The Open is Fucking Perfect Just the Way it is

It may piss a few people off, but so what. Here goes.

I’m fed with the whining and crying and gnashing of teeth over how the Open is unfair or Scaled should be treated with more respect or the weights are too heavy for all but the elite athletes.

The Open is what it is and it does a great job of telling you where you rank compared to other people your age, rank and serial number.

Anyone who has looked at the last 200 years of the CrossFit Open knows what happens. The weights get heavy, Castro puts out some nasty rep scheme with a smirk on his face, and a whole bunch of people do shit they never thought they could do because they force themselves to push just a little bit (or a lot) harder than they would have during an average Friday WOD.

Sure, the Open is supposedly about seeding the elites (the youngsters, the Teams and the Masters) for a shot at the Games, but for 98.6% of Men aged 45-49 the Open is as far as we are going to go. Only 1.4% of us hit the top 200 and reach the Masters Qualifier. Realistically only 0.28% have any real shot of getting to the Games. The Top 200 only matters for the Top 40 when it comes to making it to the show. For the masses, the Open is a way to put our fitness on the line 8 to 20 minutes at a time.

Yes, I said “last 200 years”- the Open has been around that long. Trust me. I know things.

It’s not fair that muscle ups appear except that it is. It’s not fair that someone who Scaled a WOD is ahead of you on the Leaderboard, expect that it’s pretty clear that they are, overall, fitter than you are. It’s not fair that the snatch weights jumped from 95# in round 1 to 135# in round 2. There should have been 20 pound jumps not 50. I’d complain about the jump from 135# to 185# in round 3, but why complain about something that doesn’t affect me in the slightest?

You paid your twenty bucks, and you knew something nasty was going to come your way.

17.1 was pure pain for me. Lowering a heavy dumbbell after snatching it and then doing box jumps is a perfect recipe for the muscles in my lower back to revolt, and they did. I was 12 reps shy of finishing that thing, and the last 50 dumbbell snatches were pure agony. Luckily I’m old, have good insurance, and a steady, though meager supply of Oxycontin.

17.2 was almost wheelhouse. I only wish it had been a 20 minute AMRAP because lunging is fun and the longer we go the better I do. Plus, I’ve got bar muscle ups. I don’t have them to perfection, but I have them. That distinction allows for a pretty big gap between the haves and the have not’s.

17.3 was a reminder that I am not in the top 10% of fitness like I was after 17.2. Years of no mobility and pounding the crap out of my body on the road and trail mean I don’t move well. Well, that ain’t 100% true. I move really well in a straight line. I am still a better runner than almost anybody in my gym. It’s amazing how vacuuming cartilage chunks out of my hip a few years ago decreased pain. Back in the day I could hit top 10 in a triathlon, but that was life in a straight line. The snatch is vertical up to get the bar moving and vertical down to get under said bar. It’s that damned change in direction that gets me. And my shoulders suck.

17.3 kicked my ass because I don’t snatch well. It turns out that 135# was a PR for me for a squat snatch. Sorry purists, but we call it a squat snatch because power isn’t allowed. I don’t make the rules. If I did I would have allowed power snatches. On Friday I hit 17.3, cruised through the 95# snatches at a moderate pace and then failed to hit 135# even once. Yeah, that pissed me off, but I also know the truth. As much as I’ve worked to get better over the past year, and I have, I still need a LOT of work to get to even halfway decent on the snatch. During my redo on Sunday (yes, I do the WODs twice) I hit 135# four times. Would I have done that in a class WOD? No. Did I learn something? Oh, hell yes.

Even with those 4 reps at 135#, come Wednesday my overall ranking will plummet. Let’s be honest, it should plummet. Not having a decent snatch means that I’m not a well rounded Crossfitter.

The choices are pretty simple. Like everyone else I know, I balance my health (this winter was hell), my career (startups are fun…. and insane), my family (there’s a reason I’ve been married for over 21 years), and then my fitness obsession. Last year I hired a coach. She upped my game by an easy 10x, but if I want to really kick some ass I’d have to be in the box twice as much. Can I do that? Do I want to do that?

So closing this rant by getting back to the headline. By week 3 every year I settle into a pretty tight band (+/- 10%) of where I’m going to end the Open. From what I’ve analyzed most people do the same thing. If you are a top 1% athlete or a 20% athlete or a bottom 30% athlete it works out over the course of 5 weeks. Nobody hits the Master Qualifier or Regionals by accident. That, my friends, is why Castro’s lovechild turns out to be pretty darn near perfect.

On a good note – you now have 12 months to make things different for 2018.

Your move.

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