updated every week and Fahey was one of 20 entrants from the Masters category to qualify for the Games.
“We knew we qualified back in April and have basically been training our hearts out waiting for this to happen,” Fahey said. “I’ve been training hard for the past four months, kind of in a vacuum, not knowing what everyone else was doing, working hard at my gym.
“You don’t know what the Games are going to be like because they don’t announce what the events are going to be. You just have to train for overall fitness, endurance, strength, agility, mobility, weightlifting, Olympic weightlifting, then they have crazy things thrown in.”
A friend from her rugby circle mentioned CrossFit to Fahey, who began training in 2009 “around the New Year’s Resolution period.” She said rugby and CrossFit have more similarities than differences. Two other Masters competitors at the Games had a rugby background, as well.
“Training for rugby, you’re doing a lot of it on your own – weight room training, personal training, endurance training,” Fahey said. “Then you have skill work and team work, game strategy; really specific skills in rugby.
“CrossFit is basically group fitness because you go to a class, but for Games training I had to break out on my own and do most of the fitness on my own. I’d jump into classes when I could but my program was really specific.”
Fahey trained three times per day in preparation for the Games, and it paid off for the ex-rugby player and coach. Her instructions and workouts were provided virtually from coaches around the country, putting the onus on Fahey to push herself.
“The individuals who excel at CrossFit are just willing to dig really deep,” she said. “They’re not afraid of that pain and to go past that discomfort and pain threshold. They’re willing to go further to work towards their goals.
“I wasn’t under the watchful eye of a coach, per se, just working in the CrossFit gym itself. People knew I was training for the Games and I got a lot of encouragement from the members. Working it around a full-time job was challenging, also.”