Category: competition

You want to get better? Do the work.

My first CrossFit Open was in 2013 although I don’t count it because I only hit 2 of the WODs. Technically I logged 1 rep in the third workout, 13.3 (wallballs, double unders, ring muscle ups), but that one rep was only for vanity. I headed in to shoulder surgery not long after I counted that one rep. 2014 was my only complete Open. In 2015 and 2016 injuries kept me from completing the 5th workout. Add to that, in 2015 I was only a few months away from from hip surgery and in nowhere near being in shape.

Even with the no-reps in 15.5 and 16.5, I had 3 years of data to look at, and I wasn’t very happy with the results.

In my age group, Men 45-49 years old, I was finishing roughly in the top-25% every year. Even as the pool of participants grew from 5,726 in 2014 to 14,175 in 2017 I would still lock in around that 75% mark. Granted, it hasn’t been smooth sailing. Right shoulder surgery in 2013 and right hip surgery in 2014. Hey! Who knew excessive swimming and running would screw up your body? I thought only CrossFit caused people to get injured. Nope. My injuries are all from pounding the crap out of myself after years of triathlon, running, adventure racing, and MTB and running epics. Lot of fun. Also a lot of wear and tear.

Leaving the 2016 Open I was disappointed. I was a little better at top 20% vs. my usual top 25%, but that was purely incremental. Odds are I would have fallen back to 75% if I’d been able to do 16.5. Thrusters/burpee WODs wreak a special kind of hell on my back. This will come up later in this discussion also.

If I was going to get better I needed to have a target. Being a master’s athlete I have an easily recognizable target, and, if one is going to have a goal, why not make it an audacious goal.?Yeah, I said fuck it and targeted the Master Qualifier – or finishing Top 200 in my age group. Let’s ignore that this would require in improvement spanning multiple orders of magnitude. As they say, “Dream Big or Go Home.”

I didn’t pick a goal that was Top-50 in California or some other region because I find those pretty meaningless. The Open is a worldwide thing, but I’m not going to Regionals as a 49 year old who is decent at Crossfit. Top 200 in my age group would be the goal.

What I didn’t  have was the answer to a pretty basic question. “I want to make it to the top 200, but how the hell do I get there?”

Crossfit classes are great. With classes, I keep learning and improving. This tall, skinny guy (6’2” 170# in my prime running years) now weighs in at 200# and can squat, deadlift and clean weights I didn’t think were possible for me. That said, I’m still weak overall (225# clean, 300# back squat, 435# deadlift). It was obvious if I really wanted to get better I’d have to go outside the box, or outside of the box’s programming. I trust one coach a lot and asked her for opinions on what programming to start following. There are a lot of great choices out there. Some are free – weekly training programs, some are purchased. None already knew me though. I was surprised when Cheryl offered to run a custom program for me. I was stoked too.

It took us a couple of months to pull together because things were hectic for both of us. In that time I retested all of my lifts and benchmark WODs. I had improved on almost every one of them. Like I said, Crossfit classes are great, and consistency builds competence. Finally, in mid-June I had a program in hand that was tailored specifically to me. I was also a little bit concerned if I would stick with it. I like the atmosphere of a class WOD. I like pacing off of someone who is stronger or faster than me to make me go a little bit harder than my comfort zone would normally allow. By “faster” I mean barbell reps. Very few in my gym are faster at running. Trust me, if I could I would readily trade some of my run pace for some barbell endurance.

Let’s be honest. This was not an easy process. It took me a month or more to get the feel of doing my own workout. Our box is huge, so I could always find space. Initially it felt really weird when I would be doing pull-ups and wallballs next to a class of 30 people who were backsquatting. Then I started to like doing my own thing. It was just me and the clock. My coach programmed a lot of EMOM style WODs because she knows I needed the practice to stay intense and yet not burn myself out.

We had a lot to work on. I sucked at thrusters, HSPUs, wallballs, double unders, mobility of any kind, and any form of overhead work. My olympic lifting skills are pretty poor too. Tall, lanky, immobile and didn’t pick up a barbell until I was 44. That’s not a recipe for olympic lifting success.

