The Open – Your Worst Nightmare

When 14.1 came out, I kind of turned my head sideways and said “Hmm, well that’s interesting.” For an Open competition that claims to be as inclusive as possible, I thought it odd that HQ would place a movement as limiting as double unders first…in the first workout no less. 14.1 came and went, and we had plenty of people post scores that were far lower than they’d have liked. But, they stuck it out (some even coming twice in the SAME DAY) for 10 minutes and held onto the excitement of the competition itself with the hope that “Next week is a chance to make up for it.”


And then, 14.2 came out.


I loved it. I think that the workout itself was crafted beautifully.


I think the test was fair and balanced.


Huh? What?


Reread that last sentence again: “I think the test was fair and balanced.” To me, that is what each of these workouts represent. A test of your abilities. More than that, it’s a test of your current abilities. Nothing more, nothing less.


As I read, and loved, reading the intricacies of this workout, I knew that there were many of our athletes that were absolutely cringing at having to do this one.  It was the nightmare sequel that followed the nightmare that was 14.1 The overhead squat is the most telling movement from a deficiency standpoint within all of CrossFit. And the C2B pull-up, well, it’s existence was simple – it’s a leader board separator for the elite. Plain and simple.


But what about being inclusive? And fun for everyone? And movements that everyone can do?


I hate to be the bearer of this news, but remember that he Open serves a few purposes…but none more important than this: To find the fittest.


Remember that the fittest person is the one who is most competent in ALL ten domains of physical fitness:


  1. Cardiorespiratory Endurance
  2. Stamina
  3. Speed
  4. Strength
  5. Power
  6. Agility
  7. Flexibility
  8. Accuracy
  9. Balance
  10. Coordination


There is no doubt that these first two workouts have done plenty to spread apart the leader board very early by testing all 10 of the above domains.


(I’ve said this before so I’ll say it again – you will gain far more fitness by simply working on the things that you HATE to see pop up than by working on the things that you love to do while in the box. How many of you have practiced your double unders since 14.1?)


But guess what, you have three weeks left. And these next three weeks will be more a test of your character and resolve as a CrossFitter than anything else. Its a chance to prove to yourself that even though things have been beyond tough and frustrating, you can complete this thing that you started. There is no turning back.


Still not convinced? Take a look at the things that happened so far amidst the “nightmare” that was 14.2 for so many:


  • Michael Grant was 5 reps away from breaking into round two
  • Alicia was content to post a ’10’, then spent the remainder of the time working on her band assisted toes to bar. Know what she got that very day before walking out the door? Her first UN-assisted toes to bar
  • Lisa Abell got FOUR chest-to-bar pull-ups
  • Tim G., who openly admits that the OHS is his achilles heel, did THIRTY SEVEN of them, at the RX’d weight
  • Mandy was SIX reps away from round two
  • Zack, with a bum elbow and on his own on Friday, got well into the 2nd round. He later told me that warming up with just the empty bar hurt
  • Crystal, having NEVER done even a regular unassisted pull-up, got TWO chest to bar pull-ups.
  • Stephanie U fought for her 10th C2B  pull-up then made it back to her bar with limited time to finish out 9 additional OHS
  • Kaliym was three reps shy of round two
  • Pam did 10 OHS AFTER participating in the 9am WOD
  • Eric Crouch dropped the bar and fell flat on his butt on his first rep and continued to finish 27 reps. As if that wasn’t enough, he decided to drop the bar across his nose on the last rep. He’s got a nice scar there now
  • Emily Foos, one of our high schoolers, had never attempted an OHS above 55lb until Saturday. Then, she performed TWO at 65lb
  • Kelly knocked out TWO C2B pull-ups. Then, probably not realizing I heard her, mumbled to herself: “well, now I know what I need to work on for the next year to come back even better.” Girls got fight!
  • Kris Perry was only FIVE reps shy of breaking into round two
  • Mark James, another arch-enemy of OHS, performed 32 of them
  • Todd H. strolled in just in time to go heads up with Justin Spadoni, and ended up getting his first EIGHT C2B pull-ups ever
  • Marcus (Jay’s coworker from MacDill), scored a total of 116 reps despite being no-repped on his OHS numerous times…And never once argued.
  • Stephanie Ball was proud to come in and get her TEN OHS, and then spent the rest of the time getting chin-over-the-bar unassisted pull-ups
  • Ashley A spent nearly the full three minutes to make sure all TEN of her OHS were plenty below parallel
  • Jordan, another high schooler, made it into round two and was ONE rep shy of his first set of 12 C2B pull-ups
  • Heather knocked out her ten OHS in about 12 seconds and spent literally the remainder of her 3min clock trying to get an unassisted pull-up
  • Brad was ONE pull-up away from getting back to his 2nd set of 10 OHS. While the rest of class continued the regular WOD, he decided to get back on the barbell even though his time was officially up
  • Tabrez had to squeeze his WOD in before the 10am class and was only 10 C2B away from the 2nd round
  • After practicing her C2B technique on Friday night, Sarah Rowley busted out TEN of them during the main event Saturday
  • Tim Weaver posted 67 reps…after catching grief about his OHS depth during warm-ups. Every single rep was good after he heard 3…2…1…GO!
  • Marc Z left NO doubt that his OHS were below parallel…then he got 3 C2B
  • Mike C was just FIVE reps away from the 3rd round. Watch out Justin Spadoni!
  • Mark G has fought every day since last years C2B WOD to get better at his. This year, he ended up performing 39 of them.
  • Jaci’s shoulder had been coming out of joint for the last few weeks, yet she fought HARD for all four of her OHS even after getting pinned at the bottom of the squat a few times
  • Justin Spadoni, having already tallied 86 reps on Friday, decided to jump in to a late heat on Saturday only to have his shoulder separate on his first set of 12 C2B. He fought through tears and single reps the rest of the way, even with the knowledge that he wouldn’t beat his previous score.
  • Eric Fuller devised a way to meet the standard and knocked out SEVEN OHS. Do you all know how much he hates that movement?
  • Leah fought hard for ALL 180 seconds to record her first ever OHS above the 45lb mark. It was a huge accomplishment!


Nightmare my rear end. I see a ton of fight and resolve to never give up. I see a bunch of success stories.


But it doesn’t matter what I think.


How do you feel about yourself?


Hopefully your answer is “DAMN PROUD!”


Hopefully you realize that your deficiencies are just opportunities to better yourself.


Hopefully you approach the next three weeks with a renewed sense of self that you came here to test your fitness. And that no matter the grade, you’ll continue to fight to get better than you were the day before.


Need an example to follow? How about 16 year old Marc Z:


Every day since 14.1 ended, Marc Z. has been spending at least 30min after every class (he’s present 6 days/week) practicing his double unders. On Saturday, after 14.2, he told me he’d like to repeat 14.1 in another week or two. I asked him: “Why? That workout is over now.” He responded: “I know it won’t count but I’ve been practicing my double unders a lot and they’ve gotten better, so I just want to see how much better I can do on that workout.”


That is the spirit of a CrossFitter. Always perusing improved fitness.


14.3 is coming. Who will be ready for WHATEVER they throw at us?
people working out in a group fitness class


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