I usually wait a few days before I can churn out a blog about these CrossFit Open workouts, I like to let the experience fester and really sort out my thoughts, but this one is different, it was the last WOD of the Open, I had to write this chapter in my CrossFit book as quickly as I could you know … put pen to paper, errrrrr fingers to the keyboard; I started strong, the day I completed 16.5 and then … life happened and here we are a week later. I know you all are DYING to read another CrossFit post; no? You’re not?
Sigh. Moving On. Here goes:
When the 16.5 WOD was announced I wasn’t near a computer, I tried really hard not to look up the 16.5 WOD I did really try, but I couldn’t resist the pull – it was like jumping to the last chapter of a book you just couldn’t but down – you had to know the ending. The desire to see what Headquarters had in store for us for the last and final WOD of the 2016 Open was too strong.
21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
Men use 65 lb.
Women use 45 lb.
When I read the WOD, I knew it was bad but the suck really didn’t sink in until I realized there was no time-cap. No time-cap? Seriously this is for time? Is Dave Castro an evil mother effer or what? I mean, would a time-cap hurt? Would it really have made this WOD any easier? Seriously?
Without a time-cap I knew I was screwed, like screwed beyond belief. I mean, when your Coach posts: ‘For the record this is the worst open WOD I have ever done that knocked me on my back for a hour’ two seconds after the announcement is made, you know you’re screwed. I mean, this is from a man that has gone to the CrossFit games, he’s not a mere mortal– if this man is saying this – what about me?
Yes, selfishly, all I could say is: How the hell is this going to unfold for ME?
I started to get nervous and for an instant my mind went back to my old way of thinking. But I couldn’t – I needed, wanted and had to stay true to my words, those words of just last week [see post here]. If I, all of sudden, abandoned my new fond attitude about CrossFit – what kind of wimp would that make me? After a hot-minute of raising my fist, declaring that I would not let my ego come crashing down after each WOD I … acquiesced? Hell NO! I wouldn’t have it – I am here to CrossFit – I am here to fitness, have fun and challenge myself!
So with the reality of this suck-ass WOD – I put my mental game into over-drive: ‘I can do this work out – it will hurt, I will be a mess, it will be hard –it’s time to woman-the-fuck-up, your goal is to not cry or die.’ Staying true to my new found attitude, I didn’t google a damn tip or strategy however I did listen, on a continual loop, to CT Fletcher videos almost all day the Friday before I completed 16.5.
No joke. If you need motivation, listen to CT Fletcher.
As per usual, Coach gave us some tips; not even sure what he said because this is what I heard: ‘Break up the thrusters from the get-go, don’t try to do them unbroken -you’ll mentally fail, just get through the burpees, it’s going to suck, just deal with it.’
When I arrived at the box, it was jamming, athletes competing, watching and worrying about 16.5. I was far down in the que to bust out my 16.5 and that was alright by me. In retrospect I am not sure if it was a good idea to watch many of my CrossFit peeps complete 16.5 or should I say suffer before me? Much more advanced CrossFitters were in deep deep pain with 16.5, like laying on the box floor in a ball – this didn’t help the anxiety I buried deep within my soul; especially when my judge from 16.3 and 16.4 finished (in just 13 minutes) and said ‘that was the worst 13 minutes of my life, more pain than running a marathon in 3+ hours.’ Wherein I replied ‘I was banking on using that mental strenght of running 11 half marathons to get me through this’ which came the reply ‘it doesn’t help.’
GULP. What the hell am I suppose to do with that?
After seeing the pain that 16.5 inflicted on so many of these really accomplished athletes, I started to panic; my only choice was to develop a plan and commit to it: Break up the thrusters in sets of five, finish in thirty minutes and during the burpees don’t stop moving – Do. Not. Stop. Moving. I knew the minute I stopped moving during the burpees that would be the precise moment that doubt will, like Niagara Falls, flood my brain leaving me at the bar paralyzed. I couldn’t let my self-doubt do that to me; I would not let my doubt paralyze me.
Go time. It was my time to get 16.5. I took my stance at the bar at the same time Coach passed by – I looked at him with most likely eyes akin to a dear in headlights; he said “sub-thirty’. I nodded … in total fear.
21 reps of Thrusters and Burpees
My thoughts: ‘Wow, ok, stay focused.’
18 reps of Thrusters and Burpees
My thoughts: ‘Wow, the pain is getting deep, fight through it, fight through the pain and don’t think about what you are doing. You can handle this pain.’ My judge- Analise was a rock-star, counting reps and coaching me through it all – like a mother fucking boss: ‘pick up the bar, pick it up’. I could tell my judge was focused on one thing and one thing only: my survival. And for that I am grateful. Thank you Analise. At one point I didn’t complete the jump over the bar with two feet, so I no rep’d myself. Gotta be honest, I didn’t want a gimme.
