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“Every aspect of fitness was tested. There was no place to hide your weaknesses.”

GG: Grace, you’re sponsored by Kill Cliff and Rokfit. We had lot of Kill Cliff athletes here at the Granite Games. Do you all know each other pretty well and see each other often on the competition circuit

GD: I actually just got picked up by Kill Cliff this summer, and it has been absolutely awesome.  Since July, I have flown all over the country to compete alongside some of the best athletes in the world.  I competed in Oklahoma with Brooke Ence, then in Miami with Cole Sager, Mat Fraser, and Stacie Tovar.  At the Granite Games, we added Melissa Doss and Elijah Muhammad to the mix.  Such a strong pack of athletes, it is fun to be part of the group. To be treated as a pro athlete and to be hanging out alongside these amazing athletes is just flat-out awesome!

For the Granite Games, the staff at Kill Cliff rented out a lake house for all of us.  We all chilled together the entire weekend, ate fantastic food and had a blast.  Food was catered in for us every morning and night, which really made the competition go smoother with less stress.

GG: Wow, Kill Cliff really takes care of their athletes! And what about hanging out with the rest of the Elites, how was that? Everyone seems very down to earth and friendly.

GD: It is cool to hang out with the athletes.  We all go through the same struggles in training, so we can really relate with each other.  Not many people fully comprehend the sacrifices that we make to chase our dreams.  Getting the opportunity to meet Sam Briggs was awesome because I have never seen someone enjoy themselves more at a competition.  She has a great time and jokes around with all us girls, which brings a great vibe to balance out all the competitiveness we have in us.

GG: What brought you from Oklahoma to Minnesota for the Granite Games?

GD: After narrowly missing the CrossFit Games in 2014 [Grace took 4th overall in the North Central Region by a one-point margin], I was instantly looking for a competition that would push my abilities to the max.  It’s hard to find a competition outside of Regionals that has a deep field of athletes to compete against.  The Granite Games offers stiffer competition than what you will currently find at Regionals, so it is a great measuring stick to find out how I match up with the best.  I was also excited to see the 5K run come into play because I knew that matched up with my strengths.  You don’t normally get to do events like that until you get to the CrossFit Games.

GG: Now, you cleared 180 on The Snatch Ladder, but couldn’t quite get 185. I see that you’d actually hit 185 in practice a few days before competition.  Why do you think the lift didn’t quite come together on the arena floor?

GD: I cleared the first 4 bars really quickly.  I think the speed at which I went may have been a little fast.  I got 185 over my head multiple times, just couldn’t get my right arm to lock out so I could stand up.  My coach and I discussed it, and my footwork was a little bit of a problem.  Minor things like that mean the difference between a made and missed lift.  That’s the way the game goes sometimes…

GG: It looks like Deadly Ropes and the Sprint Relay were the least favorable events for you last weekend. Did you know going in that these would be tough ones, or did they go pretty well for you in practice?

GD: I was very surprised about my performance on Deadly Ropes.  Ipracticed that workout and completed it a minute faster.  I attribute the struggle to the timing of my meal before the event.  I will be working with my coach and testing my nutrition to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. He advised me on what I did wrong and corrected my meal plan for the rest of the weekend and it worked!

As for the Sprint Relay, I intentionally took a chance to try to finish the workout as fast as humanly possible.   I knew that I could break it up differently and place in the top 7, but I was tied for 4th with Stacie going into the event.  After discussing the strategy with CJ, I decided to take a risk to try to get closer to the podium.  The risk didn’t pay off this time, but I learned from the event.

GG: How did you like the programming over the weekend?

GD: I loved the programming.  After competing at local and regional competitions, you start to understand when event promoters know what they are doing, and when they don’t.  I feel like the Granite Game programming was the most complete, fully encompassing lineup of movements and loads that I have competed in.  Every aspect of fitness was tested.  There was no place to hide your weaknesses.

You can also tell a lot about a competition in the days after by how your body feels.  Early in my career there were times when I couldn’t walk for a week after a local competition.  I steer clear of those competitions nowadays.  The Granite Games was definitely not that type of event.  I think the volume and loads were adequate and challenging, but didn’t beat us into submission.

GG: You wrapped the Granite Games weekend in 5th place. What did you think of the level of competition you went up against?

GD: Two words… “World Class.”

GG: And overall, how was the experience? Think we can persuade you to make the trip north again next year?

GD: If I’m lucky enough to be invited again, I am there.  I will book my plane ticket today!!