I completed the first workout 16.1 of the CrossFit 2016 Open and I am alive to tell about it.
After the first workout of the 2016 CrossFit open was announced, I watched the elite’s complete it and instantly my nerves set in; then after reading all the posts from the accomplished athletes that completed 16.1 in my gym —- I went from nervous to full on terror.
The 16.1 WOD was/is a twenty minute scaled (as many rounds and reps as possible) of:
- 25-ft front rack walking lunge (35lb)
- 8 burpees over bar
- 25-ft front rack walking lunge (35lb)
- 8 chin-over-bar jumping pull-ups
Makes you kind of shiver –no? As I laid in bed the night before I decided to complete 16.1 I watched video after video of suggested tips on how to successfully get through it. I literally thought … fuck. Actually, the conversation I had with myself went something like this: ‘what the fuck did I get myself into?’ The coaches said ‘register for the open, there is a scaled version’. Scaled – This.Is.The.Scaled.Version? Holy crap. This is insanity.’
I drifted to sleep thinking about 16.1 and when my eyes popped open the next morning I woke up thinking about 16.1. I didn’t want to get out of bed; then something hit me – I recently read a story about a mom telling her daughter whom was struggling with her homework ‘that she can do hard work” and that was it.
I can do hard work became my new mantra.
I repeated it over and over again – as I made breakfast, did laundry, took a shower. I can do hard work. I can do hard work. I can do hard work. I can do hard work. Then I sprinkled in: I can do anything for twenty minutes. I can do anything for twenty minutes. I can do anything for twenty minutes.
With my anxiety level at an all-new high I made my way to the gym. I kept repeating my new mantra as tears filled my eyes. Within minutes of arriving I was on the line, a judge next to me and a coach at my side getting me ready for 16.1.
There was no more time to think about it or … back out.
With tips and encouragement from my judge, my coach and everyone at the gym I started 16.1.
It was painful. An ugly defeating pain. A deep deep throbbing pain.
I tried to smile through it because within three minutes I was really taken aback by the physicality of this WOD. My heart pounded out of my chest, my legs were on fire and felt like spaghetti; I know it was in my head but I felt like my shirt was riding above my face exposing me in my glory; during the burpees it was like I was flopping on the floor like a fish out of water — and this was all in the first three fricking minutes!
Around the halfway mark my confidence began to wane, it was at that point when I happened to looked up and see Sam’s face; Sam looked me square in the eye and gave me a head nod. That was all I needed. I pushed on and remembered what my coach advised minutes before ‘do not put the bar down, if you have to mentally get through anything, know that you can make the lunges without putting the bar down.’ My judge and coach pushed me through it all – ‘you’re at a good pace, one more burpee, jump over that bar, break up the pull-ups, you’re going to get two more rounds, one more round to go, okay, you’re going to surpass that, you’re going to get more reps’. I stayed as focused as I could with sweat dripping into my eyes, barely being able to see, fixing my rising shirt a billion times, I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t thirsty but I didn’t really buy my lie cause it was a walking in a desert with sand on my tongue type of thirst. I definitely thought ‘who fucking does this? I signed myself up for this’, my body ached and I was so self conscious of what I was doing and how I was doing it – it was ridiculous- who thinks of this while working this hard? I mean who cares? Funny what meaningless things that hit you square in the face while you’re doing your 50th lunge. But I carried on. I repeated my mantra, I listened to my judge and coach, heard the ‘way to go Dee’s from the box, and surpassed the goal I set for myself of four rounds.
I completed 6+10 for 166 reps. I survived.
I was so happy that I had to hug my coach and judge – poor bastards had to deal with a sweaty mess but I couldn’t help it – I was just happy that 1) I didn’t mentally quit on myself 2) I didn’t curse out or throat punch my judge or coach (little known fact about me, I am a hot-headed Italian when tested) I listened and took their advice instead of going rogue thinking I knew what I was doing and because of that 3) I surpassed my goal.
Listen, we all know that CrossFit is hard, and in the grand scheme of all things in my life the CrossFit Open – this 16.1 WOD doesn’t mean a lot but it does mean something. Ya see, I’ve been on this journey of good health and fitness for close to six years. I lost 78 pounds, ate very clean and green, had an amazing trainer and nutritionist. I gained a lot of confidence, ran a few killer half marathons and tri’s then … I lost my shit, lost my focus and gained 25 pounds back.
And I broke like a nice big sangria glass that was dropped on the floor. Shattered, little glass fragments scattered around a kitchen floor. I tried to put me back together but you never find all the pieces. I picked up the pieces I could and tried as I might to fix it by completing 7 half marathons (a total of 11, and this is definitely a brag), 3 triathlons, a shit-load of 5k’s but the pieces never quite fit because I knew I could do better. I knew I could push harder. Train smarter. Be leaner.
That’s when I finally took the leap, I listened to my dear friend Lisa whom said – do CrossFit. Yay, I resisted a bit. Until I didn’t. And CrossFit was a game changer. Never in my life did I feel that kind of mental or physical challenge; with CrossFit you can’t just dial it in. You have to be mind ready. All. The. Time. And now a year later, I am here. And still after almost every workout I walk away thinking – what the fuck was that? Yet I came back. Even if I miss a week, or two here and there I always come back.
Always. Come. Back. And I come back because of the coaches and the community. Because of CrossFit165. Because what Lisa said –the coaches are amazing, the community is meaningful. I mean, there is no other gym in the world where a 45 year old marginally athletic woman can get encouragement and cheers while completing a WOD, do you get fist pumps, ‘great job’ after your workout? Probably not cause it just doesn’t happen anywhere but a CrossFit box.
After 16.1 I realized that CrossFit, um CrossFit165 is the glue to the tiny pieces of glass that I am trying to piece together. I’m not fully back. I have some cracks but these cracks make me me. Ya see, after a year of CrossFit I realized I really can do hard work. I’m a few inches leaner, a few pounds lighter and whole lot stronger – I shaved over 20 minutes off my half marathon time, and a full minute off my Tri time and that’s because of my gym, because of CrossFit165 and because I can do hard work.
And with that I say bring on 16.2!! Uh, of course … with the help of the CrossFit gods and 165!