After day one, Brooke Ence was in first place. On day two, things started to fall apart. What happened?

Brooke came out of the gate on Friday at full speed, notching her weightlifting belt with a solid first place finish in The Snatch Ladder, beating out Jessica Cote-Beaudoin and even Lauren Fisher by over two minutes to clear the ladder at 185#. She carried that momentum into the next event, Deadly Ropes, securing a 6th place finish and setting herself up for a great second day in the arena.

By the way, you may have been thinking as you watched her compete that Brooke looks familiar. And you’d be right. Brooke was the demo athlete for the CrossFit Open and even some of the CrossFit Team workouts. Invited to the Granite Games by CEO John Swanson and supported by sponsor Kill Cliff, Brooke decided to take advantage of the opportunity to compete. The recently married Brooke took 6th in the highly competitive Nor-Cal Regionals, narrowly missing her shot at the 2014 CrossFit Games.

Brooke’s performance at the Granite Games was highly anticipated, especially after a solid first night. But on Saturday morning, that lead began to slip away. During “Unbroken,” she struggled to hit 50 double unders, reaching 40 over and over again and tripping up. “I was hitting 50 during warm-up just fine. I think I should have practiced hitting the mark under the stress of the clock before it came to the workout.” But the real trouble came during the shoulder to overheads, when Brooke suffered a slipped rib. “I’d like to say that the slipped rib was responsible for a poor workout, but my performance on event 3 was not due to my injury. I didn’t even feel my rib until later, with my adrenaline pumping like it was. My new goal was to get back to the podium.” But as it became clear that something wasn’t right and Brooke learned she’d slipped a rib, that goal slipped away. “It got steadily worse, tighter and more swollen.”

Taking 33rd on that chipper, Brooke may have been able to stay in the fight if not for her rib, which prevented her from finishing the next event, “Cleans & Rings.” “The clean was fine until I tried to rack it. As soon as it hit my collarbone, it was painful. And I tried a bar muscle up, and it just wasn’t happening.” Still, not one to go quietly, Brooke proved her grit by running Sunday morning’s 5K–in a sling. “They had my arm in a sling, and I strapped it down tight to my side, popped my headphones in, and just jammed out on the run.” Asked how she did, Brooke replies, “Not bad, actually. Somewhere around 24 minutes, I think.” That’s 24:02, to be exact. Not too shabby, indeed. “My goal was to earn my upcoming vacation, I think,” Brooke laughs. I just wanted to do something, even a light run.”

Still, it was a good experience, she says. “I was so nervous to come out here on my own, but the Kill Cliff staff and other athletes have been so wonderful. I decided that whatever happens, happens, and I just wanted to do my best.” Ever the good sport, Brooke was all smiles on Sunday afternoon, hanging around to support her fellow competitors and granting Fitness Lonnie an interview, which of course ended in a flex-off (Brooke won, naturally). Although things didn’t go exactly as planned, Brooke, we hope to see more of that determination, grit and positive attitude at next year’s Granite Games!

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