Thursday, March 31, 2016

2016 Open Recap

Well, another CrossFit Open has come and gone. 

It's hard for me to describe the 2016 Open, it was so different from my experience last year in a number of ways. The workouts, the atmosphere, the way I viewed the entire process-all of it was different. From a performance standpoint, this wasn't my best Open. The workouts were tough for me this year and I finished 269th in the region compared to last year's 118th finish. I contributed on one workout for my team as opposed to three last year. My life completely revolved around the Open for five weeks last year and this year it was just another piece of my life. I don't want that to come off like I didn't care about it because I absolutely did, but this year I found myself with a lot more on my plate, in a good way. 

I guess if I could describe this Open I would say it was a huge learning experience. This was the first time I was able to step back from the all the craziness and see how it falls into the bigger picture. My main goal was to put forth my absolute best effort on every workout and I believe I did. Everything else was out of my hands. I came away from this Open with a new appreciation for my teammates, new goals, and a better perspective of myself. 

In my recap last year I listed my favorite moments from the Open. While I certainly had a lot of good moments this year, I want to talk more about what I learned this time around. 

Here's what I took away from the 2016 CrossFit Open

1. The Open is only five weeks out of the year, so don't let it wipe away all of your progress

You know how in Men In Black they use that device called a neuralyzer and it wipes out someone's memory? The Open can have that same effect on an athlete. For some reason we sometimes tend to let the Open completely obliterate our memory of all the progress we've made over the past year. In our minds if we don't perform well on these five random workouts we must not be as fit as we thought, right? Wrong. We don't have control over these workouts because we are not Dave Castro. All we can do is perform the workouts to the best of our ability. Last year, three out of the five workouts were completely in my wheelhouse. Handstand push ups and power cleans? Yes please. A max clean and jerk? Yep. Ring muscle ups? Nailed it. This year there was only one workout I was 100% confident I would crush and it was 16.3. It was the only workout in which I contributed a top three score. Does this mean I haven't made any progress over the past year? Does it mean I'm not as good as I thought I was? No. Even though I didn't contribute on 16.4, if it had come up last year the wall balls and row would have completely destroyed me. Even though I didn't contribute a score on 16.5 I still shaved off over a minute from my previous 2014 score. Don't base your entire worth off these five workouts. Take it as a learning experience and work on your weaknesses during the off season. Don't forget how hard you've worked in the other 47 weeks of the year. 

2. Don't obsess about what other people are doing 

Let's take a trip back in time to 2013. I had been a member of CSC for a little over a year and I decided I wanted to be on the regionals team. This automatically meant every single female in the gym was a threat to me and became my most mortal enemy, at least that's how I looked at it at the time. I was constantly comparing myself to the other females. I would obsess over their numbers, get upset if they snatched more than me, get pissed if they figured out how to do muscle ups, etc. This is actually pretty hard for me to write because I can't believe I was such an unsupportive asshole at one point in my life. The 2013 Open rolled around and I believed this was my chance to show everyone how much I deserved to be on the team. I performed well on most of the workouts but what I remember most about that year is the stress. I would stand there while the other females were doing the Open workouts, my beady little eyes darting around trying to figure out if they were going to beat me. If someone did worse than me I would secretly celebrate. If someone beat me I would get upset. I was a straight up jerk. CSC qualified a team to regionals and guess what? I was the alternate. I didn't go to regionals. Instead of focusing on my own performance and supporting my teammates I was too obsessed with beating everyone and in the end it didn't do me any good. That was the worst Open of my CrossFit career, not because of my performance but because of how I acted. I could have spent those five weeks having fun with the other members of the gym but instead I was childish and insecure. This story brings me to my point: don't obsess about other people. Worry about yourself and your performance. Come in and do YOUR best. You can't control how other people perform, you only have control over your own score. It's not worth the stress and it gets you nowhere. Getting upset because someone snatched more than you won't make you stronger. Throwing a hissy fit because someone beat you in a workout doesn't make you fitter. Put your head down and do the work, that's all there is to it. This actually leads me to my next point...

3. Be thankful for your teammates

I could seriously write one million blog posts about how awesome and talented my CSC teammates are. I could write an entire book on Emily Deet alone. But I'll save that for another time. Every year I am blown away by my friends performances during the Open. We're all used to training together but the Open is a different beast. This is when people push themselves to the absolute limit and it's always amazing to see. "Be thankful for your teammates" has a couple different meanings. Being on a team is probably one of the coolest experiences anyone can have. It's a group of friends who are passionate about the same thing, have the same goal and want to help each other get there. There's nothing better than that. It's a built-in support group. The other great thing about a team is the fact that everyone has different strengths and everyone steps up to the plate when they need to. When 16.1 was announced I knew I probably wouldn't be contributing. I am not a "20 minute" athlete. Lucky for me, there are several other people who are 20 minute athletes. Do you think I was mad about the fact that Megan beat me by literally 70 reps on 16.1? Eff no! I was thrilled. Being aerobic is her jam. She's awesome. If my modest 201 reps was one of the top three scores, our team would not be in great shape. I would actually be extremely concerned. Be thankful when your teammates can pick up the slack when you're lacking. Be happy when you smash a workout but be humble when you don't. Give credit where credit is due. Let your teammates handle their shit. They know what they're good at and they know what their weaknesses are. I know what I'm good at and I know what my weaknesses are. We're stronger together than we are apart. It's like in Power Rangers when they have to come together to fight the monster and they form the Megazord. The Megazord wouldn't work if Billy the blue ranger decided he didn't want to be part of it, because then it would be missing a leg. Every single person is important. Am I a nerd because I made a Power Rangers reference? I think we all know the answer to that question. 

4. At the end of the day we're all just a bunch of friends working out together, so let's have fun

The Open is temporary. Regionals is temporary. The training process is ongoing and constant, so try to enjoy it. I love training. I actually get a little bummed out during the Open because I start to miss regular training. There's nothing better to me than working out in the gym shooting the shit with my best friends. It's just the coolest. Training and getting stronger is so fun to me. I love the daily process, even if it boring sometimes, because I know I'm taking steps every day to improve and get better. During the Open it's very easy for people to get caught up in the competitive nature of the sport, especially if they're gunning for a team spot among multiple talented athletes. But I hope you don't get so swept up in it that you forget to support and encourage your friends. The Open is temporary but your training partners and friends will always be there. Have fun, enjoy watching your friends fucking crush it, take everything as a learning experience and apply it to the off season. I can't imagine CSC without all the awesome people that go along with it. When it's all said and done we're all just a bunch of hilarious, fit people who enjoy lifting weights together. Don't forget to enjoy the training process and the company that comes along with it. 

I don't have any regrets about this Open. I gave 100% effort on every workout on both attempts each week. I can't ask for more than that. I'm proud of my efforts and I'm proud of my friends. As usual I want to thank my coach, Stephen, for his top notch programming and coaching. He really is the best at what he does and I don't know where I would be without him. I'm going to take what I learned and apply it to my training in the off season. I'm going to continue having fun at the gym and enjoy my training, even though I know I have a lot of burpees in my future. Hold the vision, trust the process. 


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