For most people, holding the title of the 8th fittest woman on earth between the ages of 40 and 44 would be fulfilling. Invermeres Jolaine Undershute, who recently finished in that position at the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games held July 19th to 24th, is not most people.
People are like, Youre eighth in the entire world out of 12,000 women who entered this competition, and a lot of people would be happy with that, but I was second in the qualifier and I know that what Im capable of so, no Im not happy with eighth, she said.
Travelling to compete in her third-ever CrossFit Games, Ms. Undershute said she was not prepared for the punishing conditions in the hot Carson, California environment. It was the first workout a chipper workout with a number of lifts dovetailed with the heat that nearly forced her to drop out of competition.
With only six of her 80 wall-ball shots completed amounting to the halfway point of her workout she told her judge she thought she needed to withdraw, in need of medical attention. Thankfully, she said, her judge pushed her to finish the workout. She finished 16th and retreated quickly to the medical tent.
I knew it was pretty serious and when I finished that workout, I was going to go take an ice bath and my coach told me not to and I just immediately went into the medical because I couldnt do anything, she said. I couldnt walk, I couldnt get onto a bike to cool down. It was just making sure I was OK because I was going to vomit and pass out at the same time.
Unfortunately for her, the second workout featured more of the same disappointing results as she finished 18th, which all but extinguished her hopes of coming home with a podium finish.
With two performances like that under my belt, it kind of was like, your medal contention is gone because of the points, she said, noting at that point she had to make the decision to fight for her best possible finish or pack it in and accept the failure at the games. I chose to fight.
In each of the five following events, Ms. Undershute seemed to get better and better as she catapulted her way into top 10 contention, reaching the finals of competition. With a fourth place finish in the final workout that consisted of pull-ups, deadlifts, hang power cleans and jerks, she cemented herself into the eighth place finish.
Thats the goal, is for you to medal and to have a performance like that on the first day. I cant even tell you how defeated you feel and how discouraged and how you have to pull yourself out of that dark place to keep going, she said. In that aspect, Im really happy with how I did because I know I couldve just given up completely and went through the emotions not really caring how it was going to be because it didnt matter because I wasnt going to medal anyway. Its kind of a small victory for yourself versus a stellar performance.
After taking a week off from training when she returned to Invermere in late July, Ms. Undershute is once again lifting heavy as she prepares to compete in the GRID league. The league describes itself as the first professional spectator sport with co-ed teams that compete in strategic athletics racing similar to CrossFit.
Ms. Undershute is a member of the San Francisco Fire, the team that drafted her in 2014, which started the season yesterday against the Los Angeles Reign. When she turns 45 next year, she will enter a new age group if she qualifies for the CrossFit Games once again.
With months of training ahead before qualification, she can only use her recent performance as fuel for future success.
When youre that close to being potentially close to the podium and you dont make it no, Im not happy, she said. I want to do better.