Friday, April 4, 2014

The Open 2014 is in the Books

April 4, 2014

Well, now is as good a time as ever to share my thoughts on the 2014 CrossFit Open. I have been asked about my thoughts, read other peoples articles and listened to other peoples thoughts/complaints through all 5 weeks of the open as well as after the last workout was posted. Now it is time to put my half answers and random thoughts into some sort of order.  

This year was extremely inspirational and at the same time extremely challenging for me. There are so many factors that had my emotions pulling in every direction imaginable. It took a lot of deep thoughts, talking strength and courage into myself and remembering why I do “all of this” on a daily basis to keep my head in the game and my confidence high enough to move forward.

The Open is such a motivational time of year. During a mere 5 weeks, its amazing how many people find something in themselves that they never knew existed. What is even more amazing is to actually witness it happening to them, or actually being the one its happening to! Some people dig deep, they get to a place that they have never pushed themselves to… some people experience their first “competition style” workout… some complete one rep of one movement that they couldn’t do just one day before. There are tears of frustration, anger and pain… but also many many tears of joy. For every disappointment there are 10 smiles and personal goals achieved. Every high five, sweat stained floor, ripped hand and sore muscle contains a piece of someone’s 2014 Open story, a victory, big or small.

I have to be honest, when I saw the hundreds of complaints that flooded the CrossFit Games website after the first workout of The Open was announced, a “simple” couplet of double unders and snatches, I was shocked. I continued to be shocked week after week after each announcement when people would find anything and everything to complain about… the reasons why it was a “bad” workout for The Open, or how so many people CAN’T do something in the workout.

Wait a minute… isn’t “CAN’T” the word that we as CrossFitters are not allowed to have in our vocabulary? Don’t we coach every single person who walks through the door of a CrossFit gym that they are going to be able to do things that they never thought possible and they should never use the word “CAN’T” again.  They should leave the negativity at the door and they should at least try something first before saying that they “CAN’T” do it?! What happened here? Why are “we” all of a sudden a bunch of people who complain about a workout?

At CFW, I can say that I didn’t hear many complaints. I did hear people concerned that they weren’t going to do well… maybe they were insecure that they “don’t have double unders” or “never did a chest to bar before.” These reactions are common, usual and appropriate… first because they did not contain the word “cant” but, mostly because they were followed with encouragement by someone who might have been in their shoes at one point. I know I shared the story of how I got my first chest to bar pullup just a day before I had to do 12.5 during my first Open in 2012. Of course I was terrified when that workout was announced… I barely had a pullup without a band at that point… but my coaches and my friends were encouraging and supportive.  Isnt that what CrossFit is all about?!

I was so excited to see the looks on people’s faces when they did conquer their insecurities, when they let go of their fears of things they could never do before. There were many who got their first double unders, or strung together a few for the first time, some who never put 65lbs over their head before for an OH Squat, some who finally got that first box jump to a 20” box, deadlifted 225,  or just made it through 14.5. Because those workouts were so challenging, so many people were challenged to do that thing we talk about all the time… they were forced to “get comfortable being uncomfortable.” They were able to turn the “Ive never” into their very own story of how they got their first during The Open 2014… how cool is that?!

For me, personally, my comfort zone was stretched in a lot of different directions. I had my moments of fear, anxiety and insecurity… but I also had my moments of pride, confidence and hope. I cried my own frustration tears, I cried my tears of pain… but what I remember most and what I will bring forward in my training are my happy tears. Those moments where I dug deep and did what I knew I could do, where I wouldn’t allow my brain to let my body stop. Those moments where I was inspired by the “firsts” happening around making me remember I had more “firsts” in my future as well. Those moments when I laid on the floor completely spent after the time had expired or when I completed the work to make the clock stop… where I thought to myself, “yes… that is why you do ‘all of this.” That feeling, that emotion… I cannot explain it, I can only feel it.

Keep pushing, don’t give up… you will feel it and you will never want to stop feeling it.

The Open 2014 is in the books.