The past five weeks seem to have flew by. The kickoff of the annual CrossFit Games season, "The Open", has officially come to a close. The hype has subsided (for the most part) and the day after the Open seems to be like the New Years Day of the crossfit world. Everyone is blowing up social media for resolutions about next year and what they will improve upon or change. For some however, the road is not over. I was one of those fortunate individuals who survived the past five weeks and qualified for Regionals in May, representing the Mid Atlantic region, pending a video approval by HQ. This was my first full year training as a competitor with my eyes set as competing as in individual in May. At times, I felt right in my element, and during others I definitely felt the heat of being an inexperienced rookie.
One of my favorite books is "When The Game Was Ours" by Larry Bird and Erving "Magic" Johnson. There is some great stories and lines by both athletes in this book, but the one that always stood out in my head was a story Magic tells. He explains that his whole life people would tell him things along the lines of "there's always someone out there working just as hard as you". He says that he never actually believed it. He knew he worked as hard as he could each and every day and there was no way someone was outdoing him. Then he met Bird, played against him, and understood. He said he then knew who everyone was talking about when they said statements like that. Every week as I was refreshing the leaderboard over and over, this story would cross my mind. The leaderboard is proof of the hundreds and thousands of people that are out there every day working just as hard, if not harder than you. The day you feel you can take your foot off the gas pedal, or dial down the relentlessness, is the day a girl somewhere else gets better than you... and eventually passes you on the leaderboard when you go head to head. Among many other things, the Open gave me new life and a new hunger. I am happy and proud of the progress I have made in the sport this year, but nowhere near satisfied. I'm growing and learning every day and that is encouraging to keep pushing on. I am beyond grateful for my loyal fans and supporters, my teammates all over the country talking me through each week, and my dedicated coach who believes in all of us. I'm looking forward to competing in the Patriot Center another time, and I will be there a better me than I am today.
14.4 Recap (since I never gave one last week)
When this workout was announced I was actually pretty excited. I knew it was going to be a tough one (of course), however it involved almost every movement that I really like. Obviously, I knew the muscle ups would be the game changer in the workout and good scores would be totally dependent on the athletes ability to successfully complete their muscle ups under complete shoulder fatigue. This would mean that good form and poise on the rings would be needed. I completed the row, toes to bar, and wall balls with very little shoulder fatigue and almost no respiratory fatigue. During the cleans, I could feel my shoulders starting to fill up but I knew I had to keep moving through it to get on the rings. I went all singles on the rings and was able to complete 8 reps. This was about 4-5 reps below what my goal was on this workout. However, the reality was, that was really all I was able to score. My muscle ups, although much improved from where they started, still need a significant amount of work - which they will get in these next two months. I ended up placing 45th in the region on workout 14.4 with a score of 188 reps. That held me steady at 20th in the region going into week 5.
The following story is one that I am in no way proud of. I think it is dumb. I would never brag about this, or want anyone else to do this. However, it may have ended up saving my chances of going to regionals this season, and it is me in all my realness - which I never like to hide. When 14.5 was announced, of course I was not thrilled, however I didn't think - not for one second - that it was going to be one of the most stressful and gut checking workouts that I am yet to face in my young little exercise career. It seemed hard, but they all do. I was actually excited for it because it was the end of the open, we were getting closer and closer to regionals and I had my eyes focused there. Saturday morning I didn't feel 100% myself, I actually felt pretty sick. I was very close to telling my coach I actually didn't want to do the workout that day but decided against that and figured I would gut it out. I've practiced and played numerous times, in some pretty big games, where I was sick or didn't feel myself - sometimes you just have to go. Well... 14.5 kicked my butt. I finished just under 13 minutes - a time I knew would be detrimentally low in the region. The most upsetting part about all of this for me, was that I knew I was going to have to do that awful piece of hell again. Even worse was that usually when I finish a workout and think back, I can clearly analyze when and where I could make up time. After this, I honestly could not. I really just didn't know. My idea was to move more steadily and continue moving through the whole piece. Monday morning came, I was pumped, ready to kill it. 3..2..1..Go. 13 minutes later - 2 burpees to go. Time was no better, coach had to leave to head out of town. I went home, sat with myself for about two hours calculating splits, figuring how many seconds I should be using per rep, deciding what time exactly I should start each round. I made myself an entire map. I headed back to the gym, loaded the bar, set a camera up, grabbed my training partner to judge and tackled it again. Yes, for the second time in about 3 hours. My pacing map worked, at least a bit, THANK GOD. I was able to take 30 seconds off my time. This still didn't leave me with a great time - 12:26. This was 180th in the region. Going into week 5 I had 186 points TOTAL, in week 5 I accumulated as many points as I had in weeks 1-4 put together. This knocked me all the way down to 43rd in the region. It kept me safe for regionals, but the third time performing 14.5 may have saved my regional birth. At that point it was 100% necessary.
6 Things I've learned from the 2014 CrossFit Open:
1) Every workout sucks. Expect it, face it head on, tackle it with everything you can.
2) Never think "I'll have another shot". I made that mistake a few times this year and it, in my opinion, is the worst attitude to have. One and done needs to be the motto. Your first attempt at the workout is almost always your best punch. If circumstances happen to arise (like in week 5 for me) where it is completely necessary than so be it. But you CANNOT go in thinking you have another shot.
3) Every week, rep, and second counts. I realize that in all of it's seriousness now. If I had not performed how I was able to perform for weeks 1-4, I wouldn't be going to regionals. With all that hard work, I almost missed my opportunity because of ONE workout. This is a sport of inches and seconds. Each and every one matters incredibly.
4) Learn to turn the page. (Coach K loves me right now) We are all competitors and always believe we can do better. Most likely we can, however it is important to understand that we are working through the Open to survive and advance. After week 1 coach told me that if I was going to be obsessed with beating everyone on the leaderboard who I thought I could beat, it was going to be a long 5 weeks for me. This was something I had to constantly fight. Put up a decent score, move on, and get back to training.
5) Be proud. The score you post every week is you. You have been working hard to show it off, you planned for it, your body hurts because of it - honor it. No matter where it falls on the board IT IS YOU. If you aren't happy with it, put the chip on your shoulder and get back in the gym to fix it. But always be proud of the effort you put forward.
6) IT IS JUST EXERCISE!!! Every week I would tell one of my good friends my score before everyone else. He would usually do the same with his. Depending on the week one of us was usually freaking out, or not so happy with how they did. Until we reminded each other that this is just exercise, it is something we started because it was fun and we like fitness. Just like with anything else in sport, or in life - the minute it isn't fun anymore it is adding no positive value to your life. Keep the fun in the game. Let's be honest, exercise racing is pretttttty silly.
*You can find this post and other posts by my peers and I at: