Opinion: I’m Not Going to Crush the Open this Year, And That’s Okay

February 21, 2022 by
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This week I’ll start my sixth CrossFit Open and it’s not going to go well. 

I won’t hit my first muscle-up, I did that in 2017. And I won’t improve my score when we re-test a workout from a previous Open either. 

My fitness isn’t where I’d like it to be–my workouts have been lackluster and my nutrition has been off as well. 

But, you know what? I can’t wait for Thursday. 

Doing the Open is a great way to test your fitness, but for an individual, it’s only a snapshot in a much longer journey, a moment in time. The Open is as much about celebrating the CrossFit community as it is about testing one’s own fitness or trying to move on to the next stage of the Games season. 

Some of the community magic was lost over the past two years due to gym lockdowns and closures, but we all hope it’s coming back strong.

I’m not going to get my first muscle-up this year, but I know athletes at my gym who will. And I want to be there screaming for them like others did for me back in 2017. I want to be there for the athlete who does their first Open workout as prescribed or the one who hits a PR lift when their heart is racing at 200 beats per minute and they feel like blacking out.

For coaches, the Open can be a stressful time. I’ve been coaching for a little over five years now and through every Open workout, every heat, I’m there shouting cues and encouragement to my athletes. I’m in the thick of it, maybe not in the pain cave next to them, but I’m sweating it out, pushing them to go just a little bit harder, or cut that rest down just a few seconds here or there. At the end of each heat I’m exhausted and spent. And that doesn’t include all the pre-workout strategizing and post-workout analysis. 

I want to be in the trenches with them and one of the most satisfying feelings ever was when an athlete during the 2019 Open took me aside and said “we can see what you’re doing and how hard you’re fighting for us.”

The Open is also a time to remember past years and where you’ve come from as an athlete and community member. I’ll never forget the moment after 17.2 when I ran back to my dumbbells and hit a few more power cleans before collapsing into a wall. As my gym friends gathered around me to cheer, one of them dumped her protein shake out onto my arm. We don’t get to workout together much anymore, but I think about her a lot. 

There will be a whole new generation of athletes who take on the Open for the first time this year. Maybe they found CrossFit during the lockdown period and most of their experience has been doing workouts virtually from home. 

Maybe they decided it was time to get fit as a hedge against chronic disease as well as pandemic viruses. In either case, I hope they get to embrace the spirit of the Open and I hope that the veterans at their boxes share stories of the “old days” and make new memories for the newbies each week.

So, here’s my advice (and I’m no expert, but I’ve been around the block a few times): be realistic about your fitness, but also be ready for the magic. In the right atmosphere, at the right moment, you can do things you’d never believe you could. And if that doesn’t happen…well, ok. You still enjoyed your fitness and got a good workout in. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.

And, once you recover and re-emerge from the pain cave, I hope I see you screaming your head off for your gym mates.

Because, that’s where I’ll be, whether I PR or not. I mean, I probably won’t, but maybe….

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