By Spenser Mes
Like the rest of CrossFit Virtuosity, James Kozlakowski did Murph on Monday, and like those of us who were able to fight through the lingering soreness, he also worked out on Wednesday. The major difference between James and the rest of us is that, days before, he placed 10th at the CrossFit Games East Regional.
Only in his second year of CrossFit, James was a reluctant convert. “Looking at it from an outside point of view, it looked pointless,” he says. He’d been doing these kinds of workouts for most of his life: as a football player and wrestler in high school in Lynbrook, NY and then as a lacrosse player for Long Island University, where he studied childhood education. After he graduated in 2012, though, he missed competing, and a friend suggested he try CrossFit. What hooked him was realizing he wasn’t as well conditioned as he’d thought. “CrossFit opened a new goal in my life — not to be the most ripped or best looking, but rather to be in the best shape possible.”
That goal is getting closer. Last year at Regionals, James placed 26th. This year, he trained closely with Ariel, who came to cheer James on at Regionals in Albany despite having knee surgery the week before. James’ most dominant event was the third: 104 wall-ball shots (20 pounds) and 52 pull-ups. Taking second with a time of 4:13.45, he trailed the leader by only six one-hundredths of a second. That man, Matthew Fraser, had the most dominant Regional performance in Games history. Of the 700 points possible for the first seven rounds, he earned 670. Unfortunately, the two weren’t in the same heat for event three. Otherwise, James says, “I’m sure I would’ve beat him in that foot race to the finish.”
And still, on Monday, James found himself running that first mile and mentally preparing for the 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 air squats. To be fair, his Murph time didn’t break any records. He was keeping pace with his fiancee, Angela Rosaria, who he met through CrossFit. On Wednesday, though, he was back on the grind: “2017 training starts the day after Regionals.”