Clydesdale Media Podcast

We sit down with Mariana to learn about her journey to the CrossFit Semifinals.  How did she find CrossFit, how did she know she should compete?  What are her goals for the upcoming season

What is Clydesdale Media Podcast?

We cover the sport of CrossFit from all angles. We talk with athletes, coaches and celebrities that compete and surround in the sport of CrossFit at all levels. We also bring you Breaking News, Human Interest Stories and report on the Methodology of CrossFit. We also use the methodology to make ourselves the fittest we can be.

I was born to kill it.

I was meant to win.

I am down and willing,

so I will find a way.

It took a minute,

now it didn't have to ride away.

When they get hot in the kitchen,

you decide to stay.

That's how a winner's made.

Stick a fork in the hater on

my dinner plate.

What is going on, everybody?

Welcome to the Clydesdale Media Podcast,

where we are featuring the

athletes of the 2024

CrossFit Games Semifinals.

I'm so privileged to have with me today,

Mariana Rose Bell.

How you doing, Mariana?

I'm good.

So you are at... I now have

an echo that we were just talking about,

so I might have on my phone...

Yeah, so I hear it too.

While you kind of do that,

we'll work through this.

So Marietta is in Iowa.

She goes to Kilo 2.

And while she flips to her phone,

we will just take a second.

But super excited to talk to her.

We did a test before this to

see about the echo and it

wasn't there the minute we

went live the echo came in

so she's hopping on her

phone with some headphones.

And When that comes in,

we will switch her over to that.

Alright, so

There we go.

Now we got to get, so I can't hear you.

You're muted.

There we go.

Now we got to get, so I can't hear you.


How are we now?

You're muted.


So I can hear your computer.

I just turned it off.

Oh, but I have the live stream open.


There we go.

There we go.

We can do it.

I can do this.

All right.

Now we're rolling.

Now we're rolling.

So you said that that was your work setup.

What do you do to support yourself?

Yeah, I'm the technical director,

production manager at the

Hancher Auditorium,

which is like an 1,800-seat theater,

plus we have a black box space,

plus our whole lobby at the

University of Iowa.

So we do Broadway shows, we do dance,

we do...

rock shows, comedians, jazz groups,

all kinds of stuff.

Are you into the

entertainment world or was

this just by circumstance?

This is like my, I guess, career path.

I was a performer way back

when and got into the tech aspect of it,

got into management aspect

of it and kind of just

Worked my way from actor, dancer,

to stage manager, to company management,

to venue management,

to production management.

And you were a dancer.

How much has that helped in

your CrossFit world?

I want to say it has,

but probably not so much.

It's given me hypermobile

hips and a decent amount of injuries.



So I think I gathered like

the body awareness and a lot of stability,

like core stability, ankle,

hip stability.

But it just contributed, I think,

more to my mindset piece,

kind of like playing sports does.


Did you play any sports

growing up or were you all

about the dance?

Yeah, no,

I danced and I played soccer in

college as well.

Okay, wow.


So I was very, very busy.

Did you go to Iowa or another college?

No, I went to school in upstate New York,

a small school called William Smith.




There's a lot of

CrossFitters from upstate New York.

There are.

And there are a lot of

CrossFitters in Iowa too.

I know.

Crazy little hotbeds all over the country.


We've only been here since

June of last year.

So not even a year yet.

And there's a lot of CrossFit out here.

There is.

Made famous by one Mr. Colton Mertens.

You can't discredit the Kilo team, though.

They roll deep.

They've had Street.

You had Luke Schaefer.

They had the team every year.


this year we had some logistical issues.

So I'm glad you brought the

team up because I saw that

you competed with them at quarterfinals.

I did.

Was your intention this season to go team?

Not at all.

So they had their four.

And Deidre Franzen,

one of the strongest women in CrossFit,

she got really sick.

There was like a bug going

around the gym that week.

And she had the fever, the chills,

the whole thing.

And was basically like, can you do it?

And of course, I mean,

anything for the team.

And it was a really great opportunity,

and I'm glad I was able to

step in and help him out.


we had an issue with one of

our guys not finishing all

of his open workouts at the gym,

so we got disqualified.

Yeah, that was a shame.

