In Retrospect: The 2014 CrossFit Open

In the beginning, there was a girl who just didn’t want to feel lazy and squishy anymore.

Then, I signed up for CrossFit, made some gains, and played along in last year’s Open.

This year, I officially signed up for the Open. It was my first year signed up, and in the month leading up to the Open, I was able to Rx most of 2013’s WODs. Chest-to-bar pull-ups were still an issue for me*, but I at least had my chin-to-bar pull-ups; in March 2013, I could barely get any bend in my arms on the pull-up bar. I didn’t sign up expecting to be a competitor, but I signed up ready to challenge myself.

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Of course, my luck was such that the opening WOD started (started!!) with double-unders. I’ve already complained about that, though, and 14.1 will go down as “not my best performance ever.”

14.2 consisted of overhead squats and chest-to-bar pull-ups, with a scheme that gave the strongest athletes the chance to add more reps.

From 0:00-3:00
2 rounds of:
10 overhead squats
10 chest-to-bar pull-ups

From 3:00-6:00
2 rounds of:
12 overhead squats
12 chest-to-bar pull-ups

and so on, following the “+2” pattern until the rounds could not be completed.

Going into 14.2, I expected completely to finish the first 10 overhead squats (at 65lbs. for women). Before the workout started, a teammate suggested I change my pull-up grip to a chin-up grip just for the WOD. I didn’t have a lot of time to practice, so I essentially went in cold. Because of the chin-up grip, I was able to work through 10 chest-to-bar pull-ups–and because the grip was so foreign to me, I couldn’t quite kip them, and I ended up doing most of the pull-ups strict. I got through a total of 28 reps before my time was up. It wasn’t an impressive showing, but getting my first in-WOD chest-to-bars–regardless of the grip and execution–was a big accomplishment.

After the first two WODs, I hoped desperately for heavy deadlifts. I got my wish, as 14.3 was a deadlift/box jump combination.

In 8 minutes, the challenge was to work through as much of the following as possible:
95-lb.
deadlifts, 10 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
135-lb.
deadlifts, 15 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
155-lb.
deadlifts, 20 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
185-lb.
deadlifts, 25 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
205-lb.
deadlifts, 30 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
225-lb.
deadlifts, 35 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch

I completed 102 reps, culminating with 12 pulls at 185lbs. It was a fantastically challenging WOD for me, and it was a workout that needed to be approached with caution no matter who you were. Deadlifts, if done incorrectly, can be devastating to the back. However, I was trained under very watchful eyes, and I silently repeat the cues taught to me each time I set up.

14.4 was a beast, with 14 minutes to work through:
60-calorie row 
50 toes-to-bars
40 wall-ball shots, 20 lb. to 10-foot target
30 cleans, 135 lb.
20 muscle-ups

Surprisingly, I finished the row in just under four minutes, then immediately tanked on the toes-to-bar. Toes-to-bar as prescribed are difficult for me at this point in time, although I’ve consistently made progress since last year’s Open, when I hit my first few. 14.4 saw me complete the most toes-to-bar I ever have within a WOD, 33 toes-to-bar. Again, not an incredibly impressive number, but a number with which I could be happy.

The last WOD was the first “for time” even in the Open, even though these types of WODs are common in programming and practice. The entire CrossFit world had called the sinister duo of thrusters and burpees, and the format in which it came was grueling.

21-18-15-12-9-6-3
Thrusters (65lbs. for ladies)
Bar-facing burpees

Lucky me, I got sick right before 14.5 was announced; I was sick on a Tuesday and Wednesday, and the WOD announced on a Thursday evening. I pushed my attempt at 14.5 until that Sunday. I was still congested and low on energy, but I wanted to complete the workout and wrap up the Open. That Sunday morning, I warmed up, watched several other athletes work through 14.5, and then I took it on with one of our coaches as my judge, with an almost-empty gym as my setting.

I ended up finishing the workout in under 20 minutes, finishing at 19 minutes and 38 seconds. That time ended up being faster than the worldwide women’s average and only four seconds slower than the worldwide men’s average. After being sick and somewhat mentally beat-down by three of the previous WODs, I was very happy with that final score.

This year’s Open reaffirmed the goals I set earlier on. My biggest limiting factors at this moment are my shoulder strength and double-unders; this I know, and this I will continue to tackle. In the past year, I’ve dialed my nutrition in a bit more, although it isn’t incredibly strict and definitely not exact science. I’m utilizing lifting class and open gym times to work on select skills, which has helped me continually come back to my weaknesses, even if it’s just for a relatively short amount of time that I dedicate to a specific skill. It’s helped quite a bit, as seen by the fact that I can perform several unassisted ring dips now, whereas at the beginning of the year, I could do exactly zero.

I have a long way to where I want to be, and I can say that about many things in my current life. I am impatient, but I’m learning to savor little milestones more and more, because those tiny moments keep building to drastically change the landscape.

 

* And I am proud to announce that over Easter weekend, I strung together my first unbroken sets of chest-to-bar pull-ups, with overhand grip and everything. It was unexpected and so awesome to finally accomplish that goal! I’d been chasing after that one since my Basic test attempt in March 2013 at HEL, and of course, I had to share it with all of my friends, teammates, and coaches past and present. 🙂

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