The Open, RX’d

Another Open has come and gone! Quite unexpectedly, I decided to RX every workout. This decision was, in itself, my major 2017 Open victory. I did not have any PRs or remarkable scores, but I did take on some movements that I couldn’t do last year (chest-to-bar pull-ups, handstand push-ups). I also identified several movements that need additional work (double-unders, snatches) and, of course, I’m still on a quest for that first muscle-up. But the Open has reinforced some of the most salient lessons I’ve learned from Crossfit:

  1. Be humble. I was very enthusiastic about 17.1. I felt super prepared because last year a shoulder injury resulted in a great deal of single-arm snatching. I was confident that I would crush that workout right up until the fourth round of snatches when my vision began to narrow and I started gasping for air. My cockiness melted onto the floor in rivers of sweat as I fought for every rep and realized that I had a long way to go both in the WOD and in my Crossfit journey.
  2. Laugh at yourself. I laughed during the 17.2 announcement because I knew it was going to create an uproar among both scaled athletes who were still working toward pull-ups and RX athletes desperate for a muscle-up. I love a good uproar. Following 17.1, I was feeling quite philosophical and decided that I would RX the workout (why waste those toes-to-bar I’ve tried to master all year?), but not worry about the muscle-ups and have fun. After all, I’ve lived 31 years of my life without a muscle-up, so what was one more day? I relished those first 78 reps and then did my best swinging, kicking, and flailing to try and get up and over that bar. My husband stood nearby, vacillating between chuckling and offering encouragement. Eventually, my coach came over and gave me a helpful boost so I could hang out in a muscle-up for awhile and feel happy to be part of such a fun group of people.
  3. Try hard things, fail, and try again. I’m not good at snatches. My 2016 goal was to get all of my lifts at or over 100lbs, and I succeeded with everything except snatches. Indeed, I entered 2016 with a 1-rep max snatch of 75lbs and concluded the year with a 1 rep max of 80lbs. So I suspected 17.3 was going to be brief if I RX’d, but I had worked very hard last summer on chest-to-bar pull-ups so I was certainly not going to give up my chance to show them off in the Open! I mustered my way through the round of 65lbs with only a couple of no-repped snatches. I reached the 95lb snatch with just over 30 seconds to spare and failed twice before reaching the time cap. So I took ten pounds off the bar and got a few reps at 85lbs– a small but real PR!
  4. Trust the process. 17.4 repeated my favorite 2016 Open workout, and I was super excited! Last year I scaled this workout and got a few deadlifts into the second round. This year, I RX’d and pushed through as fast as possible so I could try a few of my newly-acquired handstand push-ups. My reps were significantly lower this year, but 17.4 showed me that my overall fitness has definitely improved. This workout was a great reminder to trust my coaches and the programming they have planned, even when it’s painful. I’m very excited to work hard for another year and then try this workout again!
  5. Surround yourself with positivity. In a painful workout with both double-unders and thrusters, the positive community at my gym really shined. I loved watching my friends take on 17.5 with gusto and celebrate each other’s successes. I am grateful that this atmosphere is not exclusive to the Open; the joyful energy that radiates around the box buoys the athletes every day. It accompanies us in our jobs and homes and gives us courage to face life challenges beyond thrusters. I feel a great comfort in knowing that I get to visit such an uplifting space and such inspiring people daily.

Happy end of the 2017 Open, everyone! Onward!

17.5 Worries

Oh lovely. Double Unders. My crossfit nemesis. (well…if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you are aware that I have many crossfit nemeses…) But especially since I have a lower leg “thing”, mostly in my shins.

Thrusters? Okay…I might be nuts, but I’m one of the few people who kinda LIKES thrusters. And the weight is totally doable. We’ve been practicing in class doing reps unbroken for a lot of things, so for at least the first couple of rounds, I will shoot for doing them unbroken.

But double unders? Ok…I can do them a few at a time, generally with a lot of singles that won’t count. So do I scale this and just do singles?  That seems a cop out for me, since I am so close. Plus it’s 350 total and that is a large number….I know for a fact that this injury will kill me. ugh…

On top of this, I’m in the recovery phase from a cold, so I have basically one shot, probably on Monday morning. Though that does give me a few more days to rest my leg, since I haven’t been to the gym since Monday. Though that will also probably work against me; I haven’t  been to the gym since Monday!

Oh I am so torn here. But in the end, who needs to walk afterwards?

Post 17.4 Ramblings

Okay, so 17.4 didn’t quite go as planned. I was hoping to knock a couple of seconds off last year’s time, and in my unrealistic crossfit dreams, I was wanting a minute to at least kick up to the handstand. Alas, neither were meant to be. 

I got 144 reps. That’s 34 calories on the 

rower. Last year I finished the row with 10 seconds to spare. 

