Guest blog by Jaimie Bougie
Canada West Athlete Taryn Romanowich is no stranger to the Compete Every Day Community. As a loyal fan of the brand, she has embodied the CED philosophy for over three years and was the inspiration behind one of our popular phrases, “Because I Haven’t Found My Limit”.
We decided to check in on Taryn as she’s getting ready to gear up for the upcoming CrossFit Open season.
Jaimie: Your motto has always been “Because I Haven’t Found My Limit”; why is this particular one so special to you?
Taryn: This motto will always ring true for me - it is a major part of my “WHY” - that I'm always constantly pushing to find my capacity as a human being, to be that true version of my best self. So long as I keep giving my full effort in my training, my business, and my life … it will always hold true.
Jaimie: How do you compare your first year at Regionals (2012) versus last year's Regionals performance (2013)?
Taryn: I went into 2012 Regionals as a spectator, not an athlete. I didn’t realize that until it was over. Competing in the same heats as Angie Hay and Alicia Connors - I was just happy to be there. There were still skills that I was worried about extensively (muscle-ups and the 70# DB snatches), and that consumed me. I was just happy to finish all the workouts, and make it to the end.
If you had asked me what my goal was going into the 2013 Regionals, I would’ve said that I “hoped” to finish top 10. The “celebrity” status of my fellow competitors had worn off compared to the first year. I knew that I finally belonged there, but I was still unsure of just how much.Three days later, in hindsight, I would’ve spent less time “hoping” for a top 10 finish, and actually putting forth a true full effort.
Jaimie: What do you see as your most major improvements since last year's Regionals, going into this coming season?
Taryn: The 2013 Regionals exposed a few holes in skills for me, but the biggest holes were in my mental game. Finishing 4th was probably the best thing that could have happened to me last season, as much as it pangs me to say that. It made me sit back and look at myself as an athlete objectively, and truly find and understand my “WHY” - why I am here doing this day in and day out. For the first time in three years of working with CJ Martin (owner of CrossFit Invictus and Taryn’s Coach), I finally understood what it meant when he preached about it being about the betterment of yourself. And that’s when I realized that I was far from what my best could be.
This year I’ve truly committed to my diet 100%. I’ve fixed up my glaring gymnastics holes and continually get better at that. I’ve picked up a training partner who’s committed to my success as much as his own. And most importantly, I’ve competed a lot more in the offseason so far to gain that competition experience I was lacking: something so invaluable you cannot get from everyday training.
Jaimie: As you said, you've been competing in a lot of offseason competitions this year. What prompted you to enter these and what has your experience been like with those?
Taryn: After that 4th place finish at Regionals, CJ and I both agreed that competition experience was one of my biggest lacking factors. Being in such a rural province (Yorkton, Canada), there’s not much for competition around here with the caliber of athletes you would see at Regionals. So it prevented me from getting the exposure I needed. This season I decided to change that - meaning, I’d go wherever I had to go, to compete against the elite and learn more as an athlete through experience.
I was invited to compete at the Sweat RX Championships as part of the Pro division in Toronto, ON in August. This had me competing against Michelle Letendre, Natalie McLain, and some other badass athletes from the top of their Regions.
This plan also took me out to the Granite Games in St. Cloud, MN, where I was part of the Elite division, competing next to Games veterans like Michelle Letendre (again), Elizabeth Akinwale, my fellow Honorary Invicti Michelle Kinney, and others. Competing next to, and placing 9th against a stacked roster like that was truly one of the best experiences of my offseason thus far.
I also travelled out to Victoria, BC, for the Taranis Titan Challenge, another stacked event with caliber athletes from Canada West that I’d compete against at Regionals. Using the experiences and lessons I had learned from my earlier competitions this season, I finally got my first win under my belt, after a huge comeback in the final event.
Jaimie: You visited the CrossFit Games as a spectator for the first time this past season; how did they change your perspective and efforts as an athlete?
Taryn: Experiencing the Games was the metaphorical match for this fire that lay dormant and unlit underneath me. That fire was poisoned with defeat: sitting in the crowd, two spots away from punching my ticket to California stung hard. (Canada only takes the Top 2 athletes from Regionals, versus the Top 3 taken in the US regions) Very hard. And that made standing in the crowd at the Games watching the women compete one of the top five hardest things I’ve had to experience emotionally in my life.
I went there for one purpose: to learn. While everyone else was busy watching them lift huge weights, and screaming and shouting for their favourite athletes, I was busy watching their every move from the second they walked onto the field, to the second they walked off. Getting to this point is so much about the little stuff - the fine details that you only see if you look hard enough. I learned A LOT that weekend, and I have been able to channel a lot of that into my training efforts throughout the year so far.