One Flu Over 17.3’s Nest

This has not been the best week. What I thought was a cold on Monday developed into some kind of flu bug that knocked me on my ass Tuesday and Wednesday. I felt closer to human again on Thursday and then suddenly it was Friday, time for the next Open workout. How was I going to do? Could I hang in long enough to do whatever I could?

Thursday night I watched the Open announcement like everyone else and probably swore openly at Dave Castro’s smiling face a few times as he gleefully listed off the parts of the workout. Squat snatches and chest to bar pull ups.


Well crap. Neither of those is one of my strongest movements. I managed two C2B in practice and then couldn’t hit a single one during the WOD a couple of weeks ago. That was a minor victory. I’ve done lighter squat snatches before. Maybe I could pull off the lightest parts of the prescribed workout… But it all depended on getting through those C2B’s.

Thursday night I was thinking maybe I’d try Rx. By Friday morning I was questioning that decision and folks were chiming in on my Facebook feed telling me that it would be fine, just go for it. Do those C2B’s one at a time. You’ll do great!

There was more than a little apprehension as I headed into Friday Night Lights at CrossFit Continuum with my wife. And the place was hopping, as per usual.


When it came time to do my  heat with my wife, I was as warmed up as I was going to be. I had found a spot on the rig. I had attempted, and hit, a C2B.

Then I moved to the barbell on the floor. 95#. I attempted it three or four times. One of them I ended up on my ass on the ground, dropping the bar. Yup. Gravity still works. None of them were good attempts. Oh well, I’d just deal with it when the time came.

I laughed later because Coach Clare made a point of stopping and saying that I was going to do great. I was a little out of it. Maybe a bit dazed from being sick all week. Maybe a bit in my head after falling on my ass. Who knows? But I appreciated the vote of confidence!

Ev was going scaled. Jumping pull-ups are in her wheelhouse and chest-to-bars aren’t yet. And she was off like a bat out of hell. By the time she was done, she had made it into the second chunk of time and by 12 minutes she had completed 101 reps.

Meanwhile, I was working at the rig with Coach Isaac, who was nice enough to judge me during my run at the workout. I started out stronger than I expected. Stepped up to the rig, did one chest to bar. Boom. Stepped back. Did it again. Boom.

Hillary Douglas got a video showing me actually doing C2B’s – this is a shot from that

I did that 5 times in a row. Step, pull, boom, drop, step back. Repeat.

I think that only took me a minute or two and then I spent the rest of the 8 minutes trying to get rep #6. I never did, but that didn’t stop me from trying. I did everything I could think of. I listened to Isaac. And I got close 2 out of 3 tries. But though Isaac thought I touched a few times, I didn’t. I would have known.

The whole time, he and I were chatting. I was laughing and smiling. No stress. No worry. Just step away, figure out another approach, and try again. Over and over again.

When my 8 minutes ended, I had a score of 5. And I am utterly thrilled by that. C2B is one of those things I’ve been flirting with for years now. Pull-ups, sure. But C2B is a different kind of beast. To get 5 of them in one workout is a major milestone.

So my score for 17.3 is 5 reps. Rx. It sounds so small when other folks are getting into the 40s, 70s, or 100s and beyond. But I really don’t care. And that’s amusing to me.

The Strange Dichotomy

No, this doesn’t have anything to do with Dr. Strange, though that title would not be out of place in a Dr. Strange comic. But here’s the thing.

Something changed over the last year in me. I’m not sure how or when, but I’ve relaxed a ton. Maybe the stick up my butt finally fell out. I don’t know.

games-logo-2017This is my third CrossFit Open in my four years of doing CrossFit. The first one was insanely stressful for me. Every workout I felt like I was letting someone down. My coaches. My family. Myself. I don’t know who. By the time I got to the last workout and walked out in the middle of it, I was fried. No, I wasn’t going to do this again. And I took the next year off, but cheered everybody on.

Last year I tried again and had more fun. It was still stressful, but I looked at each workout as a challenge and less as an insurmountable mountain. By giving it a best effort, I wasn’t letting anybody down. I was showing up. That’s more than half the battle. But scaling still felt like it was the enemy. I’d been doing crossfit long enough I should not have to scale, damnit! Silly me.

Over the last 12 months, that attitude towards scaling has shifted.

It’s not a necessary evil. It’s just part of the game. Listen to the body. Prepare the best you can and adjust accordingly. Each workout is not a permanent scar written in the history books. It’s just a workout. Enjoy it. Get through it as well as you can, recover, learn, and prepare for the next one.

Why it’s taken me this long to figure that out is beyond me, because damn it makes so many other things in life so much easier. Today is just today. Do the best you can and move on because it’s not going to last anyway.

So this CrossFit Open has been a much different affair for me. I scaled the first two workouts because my body told me I needed to. Fine. No biggie.


Last night is the first workout for this Open that I thought I had a chance of doing at the prescribed weight. Could I have continued doing the workout had I hit that 95# bar for squat snatches? Heck if I know. Would I have given it my best shot? Hell yes.

But here’s the biggest factor for me: giving myself permission to scale. It’s such a stupid thing. Between that and simply relaxing and having fun with the whole experience, it’s such a different beast I can’t even explain it.

So if I have any words of wisdom to share, it’s just to have fun. Listen to your body. Don’t stress yourself out. Cheer everybody else on and enjoy the ride when it’s your turn.

I just wish it hadn’t taken me 4 years to figure that out. 🙂 (Note that I will still probably swear at Dave Castro’s smiling face next Thursday night!)

Great work Continuum family! You all KILLED IT last night. I watched folks do amazing feats of strength and perseverance all night.

Now let’s do it again next week. 🙂


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