For the Grit and the Glory

NO OFF-SEASON FOR THE COMMITTED ATHLETE

Nicola Simpsonsmall

From Thailand to Australia, from Muay Thai to the Immortals Team Challenge – our committed UK athlete Nicola Simpson doesn’t do off-seasons!

Here, in her latest blog, Nicola, who placed fourth in last year’s European CrossFit Regionals, writes about her preparations for what lies ahead in 2014.

Inspired by my time in Thailand last February, I returned in October on a mission to do battle in one final competitive Muay Thai fight before closing that chapter of my sporting life.

Knowing I had only five weeks in Southeast Asia, and confident my fitness would not be an issue, I made plans to train for four weeks and then fight.

I arrived at the Sinbi Muay Thai gym, Phuket, fired-up for what lay ahead, but at the same time a little apprehensive having not fought for four years.

The training, especially in the first week, was brutal and much tougher than I remembered it. I was running twice a day, before both the morning and afternoon training sessions. This was followed by a pads session, bags work, then sparring or clinching. I did this six days a week.

By the end of the third week I felt good both in terms of my technique and sharpness. I had one more week of training left but my focus was now on the fight.

Thailand being Thailand, my opponent changed several times in the build-up. This is the norm, but I still found it unnerving.

Any lingering nerves soon disappeared when the bell sounded, however. This was it. This was what I had been preparing for. It was time to fight.

From the start I was in control and won each round. Then in the fourth round, and still in control, I won the fight by KO. I felt stronger than ever before, but I think my fighting days are now over. This experience, and the win, put a lid on it for me. My focus now is purely on CrossFit.

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Nicola Simpson wins her final Muay Thai fight

Watch Nicola’s final Muay Thai fight

After the fight I flew to the The Gold Coast, Australia, to meet with Sam Briggs, Talayna Fortunato, Jonnie Larmore, Dean Linder-Leighton and Marcus Smith. Together we made up the ‘World Team’ to compete in the Immortals Team Challenge.

Held over two days, and in memory of fallen soldiers, the event featured five WODS on day one. The competing teams were then split into three categories – beginner, intermediate and elite, with the WODs scaled respectively. This meant all athletes were involved in every WOD right up to the final, which itself was a relay-style winner-takes-all affair with all previous scores having being wiped clear.

We won the final with a strong performance. It was a privilege to be part of such a great team.

I wore my inov-8 F-Lite 185 shoes, which, as always, performed superbly. Ultra-lightweight (185g) and close to the ground (3mm drop), they also have awesome grip, including Rope-Tec. These and the inov-8 Fastlift 315 are my go-to shoes.

f-lite 185 12 13 pink blue

inov-8 F-Lite 185

During my time in Australia I completed the three qualifying WODS for the Battle of London, which will be held January 18/19. This is my next big CrossFit event.

Training at some fantastic Australian boxes, I was pushed hard by five CrossFit Games athletes. This has inspired me to try and push my boundaries even further in 2014.

Now back home, my training is going well and I feel like it is all coming together. I can’t wait to get started on 2014’s competitive action.

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Nicola Simpson (right) with fellow ‘World Team’ members Sam Briggs (left) and Talayna Fortunato (centre) at the Immortals Team Challenge in Australia

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