The 2014 CrossFit Open season is now over; but for many, the competition season has just begun. For those of you who are moving on to the next round – be it Regionals or Masters Qualifier – a big congratulations is in order! The competition gets stiffer each year and you’re hard work has paid off!
But for those of you who, like me, are now entering your offseason, I’d like to encourage all of you to stop for a minute and reflect on your Open experience; both the good and the bad.
Sitting in 32nd place going into the last Open workout, The Foundry Printers Row is hoping to make their first ever team appearance at the North Central Regional in 2014. Contributing a top score for three of the as yet announced four workouts, Jenni Hartman, standing at only 5’4 and 140lbs, is definitely the team’s “big things in small packages” team player.
A wise friend once told me, “Humble pie is nutritious for even the best of us.”
It’s Tuesday, which means everyone who is participating in the 2014 CrossFit Games Open has already submitted their scores for last week’s chipper that ended with 20 muscle ups. Oh….muscle ups which according to Dave Castro is “an exposure of weakness. You should not go to Regionals if you do not have a ‘basic move’ like the muscle up.”
Whether you’re a CrossFit athlete or not, I think most of us can relate with the frustration that comes with holding yourself to a higher standard, to expect nothing but the best, yet falling short from time to time. These are the moments I would say we get that heavy serving of humble pie that tastes nothing like grandma’s key lime.
If you’ve met me, or have ever worked out with me, then you’ll know that I generally don’t prefer workouts that require me to “keep moving” – nor do I like my heart rate super elevated. Unless, of course, I’m doing something super cool like riding a roller coaster or sky diving. That sort of thing.
But here we are, only two weeks into the 2014 CrossFit Open season and thus far, all of the workouts have had a similar theme: Just. Keep. Moving. And. Do. It. Quickly.
CrossFit is known for “not specializing”, which is why it attracts so many loyal followers. But if you belong to a big gym like I do and you stop to look around the class that you are in, you’ll see people who are great at certain aspects of CrossFit. You have your endurance speed junkies, you have strong men (or women), and you have your ‘gymnastys’. I fall into the “Strong (wo)man” category; I like picking up very heavy weight in increments of 1-3 reps at a time, then sit and rest (ala Lucas Parker style) before having to lift again. Elevated heart rate? That’s for the birds!
It’s not uncommon for seasoned competitive athletes to take some time off from training and competing; whether it’s for a week or a month, or whether it’s from injury or burnout, it can happen to the best of us.
Canada West Athlete Steve Howell, who has been competing in the sport of CrossFit for the past five years, narrowly missed punching his gold ticket to the Games during both the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Although Steve was on the podium for 3rd place in 2012 (and missed 2nd place by only 3 points in 2011), CrossFit only takes the top 2 spots from the Canadian regions.
With the 2014 CrossFit Open starting in just two short weeks, everyone is preparing for competition in their own unique ways. Some people view the off-season as the hard part; the time where you put in all of the sweat, tears and blood, and the Open (and hopefully Regionals, and beyond) are the fun part, where you let loose and utilize all of the “gains” from the hard work you put in during the months leading up. Some people are cramming in any last minute skill sessions to try to perfect any “goats” that may show up in any of the five Open workouts.
I’m caught somewhere in the middle. Some days, I feel more ready than I’ve ever been. Other days, I’m frantically searching for a way to just freeze time, so that I have longer to prepare. Although freaking out is not a recommended way of preparation, there is no “one way” or “right way” to get ready for competition.
Strength in numbers.
The power of a community is unmistakeable. A group of individuals unified for a common cause can overcome most all odds in their quest. There is strength in the pack vs. the lone wolf. Take for example the town of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania recently highlighted by Huffington Post. When a family of six lost their house to a fire, strangers stepped in to provide temporary housing and help raise funds. This small at of kindness has not only shown these individuals what grace and love truly looks like, but has allowed them the opportunity to regain their footing after life knocked them down.
Or how about the community formed by a roster of 18-22 year old in Columbia, Missouri?
This past weekend I had the opportunity to compete in the Blue Star CrossFit “Bars and Stripes” Front Toward Hero competition. Other than the competition itself, I was most looking forward to watching the amputee division perform their workouts. Watching Mike and Krystal doing one-armed kettlebell swings, thrusters, push ups, wall ball, and many other CrossFit movements was inspiring to say the least.
While I didn’t get a chance to talk to either of them personally, I couldn’t help but leave the competition feeling as though I wanted to learn more about them and what they have had to overcome.
As the 2014 CrossFit Open season gears up, the community is buzzing with talks of who may be this season’s 2014 “Dark Horses”. After placing 11th at the 2013 South East Regional, Julian Serna has focused his off-season on improving his game and gaining the experience that he needs to reach the top. With 1st Place Overall Finishes at the Crush Games, Wodapalooza II and the 2014 OC Throwdown, Julian has assured that his name may be one of the names whispers when the discussion of Dark Horses arises.
“Regardless of what you want to do or who you are, fear will always see you as wholly unqualified for anything you ever dream or attempt.” – Jon Acuff
Fear has an ugly way of rearing its head any time you want to do something memorable. Or anything beyond lying on the couch and wasting away. It whispers doubts into your ears, haunts your mind with “you can’t” and tries its damnedest to point out your perceived shortcomings.