If any of the women competing against Casey Strope at the 2014 Central East Regionals think they can intimidate the 25-year-old powerhouse, they’d be sorely mistaken.
For Casey, the Reebok CrossFit Games isn’t about finishing faster than the person next to her, or even ranking at the top of the leaderboard. It’s about crushing her own records and getting stronger. So don’t even try to psych her out.
“That’s what competition is for me,” she said. “I want to do better against myself. CrossFit gave me an outlet for that.”
In this year’s Open, Casey killed it. She finished 38th in the Central East, securing a spot at regionals and jumping up 61 spots from 2013. Not that she would have known. Casey didn’t even look at the leaderboard until the Open was over.
The biggest difference between 2013 and 2014? Casey said it’s how she views herself as an athlete. Her coach, C.J. Martin of CrossFit Invictus in San Diego, helped her silence the doubting voice that can take over during training. The voice that tells her she’s not good enough, or she should be ashamed for missing a lift.
“CJ taught me that you can’t win in training. You have to hit that point of failure,” She said. Embracing that mentality has made working on her weaknesses easier, and pushes her even harder when working on her strengths. When the time came, she could pour everything into the Games WODs and leave nothing back.
“I was happy with my effort,” she said. “I gave it all I had.”
Casey started CrossFitting in 2008, when a local coach challenged her to try it. One WOD and she was hooked. Terrified of weights, 20 pounds lighter, and not interested at all in competing, she had no idea what she’d become: a dedicated athlete and Level 1 trainer who loves chest-to-bar pull-ups, snatches, and can make stringing together muscle-ups look easy.
After the games, Casey has a thesis to defend, the last step in earning her master’s degree in mechanical engineering. She’s expanding her work as a trainer, opening up her own small gym. She loves to see her athletes break through their own barriers, especially those moments when a complicated movement finally comes together.
Anyone who has taken one of Casey’s CrossFit classes knows to watch out. Those sweet blue eyes hide a merciless ability to put together a killer WOD. She’s known for WODs that put together multiple triplets or couplets, joined by the dreaded “and then” on the whiteboard. If you think it looks easy, beware. You’ve been warned.
And if you drop the bar? She’ll be right there, a slight edge in her voice, telling you take a breath and pick it back up.
Chase the Feeling. Get Lifted.
Hannah Kaye Photography