I am good at running.

Have I mentioned that?

I’m also pretty good at rowing and on the assault bike. There’s an aerobic theme there even without looking too deep. Old habits die hard.

Back to the process. Did I mention that I also run product at a startup? Oh, and I have an amazing wife and two kids. My wife is awesome with my exercise addictions, but I still had to find time to bump up my workouts from 1 hour of a class to 1 1/2 hours at least. There were a ton of 4am alarms bells so I could get to the gym by 5am (opening time), warm up, do my work, cool down, cleanup and be on the phone for 7am conference calls. Oh yeah, I also run our China operation, so that’s some late night calls.

And travel? Since this training plan started there were 3 trips to China, 2 trips to Europe, and several jaunts around the US. Consistency was not easy to come by, but it was up to me to make it happen.

I purchased templates for RP Diet and got my nutrition on point too. Every time I see someone’s meal prep with on Instagram with all of their meals perfectly proportioned, in individual containers and laid out to coincide with their training calendar I’d get a little jealous. Some days I can get to the gym at 5am. Some days it’s 5pm. Some days I get notified of a meetings that obliterate all training time. It sucks, but I also love startup life.

So hours and hours later there was clear improvement. My ability to rep out wallballs was improving. I still sucked at thrusters. I hit a few PRs here and there. I still sucked at thrusters. I improved a lot on my lifts. I still sucked at thrusters.

Cheryl consistently programmed new variations of workouts to push me into areas where I had to dig deep and stay steady. She had me doing a lot of dumbbell work: snatches, overhead carries, stuff to get me balanced. She also insisted that I work on my double unders. A lot. Until I actually had them again and could rep them out.

And then December came. Who knew it would have been a good idea to get a flu shot?

I lost almost the entire month of December being sick twice. That wrecked me. A chunk of January was lost too. Of course my whole family was sick too. And work stress? Oh no, that didn’t let up either. By now I had shelved my goal of hitting the Top-200. In all honesty it was a pipe dream anyway. I wasn’t really sure if the new goal should be top-500 or top-1,000. December and January really kicked my ass.

Come January I registered for the Open and watched the days click by. The best part of all of this was how calm I felt. Although I commented on the ubiquitous “what will 17.1 be?” threads, I didn’t really care. Bring it Castro. I was as ready as I was going to be.

17.1 dumbbell snatch/burpee box jump overs
My lower back locks up when I do a lot of flexion/extension with it. It’s becomes real pain. This workout really hit on my problems. I didn’t finish in the 20 minute time cap mainly because I couldn’t bend over and pick up the damn dumbbell. The round of 50 was excruciating. That said, I was only 12 reps shy of completing it. Even if I had wanted to there was no way I could re-do this one for a better score.
WOD:    2,880th place. Top 20%
Overall: same…. it’s 17.1.

17.2 lunges / T2B or bar muscle ups / dumbbell cleans
I like stuff like this. I’m not great at lunges, but they fit into that “embrace the suck” mindset. I can string together toes-to-bar, and I do have bar muscle ups. I did the workout once in Barcelona and got 3 rounds. After flying home on Saturday I did it again and added another set of lunges to that tally. Could have had a couple of bar muscle ups, but I screwed up and started doing toes-to-bar instead.
WOD:       918th place, top 6%
Overall: 1,494th place, top 11%

17.3 chest-to-bar pullups / squat snatches
Although I have the motion for butterflying C2B’s I can’t hit my chest to the bar because of bad shoulder mobility, so I kipped all of them. My snatch is not the best, so I stalled out at 135# not getting any lifts there on Friday. This pissed me off. My personal best is 145# (or so I thought), so I should have been able to hit at least 1 at 135#. Thankfully my coach didn’t correct me. My personal best was only 125#. I still didn’t realize that when I went back in on Sunday and hit 4 reps at 135#. Instead of jumping from 95# to 135# I did a rep at 115#. Clearly that paid off.
WOD:     2,776th place, top 20%
Overall:  1,606th place, top 11%

