2016 CrossFit Games Open Report

During the thrusters in 16.5 on 3/25
I've written a lot of race reports. Obviously, those usually involve a race. Well, in keeping with my ventures into new types of activities this year, I took part in the 2016 CrossFit Games Open. So this "race" report doesn't actually involve a race, and a lot of the ones I write this year probably won't be traditional running races. Anyway, this is my report from the Open. I started CrossFit the first week of December 2015, so I'm still pretty new, but I wanted to take part anyway, and I'm glad I did. The Open is the first round of qualifying for the annual CrossFit Games. The highest ranked athletes in each region go on to the Regionals round, and then the highest there go on to the Games. Obviously, I was doing for more personal reasons with no actual shot at qualifying for anything. I wanted to do it for a few different reasons. One was the fun of taking part in the event with my friends at Anthem CrossFit. Also, I wanted to use it as a measuring stick of where I am now since I'm early in my CrossFit journey. Lastly, I wanted to set a bar to compare myself to when the Open comes around again in 2017.

For those that are not familiar with how the Open works, it is a 5 week long world-wide competition. During those 5 weeks, each Thursday evening they release a new workout titled based on the year and week (so the first workout of this year was 16.1, then the second 16.2, etc). Several people taking part in the Open would get together each Thursday to watch the live announcement, which really was a fun part of this. Each Friday, the Open workout would be the WOD at Anthem. Those not in the Open did the workout themselves, while those of us that had signed up would do the workout with a judge. The judge had to take a course through the CrossFit Games and get registered. They would watch your workout and judge whether reps counted or not based on the movement standards, then would give you your final official score. Each athlete then would have until Monday evening to enter that score into the Games website, have it verified by the judge, then it would get ranked on the leader board. There are Scaled and Rx divisions. For those not familiar with CrossFit, Rx means you do the workout exactly as prescribed, and Scaled is when they lower the weights and take out some of the more advanced movements. I did the Scaled division because I'm new to CrossFit and there was at least one thing each week that I just can't do yet.

It all started great. The scaled version of 16.1 consisted of a 20 minute AMRAP (as many rounds and reps as possible) of 25 foot lunge walk with 45# in the front rack position, 8 burpees over the bar, 25 foot lunge walk with 45# in the front rack position, and 8 jumping pull-ups. After a good warm up, it was my turn. My friend Dawn was judging me. I'm fairly good at lunge walks, and Coach Michael gave me some good tips on making the jumping pull-ups take less energy and times, so all I had to worry about was the burpees. Those absolutely drain me. Like fast. Just a couple burpees and I'm spent. It's all good, though, I was going in with a positive attitude and ready to kill it. I pushed myself really hard, and in the 20 minute time I managed 166 total reps (6 full rounds, plus 25 foot lunge walk, plus 5 burpees). I felt like I had done the best I could, and I was completely spent at the end.

16.2 was a little bit of a different story, but a good lesson learned and a decent confidence builder. For whatever reason, I decided to go in for the 6 am class and do the workout early. I finished the knee ups and single unders in about 2 minutes nearly unbroken, but only finished 11 cleans before the first 4 minute cap, giving me 86 reps. That's fine, but I feel like I should have been able to finish that round and move on. Throughout the workday, that score ate at me, so I decided to go back in the afternoon and try again. The second attempt I got through the first full round, then through 10 of the squat cleans in the second round, giving me 175 reps! Also, the 115# clean during the second round gave me a new PR weight. Those were the heaviest squat cleans I'd ever done. I'm glad I was able to get a higher score and perform to a better effort level, but looking back I don't think I'll redo Open workouts in the future. It's not against the rules, but it just felt wrong. Looking back, I feel like if I want to use the Open to really push myself, then I need to work to get the best possible score the first time through without the safety net of redoing the workouts.

