Burping and Thrusting my way Though the CrossFit Open 14.5-Recap

Like I had the previous 4 weeks, on Thursday night, 8pm I anxiously sat on my couch, Surface tablet on my lap, headphones in my ears, as my husband watched some awful show on TV, and my kids ran around behind me playing with the dog.

But I blocked that all out. Dave Castro was about to announce CrossFit Open WOD 14.5 and then 5 CrossFit Games winners were going to complete the WOD against each other live on TV.

Dave announced the WOD with that little smirk that he has when he knows he's about to throw down the gauntlet.

FOR TIME! The clock was not going to save me on this WOD.

Eerily, I had done a similar WOD at my own box CrossFit En Fuego on Tuesday. Having done this WOD on Tuesday was FANTASTIC prep work for me for 14.5. If you remember, I scored a ZERO on 14.2 because I could not break parallel with my squat. I have been working hard on my squats by doing lots of wall balls. And then on Tuesday, I worked with my coach who totally helped with my foot placement, and really showed me how to squeeze my butt, and push up with those legs. By the end of our squat session, I was breaking parallel multiple times on my front squat, and at 75 pounds. That's a huge increase for me. I had been struggling around 35-55 pounds for a LONG time.

So here's this Tuesday workout. And I modify it. I start with 35 pounds for the first 2 rounds, then I don't jump over the bar, I jump over a crack in the floor. For the next two rounds, I went up to 45 pounds, and continued my jump over the crack. I kept the 45 pounds for the 3rd round since there was only a short time on the clock, and I wanted to spend that time working, not changing out weight.

I have never done a thruster with more than 45 pounds. And I have never done a front facing burpee bar jump over. By the end of this 18 minute WOD, I was done. Toast.

Watching Sam Briggs, Annie Thorisdottir, Rich Fronning, Jason Khalipa, and Graham Holmberg complete this WOD in 8-11 minutes was simply awe inspiring. I was focused on Briggs and Fronning as they are both the current CrossFit Games 2013 Winners. But mainly I was watching Briggs. She's a woman, and well, I'm a woman so I wanted to see what an elite of the elite athletes was capable of doing. She did it unbroken. I couldn't believe it.

Fronning passed her on the last set of 3 and when she was interviewed and asked about what was going through her mind when she saw Rich pass her, she said in her English accent "I let em." Loved it. You go girl.

While 14.5 was going to SUCK, the FOR TIME aspect of it really gave me the extra kick I needed to make sure I finished the WOD. It was going to be all or nothing. Go big or go home. While my scores on the previous Open WOD's haven't been stellar, they've been stellar TO ME, and there was no way I was going to record a ZERO without giving it every ounce of my being.

I knew the WOD was going to take me a while and I knew that most of my 9am workout bud's have kids in the kid's club, so I couldn't ask them to judge me because I knew I'd go longer than the supervisor would be in the kids club. So I asked another workout friend. She's a mom, but her kids are older, so she said yes, she could judge me, and since she thought it might take her a longish time, I'd judge her. It was a great trade off. No pressure about having to run out for children. I did have a stove delivery scheduled, but they'd give me a call an hour before scheduled delivery so I knew I had time to WOD and judge.

We warmed up for 45 minutes. We stretched, we did mobility, I rowed, and I did thrusters. I made sure my coach watched me do a 65# thruster, made sure I broke parallel. She told me I looked great, I was getting down low enough. I made sure my judge knew where I should be hitting, and if needed, to give me a no rep. That's one thing I've really prided myself on these games...being honest.

I started the WOD around 9:45.

Those 21 thrusters started off with a bang. I knocked 5 of them out in a row. Then dropped to 3 at a time, taking a 10-15 second break between sets of 3 to just catch my breath.

And then I was on to the 21 burpees. That first one, that first jump-over, I was so scared. I put my head down, placed my hands between my knees, closed my eyes, stood up, opened my eyes, focused on something and jumped. And I landed on the other side of the bar, 2 feet down. And I did it 20 more times.

At the end of the 21 burpees I looked up at the clock and saw that I was at 11:43 and I laughed out loud. Coach Pete was right there and I just looked at him and said "I just finished the set of 21, and last night Annie was totally done with everything by this time."

He patted my back, smiled, and said "don't even think about it. Get back to work."

And off I went. Set of 18 done. Set of 15. Trouble. In the past I would get exercise induced asthma. It hasn't happened in at least 2 years. But that set of 15 thrusters sent my lungs screaming. I checked my heart rate (I wear a Polar) and while it was high 94%, it was coming down quickly, and when by 70% I still couldn't breathe, I gasped to my judge that I might have an inhaler in my purse. She ran to get my purse, and while she did that, I went to the rig and stretched out my shoulder (I had a shoulder surgery in 2000 and it locks up on me when I go heavy weights overhead.) She came running back with my purse, I checked it, but no inhaler, but it was right around this time I was able to take a BIG breath and suddenly all was right in the world. All in all, I would say that incident took 3 minutes. Maybe longer? But lesson learned. I'll carry an inhaler with me from now on. After thought...honestly I think I had a panic attack! LOL. There was certainly a lot of panic going on in my head!