17.4 deadlifts, wallballs, rowing and HSPUs (repeat of 16.4)
This would be my third time doing it this year. In 16.4 I got 2 HSPUs – had plenty of time but really bad HSPUs. this year I PR’ d that by 2 reps in January and by 13 reps in February, but neither of those were to the standard or while being judged. For 17.5 I got 12 HSPUs and 8 no reps. I tried to re-do this one, but at 30 reps of deadlifts I quit the WOD. A re-do was not in the cards.
WOD:    1,428th place, top 10%
Overall:  1,409th place, top 10%

17.5 thrusters and double unders
I was still calm as hell about this announcement. The absolute knowledge that there was nothing more I could do to change anything is so calming. Thrusters and double unders: my thrusters still suck, but they are a LOT better. My double unders are awesome, well, for me. On Friday I hit this one straight through and struggled to a 21:00 finish. On Saturday I mobilized, got a massage and strategized. Coming in to Sunday my plan was to go 1:45 for the first five rounds and and 2:00 for the last 5. EMOM style. It worked. I finished the WOD in 18:18 for close to a 3 minute improvement
WOD:    1,645th place, top 12%
Overall:  1,282nd place, top 9%

BOOM!!!! Top 10% for my age group.

If you want to see what this looks like graphically here ya go….. That doubleheaded arrow is what we like to call “improvement.”

Open 2017 - graphical results 03_28_17

Let’s be honest. With those results I wasn’t even close to hitting the top 200 in my age group. That said, I’m really stoked with how things turned out. The road has been rocky to say the least, but this is clear proof that hard, consistent work pays off. It’s also proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

When we started this journey, my coach Cheryl was very clear, “to be great in CrossFit you CAN’T HAVE ANY HOLES in your game. You don’t need to be perfect in everything, but you MUST be GOOD in everything.” She built a training program that kept my wheelhouse movements in my wheelhouse and dramatically improved the areas where I was weak. As she also mentions, “Ron, you did the work.” That’s true, but I needed a guide, and Cheryl totally kicked ass getting me here.

Am I better at everything? The proof is in the results. 3 of the WODs this year were definitely out of my league in previous years. The pain in 17.1 was real, but I got to a good enough score to keep me moving forward. I knew I would not do well in 17.3, but hitting a PR weight 4 times was enough to keep me from falling too far down the leaderboard. And 17.5. Thrusters have always been a problem for me, and last year I didn’t have double unders. This year I was able to do the thusters in sets of 5/4 and went unbroken on several rounds of double unders.

There is still a lot of room for improvement, but clearly I am better at everything.

Oh yeah. Next year I cross the threshold and enter the 50-54 age group. If you know me and assumed that I was tracking my progress in this Open relative to the 50-54 age group you’d be right. It’s only simple math.

What does the math say? I wouldn’t have hit top-200 in M50-54 this year, but I would have finished in 332nd place.

11 months is a long ways off. My kids need me. My wife needs me. My job needs me.

But I’m still gonna keep fighting. I will be in the Online Qualifier in 2018.

CrossFit Open Scoring – How does Scaling work for Points, Place and Score?

2016Games-logoAs CrossFitters, I think we all know what Scaling is, but, before 2015, scaling a workout was not in option in the Open.

In order to put muscle ups first in a WOD and not face the wrath of 200,000+ average CrossFitters, in 2015 HQ added a Scaled option to each WOD.

Ooops. that’s just my opinion. It’s entirely possible that I am not wrong.

How does Scaling work in the Open?

Each WOD has 2 choices, Rx and Scaled. Every week you get to choose which option is better for you. Yes, you can switch back and forth between Scaled and Rx each week. If you do Week 1 Scaled, you can do Week 2 Rx. For Week 3 you get to choose again.

Initially people thought that there was a rule about Scaling – once you Scale one workout you have to Scale the rest of the workouts. That is not true. Scale or Rx is your decision to make for each WOD.

Besides the workout or rep scheme, your Place is different if you Scale or Rx.

One rep of Rx counts more than any number of reps for a Scaled workout.

