Slacking off & the CrossFit Open. A first-timer’s experience.

Oh boy. I’m such a slacker. My weeks have continued to be busy and blogging (once more) has taken a backseat. So much for challenging myself to blog at least once a week. I’ve continued being in a steady stream of sleep, eat, work, workout, repeat. During the week, I hardly ever come home before 10 PM. Far too late if you’re trying to catch 8 hours of shuteye each night.

On the bright side, my body’s been on a performance high recently. In the last 4 weeks or so, I’ve PRed my squat clean, my clean & jerk, my front squat, my push press, my deadlift and made some progress on my pull-ups (I still suck at them, but I do suck a little less). And I’ve finally managed to rip my hands on the bar. :-/

CrossFit Open

Three weeks ago the CrossFit Games Open started and after the introduction of a Scaled Division, I’m participating for the first time. I’m by no means anywhere near the top of the leaderboard (in fact, far from it) and while I’m a competitive person, I also know about my limitations. For me, the CrossFit Games are a chance to meet with my community once a week, do a workout together, get to know new people, cheer on one another and grow closer as a group.

15.1 & 15.1A

I was so nervous before the first workout. Unlike a lot of other people, I don’t have much experience competing in events. Had you told me 4 years ago that I’d ever participate in an event like this, I would have told you – probably with a lot of expletives – that I think you’re crazy.

After they’d announced the first WOD, an AMRAP, immediately followed by an attempt at heavy weight lifting, my head started spinning. It was mostly the lift, a clean & jerk, that freaked me out. The scaled WOD (9 min AMRAP of 15 knee raises, 10 deadlifts @ 55 lbs, 5 snatches or ground to overhead @ 55 lbs) seemed less of a problem. But the idea of having only 6 minutes to perform a heavy c&j, immediately after a lung-crushing AMRAP? Geez no.

I asked my coach to please place me in the first heat as she grouped people together. That way, it would be over soon. She was incredibly sweet and even gave me a little prep talk to get me out of my stupid headspace. I felt confident in the warm-up, at least in the deadlifts and snatches. My plan was to start breaking up the knee raises right away, since I knew it was going to be my weakest move. My shoulder strength isn’t great and then there’s the fact that I’m not a lightweight. Hanging from the bar can be pretty painful for me. The deadlifts were not going to be a problem and for the snatches, I decided to snatch for as long as possible before I’d switch to a clean & push press. My proudest moment probably was when I snatched all the way to the end, all 6 rounds. Yay!! (I worked a lot on my snatching technique recently. I was excited to see that it paid off!)

And then came the clean & jerk. I took a few moments to catch my breath, drink a sip of water and load my barbell. I think I did my first attempt at 30 kg, only 5 kg up from what I had just snatched repeatedly. My strategy was to go in with a weight I comfortably knew I could jerk. I wanted the security of having one rep in and easing into 15.1A. After 30 kg felt easy, I immediately jumped to 35 kg. I made the mistake of loading two additional 5 kg plates instead of taking the time to remove the fives I had on, an then replacing them with tens. 35 kg went well and once I had 40 kgs in the books, I was surprised how much time was left. Turns out my fear was totally unjustified. 6 minutes was plenty of time. 40 kgs was a previous PR, but after it still felt doable and I had time left, I decided to attempt 42.5 kg – just for the sake of it. And I managed to jerk it!! I PRed right there and was super, super stoked. And then my loading strategy came to bite me in the ass.

I knew I could attempt 45 kg too. I knew I could clean it, so why not also try the jerk? However, I’d run out of plates because before the workout, I didn’t anticipate being able to do so many attempts. So I had to go get some more. I think I missed the 45 kg clean because I was running out of time and wasn’t focused. But I didn’t care. I’d survived my first Open workout with a performance I was more than happy with. What a day!

15.2

My weaknesses, let me show you them.

I’m not going to lie. I was extremely bummed when they announced 15.2. Why? Because even in a scaled division, I couldn’t complete the entire workout. The workout was: 3 minutes for 6 overhead squats @ 45 lbs, 6 strict pull-ups, 6 OHS @ 45 lbs, 6 pull-ups. If you completed all reps, you’d proceed to the next round of 3 minutes for 8 – 8 – 8 – 8. Then 10s, 12s, etc. until you fail to complete all reps within the 3 minutes.

I knew the workout was going to be over for me after 6 overhead squats. It’s obviously nobody’s fault at CrossFit HQ that I am unable to perform a pull-up, but nonetheless I was disappointed that the workout would be over for me so soon. The RXed version called for heavier OHS (and more) and then for chest-to-bar pull-ups, which yes, are harder than regular chin-over-the-bar pull-ups. However, comparing 15.2 to 15.1, it felt that there was barely any scaling done. During 15.1, toes to bar where scaled to knee raises, something that was certainly a lot easier and more inclusive of weaker/beginner CrossFitters. I understand that ring rows as an alternative to pull-ups would have been a nightmare to judge/standardize, but given that the Masters Scaled division got to do jumping pull-ups, I think this could have been a fair compromise.

I did the six OHS, and then tried to get a pull-up for a little over 2 minutes. I knew I’m still too far away from a pull-up for any magic to happen during 15.2, but at least I tried. I guess. I scored horribly and then hoped for a better WOD next week.

15.3

After last week’s disappointment, finally a workout I could do again in full. Not a workout I was necessarily going to enjoy, but at least I knew how to do all the moves. While I was relatively calm before 15.2 (because I knew exactly what I could and couldn’t do), 15.3 made me nervous again.

Because I hate wall balls. And wall balls it was going to be. 14 minutes AMRAP of 50 wall balls & 200 singles. Oh boy. For the scaled version, we were going to throw a 4 kg ball, but since we only had 6 kg balls at the box, this is what we used too. I didn’t really mind because it wasn’t the heaviness of the ball that kept me from going faster than I did. Wall balls and I have more of a coordination-ary (not a word, I know) love-hate-relationship. Phew.

I asked my coach to put me in the first heat again so that it would be over soon. My judge was great and kept encouraging me all the way through the workout. Doing the first 50 reps of wall balls seemed to take forever and by the time I made it to the singles, I had such trouble switching to the new movement pattern. Usually whenever I jump rope, I can find a good rhythm and just bang them out. Not super fast, but steady and without interruption. Not this time. Meh. The second set of wall balls seemed to take even longer, but at least I managed to jump the second set of singles unbroken. I even had time for 9 more wall balls that I banged out in 9 quick singles.

Overall, I was pretty proud of my score, considering that wall balls are one of the movements I hate most. 😉 I had missed the recent workouts at the box where we practiced them and yesterday reminded me that they’re definitely something I need to do more often.

All things considered, I’m fairly pleased with how the majority of WODs went so far. I’m still super disappointed about the second WOD and how it harmed my overall score, but as I mentioned, the fact that I can’t perform a pull-up is nobody’s fault but my own. I’m curious to see what the remaining two WODs bring. Guesses, anybody?

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