The CrossFit Open: Why all CrossFitters should compete.

Posted on | March 12, 2014 | 3 Comments

There is one thing all CrossFitters have in common: we want to better ourselves. We want to push ourselves. And, at least at a very nuclear level, we want to compete. If you we didn’t want to compete, we wouldn’t put ourselves up against a clock, a higher weight, a faster athlete, time and time again.

The Open allows us to compete against every CrossFit athlete in the entire world. It stacks you up against your gym (or box…I just can’t get used to calling it that), against your state, your region, your country. It consists of one challenging work out per week. You have the weekend to do the work out and have your scores judged and submitted. For the top athletes, it allows them to qualify for regionals, and maybe, the CrossFit Games.

For “athletes” like me, it can be intimidating. I am the queen of self-deprecation…notice how I did the athlete in quotations? I struggle with calling myself an athlete, even though all CrossFitters are, because it seems too high a compliment for my abilities. I’m the first to laugh at my inabilities, claim I “can’t” do something, and feel tempted to skip a work out where I know I will be one of the last on the leaderboard. And the Open has taught me something.

Self-deprecation might be funny, but it sure isn’t helpful or healthy. It’s demeaning to your own self, and it, quite possibly, limits what you really are capable of doing. For example, here’s how I looked after 14.1 (an AMRAP of 30 double unders and 15 snatches).

I looked like that because I spent the Thursday evening the WOD was announced until the Saturday morning I competed to bemoan the fact that I “couldn’t do” double unders. I swore up and down that I was just going to worry about getting one rep to stay in the game, and I basically talked myself out of being able to do any sort of double under work before the clock even started. And you know what? I proved myself right. I got 24 reps. And I spent a total of ten minutes beating the shit out of myself. It was miserable, and I walked away wanting to cry. I was embarrassed and frustrated, and it was the first time I’ve ever wanted to quit a WOD.

I didn’t learn my lesson there. When 14.2 was announced and included three minute rounds of 10 heavy-ish overhead squats and 10 chest-to-bar pull-ups, I convinced myself I would only get 10 reps because I’ve never tried a chest-to-bar pull-up. Guess who got 10 rounds? And you know what? I think if I’d spent that evening convincing myself that I would get my first chest-to-bar ever, and if I went to the gym the next morning with the commitment to get even one, I just might have.

After 14.2, I went into the gym with a different attitude. I no longer “can’t do” things. I “haven’t done them yet.” Cheesy? Sure. But you know what? I did a WOD today that went something like this;

10 minute AMRAP
200m run
15 sumo-deadlift high-pulls (65lbs)

2 minute rest

10 minute AMRAP
30 double unders
15 thursters (65lbs)

I knew those thrusters would get heavy. I knew the double unders would be tough, but I chose to put the weight on my bar and not look back. I chose to skip the single jump modification and committed myself to doing double unders the entire time.

185 reps later, and I had completed the wod out as “perscribed.” I didn’t have to drop my weight. I didn’t get frustrated when I missed a double under. I just did it. And I was on a high the rest of the day.

The Open has given me a new found commitment to hard work and success that I didn’t have prior to competing. Had I chosen not to sign up, had I chosen to just do the work outs at the gym in class instead of having to post my scores to a leaderboard, had I allowed myself to take the step back and let others step up like I would have been more comfortable doing, chances are, I still wouldn’t have those double unders.


3 Responses to “The CrossFit Open: Why all CrossFitters should compete.”

  1. Verna
    March 13th, 2014 @ 6:51 am

    You are awesome!! Great work!

  2. LB
    March 17th, 2014 @ 3:55 pm

    I’m so inspired by you! I don’t know what half of the words and terms mean above, as I’m not a Crossfitter, but I can relate to mental readiness and/or toughness. I set a goal for myself to run a Spartan race and a half-marathon this year, and lately I noticed I’m talking myself out of more difficult lifts and longer runs because “I don’t want to hurt myself/push that hard.” I decided to give it my all this weekend, and wouldn’t you know, I ran two miles more than I normally would. It’s so much easier to convince yourself that you can’t, rather than you can.

    Sally Reply:

    LB, that is amazing! I am so inspired by people like you who are running like that! It is amazing. I wish you the BEST of luck!

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