Using our 100 person box example from the previous explanations let’s look at how Scale and Rx are assigned Points. Let’s say the WOD is 15.3 (14 minute AMRAP

Rx: 7 muscleups, 50 wallballs, 100 double unders

Scaled: 50 wallballs, 200 singles

50 people in the box do the WOD Rx, and 50 people do the WOD Scaled.

You are close to your first muscle up, and you finally get it. Just 1, but it’s a muscle up.

First of all – CONGRATULATIONS!

Your friend Mary does the WOD Scaled and hits 4 rounds. Yes, she does 1,000 reps in 14 minutes. She has the “best” Scaled score in your box. In that same 14 minutes you did 1 rep.

Everyone else in your box did at least 2 muscle ups, so you come in 50th place out of the 50 people who did Rx. Because Mary did the Scaled workout she comes in 51st place. It does not matter that Mary has literally 1,000x more reps than you do.

1 rep of Rx scores higher than any number of Scaled reps, for each WOD.

That’s not a judgment call on my part. It’s the rules. For Place and Points we rank ourselves against each other weekly. Because you did Rx, you Place higher than anyone who does the WOD Scaled.

Does that mean that you will always rank higher in the overall standings than Mary?

NO.

It means for 15.3 you rank higher. You get 50 points for your point total, and Mary gets 51 points for her total. Whoever has the lowest points overall ranks higher.

This picture shows where someone who Rx’d every workout is ranked lower overall than a couple of people who had Scaled workouts which is noted by the “-s” after their score.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 11.31.15 AM

Note: this is over the course of 5 weeks.

Why is this possible? Because the people who Scaled 15.3 had better relative scores in the other WODs which allows their one Scaled WOD not to drag them down too far. IMO, this is pretty fair. The Open is a test of general fitness, and having a certain skill, i.e. a muscle up, does not mean you are generally more fit than someone else. Basically it all works out.

Can I qualify for Regionals or the Masters Qualifier if I Scale workouts?

By the rules – Yes. If you have sufficient points to be in the overall Top-200 for your Masters Age Group (worldwide), or you have sufficient points to be in the Top-20 of your region as an Individual, then you can advance to the next level. HQ made that clear last week. If you Scale workouts you are eligible to advance to the next round.

Let’s be honest though.

If you are trying to qualify for Regionals you will not make it if you scale a workout.

If you are old, like me, it depends on your age group. If you are under 55 – male or female – you had to Rx every workout to get enough points to make it into the top-200 in your age group. In the 60+ age groups a few people made it into the Masters Qualifier having Scaled 1 or more of the Open WODs.

Truth of the matter – pick the version of the workout that is right for you. Scaled and Rx both mean that you are competing in the Open, which is pretty damned cool. My point here is only to explain how the math works.

Covering the Masters

Now that the Games are over the ranting can begin.

How horrible the broadcast coverage was of the Masters events.
How names were mispronounced.
How Masters winners received only $10,000 instead of $275,000 like Ben Smith and Katrin Davidsdottir did…

OK. Here goes……

Are you fucking kidding me???? 

Holy shit people! I don’t know about you, but I watched 3 FREAKIN’ DAYS OF MASTERS AT THE CROSSFIT GAMES!!!

3 days. An easy 24 solid hours of coverage.

You know what I saw?

I saw the only sporting event that I know of where Masters are treated as legitimate athletes.

I saw 60 year old women throwing down in some grueling events and the announcers TOTALLY RESPECTED their efforts. They were not treated like some kind of freakshow. I never heard, “these women are grandmothers. Shouldn’t they be knitting or something?”

I did hear “I’m not 55, and I could not thruster that weight.”

Nobody even made a crack about whether a 61 year old woman should be wearing booty shorts in public.

(for my money – they can wear whatever they damned well please. They earned it)

Heck, after every event, in every age group, they interviewed the winner. Live.

I know, that’s not critical. It’s hard to have a coherent interview with someone who can barely breathe, but it was legit and just what they do with the youngsters.

It was clear that Master are athletes, and they were treated as such. It probably helps the all (?) of the announcers are CrossFitters, so they understand.

