The 2014 Open Finale
Watching the 14.5 workout announcement live felt like I was in a surreal world where the only thing that mattered were the athletes under that roof and the announcement of their torture. I could feel the anticipation in the air before Dave Castro said exactly what the workout was. The tension from the athletes of finding out only a few minutes before they actually performed must have sent their brains spinning with ideas at full speed.
When he announced it was burpees and thrusters, everyone exchanged knowing looks to their friends since it was apparently so obvious that it was going to be a couplet of those two movements. But when for the first time in three years of the Open they surprised everyone and said “Everyone will do all 164 reps, because it’s FOR TIME”… it was so awesome to see the crowd freak out. For some people it meant they would be doing a looooong version of the workout, hoping to finish, and for others it meant they would be sprinting their heart out to race to the finish line. There will be no “oh I could have gotten an extra rep” it will be more along the lines of “I just wanted to be DONE.”
The entire night I was thinking of what my strategy would be. I was trying to game the thrusters, as I figured that would be a hard part for me, especially to go unbroken. I loved the idea of going for time much more then thinking of the workout as an amrap. Usually during the Open, when I have a “as many rounds as possible workout” I set a goal, and pretend it’s for time anyway. For example, in 2012 for 12.1 when it was 7 minutes of burpees, my coach and I decided it wasn’t an amrap for me, it was 150 burpees for time. I ended up falling short and getting 141, but was very happy with how far that mind set has gotten me.
When people asked me what my goal was- I always say- to do my best! I know if I give up early or not. I know if I start my ‘end of the workout firey kick’ too late or just right. Goals are nothing more than an educated guess, there’s no reason why you “shouldn’t or should” get the random number you put in your head you thought you ‘should be capable of.’ Unless it’s a workout you’ve done before, then you can actually set a few reps more/ 15 seconds faster… a goal that’s realistic and tangible.
I ended up doing 14.5 on Friday at San Francisco CrossFit. It was a really fun atmostphere and I hadn’t brought my gear and a member even volunteered their knee sleeves, which convinced me to get it over with. Jami Tikkidten was my judge, he is one of the most well known coaches in the world for our sport, visiting from London, and coaching Annie Thorisdottir. (So no pressure!) He convinced me to do all the thrusters unbroken even though I wasn’t sure at first that was the best strategy for me. I knew the burpees would be fatiguing, but I don’t mind them, I knew I would just have to stay consistant and zone out. Step-up burpees are my favorite- I’ve usually always gone with them in the past because they aren’t draining where I feel like I needed to stop, but instead they’re consistant and don’t change. I finished in 9:58 just narrowly clipping my 10 min goal, convincing myself at 5:00 that I was halfway. I recommend breaking early, as this is not a workout that you want to reach muscle fatigue in the first 30 or so reps, as the workout can be a very long one to have to “pay the price” after red-lining!
I hope more than anything athletes can treat this last workout like a finale to a long five weeks of testing their fitness. There is a time for training, and there’s a time for testing, and this year 209,000 people signed up for the Open to put their best scores forward. I know many people looked at the opportunity saying they “weren’t ready for it” or “could have done better if…” but it’s more of a commitment to yourself then anything. Although it creates fun competition within the gym and your scores you submit on the internet will be attached to your name, there’s something about being a part of something “bigger than ourselves.” CrossFit workouts are meant to be repeated and restested, and the Open is no exception. I love that when they come up again after a year or two years, I can look back and compare scores to see how much “fitter I’ve gotten,” and it reminds me I’m not standing still.
We’re getting stronger and faster every day of training, and making it through the Open should be an accomplishment your are proud of; an acceptance to where you are right now. Not forever, but right now.
Enjoy the ride, and be proud of what you DID achieve.