I actually did, I think,

a little mini riff on

whether that should

actually be a rule and how

hard should you stick to it.

Yeah, I mean,

it's tough because they've

had so many different rules

with the teams and how they

structure the season.

It seems very simple.

I think for these guys,

they had a different guy

than they did because

Brandon didn't come back.

Brandon didn't come back.

And so they had a couple

different guys going.

They were going to have a

different guy that wasn't Colton.

But then his wife was pregnant.

and she was due, you know,

during the games.

So they went through a few

iterations of who was going

to be on the team.

And I think that that

confusion led to a little bit of it,

but it's what it is.


So, I mean,

I've heard from Colton and Allie,

how like amazing the gym is itself,


That Colton attributes a lot

of like where he is today

by the base built by Kilo,

Kilo two and their training.


you just moved there a year ago.

Did you CrossFit New York?

Uh, no.

So I was just in New York

when I was in college and

then in the city a little bit working.

I didn't start doing

CrossFit until I moved to Florida.

Um, Jacksonville area.

So it, was there a difference in the,

in the way training went in

Florida compared to Kilo?

For sure.


I think Jacksonville,

Florida is a pretty hotbed for fitness.

There's a lot of gyms out there.

There were a lot of regional

athletes out there back in the day.

I mean,

she had Brooke Haas who was out there,

Mark Hutchinson, Colleen Lehane.

So a lot of old regionals athletes.

So there's a big history of

CrossFit in that area.

Um, so a lot of experience,

a lot of people that I got to learn from,

which was cool.


But very just different.

I mean,

I didn't go to a competitive gym ever.

Not to say that Kilo 2 is

like all they do is competitive.

We've got a fantastic

community there of just GPP

regular people.

But training alongside

people that are better than

you is always going to make you better.

Did you go into the season

with the goal of getting to semifinals?

Yeah, I think the last,

this year included the last three years,

that was definitely the goal.

But being in the East, as you know,

is one slip up,

one slip up and you're done.

So I think that it was tough.

I mean,

like I had weaknesses that every

year I thought I found them.

I thought I did what I needed to do.

Every year CrossFit does the

magic and they show you

something that you still

need to get better at.

And that's why we love it.

But yeah,

so this was the last three years.

I think I've been really chasing it.

I mean, taking into consideration,

like I have a full-time job,

have a life outside of this,

like responsibilities.

But this is like a very

exciting thing to see it

all kind of play out.


when I look at your worldwide rankings,

like in quarterfinals,

they kept getting better

and better and better.

But then you're in that

stacked East and sometimes

better isn't better enough.


everyone just keeps... Everyone is...

They're so good.

The women of the East are...

They're so good and they

keep getting better.

So that's...

That's a hard challenge.

It's a big mountain to climb.

And it kept me pushing to get better.

I knew that everyone around

me was just improving.

And then they let an

Australian move into the East.

I know.

To make it even worse.

So you're in the West.


So this year,

and you finished

quarterfinals in 42nd place.

That is a very tenuous spot to be in.

because there's penalties

there's people going team

there's and you kind of

have to wait for all that

to flush out at 42 um how

nerve-wracking was that um

I think it was and it

wasn't like I got my so the

the real stress was that I

actually submitted my score

wrong for workout four

So I was one of the many who

said I did 28 reps instead of 58.

So that was the first issue

was that my score was wrong

and is CrossFit going to fix it?

So that was the first panic.

I wasn't really concerned

about anything else.

I was just like, well,

I wanted to reflect the work I did,

not a mistake I made.

So they got that fixed, which was great.

And then I got my workouts reviewed.

I had penalties assessed and everything.

And then

It's kind of just waiting.

I mean, we had an idea that, you know,

Andrea Nessler was going to go masters,

uh, Rachel green,

who is also from the Iowa area.

And some people at the gym know her,

she was going to do masters.

So we were like, okay, well,

maybe do we train?

Do we not?

What do we do?

Uh, and so, yeah, you just like, wait,

I think there was a lot of peace.

Like I did what I could with

what I had this year.

Um, and it was going to be what it was.

And if I got the opportunity to go,

then this is the first time

I get to experience that.

And I'll be really excited

and I'll do my best no

matter what I have to bring.

It's funny you kind of talk about it.

