Wednesday, April 2, 2014

2014 CrossFit Open: A Recap

Let's talk about the 2014 CrossFit Open.  Now that it's over, I feel like I am much more able to look back at it objectively (as opposed to looking on it with sweltering amounts of hatred).  Let's take a look at each of the individual workouts and how they stacked up: 

14.1 - 10 min AMRAP: 30 Double Unders, 15 Snatches (55lbs)

I did this workout twice officially and once unofficially.  That may have been overkill.  But the first 'unofficial' time was really just to practice and I did it light (at 35lbs).  My first official attempt was terrible.  I probably spent 8 minutes doing double under attempts and I left the gym super irritated by the whole thing.  My third (and final!) attempt was significantly better - a 50 rep improvement and included a new PR of 30 unbroken double unders for me.  Yahoo!  This workout felt like an awesome start to the Open, it was a manageable weight, the movements were tough but doable and it did nothing but raise my level of optimism at this year's Open. (I should have known it would go downhill really fast.)

14.2 - A Terrible Concoction of OH Squats and Chest-to-Bar Pullups

It made me feel better that all but two people competing in the Open at Sound got scores of 10 because chest-to-bars were just not happening.  This workout was awful.  I can't get chest-to-bars and there wasn't really anyone who could even coach me through it.  I'm getting close enough to the bar - I just literally can't touch it.  Which is aggravating... and soul crushing.  This workout was a disappointment because I'm actually really good at overhead squats and I love doing them.  I wish they would have been paired with something else because I think I could have killed it.

14.3 - The Posterior Chain Torture Device of Heavy Deadlifts and Box Jumps

In what may be the most controversial Open announcement EVER - Dave Castro brought us an ascending ladder of deadlifts, where not only did the weight increase, but so did the reps.  CrossFit affiliates were outraged, even going to so far as to publicly announce that they would not be participating in such a terrible workout for their athletes (ironically, some of these gyms also have Regionals level athletes who had to complete the workouts in order to qualify - so I'm not sure how they worked around that.).  I, for one, was PSYCHED about this workout.  I LOVE heavy deadlifts.  I KILL at heavy deadlifts.  BRING ME MY TROPHY!!!!!!!!!!!  Okay... so that may have been a little bit overzealous of me.  I ignored everyone for days who kept telling me how bad it was for me and how much danger I was putting myself in.  Didn't care.  I LOVE DEADLIFTS.  

And then the day came to actually do the workout.  And holy crap - deadlift set #2 at 135lbs suddenly felt way heavier than it should.  And then 20 at 155lbs felt like approximately 1000lbs.  25 at 185lbs?  Barely made it through.  But I did.  And then I could barely walk for three days.  Okay... maybe these arguments denouncing this workout were justified.  

14.4 - The Chipper From Hell

This workout was just as labeled.  The Chipper From HELL.  Okay... it wasn't actually that bad if you like/are good at toes to bar.  Which I'm not.  Let me simply explain the physics of this to you - you have to touch your toes to the bar - above your head.  So when I'm standing - I can grab the bar when my arms are fully extended - that's what?  9 feet??  And I have to get my feet up there?  AT THE SAME TIME!?!?  No.  

This wasn't my proudest workout moment.  It also didn't help that I had gotten home from California two hours before, I was tired, I was hungry, I was cranky and my heart was just a little bit smooshed from everything going on. 

This workout was literally soul-crushing.  

14.5 - Never Ending Burpees and Thrusters

Because who doesn't like doing 20+ minutes of strenuous work under heavy load with no rest time?  Fuck you, Dave Castro.  Seriously.  A descending ladder from 21 of thrusters and bar-facing-burpees?   No.  This workout left good athletes sucking wind and wanting to die.  The great athletes finished like it was a warm up - but the rest of us struggled.  

Okay.  Here is my thought on this.  It seems to me that while Rich Froning and Sam Briggs were done in 8 minutes - the rest of us mortals were still in our sets of 18, 15 or if you were exceptionally lucky, 12, at the 8 minute mark.  But no one, except super star athletes were finished in sub 10.  How exactly is this a test of your fitness?  I seemed more to me to be a test of who doesn't puke.

To Recap: 
I actually really liked the first workout.  It was tough, it was  heavy, it was an overall physical challenge - but it didn't make you want to die at the end.  People could get through it (well... I guess if you had double unders - if not, you were spending 10 very frustrating minutes jump roping).  But the rest of the Open was pretty much awful.

The 2014 Open was soul crushing, body crushing and a killer.  Personally, I don't feel like a whole lot of these workouts were a test of overall fitness - but instead a way to definitely divide the super CrossFit athletes from the normal folks.  I have been lucky enough to have amazing athletes as friends - and they struggled through these workouts.  There was a clear dividing line between the athletes that would be moving forward to regionals and those of us who won't.  

Could I have trained more and done better?  Absolutely.  I'll be the first to admit that.  Honestly, this year's Open couldn't have come at a worse time.  Trying to get Brand M off the ground, dealing with my Grandfather's passing, and all of that - it was just a terrible time for me to try to focus on anything.  

Oh well.  Onto the next.  

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