On Wednesday the week of 16.3, I started fighting a sore throat and some congestion. By Thursday evening and Friday afternoon, I was feeling low on energy and having really bad coughing fits. I knew it was bad and it would hurt my performance in the workout, but I didn't think it was near as bad as it was. I'll detail that in a minute, though. This one was 7 minutes, all gas no brake. Just 7 minutes of pushing as hard as possible. I was determined to fight through the issues with my cough. It's only 7 minutes, right? As soon as the timer started, I went. It was extremely difficult, and I had a number of coughing fits throughout the workout. But I didn't stop, and I kept trying to get through it as smoothly as possible. By the end of the 7 minutes, I had completed 91 total reps, or 6 full rounds plus one power snatch. I literally collapsed at the end.

The day after 16.3 was the McGuire's Run 5k, which I ran with a lot of fellow Anthem CrossFit and Team RWB members. I was still not feeling god at all and coughing a lot, but I didn't want to miss out on all the fun. Well, it was definitely fun, but by noon when I left, I felt horrible. I was coughing a lot, had a headache, and was just drained of all energy. I decided to go home and rest the remainder of the day. Well, by that night and into the next day I felt worse and worse as time went by. I was coughing badly, and was having to sleep in the guest room because my coughing was keeping Kristy awake. Sunday afternoon/evening brought more coughing, but added fevers and complete weakness. I decided to work from home Monday and went to the doctor after work. I found out I had had pneumonia and the flu! I was put on some strong antibiotics for the pneumonia, and some meds to help ease the flu symptoms. The meds helped pretty quickly, but on Friday I was still in no shape to attempt 16.4. So I made arrangements with Coach Michael to meet up on Monday morning so he could judge me in the workout before the deadline, but give me a couple extra days to get better.

When Monday came around, I was feeling much better, but FAR from 100%. I was still pretty weak and just not right at all physically. It was a tough workout anyway, so I knew it would be a huge struggle still not feeling well, but I hoped that with Michael pushing me I could at least do okay. Well, that didn't really work out. I felt horrible and did horrible. I managed to officially know out 102 reps, which is just the 55 deadlifts, and 47 of the wall balls. I got through the deadlifts okay. Certainly not great, but okay considering. The wall balls, however, were a whole different story. As soon as I started I felt weak and sick to my stomach. I pushed through as best as I could, but even when I managed to get the ball up, I was coming well short of the height required on the wall. I probably did 60 or so total wall balls to get those 47 official reps because of how many time I missed the height. Michael and Jeff both yelled at me, encouraged me, and tried to push me as best they could, but I just couldn't get my body to work. This was probably my most disappointing workout since I started CrossFit, and certainly the worst of the Open.

A couple days later, on Tuesday evening and into Wednesday, I started having some stomach issues. It was bad. I figured that the strong antibiotics I was on for the pneumonia was messing up the good microbes in my gut, so I started taking some probiotics. I started feeling a lot better, but my stomach was still not very settled when 16.5 came around Friday afternoon. It was going to be a killer no matter what, but with an upset stomach, it was really no fun. It was a descending ladder of two of my three least favorite movements: thrusters and bar facing burpees. This workout, rather than a time cap, as for time. So everyone does all the reps and your score is your total time. I struggled from the very start, and fought hard not to throw up the whole time. I ended up taking 32:06 to complete the workout in spite of Coach Michael and many others at the box yelling at me and encouraging me. I did the best I could without throwing up, which is good, but I was disappointed in my time. Such is life, though. Getting sick in the middle of the Open was far less than ideal and really hurt my last 3 workouts.

If you judge it based solely on how I ranked, I did terrible. But that's kind of what I expected. To me, though, it was a success. I had a lot of fun, I got in some incredibly hard workouts, I pushed myself really hard, I learned a lot, I got a lot of experience, and I set a solid baseline to work to improve on in the 2017 Open. I'm still fairly new to this CrossFit journey, so this was a fun, exciting piece. I'm already feeling much better after those illnesses and am back to working hard to improve. Here's to a continuing fun and success journey!!

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