I heard of another athlete

in the East who was in the same situation,

went out and thought her season was over.

So he did the pizza, did the burgers,

did the wine, did the whole bit,

and then got the email that said, hey,

you're in.

And all of a sudden she had

to get back into training.

And the first couple of days

back were rough because of

what she had kind of celebrated with.

Yeah, I think fortunately for me,

my schedule is pretty

routine in the sense that it's chaos.

So I had a lot of things to

distract me that following week.

I was super busy with work.

We had a lot of events here.

I had a Broadway show.

You know, we had a bunch of graduations.

So I didn't really have too

much time to sit and dwell.

I had to go do my job.

So that.


Did you hit the gym still that week?

Like normal?

No, I took, I think I went in twice.

I went in like Wednesday and

did class and it was

partner workout and I got

whooped by my partner.

And then I think I did

another like bike burpee piece,

maybe Friday or Saturday.

And I was like, that's good.

So did,

did you get the email from CrossFit

that you'd qualified after

the leaderboard had closed?


I got it on the day following the

first round of submissions.

So I think that would have

been the Saturday.




I mean, I was like,

I was on my way to work.

I decided to stop and get

coffee because treat yourself.

And I opened my phone while

I was waiting and I got the

email and sent the

screenshot to my fiance,

gave them my money.

I was like, okay, here we go.

We're going to time to train hard.

So looking at your numbers,

you haven't been in this sport very long.


Are you aware of the lore

and the iconicness of Carson?

Oh, yeah.

So I have a very vivid

memory of watching ESPN and

seeing Annie Thor's

daughter running into the

tennis stadium or maybe it

was a soccer stadium.

One of the years that they

did Murph and it was on ESPN.



And that's,

I didn't know what CrossFit was

at the time, like many people.

And I saw this and I was like, well,

that's so cool.

And it wasn't until 2018

that I went and did CrossFit.

You know, so I knew what it was.

I was in the, like, I trained,

I was playing sports.

And then I didn't really get

into it until I moved to a

new place and I needed to meet people.

So the gym I originally

joined was doing like a

six-week challenge.

And I was like, well,

I don't know anybody.

I just moved to Florida.

I'll go do this.

And the coaches at the gym,

after the six-week challenge,

a lot of people left.

And they were like, you're going to stay,


And I'm like, I guess.

I don't really have anything else to do.

They're like, you should stay.

You should stay here and train with us.



those guys invested a lot into me and

I really am super grateful for it.


so you're going to Carson and I've

talked to a lot of athletes

this week who are really

kind of worried about that

first event because the,

the energy they're going to

feel the adrenaline,

like they keep saying

they're going to have to

grab the reins and try not to blow up.


those people must run five minute miles.

Yeah, I don't know, but the one guy said,

I'm probably going to –

being in the tennis stadium,

going out on a run,

I'm going to blow up if I'm not careful.

Yeah, I think – so fortunately,

another member of our gym,

one of the members of the Kilo 2 team,

is also going.

So Austin Nadelkov.


So this has been a super

cool time because something

brand new to me, and I have a veteran –

just hanging out.

He has, I mean,

this wasn't his plan for

the season and he's making

the best of it and he's

going to go send it,

but he's competed at Carson, you know,

he's competed in Madison.

He's been to the games.

He's been to regionals and

he's got a lot in his brain

and he's like super willing

to share it and make sure that, you know,

he knows this is a first for me.

And he's like, remember, you know,

do what you can do.

Like this isn't your race or, Oh,

this one is your race.

Reminding me that like,

I have my strengths,

I have my weaknesses and to

play on those and a workout like this.

I'm not a gazelle.

I'm going to run my best,

but I'm not a runner.

So know where I can make up

time and move efficiently

and know what I do,

what I need to do to do my best.

Would you consider... So

tell me what kind of an athlete you are.

So I definitely used to be a strong guy.

Not that I'm not anymore.

I just... I think about four years ago,

I kind of decided that if I

kept doing what I was doing,

which was lifting a lot and

being really strong,

that I wasn't going to be

better at burpees.

So I...

told my I spent a lot of

time running I spent a lot

of time on machines doing

cyclical work um and doing

things I wasn't good at and

I let the things like

strength work one rep maxes

high power output kind of

go to the wayside and so I

could focus on the things I

wasn't good at to bring

those up and it doesn't

always show you know like

your hard work won't always

show to other people but

A great example of that is

like the wall ball burpee

box jump over workout from quarterfinals.

