My CrossFit Open

What “The Open” means to me…

It was sometime in March 2012.  I saw patrolling the internet looking for a CrossFit workout that Lauren and I could do at Gold’s Gym. was always my first stop, but for some reason I had been skipping over the site the past few weeks.  On that day, when I hit the main site I was introduced to what was/is the CrossFit Open.  I immediately emailed Lauren to ask her if she knew about it or had ever heard of this concept…I was instantly intrigued.  At the time of my revelation the open was well in progress so we had some catching up to do but the very next day “7 minutes of Burpees” was first on the list (I’m pretty sure I did 80 or so…and at the time my “burpee” did not include my chest to deck nor was there a target for my jump.  By Thursday, a new workout had been released…150 wall balls, 90 double unders, 30 muscle ups in 12 minutes.  That Saturday morning Lauren, David Allen and myself found 3 med balls laying around (8 or 10lbs maybe).  We opened the back door to the free weight room at Gold’s…used a ruler to measure a 10ft mark on the brick building behind us (I remember counting how many bricks down from the roof I had to aim) and away we went….miniature med balls and all.  I knew in my head if I wanted to beat Lauren I had to be way out in front when we got to the jump rope because at this time in my CrossFit life they were a work in progress and she could do them in her sleep.  Instead of muscle ups we did pull-ups and we noted where we were when the time was up but both finished 1 full round of the workout.  I was immediately sold and thought to myself that I couldn’t wait until the next year so I could sign up and be official.  After a cold morning, a 10lb med ball and finally beating my best friend in a workout that involved a jump rope I was sold (I think I got 5 pull-ups and she was still on the double unders after 12 minutes…hey, a win is a win!).  For the next few weeks I was blown away by the scores that were posted on the games website…I didn’t see how it was possible for people to be so good.

My next “open moment” came later that year…sometime in October I believe.  I was doing a repeat of 12.5…7min ladder of thrusters and pull-ups.  Prescribed was 100 pounds and chest to bar but we went with 95 and standard pull-ups.  It was the worst feeling ever.  I had done Fran at this point but my pull-ups were so bad I was never on the bar long enough to feel the true anguish Fran can offer.  But on this day as I wheezed and doubled over after each drop of the barbell…when I finally reached the round of 12, I went unbroken on the pull-ups…it was like the heavens opened and the angels sang.  I went on to do the next round of 15 unbroken and while the athlete next to me would drop off the bar every couple reps I felt stronger every pull-up (sorry Aaron if you read this).  Now while I get this could happen any day there was something special about that day, about that workout that continues to resonate with me.  While I’m the biggest advocate of “it’s you vs. you” knowing Aaron was beside me made me keep pushing, he was no slouch of an athlete and it was my wakeup call that said “hey, if you want to get better and be ok at this sport, you can”.

Just like in my workout above, the open has a way of bringing out the best.  Maybe its knowing you are about to do something that 6 months ago would have never been possible.  Maybe it’s knowing that you just conquered double unders, or chest to bar pull-ups or toes to bar and if those skills come up you are going to crush them.  Maybe it’s knowing your best friend is better at something than you are…but on that day in that workout, you are going to kill yourself to out-work them.  Whatever it is, the open has a way of changing you…it could be your mindset, your ego, your physical capacity, your first muscle up.  At the time of me writing this we have 26 athletes signed up and I can almost guarantee that when these 5 weeks are over I can ask each of them if they learned something new about themselves and the answer will be yes.  I’ve also seen the other side of this pasture.  I’ve seen a successful workout create an ego that couldn’t be cured and I have an email that I read on a weekly basis as a reminder to stay humble and stay hungry…I feel very blessed that we don’t have that problem at The Rock.  This isn’t a cry to ask all who read this to sign up, this is just me sharing my story, and why what we do is important to me.  Its memories like these that keep me motivated, that remind me of the progress I’ve made and when I see some of you in the same place I was I can look at you and tell you to trust the process, keep believing and your time will come…and for me…the open did just that.

Coach Nate Dawg