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Posts Tagged ‘Open’

Two Hours Before the CrossFit Open…

In General, Training on February 27, 2014 at 6:32 pm

Dear Self:

For the CrossFit Open 2014, I will not:

– Ask you to do anything you are not physically prepared to do

– Expect of you things you are not physically prepared to do

– Punish you for not being able to achieve the things you are not physically prepared to do.

– Overthink, overanalyze, or regret

I will:

– Ask that you be present and give all that you have for those 7-18 minutes or whatever that Castro conjures in his twisted little mind

– Support every member of our gym– whether they’re aspiring to make regionals, just to finish the workout, or whether they’ve chosen to abstain altogether

– Enjoy this community and the people

– Forget all the little things.

Every year when the CrossFit Open approaches, I spend a long time deliberating about whether or not to sign up. I have no large competitive ambitions. I obviously will not make regionals. It’d be a PR for me to finish Rx’d this year. From the “CrossFit community” standpoint, I think it would be fun to go to a local throwdown, meet real people, compete for a day or two and go home. Something about the prolonged agony of the Open annoys me– five weeks of a disrupted training schedule. From a coaching perspective, it means that we can’t predict Friday or Saturday’s workouts for our athletes for the next five weeks. It means most of us will be in there more hours than usual for judging. It means we have to quell our usual instinct to emphasize quality over quantity and let some form and some technique slide knowing that (for five weeks), these members are essentially “competing.”

But I get into the hype too. I love watching the bigshots compete with the announcement of each workout. I’m also curious what HQ will come up with, and how it will shape the future of CrossFit. I love how it brings people together.

However, from a personal standpoint, the prolonged duration of the Open doesn’t work so well with my neuroses. As veteran readers of this blog will know, I have a history of getting down on myself when I simply can’t achieve the things I want to achieve. When the chasm between desire and actual physical capacity is so great that I can’t fathom it, and instead blame it on my own personal shortcomings. As if my inability to get five more reps on this or that workout were any indicator of ethical goodness. The Open means nothing. It’s just another five workouts– admittedly, an annoying five that I have to perform at a different time of day and that I have to shuffle my training around– but… I’m always afraid I’ll get swept up in the hype and start kicking myself again for not doing things that I’ve never been able to do. Things I’m working to be able to do but just haven’t gotten there yet. But I’ve worked hard to earn my peace with my capabilities and inabilities. And, as with every year, when it got closer to the Open, I felt like I was letting my community down if I did not throw down alongside them and experience this with them– for good or bad, whatever insiduousness Castro has in mind.

But this year is different. I’ve achieved everything I wanted out of CrossFit. I’m a coach, and honestly, this blog has faded in the past months because… I’ve been busy and fulfilled. Coaching is a blast, and I get to work with and engage with fascinating, wonderful people that are not just great athletes, but just fantastic humans. Younger Jo– asthmatic, unfit, never-touched-a-barbell Jo — would’ve never believed that the thing I’d want to do most at the end of a long day is go to a gym and hang out with a bunch of people around bumper plates and pull-up bars. But I make it through my longest days by looking forward to the class or two I get to coach at the end of it. I love seeing concepts click with a beginning athlete– when someone strings together her first kips, when she lands a good snatch by keeping the barbell close, when she realizes she just deadlifted over 200lbs. It’s a blessing to be a part of these moments– people discovering their strength and their confidence.

Sure, I still have personal fitness-y goals. A year after my first muscle-up, I’m still chasing that damned unicorn. More importantly, I want a 1.5 x bodyweight clean and a bodyweight snatch. Perhaps a sub-4:00 Fran. But these goals no longer haunt me the way my physical weakness absolutely tormented me for the first year of CrossFit. I’m happy just going to the gym each day (other than rest days!), putting the work in, and enjoying the journey. Eventually, I hope, I’ll get there. If not, I’ve had fun and I really don’t lose anything by not being able to lift precisely this amount of weight off the ground.

So, I’m going to do the Open to enjoy the ride, to leave everything on the gym floor but not overthink what I could’ve/should’ve done to be one rep better. Best of luck to everyone– but more importantly, have fun, and after these five weeks we’ll get back to that more serious training ;).

Blessings Small and Large

In General, Training on March 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm

In a recent post, I discussed my mixed feelings about participating in the CrossFit Open. I still do not at all regret it, and am enjoying myself. My favorite part of the Open, however, has most certainly been the opportunity to act as a judge for other participants. I so adamantly acquired my Level 1 Certification in March because I wanted to be able to judge during these five weeks, and it’s been a profoundly rewarding experience. I’ve counted reps for firebreathers and for beginner athletes, and the experiences have been equally inspirational– as well as educative. I feel that I can grow as a coach from working with the truly competitive athletes, honing my eye for movement patterns as I count their reps, practicing my motivational abilities as I push them just to their threshold capacity. But working with less competitive members also gives me the chance to analyze hindrances in their movements, and to counsel them through the suck of 150 wall balls. I also feel just so lucky that I get to witness their discoveries of their own inner strength.

For 13.3, I counted reps for a ridiculous robo-boy who could divide his wall balls into sets of 50. I also judged for another, so admirably devoted member, who eventually broke her reps into sets of two. What we love about Crossfit, of course, is that it can humble anyone. Robolegs and Miss Resiliency fought equally hard for each rep. The former needed to slow down. He had the power in his legs and the engine to toss that ball up and down for eons, but he kept missing the target in haste. MR needed the encouragement to get back up– the confidence and faith in herself that she could rise from the bottom of the squat and heave those fourteen pounds back up her chest, even if she had to do it in one or two slow, grinding reps at a time. I’ve witnessed many remarkable things in CrossFit– seeing MR exceed her personal goal of 75 reps for 13.3 definitely ranks high on my list.

At minute 12, when she sank to the ground at the count of 76, I remembered that that’s what the Open is about– an inclusive event for athletes to gather and celebrate their individual levels of fitness, to challenge and exceed personal boundaries, to be inspired by one another’s will and determination. I’m just glad to be a part of it.

I apologize for the lack of posts lately. It’s been a weekend of madness. The Cookie Monster visited and we had a whirlwind weekend of awesome, trying to balance together-time with English-department-time and some quick gym-time as well. The best news? CM is officially becoming part of my State College reality this coming fall! He’ll be starting his MA in English literature (we’ll have to forgive him for not choosing a more exciting specialization– like creative writing or rhetoric… 😉 ). Athletically, CM is my polar opposite– a football veteran with a long history of strength training. So while I have him on burpees and bodyweight-ninja-funness, he can out-squat many of the stronger athletes at our gym. I hope, sometime between all the English homework next year, we’ll be able to learn and grow from one another’s strengths and weaknesses. I’m also counting on him to remind me to return to the English realm every now and again– as I may have to do for him. Regardless, I’m sure it’ll be an adventure, and I’m excited to see where it leads.

That said, I’m behind on just about everything and must return to lesson-planning and rhetoric research and somewhere in there writing a short story. Thank you all for reading. A better update soon, I promise. Until then– lift heavy, love profusely, and run only if something’s chasing you.

So grateful for everything,

– The Jomad