So, I mean,

I don't even know if I'm

finishing that last year.

I'm definitely not finishing

it two years ago.

So it's like you see that all pay off.

Whereas the clean and jerk ladder,

I think I was lifting once a week,

like this season, up until training for,

you know, semifinals last.

I was touching a barbell

maybe once a week to back

squat or front squat and

once a week to Olympic lift

and calling it good.

So while that might not be

my personal like best in that threshold,

like in that workout,

like for what it is walking around,

I'm super happy of how I

was able to execute it

having done it twice.

So when you go into semis

and you have a snatch

ladder and you have other

stuff that's more

balanced are you more

looking forward to the

balance to see where you're

at or is it fun to like get

your hands on that snatch

one more time I'm I think

I'm excited for both I

think I'm really excited to

see like the run that's two

and a half miles of running

with 50 clean and jerks

that I'm I'm really excited

to see how I can do in

something like that knowing that you know

two years ago, a year ago,

I'm getting capped no matter what.

And then the snatch ladder, it's battery.

So like I practiced it a

couple of times in a couple

of different variations.

And I think it'll be fun.

Like lifting's fun.

Lifting heavy is super fun.

I would much prefer the

ladder as opposed to like a one rep max.


so that I think it'll all be super fun.


there's obviously stuff that I'm not so

thrilled about, but we all have those.

I think I would love to see

some GHDs always,

but here we are and we'll

get to climb a rope instead.

So you, um, even all the work and getting

and not working on the barbell,

it's still kind of your favorite.

Yeah, I think my favorite, well, I love,

I do love like some grunt work,

kettlebells, odd objects, stuff.

I love to push a sled, um,

external loading barbell.

Barbell is just the most accessible,


So everyone can get on a barbell,

which is why we love it.

Um, I love a good pull from the floor,

whatever we're doing,

as long as we're pulling from the floor,

I'm on board.

So what is your realistic

goal this season?

I mean, I think I, so if we're being real,

like honest, I've achieved my goal.

Like my goal this season was

to qualify for semifinals and I did it.

So now like setting that marker ahead,

I think we're looking at

like just the best

execution that I can have

doing the best I can do.


Not getting injured.

I think that's a big component of it.

I don't want to leave the

weekend next weekend with

something massive that I

could have avoided.

But I do want to do my best.

I'm going to go out there.

I'm going to go out swinging

and give it what I have.

But I want to be smart

because I have a fairly

physically demanding job

and I don't really want to

jeopardize that.


But isn't it hard to go into an event?

You don't want to think about injury,



Or it, it holds you back.



I think that's super, that's true.

But I, as we get older and I mean, I'm,

I'm not a super spring chicken anymore.

So, you know,

your body and even though you

are competing and you're

not worried about that, um,

you're not reckless, right?

And so, you know,

if you're going to do

something to jeopardize

your wellbeing and then

you've made the choice to

either pay attention to

that or to disregard it.


It, it's really a yin and yang.

I'm like just trying to think about it.

When I was younger,

like I would throw my body into anything.



Like, and damn the consequences.

I'm just going all out to whatever.



And then as you get older,

like you become smarter

with those things.

Like, man,

I could do this or I'm going to

be hurt tomorrow.


I think so.

I talk about this with my

fiance a lot because I

never climbed a tree until

I was an adult.


Because when I was,

I was dancing and I was playing sports,

I was playing soccer when I

was younger and we were specifically told,

you know,

no outside dangerous activities allowed.

if they get hurt outside of

the sport or outside of this thing,

that's a problem.

So when I was younger,

it was very safe play, you know,

for better or worse,

I didn't do a lot of

reckless stuff so that

that's like a behavior

that's been ingrained in me almost.


I get that.

Cause I was a swimmer

growing up and my coach was like,

you know, no skiing in the winter time,

no, no riding mini bikes, no, you know,

but I was a kid who just

loved adventure and yeah,

I never went skiing.

I never did that.


and I didn't really ride mini bikes or

anything, but I, I had fun and I,

I jumped off stuff.