Sure, some announcers mispronounced names (sometimes repeatedly). Sure, the coverage was almost always about the top 3 in the heat.

Guess what? That shit happens on every other sporting event too. Well, maybe the names are pronounced correctly, but have you ever watched NBC’s Hawai Ironman coverage? It sucks. It’s 10 hours distilled down to 90 minutes (with commercials) of some editors decision about what is “most viewable.” They cover the top-3 athletes, and they throw in 4 or 5 of those tear-jerking “human interest” stories. They woman who lost 300 pounds and is now doing Ironman. The guy raising funds for his sister’s heart transplant, etc. Sure those people are amazing, but the 47 year old mother of 3 who has a career and makes time to be an elite athlete is pretty amazing too. We all know how hard it is to balance our lives, career, and family.

Notice I didn’t say “social life” since I have no clue what that is….

The 1,400 other people on the Queen K, including about 900 Masters, who are out there busting ass and getting it done? Nope, no mention of them. Maybe they will get captured in some B-roll footage or a silhouette against the setting sun.

If a marathon gets covered do they go deep into the crowd and show indicative athletes from each age group? Hell no.

On an NFL broadcast? Oh yeah, nobody over 40 is even in the NFL…. except for that one guy, maybe.

This week I spent 24 hours watching people who looked like me do werk. Grey hair, wrinkles, hugging their kids (sometimes their grandkids) after each event. Real people. Most of them even have real jobs. Well, not the 60+ year olds. I hope to hell a few of them are retired.

Maybe my criteria is too low. Maybe Masters should have an equal broadcast relative to the individuals.

But I’m pretty damned happy with what was made available. I’ll say the coverage of the Masters events was pretty amazing, and better than any sport I can think of.

And I can hit YouTube any time I want to see real people busting ass. That’s pretty cool too.

15.4 – Done but maybe not forgotten for a few days

Looked at 15.4 the same way I have the other 2015 Open WODs. Whatever happens, happens.

5 hour flight delay Friday screwed up my plans to hit 15.4 on Friday afternoon, so I rolled in to Open gym. Warmed up, did a few cleans with the usual weight progressions until I hit 185#. That was heavy. Muscle cleaned it though. Still having problems getting low to receive the bar. My 1RM is only 200, so this was 92.5%.  Not a prescription for doing lots of reps.

I only did one HSPU beforehand as it was not a good idea to waste time trying my HSPUs. Figure I’d either have them or not.

Goal was 1 round Rx.

Did the first 3 HSPUs unbroken. They didn’t feel too bad. Cleans were heavy and ugly. Then it was back to the HSPUs. Got a couple and then no-repped. Just could not lock it out. Trying for #3 my right shoulder screamed quite loudly. Turns out that screwed up muscle up from Tuesday is not fully healed (I shot through the rings and wound up hanging from the rings with my arms behind me).

The person counting for me was really encouraging. I let her know it was now a major struggle. She didn’t quite get it, “wait, are you in pain?” “Yes, I am….” Took my time and was able to accomplish 3 more reps to finish up the HSPUs.

Score: 12 reps. 1 round + 6 HSPUs

Beat my goal of 1 round. Kind of down at the moment for obvious reasons.

The new HSPU standard is legit!

I slammed 800mg of my old friend, Vitamin I, and will see what comes next.

My goal for the 2015 CrossFit Open – yes, I do have a goal.

While I’m not registered for the Open, and I will not be registering due to stinkin’ recovery from hip surgery I do have a simple goal for the 2015 Open.

Get a baseline for each of the WODs.

Hate on my performance.

Use that dissatisfaction to help fuel my recovery and return to hard core CrossFit.

End of story.

Yes, I’d love it if I was fueled by rainbow unicorns and fairy tale dreams, but getting good and PISSED OFF motivates me more than anything. I know me. Come February 2016 I’m going to redo all of the 2015 Open WODs and totally shatter my results.

The pain cave is a ways off, but I have  map. And a really accurate compass.

5 (+2) things I learned from Judging a #CrossFit – like #Competition

Had the opportunity to judge at NorCal Masters Comp today. Really well run comp. I’d much rather compete, but since I’m not supposed to even be moving weight untilncm-final-small (1) March due to the hip surgery I figured it’s really good to give back and volunteer.

