For those who don't know, the CrossFit Open is an annual event where each week for 5 weeks the global CrossFit community does a series of workouts (1 per week) and we all track our scores online against each other. For the athletes at the top, this is the first step in reaching the Regionals and the tops from the Regionals go on to the CrossFit Games. For the majority of us, this IS our “Games.” It's our time to push ourselves and really put our fitness to the test. While there's definitely an intensity to it, more than anything, it's a whole lot of fun.
2016 was my second time participating in the Open. It would be difficult for the two experiences to be any more different.
Last year, leading in to the games, I really wanted to push myself. Each week as the workouts were being announced, I told myself that if I was physically capable of doing the workout as RX, then that's how I would do it. This meant that I wouldn't get as many rounds or reps each week as if I performed the scaled workout, but knowing how my brain works, it would have driven me nuts to have done the scaled if I KNEW that I was able to have done RX.
I was able to do 4 of the 5 weekly workouts as RX and out of roughly 135,000 men who completed all 5 workouts I finished 67,473rd. So right around the 50% mark, not factoring in the roughly 20,000 athletes who signed up and didn't complete all the workouts. I was pretty happy with my results and looked forward to bettering that placement in 2016.
But then, December happened.
In December I did something really stupid and hurt my back. It kept me from training for roughly 2 months. As the Open was getting ready to begin, I wasn't even sure that I would be able to participate.
About a week or so before the Open, I felt good enough to try a workout. I took it really easy and was able to complete it. So I tried another. Then another. I felt good enough that I made the decision to go ahead and participate in the Open. But I set a rule for myself. Each week, no matter the workout, I was going to perform the scaled version.
The first week, keeping to my rule wasn't an issue. I still wasn't feeling 100%, so the scaled was definitely the best option. But by week 2 I was feeling pretty good and the struggle to not break my rule and perform the RX workout become very real! Especially when I was seeing friends submit RX scores and I wanted so badly to compete against them. But alas, I stuck to my rule and performed each week's workouts as scaled.
This year, of the roughly 102,000 men who completed all 5 workouts, I finished 97,146th. This year there were closer to 178k men who entered, but a lot more didn't record all 5 scores. Which makes me feel a little better that I actually completed all 5, but still, not overly thrilled with my overall score at all.
However, if you just look at the scaled athletes, guys like me who completed all 5 workouts as scaled, you're looking at a pool of roughly 9800 athletes. My finish amongst them was 4,991st. Now we're back to about that 50% mark. Considering the shape I was in leading up to this year's Open, I feel pretty good about that and it makes me excited to see how things go next year.
Even though my performance numbers weren't where I wanted them to be this year, I can still say that I actually enjoyed the overall experience of this year's Open more than last for a few reasons:
- This year my wife took part in the Open for the first time. That alone would have made this year better for me than last. But to take it 1 step further, in week 1 she had to do weighted lunges. Something she had never done before. She did them like a champ. Then, in week 2, the power clean weight for the workout was more than her previous max lift. 5 minutes before the workout started, she tried it and failed. Then, when the clock started, not only did she successfully make the lift, she did it over and over again. I could not have been more proud.
- My community of CrossFitting friends has really grown over the past year. It was an absolute blast to talk stategy after the workouts were first announced and to commiserate in the pain after we'd all done them.
- I took the online judge's course this year which allowed me the opportunity to view and judge Open workout video submissions from all around the world. It really helped me to figure out my strategy for the workouts by watching others do it first to get a sense of what worked and what didn't.
- The pot-luck lunch at the box after the 5th week was a lot of fun and something I hope to make an annual ritual.
All in all, it was a pretty great time and I can't wait for next year. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go train for 2017!