Then I was up to the set's of 12, and by this time most of the people that started the WOD with me were now finished. Tongue Out I had a tremendous cheerleader in my friend, Chris. She talked me through pretty much the rest of the WOD. Inspiring me to get up off the floor when I was laying there a bit too long for a burpee. To push through that thruster with my legs because really the weight looked light for me (say what????)

Finally I was down to the sets of 9, 6, and 3. And I took those all in sets of 3.

That last burpee was a little slice of heaven. I heard time called 48:41, I started to get teary eyed (but the real waterworks came much later when I was at home alone.)

My coach was right there when I finished. I was so sweaty, but so happy. I just grabbed her and gave her the biggest, sweatiest, hug. Then her husband (also my coach) came over, gave me a high five, and I grabbed him into a big, sweaty hug and together the two of them sort of held me up for just a few seconds.

My judge had me sign the paper, and I quickly had Coach Pete take a photo of me. This is literally less than a minute after finishing the WOD.

I did it! I finished!

I was the LAST one in my box to finish, but I felt like I had WON the grand prize. All the support, cheering, encouragement, made me feel like a champion.

I'll have a full re-cap of the Open up shortly, but suffice to say....it was life changing.

And my Polar really showed me how hard I worked! That includes a warm-up, the WOD, and a cool-down.


How was your Open experience??


Recap of the CrossFit Open 14.3-Finding Joy in the Journey

I watched this announcement with baited breath. Would 14.3 FINALLY be the WOD that I could complete every movement??


BAM! It WAS!!!

Sweet baby Jesus. I was pumped. Deadlifts are BY FAR by best lift (though power cleans are slowly but surely making their way up the list!!) and I can go pretty heavy so I was super excited to see this WOD.

I watched the women compete 14.3 LIVE right after the announcement. And man...it looked like those deadlifts got heavy FAST.

And they do. I mean look at it....not only do we go up in weight, but we go up in reps. A double whammy.

But I felt confident that I'd make it at least through the set of 20 deadlifts at 155 pounds.

I set up my box, my bar, had my weights ready up to 155# and off I went.

I did box step-ups, not jumps. Step-ups can help to conserve your energy, and really just more efficient.

I made it through the first set of 15, got to my bar and knocked out those 10 95# deadlifts unbroken.

Back to the box. Did those and got down to my bar. Had to add 40 pounds for the set of 15 deadlifts at 135#. Did those unbroken as well.

I was feeling GREAT! Strong, confident. Got back to the box, finished those 15 step-ups and got back to my bar.

Added 20 pounds to get to 155# and started lifting. 20 deadlifts were in this set. This is when I noticed the bar really starting to get heavy and I had to start breaking them up. I was doing them in sets of 5. Still surprising myself with how good I felt. Sure, I was breathing really heavy, but my back felt STRONG. My legs felt STRONG. My heart felt STRONG. Sense a theme? STRONG!

I finished the 155# and got back to the box, and wouldn't luck have it, I made it off the box and STILL HAD TIME ON THE CLOCK.

This is where panic set in and I realized just how scrambled my brain really was. I had to get to 185 pounds. I had 155 on my bar. I did not bring any weights over with me upon setup to get me to 185 pounds because honestly I didn't think I'd make it that far.

I had a moment of sheer panic. I couldn't even calculate how much more weight I needed to add because I just couldn't think. My brain was fried, I was just going through the motions.

Thankfully my judge, the amazing CrossFit Katie said me to "Jenny, just breathe. You need to add 15 pounds on each side." Bam. 15 pounds added, and I knew I had just SECONDS left on the clock, so I got in proper position, held by breath and lifted. And I got it up just as time was called.

Here I am lifting 185#

Total Score: 91

I did the WOD on Friday, and technically could have redone it for *potentially* a higher score anytime before Monday 8pmEST. And honestly, if I had redone it I probably would have scored higher because I would have had the weights needed for 185# and not have to scramble, etc...

But I decided NOT to redo it. I had already exceeded my own expectations. And for me, after a lot of soul searching after 14.1 and 14.2, I did in 14.3 what I set out to do. I completed all movements of an Open WOD. Throughout this journey of my FIRST Open, I don’t want to have any regrets.  Like I said from the start, regardless of the outcome at the end of the Open, I want to be able to walk tall and be proud of everything I did.  FINALLY, I feel like I can do that now.

As each week passes by in the Open, I learn so much more about myself personally, and what I'm capable of. CrossFit is so much more than just physical strength. There is a HUGE mental component as well, and FINALLY I'm starting to put the two together, to not be so hard on myself, and FIND THE JOY IN THE JOURNEY!!