Farewell 2016 CrossFit Open and Thank You Continuum Family

The CrossFit Open has come to an end with the completion of 16.5 and that offers an opportunity to take a look at the 2016 Open as a whole for me and what it means going forward. Feel free to tune out if you want, because this gets a little bumpy.

First, I took a different approach this year than in 2014.

In 2014, I felt peer pressure to join the Open and because of the lack of scaling that year I was overwhelmed by the end. The whole competition thing didn’t sit well with me and eventually I could no longer get out of my own way. I blamed it on the clock, but as I’ll talk about later, with some distance I don’t think it was the clock at all.

This year I competed with only one goal: to finish every workout. Mission accomplished.

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Second, because I was simply hoping to finish every workout I was less mentally affected by factors like the clock, having to scale, and ultimately my score. Was I pushing for the best score I could within the adjusted zone? Sure. But once I got over my mini-freakout after 16.3, I settled back down and could simply “enjoy” each WOD in turn.

Third, I managed to do a few things this year I wasn’t able to do the last time.

Though chest-to-bar pull-ups are still a goat, I managed to get through multiple rounds of the jumping variety, which I had never tried before.

And I attempted a prescribed handstand push-up on the wall with no ab mats or weights on the floor, which I managed to accomplish. Once. I haven’t tried it a second time, but I was ecstatic to get it that one time.

Those may seem minor in the grand scheme of things when compared to other folks getting bar muscle-ups for the first time, but for me – I will take both of those to the bank. Someday I may achieve a bar muscle-up, but not until I get a real chest-to-bar, so this is progress. And I was happy. 🙂

Lastly, I’ve come to realize over the last few weeks what my biggest issue is and has always been: an aversion to pain.

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Yeah, I know that may sound like a wimpy thing. But it’s not.

It started with Little League and not being able to play because running on a dusty field caused me to throw up every day after practice as a result of my childhood asthma. It continued with failure after failure in PE courses due to a lack of coordination, endurance, and strength. Running still sucks. A spectacular fail attempting hurdles during PE one year has haunted me for years. And who in the heck hyper-extends and pops their jaw (leading to my TMJ issues that still causes me issues) during a bench press in high school weights class? This guy.

Sure, I played basketball for a couple of seasons in junior high – even continued helping with the team after I had a seizure on the basketball court and we discovered my wacky thyroid issue, which led to many other realizations about physical limitations.

Eventually I stopped trying physically. I did enough to get by and nothing more.

Then… crossfit.

Honestly, except for the running thing I hardly ever hit the point of no return with pain. There’s a difference between going to muscle fatigue for me and true pain. When I hit true pain, I usually hit a hard stop.

Now, after some reflection – 14.5 was not about the clock as I thought. It was about the pain factor. So facing it in 16.5 again was very ironic. And I thank goodness that there was an army of friends and family between me and the door.

Without them there, I would have made a run for it.

I hit the pain point in the set of 21. By the 18s I was ready to quit. In the 15s it began to shift somehow to just going one cursed rep at a time. And when breathing became my priority, seeing who was around me became less important – because I knew they were there. Every rep.

I know Clare was joking about putting the boxes in front of the door, but that’s essentially what everybody was doing. Ray, John, Shaun, and Dan were there even when I couldn’t really focus on them, as was my family. Everybody was there cheering me on one painful movement at a time.

11iebvThank goodness they were there.

I still don’t like pain. And every rep was pain. It took multiple breaths just to convince my body to get up and down or push the bar over my head.

Was it cathartic to finish this damn workout that I couldn’t bring myself to finish two years ago? Yes. Did it hurt? Yes. Do I want to do it again? Hell no.

How is this going to color future workouts? I really have no idea.

14.5 no longer hangs over my head like the Sword of Damocles. I guess I have Castro to thank for that.

No, that’s a lie. I have my friends and family at the box to thank for it.

I was stronger because of them.

Thank you.

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