It was a great experience, and I learned a few things in addition to picking up quite a bit of stoke:

  1. Don’t even joke about competition’s being “easier” when you age-up to a new Age Group
    When I was a triathlete, we would often talk about aging up, “This 25-29 group is nasty tough. I can’t wait to break into 30-34 and get on the podium.” I judged several 60+ age groupers today. Even if I was able to bump from 45-49 straight to 60+…. I’d still get my ass handed to me. Wow. Really. Just wow.
  2. The WOD standard is the WOD standard is the …. WOD standard.
    I was legit judging everyone. Mostly judged folks in the middle of the standings. No-repped as needed. Had a couple of the leaders, and it was the same with them. Judged one person who clearly was having a really tough time with the heavy thrusters. WOD standard, which was reiterated, was “no jerking your thrusters.” This person was toughing it out in the lower range of points for the WOD, and I did let a couple of jerks slide. Turns out others didn’t know this person was on the round of 6 (they were on the round of 15), and they didn’t appreciate that the standard was being a bit lax. They are right. I wasn’t doing anybody any favors. The WOD standard is….the WOD standard.
  3. People want to do the right thing.
    Everyone I no-repped took the information and used it to make their reps better.
  4. This stuff is fun.
    Throwing it back to my triathlon days, whether it was IM or an all-out sprint course – folks show up to do their best. That spirit clearly lives in a CF comp. Saw folks digging deep for some really hard efforts on the floor. On a nice note, didn’t deal with any random prima donnas that we used to see in the transition area back in the  day.
  5. Don’t get wrapped up in the guy next to you.
    Bunch of no-reps at the start of the walking lunges and when people were next to someone and wanted to get ahead of them. Standard was for both feet to come together, pause, then move on (ala the old wedding march which, thankfully, is not done anymore). Really, really easy to just step through in the heat of the moment.
  6. Don’t change technique.
    Also on the lunges. Saw a few people “over reaching” on their steps. Sure, more a bit more ground was covered, but they burned out hard. I’d comment on what I saw with thruster technique, but I feel decidedly NOT in a position to do so as my thrusters totally and completely suck.
  7. Judging is not “thankless”
    Even folks who I had to no-rep several times were appreciative.
    Without volunteers these competitions just wouldn’t happen. Even a neighborhood 5k takes a small army of volunteers. Having 1 judge for every athlete in a heat, assembling rigs (and disassembling rigs), scoring, changing weights every heat… Lot of folks put in their time. Not to mention the organizers. Ain’t nobody paying for their private jet by throwing CrossFit competitions. Heard a lot of athletes saying “thanks” – which was cool.Don’t get me wrong… they were not saying it while doing burpees, but who says “Thank You” during burpees?…

Had a blast today. Wish I could have judged both days, but life gets in they way sometimes. If I’m not competing at NorCal Masters next year, I hope I can volunteer.

Disclaimer: event was not branded “CrossFit ™” – I’m using the term as a descriptor.

10 Reasons to do the CrossFit Open

So, you are not sure if you want to or should register for the 2015 CrossFit Open. Well, you should. Here’s CrossFit Games 2015why:

  1. You will be forced to complete a movement you don’t currently, but should, have.
    Don’t have Chest-to-Bar pullups or Toes-to-Bar? Yeah, they will come up, and because it is the Open you will do your BEST to get them. Trust me, you will try harder than you ever have, and your entire box will be cheering you on.
  1. You have already done at least one Open workout that will show up again in 2015.
    There is always a repeat from past years. Have you improved since your box programmed 13.2 last September? Now is your chance to find out in a setting where you will feel a different need to lay it all on the line.
  1. There is a 38 year old woman in Brazil who is almost equal to your 38 year old Minnesota self, and you will tie her in the first 2 Open WODs. Then you will do everything you can to beat her ass in the 3rd workout.
    You will never, ever meet her, but beating her will push you harder than you thought possible. Surprisingly, you will learn that you can go much harder than you thought.