15 reps of Thrusters and Burpees
My thoughts: ‘Yep this is getting really hard. This pain is for REAL.’ By rep 7 of these thrusters my confidence waned. My plan of sets of five was thrown out the window at this point – I did whatever my judge told me; it was evident that these mother effffing burpees were killing me. It was during this round that I started repeating in my head: ‘keep moving, don’t stop, keep moving, don’t stop.’ Over and over again.
12 reps of Thursters and Burpees
My thoughts: ‘Okay, it’s downhill from here, the pain, oh it’s so so painful.’ And for some reason my mind went to math: ‘Crap! How many more of these? Ok, don’t do the math Deanna, you can’t do math now, don’t even try to figure this out – you hate math.’ That was the actual conversation in my head. This is for real. Why was I thinking this? Perhaps so I could try and figure out how much more pain I had to endure but I really don’t know.
At this point, the other three athletes along side of me were almost done. This was my worst fear – that all eyes in the box would be on me. No one wants to look at this, a sweating middle-aged mom of two fighting for her life. Ya see, I purposely didn’t face the crowd during the thrusters, I didn’t want to make eye-contact, if I made eye-contact my brain would flip on me, it would tell me what I was doing, my insecurities would fuck me- I’d care about how I looked, I would try to fix my shirt, I would try to determine how far my shirt was riding up my body and I didn’t want that. I wanted to focus on finishing and not stopping especially during the burpees. Suddenly everyone around me was now done. I knew at this point I had to keep my shit together; I couldn’t break down in front of this many people.
9 reps of Thursters and Burpees
The pain now was so real and so deep, the thought of stopping and crying flashed through my brain but I stopped it – ‘you are not giving up.’ I had no idea what time it was and if I was under, over or close to the sub-thirty time Coach put in my head. At this point, if I went over the 30 minutes, I didn’t care, now I just wanted to finish. Getting through these thrusters and burpees were literally the hardest thing I had to do in this open, literally the hardest 18 reps out of the five workouts of the Crossfit Open. It was a mental struggle more than physical. It was at this precise moment that I looked up and saw Jim. Ahhhhhh Jim, a fellow 5a.m. fighter – I looked right at him square in the eyes and he smiled. Yes, he smiled. It was the first time I made eye-contact with anyone throughout the entire WOD. I made a decision right then and there – ‘get it done Deanna, suck it up.’ And then magically my fellow CrossFitters appeared at my bar – all telling me to push on, to get through it, telling me to jump over the bar (clearly I forgot at one point!) and that the pain was all in my head [Thank You Tom, Tesler, Sharon, Sam, Roy, Tom, Kallie, Kat, Sean, Lisa, Markella, Jenn –there could be more, and if there is, sorry to leave you out but thank you for pushing me through it] those words helped tremendously.
6 reps of Thursters and Burpees
As I began to start this round, I heard someone say: ‘You’re there – only 9 more reps of each.’ knowing that I was this close to getting myself out of hell was comforting. As I lifted the bar to start these thrusters another voice said [I think it was Coach Sean]; ‘6 Thrusters unbroken.’ I didn’t want to do them unbroken. But I did.
3 reps of Thursters and Burpees
I tried to go as fast as I could. It was over. I was done. Completed in 23:08. I looked at the clock – sub-30! Hell yea, under 25 minutes! Yabba dabba do!
Oh the pain, the hurt, eeek feet so close to that bar! Yikes! Photo credit: Thomas McManus.
I collapsed on the box floor no different than all the athletes before me; I could feel the tears coming on, these weren’t only tears of pain but of joy too because I was done with the Open; tears because I was proud of myself for pushing through a lot of pain and insecurities while totally out of my comfort zone.
I am going to miss the Open, yes, after all my bitching and moaning I am going to miss it. My experience with my first CrossFit Open was not only tough mentally and physically but really positive. A lot of it had to do with my gym SC CrossFit 165. For me, being able to witness week after week my fellow CrossFit peeps dig deep, really deep to finish these WOD’s was really inspiring. All levels of athletes had to go into their ‘I can fricking do this’ reserve tank to finish some of these WOD’s and that is not only admirable but brave.
Now, let’s back track a day or two after the 16.5 announcement was made -there was a lot of banter back-and-forth on Facebook about this WOD, and how terrible it will be; a 165 athlete – Tesler stepped up and said: ‘Reality check. None of us, with the exception of one or two people, are going to the games. It’s about the process, not the product. The fact that we go, cheer each other on, and push ourselves to complete exhaustion, is what matters. The fact that we’re all better off for having committed to this, that is what matters.’
And that is so true.
Ya see, each and every one of us has a different story, our own demons, we walk through those box doors for different reasons – whether it’s to get to the Games; get stronger, for a stress release, or to lose a few lb’s – – – CrossFit, SC CrossFit 165 is ours for whatever reason each of us deem and now I realize my book, the CrossFit book, the CrossFit Open book is a never-ending glorious chapter in the book of my life.