There is no trick to 17.4

Thursday night I watched as Dave Castro, smiling, listed off all of the repeated workouts over the last several years of the CrossFit Open. There always seems to be one, which is interesting. It offers a good comparison to the year prior or wherever you were the last time you did it.

16.4 was not one of my favorite workouts as I recall. And, since 17.4 was a repeat of 16.4, neither was 17.4. Go figure.

But I hit a bit of a stumble in this workout for some reason. Maybe it was allergies and the fact that I was struggling to breathe. That’s what I blamed it on last night. Afterwards I have to admit I wasn’t so sure.


The workout was pretty straightforward:

  • 13 minute AMRAP
  • 55 deadlifts @ 225#
  • 55 wall balls, 20# med ball
  • 55 calorie row
  • 55 handstand push-ups

Easy peasy, right? Um. Not so much.

When I arrived to the Friday Night Lights celebration, they were getting ready for the next heat. I warmed up a bit, but cheered on Jonathan and Logan as well. I didn’t feel out of sorts, but my mind was wandering. For some reason I wasn’t quite present in the moment.

I signed up with Stacy at the desk for a later heat, but someone moved around and I got moved up. I was going to go with Deana, Marino, and Hillary. Lyle was kind enough to volunteer to be my judge. Big John asked if I had a line on the wall for my HSPUs and Lyle and I already picked out a pre-existing one that was pretty close. I wasn’t going to get that far anyway.

And I had a plan when I started. Grab and go. Pick up the 225# bar and drop it. Don’t bother with touch and go, just drop at the top and start again. That worked great for the first 10 reps. I slowed down quickly after that, going in 3-5 rep chunks.

db2ec64665dfa509297672dc8ba00effWhen I hit the wall balls, I was already gassed. I had a few no-reps in the first 5 reps and struggled to get any rhythm going. I had a couple of sets of 5 but even with Lyle cheerleading and Dan coming over for encouragement and Jonathan’s good-natured harassment from the side, I fell further and further out of whack.

I could not catch my breath. Every rep felt like fire. I couldn’t see the clock, but time was not my friend.

And I really wanted to quit. I was swearing a lot. Lyle and Margaret were shouting to pick up the ball… get to the row. There was a disconnect between my brain and my body. The body was burning and the brain wanted to stop. The brain won more often than not.

So when I got done, I only managed 99 reps total. 55 deadlifts. 44 wall balls. And I never got to the row. Last year at least I got to the row.

I signed my paper, stumbled across the box to the wall, and sat down. I coughed and wheezed my way through the next 20-30 minutes unable to stop sweating like a pig. My body was not happy.


Once I was able to move again, I decided it was better to leave. I was a disappointment and not in my best mind. Better to just go home and hang out with the dog. So that’s what I did.

It’s funny. Of the workouts so far, this one is the one that kicked my ass the most and it’s one I did before. Go figure. I’m sure the next one will be worse.

Castro has done a good job of creating workouts that have kicked my ass consistently. I’m now at 2 scaled and 2 Rx this year. Let’s see what next week brings before we’re done for another year.

Some of last night was definitely my breathing. The other part was I set an expectation for myself and couldn’t manage to hit it. Such is life.

That was yesterday. Today is a new day. Time to stop dwelling.

So to everyone who did 17.4 last night — I salute you. Great work! Let’s do another one next week and call it done.


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