After two years of skipping the Crossfit Open because I wasn’t even close to being in the right shape to participate, I decided to try it this year.
The Open is a worldwide competition that takes place once a year and consists of a series of five weekly workouts. Each workout is assigned by the Crossfit organization and posted on Thursday night each week. Participants then have until Monday to complete the workout. Like all Crossfit workouts, each one has an RX (prescribed workout for the elite athletes) and a scaled version for the rest of us.
I signed up this year just hoping to be able to do at least SOME of the workouts to get a score on the board. My entire goal was to avoid being in last place. Before the Open, I had never completed a scaled workout. I have always “scaled the scale,” which meant modifying the weight or movement of the workout to accommodate the extra weight I carry and the shape I am in (or not in).
This week marks week three of the Open. When the workout was announced last night, I knew I was in trouble.
The first requirement for the scaled workout was 100 single-unders (jump ropes). I knew I could do those and would have a score of 100. At the very least.
After that, my confidence faltered. The next requirement was an overhead squat with a bar weight of 35 lbs. total. Since starting Crossfit more than 2 years ago, I’ve struggled with shoulder mobility and back strength issues that have prevented me from doing more. At the beginning of my Crossfit journey, I couldn’t even do a squat, much less a squat with weights. Recently I’ve worked my way up to using a 15 lb. bar.
But 35 lbs.? I couldn’t fathom squatting with that much weight. I had no idea what I was going to do.
I posted on my Facebook page, “If I get a score that is even one single digit OVER 100, it will mean I was able to do more than I thought I could and that will be FREAKING AMAZING.”
Despite my nervousness and fear that I wouldn’t be able to complete the workout, I showed up this morning for the Crossfit Open 18.3.
Before beginning, my coach had me practice a few overhead squats with a 15 lb bar. Then we added 10 lbs. to the bar, and though skeptical, I completed the movement at 25 lbs.
We then loaded the bar with the required 35 lbs. I had 14 minutes to complete the workout.
Anxious energy coursed through my body as I awaited the start signal.
Finally, the long beep of the countdown clock rang in my ears. I grabbed the jump rope and went to work, completeing 100 single-unders, unbroken (without stopping), in 45 seconds.
There were 13 mins 45 seconds left on the clock to complete the workout.
I stepped up to the 35 lb bar and told myself to just do my best.
Grabbing the bar, I did two overhead squats and dropped the bar, amazed at myself. My confidence rose and I felt that I could keep going.
To complete the next part of the workout, I needed to do 18 more squats, so I caught my breath and stepped back up to the bar. But this time, I couldn’t complete the squat, even though I gave it all I had. Eventually I just had to drop the bar.
That’s when things went south.
I rested a little longer, knowing from previous training that recovering allows me to repeat movements.
I stepped back up to the bar and made my fourth attempt. Again, I tried and failed. My confidence was waning fast and the clock was ticking.
Emotionally discombobulated, I breathed deeply, taking time to recover. I knew from experience that I can repeat what I have accomplished before if I take a long-enough breather. So I rested.
With 45 SECONDS left on the clock, I stepped back up to the bar, knowing this would be my last attempt. I was surrounded by the people I’ve been working out with for over 2 years. They watched, waiting to see what I would do, cheering me on.
I lifted the bar overhead, adjusted my grip and squatted, fighting to keep the bar overhead the entire time. Then, slowly, I raised myself back up to full height and dropped the bar.
My score for 18.3 was 103.
100 points for my jump roping.
3 points for the three overhead squats I completed.
I have never been so proud of 3 points in my life.
I felt FREAKING AMAZING.
After the official Open workout, I had the option of continuing to workout on my own. Since 100 jump ropes and 3 overhead squats doesn’t equate to a full one-hour workout, I felt like I needed to do more. Heck, I had spent most of that time RESTING.
The other option was to cheer on my boxmates as they completed the workout. But I couldn’t shake the belief that I had not done “enough” yet.
That’s when a scene from the movie Babe popped into my mind. At the end of the movie, Babe the pig herds the sheep into a pen, winning the top prize in the sheep-herding competition. As the crowds applauds, a misty-eyed Farmer Hoggett gazes down at Babe and says, “That’ll do, Pig. That’ll do.”
After giving it my all and choosing not to give up, I felt like I had just won the top prize.
So I said to myself,
“That’ll do, Anna.”