17 point one and done?

On Friday morning I did the first CrossFit Open workout of the 2017 season. It was one tough workout from which I am still recovering.

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After watching the live announcement from Dave Castro on Thursday night and then watching the Games athletes face-off against each other, not to mention Ro vs Boz, I was a bundle of nerves and excitement. I was nervous about doing 150 dumbbell snatches at 50 pounds. Nervous about 75 burpee box jump-overs. Nervous about finishing under the time cap – even Rory McKernan didn’t finish. But excited to be starting the Open.

I arrived at the I Will CrossFit box a lot earlier than usual to find fellow athlete, Daniel, already there and getting in the zone. Coach Matt had put out some donuts and coffee for afterwards and the equipment was set out and ready for the first two athletes to start. I spent some time stretching and warming up. Nothing too fancy, but making sure the muscles and joints would be as ready as possible for the test ahead. All too soon we were called to the whiteboard where Matt went through the movement standards to ensure we and straddling the line when going down into the burpee. He gave us a couple more minutes to get settled and then, before I knew it, it was 3-2-1-GO!

Ten snatches – not too bad. Fifteen burpee box jump-overs. Not too bad either. Next 20 and 15 still going ok. My split time for this was 5:21, so an okay pace. My strategy going in was to keep moving. I didn’t want to take any breaks if possible but that meant keeping a steady pace and making sure I didn’t start out too fast. So far so good. In the round of 30 snatches, the weight started feeling a bit heavier. When I hit the round of 40 snatches at 9:37, I had to focus even more to ensure I got the dumbbell up above my head and locked out properly. I was still going at a good pace but was definitely tiring. I started the last round at 14:26. Five and a half minutes to finish 50 snatches and a final 15 burpee box jump-overs. Matt was judging my attempt and was counting each rep – this helped a lot but it seemed like the 50 would never end. When I completed my last rep, I had about 90 seconds before the time cap. That’s when I got my one and only no-rep. Instead of jumping up onto the box, I did a step-up. Fool!!! That cost me at least one extra rep.

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In the end, I finish with 10 burpee box jump-overs. Just 5 reps short of completing the workout within the allotted time and 220 reps in total. I was completely spent. I had nothing left in the tank. My lower back had already started hurting. My lungs were gasping for air. My legs were jelly. WOW! What a fantastic start to the Open!! Throughout the day, I watched online and in person as other people had their go at 17.1. Loads of people finished. Loads of people were time capped. Everyone was a mess of sweat and muscle agony afterwards. The other three guys who did the workout in the early class immediately decided that they would be repeating on Monday morning (all four of us were time capped). When seeing other box members successfully finish, this only added to their resolve. I remained stubborn – I insisted that I would not repeat. I told them it was one and done. However, you may have noticed the question mark in the title of this post…

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As I did last year, I’ve spent the last 48 hours analyzing my performance. What could I have done differently? Where could I find 26.5 seconds for the last 5 reps? Would my back return to normal in time for Monday morning? In the end, peer pressure and a desire to at least try to make up those final 5 reps have won out. I plan to repeat tomorrow. I’ll be trying to squat earlier in the snatches, I’ll also try and drop down into the burpee faster and I’ll try to not stand up as much in the box jump. If I can maintain a similar pace with those improvements, I think I may be able to find the extra seconds I need.

Wish me luck. I’m going to need it. I’ll update you tomorrow. For now, I’ll be foam rolling.

How did your 17.1 go? Any tips? Are you going to try one more time or are you happy with your performance already?

UPDATE: I repeated this morning and didn’t manage to better my score. I went from 220 reps to 181. My burpee box jumps were waaaay better but I struggled more on the snatches. Bring on 17.2!

 

#InTheOpen

The 2017 Crossfit Open is about to start. On Thursday at 5pm PST, Dave Castro will announce the first workout – 17.1. I’ll be glued to my computer screen waiting anxiously to see what he has in store for us.

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For the uninitiated, the Games website describes the Open as follows:

Where grassroots meets greatness: Compete with hundreds of thousands of athletes in five workouts over five weeks. Do it for fun, your affiliate family, fitness or to reach regionals and fight for a chance to make it to the CrossFit Games.

Every Thursday for 5 weeks, starting on 23 Feb 2017, a new workout is announced. Athletes have until the following Monday evening (5pm PST) to complete the workout and submit their scores for that week. Every competitor is then ranked – regionally and globally. Eventually, at the end of the 5 week period, the best-of-the-best in every region secures a spot in the Crossfit Regionals. Their next test on the way to the main event, The Crossfit Games. In 2016 there were 324,307 participants – 58% male/42% female – from 175 countries.

In 2016, I had been doing Crossfit for about 6 months and the other athletes at my box, I Will Crossfit in Dublin, California, convinced me to sign up as well. I was quite reluctant because I had little experience and I felt I would not be able to complete many of the workouts. In the end, I was so happy I did sign up. The Open cemented my love of Crossfit. Before the Open, I considered myself a runner (hence the name of this blog) and a triathlete who had started Crossfit to add some strength work to his routines. After the Open, I eventually stopped running and triathlon training to focus on Crossfit and increasing my skills and abilities and fitness in that sport. I have not regretted that decision for a second.

The Open gives you an opportunity to test yourself against others in your box, in your region, in your age category, in the world. Somehow, due to the atmosphere and intensity that seem to prevail throughout, you find yourself trying new movements and skills for the first time. If you’re fired up enough, that’s often when you achieve one of those moves. Last year, 9 people in our box got their first muscle up (me included). And that feat was repeated all around the globe. It was an amazing feeling. I scaled some of the workouts and others I did as prescribed. This year, I plan to do them all prescribed.

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So, if you’re uncertain about whether to sign up for the Open, my advice to you is ‘GO FOR IT!!’ You won’t regret it. You’ll love it. Stop back here every week for updates on how I’ve done. If I do the workout on Friday or Saturday I’ll let you know how my strategy went for that week – did my rep scheme work, how much time did I take between reps, and that sort of thing. If I find any useful tips online I’ll post links to those as well.

Good luck. I’ll see you #InTheOpen.

PS. I know there is a ton of jargon in that post. Let me know if you need me to elaborate on anything.