“You Know How Much I Love This? I Love This!”
Ok, I sort of love it. We’re in the heat of week four of the CrossFit Games Open. It’s my third year competing in this, the first qualifying stage to the CrossFit Games final to be held in July. For some percentage of people, the main objective of the Open is to progress to Regionals. It also represents much more than that, and I think for each individual it means different things. It has meant something different to me each year I have participated. At this point for me it is a test of ego strength as much as muscular or conditioning strength. I am pretty solidly capable of qualifying to Regionals. However, the Open format is not the part of Games season where I tend to excel the most. I love the Open for a number of reasons, but crushing the leaderboard isn’t one of them.
These photos represent some of the events I have won at the Regional and Games level during my two seasons competing in CrossFit (I could also make a gigantic collage of events on which I completely ate it, but that’s not what we’re talking about right now! Bonus points to anyone who can name the events above). I have never once so much as sniffed a win in the Open, not even within my Region. I think it has to do with the things such as the type of programming, the competition format, how my training cycles coincide with the Open…and also my skill set. I was once told, “it’s amazing how good you are, considering how much you suck.” Ha. Whatever the reason, I don’t feel as relevant a competitor in this phase, and that’s challenging for me as an athlete. In any case, this year I’ve actually been able to embrace my own personal victories in spite of the leaderboard (and without completely avoiding the leaderboard as I did last year). One specific example is 13.1. Scoring 194, I wasn’t thrilled with my number, but I was happy with my work- smooth, controlled, quality movement throughout the piece. Possibly too controlled, but this is in contrast to 12.2 where I spazzed out, moved with egregious lack of proficiency, and I’m pretty sure steam started coming out of my ears at some point. The programming for this year’s Open has provided a good opportunity to assess personal progress, which is has been really fun. Besides focusing on my personal progress, I manage the Open by adopting the Usain Bolt mentality:
“Even if I lose every race up to the Olympics it doesn’t matter because I know that I have one focus- and that is to go to the Olympics and do great things.”- Usain Bolt
The part of the Open I do enjoy is the community aspect and sharing the experience with my gym. In an epic performance, one of the girls at our gym completed her second muscle up ever during 13.3. She made a couple of failed attempts, and in the closing seconds she pulled out the most hard fought, grind it out, struggle for every inch muscle up I’ve ever seen! So awesome. We had another girl who did one muscle up last year, set a goal of five, and ended up doing ten muscle ups. For the record, if the people in the room lean in the appropriate direction, you can help a person get through the transition.
Amidst all the extra drama that has accompanied the exponential growth of the Open, these victories by hard working athletes are what I would rather focus on. Two more and on to Regionals!