I finished 28th in my state for the CrossFit Open in my age group.
I finished 67th in my region for the CrossFit Open in my age group.
I finished 716th in the United States for my age group.
I finished 1077th worldwide for my age group.
Last year, I finished 56th in my state.
I finished 127th in my region.
I finished 1244th in the United States.
I finished 1845th worldwide.
A substantial improvement in one year’s time. To be exact, that’s 48% in my state higher. 52% in my region. And 57% in the US. 58% worldwide.
Am I satisfied with the results?
No, not really.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I moved up. But I’m not happy with my scores.
I don’t have ring muscle ups. I’m not as strong as I need to be yet. My chest to bar, pull ups, and handstand push-ups all need work. So does other holes in my wheelhouse.
The fact of the matter is I’m not happy unless I’m on top.
The fact of the matter is I won’t ever be on top because there’s always someone out there better than you. I get that.
The other fact of the CrossFit Open is it’ll never cater to my strengths and thus I’ll never be on top as well.
My strengths are the long game (workouts over 20 minutes), running, body weight exercises, light-weight barbell moves with many repetitions, and double unders. We’ll never see Murph in the Open. Or running (too hard to measure). Or probably the long game.
These are the workouts I need in order to be on top.
My lamentations are irksome, I know. I just had to vent.
One thing’s for sure: I am determined to make vast improvements over this next year. To have all the moves mastered. And quickly. To perfect them as much as I can. To get stronger.
The Open pushes you to do things you normally wouldn’t. It’s a gauge of where you are fitness wise. It exposes your strengths and your weaknesses. It drives you to do better next year.
18.1 My best performance. It played to my strengths: long, short repetitions of movements, and pure mental game.
18.2 I PR’d my clean. Strength is something I always have to work on, which just takes time.
18.3 I’m closer to a ring muscle up than I thought. I almost had one, and I’m confident I’ll have one soon.
18.4 Handstand push ups. I learned I’m not as good at these as I thought I was.
18.5 Chest to bar pull ups. I know I’m not good at these. Last year I could only strict them. This year I kipped them. Another weakness to work on.
I’m very competitive for my age group. Next year, I’ll be near the top.
Overall, this was a challenging year. If I could have done all the movements, I would have enjoyed it. Instead, frustration reigned and by the end, I just wanted to be done.
What I’m looking forward to: doing some competitions, Murph, improving Olympic moves, getting stronger, getting my final pieces in place, dialing in my nutrition, and continuing to improve daily. That’s what CrossFit is all about. Being healthy. Using your endorphin rush to fuel the crap in your daily life, and thriving despite adversity.
In CrossFit, this is the one place many fail: skills. These include: rope climbs, double unders, bar and ring muscle ups, handstand walks, handstand push ups, etc.
Because skills is all practice. Practice takes time. Time most aren’t willing to invest in mastering these skills. Time you have to put in on your own or you’ll never get good at them.
Most people only do these when they occasionally show up in a WOD. This may be once a week if you’re lucky. Otherwise, they are forgotten.
Furthermore, these skills have to be kept up to speed or you will lose them. You have to do all regularly 1) to get better at them and 2) to keep them sharp.
These skills can make or break you in an Open Workout because you either have them or you don’t. And you either have them well or you don’t.
Let’s take double unders for example. Many people suck at these. Why? 1) They refuse to purchase their own rope ($10). You can never get good at double unders without a rope that fits you. Intuitive really. 2) They never practice them–even in a WOD.
I practiced double unders every day for 6 months straight. EVERY DAY! It still took me 2 YEARS to master. 2 Years! It’s only been within the last few months that I can say, “Yes, I can do 100 double unders unbroken every time I pick up a rope.” Double unders are that hard.
A lot of people honestly don’t care enough to practice. And that’s okay. We all have our passions and CrossFit may just be a good workout for them.
I just keep practicing. Like I always do.
That’s my secret.
If you want to get good at anything in life, there’s no secret. We all know what it is, but few of us choose to do it.
18.4 was a doozy: Diane (21-15-9 reps of deadlifts at 155 lbs and then handstand push ups) followed by heavy deadlifts followed by handstand walks–all with a 9 minute timecap.
So I correctly predicted handstand walks would show up in the Open. I’m excited about that.
However, what I didn’t anticipate was not even getting to them. I didn’t finish the 15 handstand push-ups. With the new standards and my wrist and my lack of strength I just didn’t have it in me.
I was pissed off. I thought I was stronger than that. I breezed through the deadlifts.
One of the best things the Open does is show you your weaknesses. I now know handstand push ups is one of these for me when I thought I was pretty good at them. Something else to work on.
So why am I pissed off?
18.3 I was stuck at the ring muscles ups. For 10 minutes. 18.4 I got stuck at the handstand push ups. And I only had 9 minutes to do it in.
And I’m not your average CrossFitter.
Most CrossFitters can’t do ring muscle-ups (less than 10% of CrossFitters can). Most CrossFitters can’t do handstand walks (even a smaller percentage than 10%). So why is Dave Castro programming these in?
I get extremely frustrated when I can’t do something, and I can tell you right now this will be the last year I won’t be able to because I’m gonna bust my ass this next year to get these moves down and grow stronger.
But that doesn’t erase my frustrations right now in this moment for this year.
I want to do good. I want to be the best. I want to win.
It’s hard to do that with these workouts.
None have played to my strengths except 18.1 where I did do really well.
I’m on a rant, I know…
For me, I need to crush a workout. We all do. I need 18.5 to be one I can crush. I’m doubtful it will be…
Hence, I’m just pissed off…
I’ve spent an entire year training for one event that has left me feeling inadequate, angry, frustrated, and that I’ve wasted a whole year of my life. Hours and hours and hours…for what?
I’m frankly depressed and ready for the Open to be over, so I can get back to training.
18.3 was harder on it than I thought it would be. It had only been five days, and I pushed it hard. I had to break up the overhead squats (something I normally wouldn’t do) and the muscle ups attempts took their toll.
Still, the recording of wanting to do my best is playing over and over again in my mind. I can’t shut it off. It’s annoying as hell.
There’s no peace within and it’s a battle for sure.
Still, I don’t want to risk being out longer than what I am for one stupid rep that means nothing to no one but myself.
I know I’ll have ring muscle ups by the end of May. Because once my wrist is healed I’ll be at it virtually every day (given the state of my hands) until I have it.
Same with handstand walks.
I’ll have them consistently by the end of May because it will be a daily workout for me.
Breaks are good. Giving injuries the time they need to heal is good. Pushing when I don’t have to and possibly delaying my full return–not good.
This is all a mental game. Your body will do whatever you ask of it (up to a certain point of course). If I wanted to re-do this workout, my body would comply. It wouldn’t refuse.
There is so much coming up in the months ahead that I can’t let this minor injury become something more. Competitions, running 5k’s, meeting my skills goals of muscle ups and handstand walks, completing my list of having every move mastered so next year in the Open it won’t matter what Dave picks and I’ll crush every one has to stay in the forefront of my mind.
The big picture must prevail.
Those little steps have to happen in order to accomplish great things…
This is one of my favorite books and stories of all time. I cry every time I watch this because it would be the hardest thing I’d have to do is let go…