Another CrossFit Open is in the books, and once again, I was glad to throw my hat into the ring. Every year, more people around the world enter and compete in the Open and that is a positive trend, especially here in West Virginia, where we often rank high for our low health standards.
It was a good Open for me personally. I enjoy the buzz, camaraderie and challenge. I witnessed tears and sweat, frustration and jubilation, and new athletes fighting for each rep as well as strong and efficient human machines at their most impressive. I am inspired by all of them. I watched several folks new to the sport this year fight to complete the scaled version of the prescribed (RX) workouts — and it reminded me of how far I’ve come. On the flipside, I also got to watch some of my favorite athletic friends slay the difficult RX workouts. It may sound sappy, but these moments bring me to tears — as well as my own personal fight and ability to prevail. It’s my own little Olympics, baby — and as close to the Wide World of Sports I’ll ever get, where you witness the thrill of victory...and the agony of defeat...and the human drama of athletic competition.
I competed in my first Open in 2014 and it was an amazing experience. I ended three slots away from making the regionals cut. In hindsight, I wish I’d worked a little harder and earned my spot. In 2015, I couldn’t compete due to injury. In 2016, I was able to participate in scaled versions of the workouts, but I was still not back to fighting form. This year, I was able to complete three of the five workouts RX and did two scaled.
The first workout, 17.1, I did RX. It involved dumbbell snatches and burpee box jumps. I hadn’t done any box jumps, only step-ups, for the past two years so I went very slowly but managed fine. The 35# dumbbell weight was dang heavy to snatch, but I was up to the challenge. I scored in the top quarter worldwide, in the US and regionally.
17.2 I also did RX. It involved weighted lunges, toes-to-bar, cleans and bar muscle-ups. I didn’t make it to the last element within the time cap, but I can’t do those MUs yet anyway! Definitely a zesty workout and I was proud of my performance. I scored even higher but still in the top quarter worldwide, in the US and regionally.
17.3 I performed scaled, which called for jumping bar-over-chin pull-ups and snatch squats. I was disappointed I could not do the RX because I lost the ability to do chest-to-bar pull-ups after my injury (and they haven’t yet returned) and I had never done a squat snatch; doing it at such heavy weights for the first time seemed like a bad idea. This was not my best event physically, but I did my best and that is satisfying. Scored in the top third but I am unable to compare to only scaled scores since I was already in the RX category.
17.4 was one I could have done RX but my back was hurting, so I opted to do the scaled version. This was a repeat workout from a previous Open so it did allow me to see if I could best my score (which I did by 19 reps). The workout was 55 deadlifts, wallballs, calorie row and hand-release push-ups. I made it to the last category over half way through. Maybe it’s true that as you get older, you get better! I will definitely be doing the RX version in a few months to see how far I get. I scored in the top half, but was unable to compare to only scaled scores since I was already in the RX category.
17.5, the last workout, I also performed RX. It was 10 rounds in 40 minutes or less of 9 thrusters at 65 pounds and 35 double-unders (jump rope). This workout was deceptively hard — a real gasser. I struggled to keep my breath, as did almost everyone I watched. We looked like dying fish! That said, it was my best event in terms of score (86th in the MidAtlantic!) and I felt so proud for finishing it when I really wanted to punt about half way through.
Here are my standings overall for my class (women 50-54). Not too shabby!
1,268 worldwide (out of 5,000+)
893 in USA (out of 3,750+)
131 in MidAtlantic (out of 450+)
5 in WV (out of 11)
17 at my gym (out of 47, all classes)
Until next year, keep on finding ways to move that you love, and fight for your health. I plan to be in the CrossFit Open when I’m 95 (and maybe by then, I’ll make it to the Games)!
A collection of columns, articles and general