I know this calf injury is really putting a damper on my abilities because I managed to move well through the deadlifts. But those blasted wall balls! I did my 10, got no-repped on number 4 in my set of nine, then finished that set. About half way through my set of 8, the cramp started. I knew I was in for a world of hurt. I dropped my plan and basically did sets of 5, dropping the ball and shaking out my leg each time. I was “only” no-repped maybe 5 times in total, including the two I mentioned so that was good. 

I had more than enough time to get through all the calories if I’d be able to use my right leg! About 10 calories in, it was cramping so bad that I actually took my leg out of the strap and moved it up higher on the foot pad. At this point I’m barely managing 550-600 on my pulls. Not because I couldn’t breathe, but my right leg was literally frozen and it was taking all my energy to move it. Suddenly, I have far more sympathy for football players who get cramps and have to come out of the game! I wanted to take my leg entirely off the rower, but was worried that wasn’t allowed, I did NOT want to be the first to no-rep a calorie row!! 

But I kept moving and did what I could. I will limp around for days now. 

Oh and a note to self: the next time the coaches ask if I’m ready to go early, I will say “no”. I was warmed up but hadn’t done much stretching. That was a bit of a mental wringer in my morning! But it was fine in the end! 

BUT!! I took my t-shirt off during the wall balls leaving me in my tank top and no one said anything! I was so embarrassed to do that, but by that time I didn’t care; I was dying! 

I did make an appointment with the deep tissue massage therapist. I KNOW going to see him is helpful, but I’m stubborn. He’s chastised me on multiple occasions for this stubbornness (which probably should rightly be termed stupidity). 

I may have to call the doctor. This has been three months and this stupid thing refuses to lay down and die a nasty, firey death. 

So while I’m not happy and feel like I’m letting my coaches down, (something they probably don’t feel at all) I’m also not unhappy, all things considered. It’s a tough workout (still one of my favorites) and I did what I could do. 

Now…. where are 15 steaks, 92 chicken breasts and a field of sweet potatoes to chow down?! 

On to 17.5! 

Pre – 17.4 musings

Okay, 17.4 is a repeat of 16.4. Four movements, 55 repetitions: deadlifts, wall balls, calorie row and hand stand push-ups. 

I did this one last year and got through the row with 10 seconds to spare. 

I can do the deadlift weight with no issues. The wall ball will had me out, as they are designed to do. But for me, the key will be the row. One of my coaches had me alter how I did my rowing and I think it’s gotten better. The issue will, of course, be how my calf and shin splints holds up as rowing tends to aggravate things. 

HSPU are not in my wheelhouse, so I just want to beat my time from last year!

My hint for you is to manage your reps. I did 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 as that adds to 55. It gave me something to concentrate on and also sets that were totally doable. 

Good luck to you this weekend! Give it your all!

The Open is for (almost) Everyone

So the CrossFit Games Open is upon us (#theopenisuponus) and it seems like everyone is posting new profile pictures with Open frames and the ever popular hash tag #intheopen.  So, here’s my confession and catharsis: I am not in the open.  In fact, I have never been in the Open and I’ve been doing crossfit for three years.

So, why not.  Well, I guess the simple answer is that I’m just not into it.  I don’t feel the need to pay the fee.  I don’t want to be judged. I don’t want to post my shitty score on the internet.  I don’t want to feel like i need to spend the next 5 Saturdays in the gym.  The Open is just not my thing.

There are some aspects of the season that I do like:  I enjoy waiting for the workouts to be posted.  I like reading the strategies and the interpretations.  One of the coolest things I saw today was an Open Workout  specific recommended targeted warmup from Squat University on Instagram.  I loved watching my friends and fellow athletes kill 17.1.  I loved cheering them on from my rower where i was doing intervals (and tearing up my heels but that’s a separate issue).  Also, I love watching the CrossFit games.  I’m a fan, but to me the Open and the Games are best left as spectator sports.

So here’s my message to you: it’s totally okay to get excited and pumped about the open; to dedicate time and effort to compete against all of CrossFitdom – I tip my hat to your commitment and your enthusiasm.  It’s also okay not to do the Open.  It makes you no less dedicated to your fitness, nutrition, CrossFit, your box, etc, etc.

Maybe next year.

Embrace the Scaler

When a partner WOD is announced, I would say that I generally try to find someone that lifts about the same amount of weight I can or is at or around the same fitness level as I am.  I am here to say that this is crap and we should all reconsider how we choose partners (at least every once in awhile).

There are advantages for each side of the aisle:  An RX athlete may find the opportunity to focus on form and fundamentals when working with a Scaled athlete.  Working at a lighter weight or slightly slower pace allows the time and ability to focus on those minute movements that make all the difference during a WOD.  For a Scaled athlete, working with an RX athlete may provide the opportunity to work a little bit heavier than you normally would, maybe work a little faster with a little more motivation, and may also offer learning opportunities and tips to work towards achieving some movements.

So, I definitely recommend branching out.  Go outside of your comfort zone…be willing to push yourself but also be willing to slow down and take a moment to return to those essential fundamentals…you may not PR that day but that time to practice will pay off in the future.