Kate Brierley took the seventh-place finish in the North East region’s CrossFit Open, a competition that earns top athletes a ticket to what’s considered the AFC Championship of CrossFit.
But Brierley’s success is bittersweet. An unanswered text that led to a devastating phone call two weeks ago that left her feeling like her world was crumbling: Her mom had died from a life long battle with alcoholism.
The 23-year-old shared a blog post Thursday night, titled “The 2016 Open On An Empty Heart.”
In the post, she writes about her not-always-perfect relationship with her mother, describing her as a “beautiful, vivacious, cockroach of a mother,” but also her biggest cheerleader who “would wear her TeamKate shirt on a weekly basis.”
Brierley went on to complete the last two intense workouts of the competition at CrossFit ONE Nation in Needham and Waltham.
“After a few weeks had passed, I had a lot of people reach out to me saying it was so great that I was still finishing the Open or asking me if I was still doing it, so I wanted to share what happened and what I’ve been going through,” Brierley told Boston.com.
She said some days of training have been easier than others.
“The training for this is really f****** hard,” she said. “It’s not rare that I start crying in the middle of a workout or get angry, but coaches and this community have been really supportive and I am giving myself the space to feel that and move with it. During the [last two] workouts, I tried to remember how happy my mom was for me and how proud she was of me that I’ve dedicated so much of my life to this sport.”
Brierley said she will carry her mother’s voice with her when she competes in May at the CrossFit Regional Games in Albany, New York. From there, the top five men and women from each region will advance to the CrossFit Games.
“Life goes on. I will go on,” she wrote. “Because my mom would have killed me if I didn’t. Next step, Albany. I’ll make you proud mom.”