“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.

photo courtesy of Kristine Loo
photo courtesy of Kristine Loo

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!

Author: Elisabeth Akinwale

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  • Deadlift/Box Jump Regionals 2011
    Chipper Regionals 2011
    Killer Kage Games 2011
    Row/PIstol/HPC Regionals 2012 (Guessing on this one)
    Dumbbell Snatch/Sprint Regionals 2012
    Snatch Ladder Regionals 2012
    Final Chipper Regionals 2012
    Double Banger Games 2012
    Clean Ladder Games 2012

    How’d I do?

    • Sweet! I look forward to a good back patting! The pics were in chronological order and I could see the astro turf so I knew it was regionals, and you’re wearing only shoes so I figured it was for the hang cleans. I have rare moments of smarts, I won’t let it go to my head though.

  • I look at you and I push harder! Thank you for being so honest in your blog. I totally agree, I am not the best but I love the community aspect of this sport and my own personal accomplishments I am making. Keep on keepin’ on girl!

  • Thank you for your honesty…I have a long way to go…yet I am determined to give everything I’ve got when I’m in the box. Many days I come up last but I am much further along than when I started June 30!!

  • “For the record, if the people in the room lean in the appropriate direction, you can help a person get through the transition.”

    EPIC line, Elizabeth. You’re so good with words; I love coming here and reading your blog. I’m a huge fan of yours in general! I was at the Games as a spectator last year and watching your performance on the clean ladder was so inspiring.

    I’m one of those people who hopes to make it to Regionals for the first time this year, but, like you, I want to do it in good style. I don’t want the workouts to be a scrappy mess, or for my form to fall apart; I want everything to be well-executed and well-paced. Of course, at the end of the day, I’ll do whatever it takes!

    As inspiring as your performance at the Games was, it’s equally inspiring to follow your progress and to hear what challenges you as an athlete. Thanks for doing what you do!

  • wow… for someone who’s only four months into my journey.. I can say I LOVE this article. It feels so good so see someone so accomplished saying what you are saying. I love that saying ” its amazing how good you are considering how much you suck” lmao. I feel this way!! I feel like I suck at a lot of things but I am a beast at what I do best. This is why I LOVE crossfit. It keeps you humble when you find something you’re not especially good at (mine was snatching but I’m working on it!), then makes you feel so proud when you excel at the things you’re amazing at (dead lifts, hbbs, push ups and burpees). I haven’t found another sport where you are constantly challenged and molded. Even the best of the best have bad days and it’s just so humbling!! LOVE THIS & LOVE YOU

  • I’m coming to Chicago for work next Jan-March and am super psyched to Wod with the folks at your box! Looks like an awesome and supportive environment! Thanks for being such an honest blogger…makes for an encouraging read!

  • Whether it’s intentional or not, cruising through the open is an incredibly smart approach and one you don’t hear nearly enough athletes discussing. If one’s focus is the Games, then the best thing would be to cruise through the Open, doing only as much as necessary to qualify for Regionals so you continue to save strength and decrease injury risk. So what if you’re #60 in the region going into Regionals, if you grab one of the Games spots at the end of it? And who cares if you’re #3 out of 3 qualifying in Regionals if you’re #1 at the end of the Games?

  • WOW! You rock! I just recently started studying Crossfit. I love to watch the competitions! It takes serious endurance and strength and I really admire the dedication. Unfortunately at 245 lbs, WOD is a little tough for me, but I still give them a try here and there.

    Bodybuilding is my love, but I mix in Crossfit because I do love the energy and the rush! I am glad I stumbled across your blog!