What the Open Means to the Everyday Athlete

Below I’ve posted most of a column I wrote in 2012 for Breaking Muscle after my Open experience, an experience I almost didn’t have because I was so intimidated by even the idea. I imagine, in the many ways, the Open experience can mean more to the everyday, non-Rx athlete than it does to a more experienced athlete. For those of you who are signed up for your first Open, enjoy every second of it as I learned to do in 2012.

What does the Open mean to the rest of us? The everyday athlete? What about someone like me whose history of Rx’ing workouts is not long and still inconsistent? Before last year’s Open (2011), I had not one “as prescribed” workout under my belt. I started CrossFit just the year before using every band in the rainbow to get me over the pull up bar; so many, the bands alone practically catapulted me over with hardly any help from me. So when my CFLA team insisted I register for the 2012 Open, I didn’t want to.

Team CFLA considers itself a cell. The top performers are our nucleus, the rest of us insulate them in support as we do our best, too. We’re thought of as nothing less than one unit whether we’re elite or not. And though I die with pride inside over this philosophy, I feared I’d be exposed if I registered for the Open. I’m not afraid to fail at my box, but in an open forum I didn’t want my team to be perceived as weak because of my low scores or worse yet, a possible inability to even do the workouts. I was told to sign up anyway. Thank God I did.

Anyone who has ever had an athletic aspiration has probably day-dreamed of being the hero of a game. I’ve dreamed too much of being carried off a basketball court. As a kid, I practiced an embarrassing amount of time hitting a buzzer beater. And though I’ve had a couple good performances in my day, the actuality of being truly amazing, or being cheered for, or repeatedly patted on the back for an inspired performance had never happened like I dreamed it would.

But during this year’s Open is as close as I’ve ever come.

CFLA ritually chants and dances pre-workout — and post-workout. Shoot, some of us dance during workouts. I have that part down. In fact I asked Coach Kenny Kane last year if I could use my salsa dancing skills as a down payment to make the team. He accepted. He said spirit is as important as anything else on a team. He gets you that way.

What also got to me was every word of encouragement I was given. Every pat on the back energized me. When the top athletes embraced me as a teammate no matter my performance shortcomings, I felt titanic loyalty to work as hard as I could. I couldn’t score us points, but I could give them the one and only thing I had to offer, and that was my all. It turns out, that’s inspiring too.

Going into the 12.2 workout, I had never snatched 75lbs before. I even attempted it and failed during the warm up before my heat. I let go of any expectations to get past 45lbs. After the workout started and after I did get past 45lbs, I stared at the 75lb bar. A few people came closer. My first attempt was a fail. Interestingly, my embarrassment started to dissipate because really, it just was what it was. The dread that had pooled in my stomach during the days before the workout and during the warm up dissolved.

Then my husband showed up, having rushed from work to support me, and more people gathered around because apparently I was close with my first attempt. Then Michael Stanwyck crouched near me, and then DMX came on over the speakers. Within the sensory overload I found an odd calm. The pulsing of the music, people yelling, my own thoughts good and bad all faded. I was on stage and the experience turned visceral. Doubt floated away and all that was left was me and the bar and the ability I had at that exact point in time. I could only hear certain words being shouted at me.


2012openAnd jumping and getting under it is all I remember doing until the bar got overhead and everything then went off mute and what seemed like the entire gym went into an uproar. My eyes were squeezed shut – my heart exploding – and the weight of the bar was nothing; it felt held up by everyone else in the room.

I have played those seconds over and over in my mind, when the bar got up over my head. That perfect feeling of triumph was so full-body and surprising, I nearly fainted when I released the bar back down to the ground. And it went like that four more times. Four times of jump, get under it, CHEERS and extreme flashes of accomplishment. When the last second ticked off the clock, my team came over and huddled around me crying from my experience too. They were crying! Because really, it’s all any of us can do: give our all whether we’re at the top of the leader board or only able to report a few reps. Being able to squash doubt and give everything is the highest thing we can hope for. And that’s recognizable at any level.

(Full article here.)



Friday’s Workout

“CF Open 16.1”
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 20 minutes of:
25-ft. overhead walking lunge
8 bar-facing burpees
25-ft. overhead walking lunge
8 chest-to-bar pull-ups
Men lunge 95 lb.
Women lunge 65 lb.

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 20 minutes of:
25-ft. front rack walking lunge
8 bar-facing burpees
25-ft. front rack walking lunge
8 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups
Men lunge 45 lb. barbell ok
Women lunge 35 lb. barbell ok

Saturday’s Workout

For Time, working on the odd minutes, resting on the even minutes:
100 burpees
125 push press (95/65)
150 back squats (95/65)


Sunday’s Workout
“Maya & Mina”
6 PC (135/95)
9 Pull Ups
300m Run
(add 3 reps every round, run stays the same)
9 PC
12 PU
etc …

Monday’s Workout

Box squats

Jumping Lunges
Kipping ring dips


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