Bonus? She’s hunting you down too.

  1. You will find that you do have a secret ninja exercise.
    Maybe there will be a deadlift WOD, and your normal 23,233rd place will jump up to 5,433rd. Or maybe it’s pull-ups. Whatever. Something will come up, and you will do so much better than you thought possible.
  1. You will find that you have a goat exercise that totally destroys you.
    OK, you probably already knew this and don’t need to spend $20 to learn it again.
  1. When you go to your box’s “Friday Night Lights” final Open workout you will see a bunch of people who look just like you.
    You don’t normally see them since you are 11am M-W-F and they are 6am M-Tu-Thursday, but you will learn that your box is not all 24 year old ex-gymnasts. In fact it’s mainly people just like you – doing the work when they can fit it in.
  1. One of the Open workouts is going to suck. Really, really, really suck but you will get through it.
    I’m not saying 14.5 will come back from the dead to rip out your soul (OK, “my” soul), but it might. Getting through it is a HUGE ego boost.
  1. When you judge/count for someone else you will learn more than you thought you could about the movement.
    “Locking out” at the top of a box jump been a little confusing to you? Judge someone for 50-75 reps, and it won’t be confusing any more.
  1. That guy you see every day but never talk to? He’s going to be cheering you on like he’s your brother, and you will do the same for him.
    Does this need an explanation?
  1. If you have any doubts whether or not you are a “real” CrossFitter – the Open will prove to you that you are.
    And that has nothing to do with where you place. It’s about showing up for 5 weeks and giving it your best.

©gettingtorx 2015

Feel free to comment or ping me here.

On not doing the Open, which really sucks

I like the Open. I like it a lot. I need that motivation that only competition provides to push myself to the edge.

But I’m not doing the Open this year. I am also not doing the Scaled division.

In 2013 I thought, “oh hell, why not?” and made it through 2 workouts that really fired me up. Then my shoulder made it apparent that I had to stop.

Got my shoulder surgically repaired and barely started working out (with any intensity) for the 2014 Open. Had a blast. Sure, the workouts sucked, but I hit a couple of them twice. Wound up meeting a bunch of new folks at the box as we formed a “Sunday Repeat” crew to hit the WODs and try and up our score. Totally surprised myself by getting in the top 25% of my age group – with very limited training prior to the Open. Also scored an award as our box’s Open MVP which was my first indication that people actually notice me during workouts. Always figured I was the anonymous old guy flailing over in the corner.

2015… I was so looking forward to going hard, really hard. I didn’t think I could get to the top-200 in my age group, but I wanted to see if I could. Hip surgery blew that dream out of the water.

Now I’m seeing the HQ videos, the judges course, folks sharing that they have registered.

But I won’t be doing it this year. Pushing yourself, “just one more rep” is totally awesome, but only if you are doing legit movements. I would get really sloppy really quickly. I would absolutely injure my partially healed hip. I would screw myself up. Honestly, I would screw myself up somehow.

Talking to myself here. It’s better to heal properly than do something that could seriously screw up my recovery. If I were to say “why the heck not” and register (Rx or Scaled) I will be drawn to go hard. Best not to register and resist temptation.

I’ll keep repeating that for a few months. But I’m totally setting my sights on 2016.

So you want to WIN your CrossFit Open Masters Age Group? Here's what it took in 2014

As soon as I posted a brief analysis of what it took to get into the Master’s Qualifier for Men in the 45-49 age group I immediately received, “This is cool, but what about Women in the [insert age group here]? Do you have that?”

Then I posted a comprehensive table for all age groups and genders. OK, 2 recognized genders, but that’s an entirely different subject best not addressed here….. and I got more questions. “Getting into the Qualifier is good. What did it take to win my age group?” and “What did it take to get to the Games as a 57 year old male?” CrossFitters are a decidedly data driven group. One question at a time…. that’s all I’m capable of (as I often remind my kids).

Here are the averages of the Top-30 finishers’ scores for the 5 CrossFit Open workouts in 2014, broken down by age group.

