Petersen wins regional CrossFit title, heads to world Games

What started out as a goal to lose weight three years ago has resulted in a Northwest Regional CrossFit championship and a shot at a world title for Oak Harbor’s Sam Petersen.

The regional win earned Petersen, 23, a berth at the International Reebok CrossFit Games in Carson, Calif., July 29 to 31. There she will battle 49 other women from around the globe for the world crown.

The journey to Carson began in 2008.  At that time, Petersen said she weighed 230 pounds after the birth of her daughter and it was “time to lose weight.”

A friend of a family member suggested CrossFit training, and from day one she “was hooked.”

“From the beginning I really enjoyed it,” Petersen said, and she began shedding weight, unlike the treadmill workouts and exercise classes she tried before her pregnancy.

Petersen described CrossFit as “a well-being of your body; getting it ready for anything unexpected.” The workouts, she said, consist of “weight lifting, endurance exercises, cardio, balance -- a little of everything, a lot of movement.”

The Reebok Games’ website defines CrossFit as “the ability to do real work, which should be measurable. Life is unpredictable (much more so than sport), so real world fitness must be broad and not specialized. The workouts are designed to maximize this broad, inclusive fitness.”

After a year in the program, Petersen’s competitive nature, which was nurtured by playing high school volleyball, kicked in. A friend entered a CrossFit competition, and she was curious and decided to give it a try as well.

In February of 2010, she entered the sectional (Washington championship) and placed fourth. From there she tried the regional event in May of 2010 and placed seventh among athletes from six states.

Petersen said she set a goal of winning regional in 2011 and began “training harder.” She now does “two workouts a day instead of one.”

The increased work paid off and Petersen came home from Puyallup in May with the regional title, finishing ahead of two women who competed at the 2010 Games.

Petersen said she is not sure what to expect from the competition at the Games: “It is something totally new.”

She also has no idea what she will be expected to do at the Games; the workouts are different at every competition and not revealed ahead of time.

She won the regional title by compiling the best score (weight and time) in six workouts. One workout, for example, was “The 100.” In the event, competitors had to do 100 repetitions of four movements: pull ups, kettle bell swings, double-under jump rope and 65-pound overhead squats. Five other equally strenuous workouts completed the program.

Petersen, who trains at CrossFit Whidbey Island, said of her trip to the Games this weekend: “It’s an experience of a lifetime...I’m very excited, very honored. I’ve worked hard for it.”

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