Hopes and dreams for the Open 2018
Naomi Williamson reflects on her CrossFit Open 2018 experience.
Last year was my rookie Open and I had no idea what it was. Basically, the Open is the first step in qualifying for the CrossFit Games, the pinnacle of our sport. As a Crossfitter, your whole year’s training comes to a head as you prepare to go head to head with the rest of the world in the CrossFit Open for the chance to compete the CrossFit Games. Very, very few people actually make it to the next stage. Most people take part in the Open to challenge themselves. To push themselves a little harder than they normally would, to see if they’ve improved on last year’s results, to see if they can get their first whatever or a new PB. People do it for bragging rights with their friends, it motivates people, it inspires people, and it challenges people. Everyone has a different reason for competing in the Open. The Open for me is motivation. I want to push myself. I want to be stronger, fitter and faster and I want to do as well as I possibly can.
This was my second Open and I wanted to do better than I did last year. I wanted to see progress, to know that all the work I’ve put in over the last year had been worthwhile. I wanted to RX all the WODs and to get my first muscle-ups and handstand push-ups. I hoped to PB a few lifts.
18.1 – The Feel Good One
I was looking forward to this WOD. A 20-minute AMPRAP of toes to bar, dumbbell hang clean and jerks followed by a row for calories. I had all the movements in the bag and usually perform quite well in longer workouts. I’m not great at linking toes to bar when I fatigue so decided to break them into smaller sets from the start. As time went on the dumbbell hang clean and jerks and the rowing were fine but it was the toes to bar that started to fail, the small sets turned to single reps. I kept moving and got through the WOD with just over nine rounds on the board. I finished pretty happy with my performance although you almost always feel like you could have gone harder or wasted less time between movements or sets here and there. I hindsight, I think I played this WOD safe and went a bit easy on the pace. It can be difficult to know how hard to push, especially when the workouts are longer but I should have pushed harder in the row and got a few more reps in.
18.2 – The Meh One
An ascending rep scheme of dumbbell squats and bar facing burpees followed by a 1 rep max clean. What could go wrong!! I’m not the quickest at repping out squats of any kind and knew that this WOD wasn’t going to go as well for me as 18.1 did. It was one of those ones that I just have to work through as best as I can. I got through the first half in a mediocre fashion and moved onto the clean. Okay, here we go, let the magic of the Open do its work, new 1 rep max here I come… Nope, not this time. I achieved a mediocre clean to go with my mediocre time for the first part. This WOD went as I expected, not great but not awful either. I hoped 18.3 would be better…
18.3 – The Nightmare One
My heart sank when I saw this one. The workouts were getting worse and worse for me. My double unders aren’t great and there were 100’s of them. There were a lot of overhead squats at, for me, a heavy weight and there were muscle-ups that I haven’t quite got dialled in yet. This sucked. Thinking about the WOD the day before I swapped between going Scaled or RX dozens of times. If this workout had come up last year I’d have scaled for sure but I felt that scaling it this year would be a cop-out. I can do double unders and I can squat 35kg overhead but neither of them is easy for me. I decided to RX it. If I got through 200 double unders and 20 overhead squats in 14 minutes it would be an achievement for me. I tripped my way through the skipping and slowly got through the overhead squats 2 or 3 reps at a time. The clock hit 14 minutes and I had 220 reps on the board. I even had some time left for a few muscle up attempts! I was well out of my comfort zone with this one but challenged myself and got through it. This was my worst result in terms of score but it’s the one I’m proudest of.
18.4 – The Reality Check One
This week we had Diane followed by Heavy Diane, deadlifts and handstand push-ups followed by heavier deadlifts and handstand walking all within a ridiculously short time cap. I want to RX workouts. Unfortunately, my skill level doesn’t always allow this and I have to be honest with myself about my abilities. I don’t have handstand push-ups and the chance of me getting 45 of them along with 45 deadlifts in 9 minutes to a new standard that the top dogs in the box are struggling with is slim. I decided to scale this one. By the end of the WOD I was absolutely hanging! I completed the WOD in just over seven minutes. As usual, there are places I could have wasted less time and there was the odd no rep or two that I should’ve done properly the first time. I underestimated the bear crawls. Usually, they are quite a fun thing to do as you jauntily wiggle your derrière through the air in a comedic manner. However, in a WOD when a bear crawl speeds up into a bear run they turn into something quite brutal. I think I underestimated the scaled WOD generally. Just because a WOD is scaled doesn’t make it any less of a challenge. It’s easy to forget that sometimes.
18.5 – The Last One
The final Open WOD of 2018 was a 7-minute AMRAP of thrusters and chest-to-bar pull-ups and I was looking forward to it. I’m not the quickest at thrusters but they weren’t too heavy and I’ve got a few pull-ups in my box of tricks although I wasn’t sure how far I’d get before I ran out of them. I decided that sure and steady was the way go for this one. Just work through the thrusters, make sure that all the reps were good reps and to break the pull-ups in sets of 3 from the start. Things went to plan until the second half of the WOD. My forearms and grip strength really started to suffer and the pull-ups fell into singles and groups of two and nothing sets your lungs on fire quite like thrusters! At the end of the AMRAP I was surprised with my score. I did better than I thought I would given that thrusters and chest-to-bar pull-ups are not particular strengths of mine. I walked away from 18.5 pretty with how things had gone.
I really enjoyed the Open 2018. Some WODs went well, some didn’t, but I pushed myself each and every week and don’t think I could’ve done any better. It tested me, it exposed weaknesses, areas to work on for next year. It inspired me, it pushed me out of my comfort zone, and it gave me confidence in my own ability. I didn’t get my first muscle up or handstand push-up but they’re getting closer. My double unders suck but they suck less than they did last year and they will suck less again next year. All the blood, sweat and tears that are spilt in training are worth it. Bring on 2019!
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