2015 was the first year the first year that CrossFit offered scaled versions of the Open workouts. The following was K. Lin’s experience during the 5 weeks of the Open.
- Friday mornings, normal class time
- Friday nights, 5pm (no Open Gym)
- Saturday, 11am
- Drop-ins and personal make-ups: $20
My Experience in the 2014 Open, by Kathleen Strouse
15 Knee Raises
10 Deadlift (55#)
10 Ground to Overhead (55#)
1RM Clean & Jerk
“C’mon, K-Lin, you can do this!”
Those who really know me recognize that I always believe I will fail, and I never believe I can do very much.
I had just finished part one of my first Open workout: a 9 minute AMRAP of 15 knee raises, ten 55-pound deadlifts, and ten 55-pound snatches. And guess what? I survived.
Before the 2015 CrossFit Open started, I was harboring this overwhelming, albeit irrational, sense of fear. I was scared. Scared of what the workouts would be; scared of the pressure; scared of failing. As that first Friday night unfolded, with the entire gym and everyone in it overflowing with energy, enthusiasm and support, my fear faded and possibility blossomed.
The support wasn’t just unexpected. It was awe-inspiring. It was galvanizing.
Part two of the WOD: now I had six minutes to do the heaviest Clean & Jerk I could. What?
I looked to Coach Steve for directions. I trusted him. That’s the foundation of a community – trust. When he told me to jump to 83 pounds, 20 pounds over my 1 rep max personal record, I couldn’t believe it, but I trusted him.
So I tried. And I failed.
Motivating words, clear directions.
I tried again. I failed again.
How could I succeed with this weight? Impossible – 30% more than what I have ever lifted.
“Elbows up, get under the bar, KLin, c’mon.” The clock is ticking, 1 minute, 30 seconds left…I have it in me for one more try. Clapping, fist pumping, cheering, encouraging – Steve, Brian, and Kathleen were right there.
Focus, set-up, ready, pull. Done. Shoulder to overhead – jerk. Done. Wow.
Wow! Are you serious? Did I do that? Did I do that? Did I do that?!? Even when I didn’t believe in myself, Second Wind believed in me.
Every 3 minutes for as long as possible complete:
2 rounds of:
6 overhead squats (65 / 45 lb.)
6 chin-over-bar pull-ups
2 rounds of:
8 overhead squats (65 / 45 lb.)
8 chin-over-bar pull-ups
2 rounds of:
10 overhead squats (65 / 45 lb.)
10 chin-over-bar pull-ups
Etc., following same pattern until you fail to complete both rounds
Even scaled, the Overhead Squats were 65 pounds. My OHS had never been more than 43 pounds. I couldn’t believe it. Coach Colby walked me through a careful warm-up, gradually and strategically increasing the weight with the right amount of reps up until the timer started. His patient focus, coaching skill and encouraging support were like magic – I couldn’t believe that I was lifting and over-head squatting 65 pounds.
With each Overhead Squat, I thought I would crash to the floor as my arms weakened with the weight of the bar over my head, but I could hear Colby coaching me about my elbows,my shoulders and my focus. I couldn’t have cared less about the pull-ups that were waiting for me. I was accomplishing something I had never done. And it wouldn’t be the last time.
15.3 – (scaled)
50 wall-ball shots
Men use 20-lb. ball to 9 feet, Women use 10-lb. ball to 9 feet
Ok, why not? Wall balls and jump roping for 14 minutes? Anyone can do this – I could do this. It was just a matter of going as hard as I could at a manageable, steady pace. I was thankful for 15.3 – it was like a break, especially since, as a runner, cardio is much more accessible for me than heavy weights.
I found there was balance in the entire set of Open workouts. One week, the workout will be your dream, another week, it’ll be your biggest challenge.
3 handstand push-ups
6 handstand push-ups
9 handstand push-ups
Debate. Worry. Fear. Advice from Adam. Advice from Grant. Advice from Josh. Advice from Coach Colby.
Fine, I’ll try Rx. I have nothing to lose, right? If I could just do one handstand kipping push-up, just one, I’d be happy. I’d be enraptured. Eight minutes is not only an interminable timeframe, it is also lightning fast. Colby told me, “Bring your knees down, explode with your hips and kick up against the wall while pushing up.” I tried and tried, but after 8 minutes, I never did one handstand push-up. Surprisingly, like the rest of the Open, I was ok with that. I was ok that I couldn’t complete one, because I know that I had the best chance for an impossible task with clear guidance and my focused effort. Maybe another time? A new goal – very exciting.
Later that weekend I tried the scaled version which was ridiculously challenging for me:
10 Push Press (65#)
10 Cleans (75#)
Mind you, I had never accomplished either of those before the Open. Coach Janet advised me of the key movements to the lifts, modeled them, directed me where to pay attention to avoid injury, and off I went with 8 minutes to do my best.
40 reps! 2 Rounds!
I truly did not believe I would make it through 1 round, let alone finish multiple rounds. By now, I was in awe of everything that this Open and the Second Wind community had inspired me to achieve.
One more workout, and I would finally get a break from these reach-for-the-stars challenges. The Open workouts pushed me mentally more than physically.
My head was spinning watching people knock this out. I needed to do this, but I knew those thrusters would probably kill me. Advice from Justine. Advice from Amanda. Coach Michelle to the rescue. She has a comforting conversational coaching style that was exactly what I needed. The movements are easy to do wrong, but her coaching kept me in proper form, all the way through. It was grueling, and even as I hated every pull, each one was one moment closer to finishing. I was just mentally exhausted. Michelle talked me through it, and I finished in just under 15 minutes.
While I couldn’t have been more scared or more anxious before the Open started, the amazing community of coaches and fellow athletes at Second Wind helped allay my fears and concerns. I never felt unsafe or at risk of injury. The enthusiasm and energy that permeated the atmosphere were something I had never sensed in the gym before. I was happy to be a part of this inspiring community.
Did I care about the numbers, the reps, the ranking? No. Did I care that I tried my best for each workout? Yes. At every workout, I accepted the challenge and fought to do what I could. In breaking through my perceived limitations, I found strength more valuable than any number of reps completed or pounds lifted. I can’t remember the last time I felt like I was a part of a new community of people that I truly admire and respect.
I heart Second Wind. What an experience. Thanks, Second Wind community and Open 2015.