Well, the 2018 CrossFit Open is over. What a time it was. High fives were exchanged, smiles evoked, drops of sweat and tears have fallen and maybe even a few choiced words for CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro have been thrown out.
But here we are in April and it’s over. With that, we enter a new month meaning it’s time once again to celebrate one of our brilliant members. In March, throughout the Open, join me in celebrating Tammy Eccles.
Without getting too much into just her Open results, Tammy shone in her first ever Open. Of the 172,002 women who signed up across the world, Tammy finished 123,071 and 13,483 in her age group from women 40-44. This is all while not being able to enter her 18.1 score on time so having entered anything on 18.1, she would have finished even higher!
To truly appreciate Tammy’s hard work in March though, you have to know her from before the 2018 Open and before the year started in general. Tammy works hard every single day she’s in the gym.
Tammy first came through the doors of Endeavor Fitness three years ago after fighting the injury bug for several years of running in hopes of getting stronger. Having had several coworkers tell her about the environment at Endeavor, she thought she would give CrossFit a try, hoping to get a good blend of the cardio and strength benefits afforded through the growingly popular fitness modality.
“What I enjoy about CrossFit besides the coaching and the camaraderie is the mixture between cardio and lifting,” she said. “I also enjoy being pushed all the time because it makes me more competitive towards myself and pushes me on days when I feel really lazy.”
It’s this competitive edge that you can see on her face every time she comes into the gym. While she says she enjoys the conversations, the laughs and smiles she shares with people in class—no matter the class time—when she hears those three beeps on the clock, she knows it’s go time.
Nowhere was that more evident than during the Open this year. It wasn’t until 10 minutes before the official deadline on the first workout that she even decided to sign up for the Open but said at the conclusion that she was extremely happy having made the decision to post her score on the leaderboard.
What truly made Tammy’s effort last month commendable however was her resiliency during a workout that didn’t tax her as physically as much as it questioned her mental fortitude. 18.3. Tammy needed to get her pull-ups, meaning she needed to get her chin over the bar for a rep, during the fourth section of the workout.
As a coach, watching someone work through a technical movement—be it a muscle up, handstand push up, chest to bar or pull up—during a competition can be nerve wracking. Watching someone fail during a test they’re so excited for can be extremely demoralizing never mind what it may feel like for that particular athlete.
Tammy would have certainly been forgiven if she had just got to that movement, tried it a few times and gave up. She could have very easily said, “maybe next year,” and moved on. Instead she fought. She jumped up to the bar, pulled with every fibre of her being, but failed. And again she tried and failed. After finishing 200 single-unders and 20 overhead squats in just 2:28 of a 14-minute workout, Tammy worked on her pull-ups for the remainder of the workout and got one completed rep with over a dozen close reps.
Again, few would have blamed her if she walked away from it after a few tries and gave up but that’s not who she is and that’s why she’s being honoured as the member of the month.
“Tammy Eccles is one of the most determined people I know and a coaches dream student,” Jolaine Undershute said. “When Tammy puts her mind to it I don’t think there is anything that she cannot accomplish. Most folks when presented with a difficult task or challenge are quick to become discouraged or give up. Tammy showed in the open that she is a fighter and keeps fighting to the end. Keep your eyes on her as I see her rocking the open next year.”
Admittedly, she said she knows she has to work on her gymnastics skills over the coming year before it comes time again to make her way through the 5-week Open challenge, but for now she’s happy it’s over so she can show off her fitness outside of the walls of the gym in the beautiful Columbia Valley.
“I have been in sport all my life from competitive swimming to triathlon,” she says. “Endeavor has helped keep me injury free and has made me a lot stronger for the sports that I enjoy like mountain biking, running and downhill skiing.”
“I also have a pretty competitive personality and it helps ground it…I can take it out in the gym.”