I’ve had a brief hiatus whilst life happened. In the past two weeks I have only attended Crossfit twice – once on the first Monday of week 7, when I accompanied a new member for her new WOD, and once today, when I did my first Open workout, 17.1. So, there is much to update on!
60 reps of 15kg OHS, then 7 minutes 52 seconds to do 18-15-12-9-6 OHS at 20kg, and box dips. That’s 120 reps. I really enjoyed this session, and it is possibly the first time that I had a shot of going RX, which was 30kg. It was tough, so I think I had the perfect balance of intensity and weight, but RX is definitely in sight.
In this workout I had a small moment where I was feeling tired and slowed a little. A voice from behind me said “Come on Lisa, you’ve got this!”. A few words, well placed, can make all the difference and I powered on to the end, finishing before the time cap but not WAY too early, showing that I had probably chosen my weight well.
It was also really nice to accompany a new member for this session. So many people have been lovely to be as I’ve kept coming across new challenges, and it’s nice to pay it forward. Plus, who doesn’t need Crossfit friends?!
My parents then visited for the past two weeks and I didn’t get to the box. It felt like Life Happened, and whilst it’s a total excuse, it’s unhelpful to beat myself up for it. The good news is that eating stayed on track, and I really started to miss Crossfit. I’m glad to be back at it. I do want to get more consistent about when I attend, so that it becomes routine, but it’s still early days and the fact I’m still going at all is good.
Which brings us to what might be the most exciting news of the 100 day challenge so far: the Crossfit Open 2017. A worldwide competition whereby 5 workouts are released over 5 weeks and everyone completes the same workout (RX’d or scaled), entering their scores online and thus ranking in a leaderboard. As someone new to Crossfit I wasn’t sure if this was really for me, since there is so much that I can’t do, but I had total FOMO and there was such a buzz around the place. I decided that all I wanted to do was score at least 1 point over the whole workout. I figured that there would be one workout with burpees (this is Crossfit after all) so if nothing else I could get that bit of it done.
At 1am on Friday morning the first workout (17.1) was released. I was so excited that I struggled to sleep and happened to wake up to see the live announcement from Dave Castro. 10 – 20 – 30 – 40 – 50 10 kg dumbbell snatches interspersed with sets of 15 burpee box step overs, 20 minute time cap. I hate heights and have always struggled with step ups, and even worse the getting down again, so I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t be able to do the step overs with a 20″ box. I thought I could scale this bit and do the step overs to plates, so all in all I was just really, really excited to be able to take part in the Open, and do the workout like everyone else. I knew I wouldn’t score for the scaled step overs, but I’m not that fussed about a score – I only wanted to score 1 for the whole Open, remember?!
Fridays and Mondays are Open days at our box, but sadly I was working in London and unable to get to any of them. The buzz on Facebook as groups went through the workouts was just brilliant. One of the lovely coaches has put together a Spotify playlist of all our requests, which is awesome. I was so excited about taking part!
I was arranging my attempt in Open Gym (it has to be judged), when the Coach said that I could not scale the step overs. If I couldn’t do them I would have to do the 10 DB snatches, then spend the rest of the 20 minutes trying to get 1 step over. This was really upsetting and all of a sudden what had seemed accessible now seemed impossible. I chatted to a few box mates who said I might surprise myself, and I decided to give it a go. I was going to do the 10 DB snatches then stop if I couldn’t do the step overs. That way I would submit a score of 10, but at least it would be a score. I thought about not trying the workout at all, but that seemed defeatist. For a moment I had been swallowed back into my old thinking patterns of not being good enough, not fitting in, and for a brief second decided to quit the whole thing. Thankfully I remembered that the Open is just 5 weeks of a whole year, and the rest of Crossfit remains very accessible and inclusive and will get me to my goals if I stick with it. So I decided to turn up, booked the littlest one into Crossfit Kids to give me a reason to turn up, and a cheerleader, and woke up a little nervously on Sunday morning.
The Open definitely has the effect of showing weaknesses, and I resolved to tackle my inability to step over so that I could take on 17.1 as soon as I could. I was enjoying the banter around the Open and I think this was the week that I realised It also has the effect of making you want to try! There is much written about people getting their first double under or muscle up during the Open because there is a little more incentive to push a little harder, to try a little more. I never thought it would be me.
I walked into the box, marched straight over to the nearest 20″ box and stepped up onto it!!! I was really surprised, but I still had to get down which felt nervewracking. Thankfully Coach Paulo came over and gave me a couple of tips (err, just step down!) and then I was off. It turned out that I totally COULD do step overs on a 20″ box! Who knew?! I was really, really happy. I know it’s something small and to many the ability to step up and down from a box is obvious and easy but for me this represented something I was sure I couldn’t do. I had attempted it in a WOD a few weeks ago, but struggled so backed off to plates. Well, now I could do it. I can’t tell you the pride I felt. I actually did a little air-punch I was so happy. “Nailed it” said Coach Paulo and I really felt I had. Something so small to many, but huge to me.
So that was the good news, and the worse news was that I now had no excuse not to try my very best at 17.1.
In 20 minutes I managed 100 10kg dumbbell snatches and 48 burpee box step overs. This represents 138 more reps than I thought was possible! I cannot tell you how hard the workout was – my breathing was hard during the burpees and made the snatches harder than they would have been. At one point I actually felt a bit dizzy and wasn’t sure I could step up onto the box, but I kept moving and I was so grateful when 20 minutes was up. I didn’t finish the workout, but I scored 148 reps and I’m thrilled with that. I’ve submitted a score and now I have something to refer back to throughout the year so that I can measure progress.
I’ve been a part of the 2017 Crossfit Open, words which I never thought I would say, and that’s worth every drop of sweat that I lost today. And I’m glad I couldn’t scale, because now I know that I have completed exactly the same workout as thousands of people round the world. Rather than comparing myself with them though, I know I can stand amongst them as someone who took on 17.1 and did their absolute best.
I share my photos with pride because I did this. I know my arms are flabbier than I want and my tummy is bigger. AND? I did this and a body that is out of shape won’t stop me sharing the happiness just like everyone else has. And yes my face is screwed up in an ugly way in the photo. That’s because that rep was about my 95th 10kg dumbbell snatch in 19 or so minutes. It hurt, and I wanted to stop and I thought I might puke but I did not stop.
When I thought about Crossfit ‘before’ I would get this image of people literally flat on their backs, drenched in sweat, having given their all. Today that was me! Never let the ‘scaled’ tag make you think it is less work (as a box mate wisely said) – the effort for each person is the same no matter what level they are at.
I originally wrote ‘It’s just 148 reps’ but what is the “Just” in the 148 reps? Only? Just? 148 repetitions of anything is not easy, so I shouldn’t downplay it. There are lots of people who would find these reps easy. Lots of people who have done more than me, and with heavier weights and box jumps. But there are also lots of people who haven’t entered the Open, for whatever reason, and I am not one of them. I’m 148 reps ahead.
When I think back to 2014/15 where I would leave sessions in tears because I ‘wasn’t good enough’ or ‘couldn’t do something’ I’m so pleased with my attitude change – I was able to turn up to try something I didn’t think was possible, I found it was very possible and then I endured 20 minutes of hard graft. And I came out proud of myself. This is all stuff that is new to me, and I’m so pleased with the progress.
So onto 1am Friday morning – 17.2! Might be strict pull ups and toes to bar or any number of other movements that are currently beyond me, in which case I shall be submitting a zero score but today I submitted more than 1 point so I already won #MyOpen2017.