WOD 16.5. 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 thrusters and bar facing burpees for time
“What are you talking about?!” You say. CrossFit speak. When I first started CrossFit, I felt so stupid. CrossFit has it’s own lingo, and I didn’t have a fat clue what any of it meant. I’d hear people talking about a wad, and I’m thinking “a wad of what?” Then I realized they’re talking about a WOD, the Workout Of the Day. Thank goodness! That’s better than wads of nameless stuff!
But then, they start throwing terms around like cleans, and snatches, and thrusters, and doing AMRAPs and EMOMs. My head was spinning. And what the heck is a double under? Or a HSPU? Good grief. Starting CrossFit was overwhelming to say the least.
So why do you do CrossFit? My sister asked me that recently, and I want to devote more time to that later. I have such a love/hate relationship with CrossFit. I usually hate the workouts while I’m doing them, but when they’re over, there’s this sense of accomplishment and “Holy cow, I just did that!” moment that makes me eager for the next workout. But I do CrossFit because I like what it’s doing for me physically–and mentally.
If you’re unfamiliar with CrossFit, it’s essentially the sport of fitness. Many people, I think, equate CrossFit with weightlifting, and we do lift weights, heavy weights, but it’s more than that. It’s overall body conditioning. I’ve seen my strength increase significantly in the 7 months since I’ve been doing CrossFit. I’ve become a better runner because of a stronger core and increased glute strength. (That’s just a nice way to say my butt muscles have gotten stronger!). And I’ve dropped 2 pant sizes just from toning. That’s a great feeling!
Plus, the mental component has been an unexpected bonus of CrossFit. I’m learning in long-distance running how much the mind plays a role in a successful race. There comes a time when you have to forget about how tired you are and just push through. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. There’s a lot of that in CrossFit. Workouts are set up to do as much of the workout as you can in a certain amount of time, or like today, to complete the entire workout for time–do it as fast as you can. To do any of those workouts, your body reaches the point of just wanting to collapse sometimes, but you have to just push past that and do the work. That’s been good for me. I’m one who, for most of my life, just threw in the towel when the going got tough.
So today marked the last workout of the 2016 CrossFit Open. And I completed it. My first Open is behind me! The CrossFit Open happens every year. A workout is released by the head honcho of the CrossFit Games, and CrossFit athletes from around the world complete that same workout to the same standards, one workout a week for 5 weeks. Scores are entered into a database so every athlete is ranked according to other athletes from around the world.
I wasn’t going to participate in the Open. I had all kinds of excuses. I’m training for a marathon; I don’t have time to get to the gym at the times judges are available to watch my workout. At least, that was the excuse I told people. Inside, though, my excuse was more like “I’m not ready. I’m not good enough. What if I can’t do the workout?” Basically, I was scared. Fear. It threatens to derail me Every. Single. Time.
But thankfully, one of the coaches kept encouraging me to participate. I finally relented and signed up…and I’m so glad I did. Competing in the Open was…encouraging, motivating, and a great-learning experience.
I learned where my weaknesses are, for sure. But I also learned that I can do more than I thought I could. Here I am setting a squat clean PR during the second week of the Open. (I’m totally stealing my friend’s photo. Hope she doesn’t mind!) And finding that I ranked somewhere towards the bottom of the middle of the pack in my age division was encouraging. Hey, at least I wasn’t dead last! But that was also good motivation. Other women my age are doing way more than me; I’m going to get to their level some day. Not because I need to be number one, but just because I want to be the best me possible.
The workout for the last week of the 2016 Open was the same workout for the last week of the 2014 Open (which is why the video is from 2014). This is what we did:
And yeah, it totally sucked. It was so hard. By the time I reached my first set of burpees, my legs were already shaking (could have had something to do with those 5 miles of hills I ran the night before!), and I wasn’t sure I could even get enough spring in my legs to clear the bar. By the time I reached the halfway point in my set of 18 thrusters, I was crying inside. I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to finish. But I heard the coach’s voice from another day in my head. “It’s just like running a race. Push through. The sooner you get it done, the sooner you can rest.” So I kept going. Squat. Press that bar overhead. Down to the set of 9 thrusters and burpees. I was so ready to be done. Coach is yelling, “Beat the 20 minute mark!” And I went into race mode. Gotta get my time. And I did. 18:07. I beat the 20 minute mark!
So my first CrossFit Open is in the books! I’m glad I kicked my fear in the butt and went for it. Now if I could just get my legs to quick shaking…
So what’s your challenge for the week? Or maybe the month or the year?
I leave you with the words I hear all the time in our CrossFit box:
Come on! You’ve got this!