I climbed things I did.

what a kid could do.

And I'm glad I did.

I'm glad I had that.

But I,

but I know that there's those

moments when,

when you're in an event and

you're in a competition and like,

you have to make the choice.

Do I,

do I go that one more gear knowing

it's going to hurt or do I back it off?


I think these are, for me,

they're very specific instances.

Like I've had a,

a reoccurring shoulder thing,

like most people have, uh,

and it's specifically

triggered by a very few movements.

One of them happens to be

legless rope climbs.

So I know that when I've hit my threshold,

I have to be conscious of

what that looks like.


Especially because it's

early on in the weekend.

And that's just taking them.

I mean, I'm a realist, right?

I'm here to do my best and

put my best effort forward,

but that's not my workout to win.

And I'm, I know that.

So that's my workout where

I've got to go out there

and I've got to get it.

I've got to execute for me

and I've got to do the best

that I can do.

And then that's what it is.

I mean,

I can't wait to watch some of these

girls like Alex Kazam on that workout.


she's coming out hot and she's going

to absolutely smash it.

And that's amazing,

but I'm not going to try to

replicate what she's doing.



She's the best in the world at,

at Legolas.

So like that's someone you

would definitely want the

blinders on unless you're,

you're done and on the sidelines.

I'm done.

I'm on the sidelines.

I want to cheer for her.

I want her to absolutely set

a record on that workout.

Jeffrey Birchfield asks,

so it's cross for your job,

or do you do something else?

Right off the top,

we talked about that she is

a theater production manager.

Is that correct?

Yeah, I'm the production manager,

technical director, so I wear many hats.

We've got a full-time team, but

theaters we work with a

local union of stagehands

we've also got students

that work here and we've

got a couple full-time

staff but there's a lot

that goes on between like

the rigging hanging lights

pulling points um pushing a

lot of carts so a lot of

what I do in training I

actually do a lot at work

just in a different

capacity uh taylor blanco

had your back yeah that's my guy

so so with with what you're

doing like is this a

learning year for you and

then you have a bigger goal

next year or will you

always want to compete in

this sport because you have

that option with age group

and masters and all of that

where are you headed with

this after this year I

don't really know um

I think this was a big year

for me in terms of life, right?

I moved across the country.

I started a new job,

started training in a new gym.

And then I was in a new conference, right?

I moved from the East to the West.


So with all of those variables,

I kind of knew I was like, well,

I should still give it a crack.

Like I was, I mean, life's hard.

You're working, you're tired.

You're like, I still love CrossFit,

but do I want to put in

the work that I need to put

in to do this competitively.

And I was like, well, I got to, right?

You go from the East to the West,

not to knock anything,

but I knew what my scores

were last year and the year before.

So I knew it was worth a

shot and the effort.

I think we'll take some time

after the season's over.

Our work busy season actually

calms down a little bit and

just enjoy a little bit of

an off season and decide.

I wouldn't be surprised if I try again.

I mean, it is a learning year.

This is the biggest stage

I've ever made it to.

I mean,

as long as we're not counting like

water Palooza.

So it's a, it's a opportunity to learn.

And I,

I do think that I'll probably want

to try again and go for it

and see if I can qualify

without needing a backfill.


But yeah, that's my,

that's my thoughts there.


What a Palooza may be bigger

in area and it may be bigger with fans,

but I don't think there is

a bigger stage than where

you're going to be.


The iconic tennis stadium,

what it means at this point in the season,

that's a pretty big deal

and you should be

celebrated for making it to that level.


So like we said, big learning,

definitely have

accomplished the goal I set out to.

So yeah,

I mean, we're all competitors.

I probably won't be able to say no.



Jeffrey Birchfield said, okay, cool.

I used to do community

theater as an actor.


And he also used to do some

help with set building.

That's the real magic behind it.



it has been such a treat getting to

know you today.

We want to wish you luck in Carson.

Uh, it, everybody in the chat,

thank you for being here.

You guys have been awesome

making this a blast.


make sure you check out Mariana in two

weeks, uh, going, uh,

head to head with the best

in the world in cars in California, uh,

at the Northwest semifinals.

Thank you so much for being

here and everybody to chat.

We'll see you next time on

the Clydesdale media podcast.

Bye guys.