Every year since 2009, CrossFitters around the world have had the unique opportunity to compete with one another and their favorite professional CrossFit athletes during the CrossFit Open.  To explain the Open, I have to back up a little bit to the first Crossfit Games, held in 2007. Originally, anyone who could make it to the competition was able to compete; as the sport grew the Games established a qualifying round of competition known as Regionals.  In 2011, CrossFit allowed athletes throughout the globe to compete in what is now the Open.  The Open is essentially an online qualification for the Regional competitions. Workouts are released and athletes can register and complete the workout with a judge verifying the movements were completed “to standard.”  While most participants don’t have aspirations to gain an invitation to Regionals or the CrossFit Games, the Open has become a fun way for CrossFitters around the world to see how their scores stack up against others and compete with friends in and outside their box.  It is a huge part of the CrossFit community, and many box affiliates go all out for the event.  The box I have been a part of for the last three years hosts “Friday Night Light” competitions during the Open with a DJ, beer, and most importantly lots of cheering.  This year, I am not registering for the Open, but I do plan to participate in the workouts and Friday Night Lights events.  So here’s recap of this weeks’ workout.20.1

10 rounds for time of:
8 ground to overhead (95lbs for men/65lbs for women)
10 bar facing burpess
Time Cap: 15 minutes

If you’re curious about the movement standards, you can checkout www.games.crossfit.com for a full explanation.

I’m not a CrossFit coach, or what I would consider a “competitive” athlete; I’m definitely not going to the Games this year, or any other for that matter.  But I do enjoy seeing how far I can get in these workouts.  Every Open workout is tough, for obvious reasons.  This workout was no exception, by any means.  I can certainly say that it favored athletes with a stronger cardio base, as opposed to strength.  The weight isn’t particularly heavy, but it’s a lot of reps and 100 burpees is not what I would call a casual workout.  In fact, I’ve found that I can’t think about these workouts as a whole workout (especially since I’ve never completed one within the time cap).  I have to just think of them as 8 ground to overhead and 10 bar facing burpees.  Not a walk in the park for the arms or lungs, but nothing that’s going to kill me, unless I have to do it say 9 or 10 times.  Thank God for time caps, right?

This week was particularly challenging for me.  I spent most of the week out of town for work, and I don’t usually get great sleep during work travel.  Friday, I woke up and ran 10 miles (super casual), wrapped up my work stuff, and then drove a couple of hours back home.  I could have gone into full hibernation as soon as I got home, I was freaking beat.  But it was the first Friday Night Lights, so I knew I wanted to go.  Our box does different themes for every week of the Open, and this week was “Cholo Night.”  If you’re unfamiliar with what that means, you had a very different childhood than I, and Google can help you figure it all out.

I didn’t participate in donning my favorite bandana and hoop earnings, mostly because I’m not a joiner and it felt a little too close to cultural appropriation to me.   But when I walked into the box, there was more plaid than a Hipster concert in Austin, and I could not stop laughing seeing grown adults with corporate jobs looking like they were about to hop a fence on an episode of Cops.  It was pretty great.

The workout was not great.  It hurt.  There are options in accomplishing the ground to overhead movement, and since I am not particularly strong at snatching (yes, that is the correct term) I decided to stick with a clean and push jerk for the entire workout.  My only “strategy,” and I use this term loosely, was to just keep moving.  I warmed up, stretched out my upper body, had a few gulps of my husband’s Shiner in an effort to channel my inner chola, and took my place at my bar.  The first few rounds didn’t feel terrible; my ground to overheads were unbroken, and my burpees were fairly consistently paced.  I started to feel pretty fatigued after about 4 rounds, and I was hoping we were coming up on 9 or 10 minutes into the time cap so I could look forward to being done.  About 4 seconds after this thought, I heard our emcee announce that we were 5 minutes in.  Crap.  Lots of inner dialogue swearing about pacing too fast the first couple of rounds and “how the hell am I going to keep doing these dumb movements for another 10 minutes without dying?”  But I just kept moving.  The cold front had blown in that morning, it was crisp (which I love), but I also started to feel that painful lung burn that only happens when you’re sucking cold air like an asthmatic playing soccer.  Just keep moving.

Five or six rounds in, and I’m fairly certain I have internal bleeding in my lungs.  “8 minutes in, 7 more to go!”  More curse words.  My shoulders and chest feel like I have been bench pressing a Volvo.  When I finally hear that we have passed the 11 minute mark, I have a moment of celebration.  I’m 4 minutes away from the rest of my Shiner.  And no more moving.  I don’t know which I am looking forward to more, just kidding, it’s definitely the no more moving.  I hit eight rounds with a few minutes to go, and I’m pretty stoked because this is probably the closest I have ever come to finishing an Open workout.  Just keep moving.  Nine rounds, less than two minutes to time cap.  Praise hands.  The time cap buzzer finally goes off, and I swear it sounds sweeter than child’s laughter.  I.  Am.  Done. With.  These.  Damn.  Burpees.

My husband comes to collect me off the floor, and gives me the obligatory “you did great.”  Bless this man, he’s also brought me my sweater and beer.  He helps me get my sweater on because I am now both hot and cold simultaneously, and my arms are no longer responding to my brain telling them to move.  They have abandoned me.  But I can still get the beer to my mouth, so there’s that.  I promptly sit my tired butt on a box, and watch the next round of athletes.  Fools, I think.  A few minutes into the workout, and they all look as miserable as my organs feel, which is a little comforting to me.  160 reps is what I was able to accomplish in 20.1.  It didn’t feel good, not one bit, and today my lungs STILL hurt and my upper body has not forgiven me.  But for 15 minutes, I pushed myself and didn’t quit when I started to hurt. 

That’s the thing I always hold on to.  The more times I can push when I’m screaming to stop, the stronger I feel, eventually.  Every time is another moment of truth showing me that I can do hard things.  All of these times add up, and as the years of pushing have passed, it has become easier to recognize that my mind will tell me to stop when my body still has more to give. It has also shown me that when something is hard or intimidating, I don’t have to give in to the feelings. I can feel tired, or scared, or frustrated, and still do what I need to do. And that’s the whole point of all of this nonsense anyways.  So, I guess, for this week, mission accomplished.  If you need me, I’ll be on the couch, not moving my arms, and coughing a little.

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