CrossFit Open 2014 Top 30 Masters all age groups

 Quick refresher:

14.1 (11.1) Double Unders & Snatches
14.2 Ascending Ladder: Overhead squats & Chest-to-Bar pull-ups
14.3 Ascending Ladder: Deadlift & Box Jump
14.4 Chipper: Calorie Row, Toes-to-Bar, Wallballs, Muscle-ups
14.5 Thrusters & Bar-over-Burpees

About the table:

I am doing this  in a very simple way. Pull data from the Games site, drop it in a spreadsheet, and take the average. Nothing more.

Open Questions…..

No doubt several people will wonder, “OK, this is great for winning the Open, but what did it take to win the Master’s Qualifier?” – which is a great question. It is fairly easy to answer, and I plan to do so later on. Bear with me.

Another question that I would like to answer is, “This table is the Top-30 athletes in the Open. What happened during the Masters Qualifier? Did the Top-20 stay the Top-20 and go to the Games, or did other people break into the Top-20 during the Qualifier?”

Short answer – the Top-20 was fairly static, but it did change up a bit. I’m hoping to find time to look at that too.

How did your scores compare, and are you more prepared this year than you were last year? 

Going Hard – is my goal

Back in August I knew that I was headed for hip surgery. I knew that I would be out of Crossfit, well, I knew I would be out of doing CrossFit at an intense level, for 9 months to a year. I also knew that I wanted to do a competition.

When I was a hardcore runner I would always hear, “running is an inexpensive sport. Just buy a pair of shoes, and go run.” Or naysayers would opine, “Why are you paying for a race? You run 6 miles on the same course every day. Why pay money just because the time you and call it a 10k?”

Here’s the answer, at least for me. I paid for it BECAUSE they timed me. Maybe you are a better person than I. Maybe you can go hard when you feel like it. I can’t. Trust me, I’ve had 47 years to figure this out. When the gun goes off I go hard. No gun and I do not do the work at the same intensity. My core self needs that stopwatch, the comparison to others.

For 3 years I had no desire to compete in CrossFit. It was a fun, tough, challenging fitness program but no more than that. Then I got the bug to dig deep. To see how hard I could go. To test my fitness. Through the CF Masters group on Facebook I was able to find a team that needed a male teammate for Moxie Madness. In the end they needed 2 male teammates, and I was able to recruit someone from my gym which made it even better. It was almost like a team of my making.

Team at Moxie Madness

Two WODs standout from that competition. One was a nasty deadlift/box jump over combo. Men started doing 75 deadliest at 225#’s while the women did 75 box jump overs. When both teams were finished we switched and did this as many times as possible for 10 or 15 minutes. I thin we did 3 rounds.

I don’t remember the details. I don’t remember how long the workout lasted. I don’t remember how many reps we scored.

I do remember the total endorphin high that I had afterwards. I gave it all I had, and I was floating afterwards. Nothing beats that high.

The second WOD was also tough and lasted even longer. There were 3 working stations and 1 rest station. The working stations included a shuttle run while carrying a 65# sandbag, a row for calories, and an air assault bike. When the runner finished their shuttle run everyone switched positions. The only thing I remember from that workout is how non-stop it was. From the run immediately onto the rower. From the rower immediately onto the air assault bike. From the bike to a very short rest period. Go. Go. Go. It was head down and give it everything you had. Damn that felt good. It hurt, but I knew I was digging deep. Much deeper than on any workout at the gym.

I also remember the last WOD. The last half of the last WOD was both simple and brutal. After the women on our team did an ascending set of kettlebell snatches we had to do burpees over our partner. Instead of jumping up to a point we had to jump over our partner who was holding a plank. By the end of the WOD I couldn’t tell if it hurt more to do the burpees or to hold the plank. When our women were doing their kettlebell snatches I remember laying face down in the grass gasping for air, sucking up dirt because I was too tired to raise my head.

I don’t know if I will ever be truly competitive at CrossFit. I was a decent runner/triathlete and cold occasionally place in the top 3. My lack of brute strength limits my capabilities in the lifts and my chances to place, but that’s not the point.

The point is to have the occasional experience where I can lay it all on the line.