It’s that time of year again – The CrossFit Open! The season of ripped callouses, outrageous WOD predictions, and new PRs everywhere around the world. Elite athletes strategically plan out how to execute each movement as efficiently as possible, while the rest of us are just trying not to throw up in the middle of it all.
The Open is like one big exam. The good kids spend a long time preparing for it, systematically mastering each element that may appear on the test. The majority of us? Yeah, we cram. We cut out bread the week before and pray for that miraculous first muscle-up.
Last week was the first of five workouts, and it. was. brutal.
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 20 minutes (TWENTY MINUTES) of:
25-ft. overhead walking lunge (95# for dudes, 65# for ladies)
8 bar facing burpees
25-ft. overhead walking lunge (same weight)
8 chest-to-bar pullups
So I did this God-forsaken workout, but only after I watched some of the top athletes in the Open from my box – Cobra Command CrossFit – collapse and choke down some puke after they completed it. I like to know what I’m getting myself into.
Here’s a general (and censored) breakdown of my thought process during 16.1:
1:00 – Oh, this isn’t too bad. 65 pound overhead lunge? I can handle this – as long as I pace myself! These bar-facing burpees will be my rest time. I’m really good at burpees.
2:00 – Oh okay, so we’re doing just two chest-to-bars at a time today, are we Melissa? Oh, just one at a time, now? Okay.
3:00 – Whew! Maybe I should slow down if I want to maintain a sustainable pace.
4:00 – I NEED ALL THE CHALK
5:00 – WHY did I keep my belt on for these stupid burpees? I can hardly breathe!
6:00 – Why do I feel like I’m going to throw up already?
7:00 – Dear GOD, how am I only 7 minutes into this?
8:00 – Did I just fall asleep in the middle of a burpee?
9:00 – I’ve now come to the final stage of grief – acceptance. Let’s just get this over with.
10:00 – You go girl! Halfway through! Wait. Only halfway through. *takes a swig from the water bottle and an extra 20 seconds before getting back on the bar*
11:00 – I totally should’ve scaled.
12:00 – Just listen to your judge – he’s counting down for you so you don’t have to think!
15:00 – Yeah, those burpees as a break thing? This is literally the worst part.
16:00 – Oh, wait – no. No, the lunges are.
17:00 – CAN’T. DO. ANY. MORE. PULLUPS.
18:00 – Except that last one that just ripped my palm open. Awesome.
19:00 – THERE’S BLOOD EVERYWHERE
19:30 – Just a few more lunges and I can die.
20:00 – I have to get up off the floor because the next heat is about to start? She can lunge around me. It’s fine.
Ultimately, I finished in 20,296th place out of 129,935 women worldwide. Now, that’s nothing to flip my hair about, but the most important part of that last sentence was “I finished.” I’ve never been known to have much grit – math was hard for me, so I didn’t try. I withdrew from physics my senior year of high school because I couldn’t handle it. I graduated toward the top in my class, but when things get hard, I turn into a baby. I’m working on it, okay?
All this to say – it was a big deal for me to finish such a stupid WOD. Especially given my thought process. The voice inside my head was screaming to quit – that the Open didn’t really matter because I’m not going to qualify for Regionals, so is it that big of a deal anyway? But that was just one voice I heard.
The others were the outside voices. My friends cheering me on. My husband yelling at me for just one more rep. My judge and coach literally counting down for every rep to keep me on pace. If it weren’t for those voices, I’d have quit. Or at least slowed WAY down.
The Open certainly is an individual competition, but I didn’t compete alone. We suffered together, we celebrated together – regardless of where we placed on the leaderboard.
It’s times like these that I’m reminded just how important community is – to cheer each other on during the tough times, to push each other to be better than we thought we could be, and to guide us when all we can think about is quitting.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17
Now, on to 16.2. They announce in just a few hours! Predictions?