What Is Someone Like Me Doing In The Open?

Posted: March 22, 2013 in 2013 Open, competing
Tags: ,

Hey! I’m glad you are here!  If you like this post, please don’t re-publish in whole, but excerpt a few lines and then link to it!  Thanks!!  

Tina | Notes From The Box | http://www.notesfromthebox.com

* * *

Why, you might wonder, would someone like me participate in the CrossFit Open?  Clearly, I am no Julie Foucher.

I take no offense. I have asked myself that a number of times lately.  Why am I doing this?  Is it not enough just to do the regular grueling WODs?  Do I really need to do the impossibly grueling WODs of the Open too?  Do I really need another thing in my life at which to fall short?

Yet, here I am, three rounds in, ranked somewhere in the lower end of a pack of thousands of women in my age group.  Even within my own box, I am bringing up the rear.  But it is impossible to feel badly about that when you’ve got boxmates and their spouses and grandma’s (not kidding about the spouses and grandmas) cheering you on, genuinely proud of your efforts, proud that you had the guts to sign up and show up and give it your best.

And even though I am swabbing the gym floor with my scores, participating in the Open has been well worth the $20 and humiliation for a number of reasons.

At the top of that list of reasons is that I now pay very close attention to my reps and whether or not they would pass muster under the watchful eye of a judge.  I found out in the practice WOD that no, they would not.  There is nothing worse (in this context) than a No-Rep, nothing worse than spending that energy and getting nothing in return PLUS the penalty of losing precious seconds AND having to do it again.  (And here I must applaud my judges for their fairness and kindness.  They hate to give no-reps.  I’ve only gotten a few so far and I absolutely deserved them.  And I absolutely hate them.)

Yes, properly performed reps will slow you down and take your WOD score down with it, and maybe your ego too.  But in the long run, developing the habit of performing reps as prescribed will make me a stronger and better athlete, and I am convinced that will be evident in next year’s Open.

Another reason doing the Open has been worth it is that it has “opened” my eyes to what I can do – which is way more than what I thought I could do.  Maybe it’s an act of self-preservation that I keep my expectations low, or maybe I just sell myself short, but in every round so far, I have out-performed my expectations.  Some will suggest that in the heat of competition that adrenaline kicks in and we dig deeper to find that extra strength but I am convinced that it does not come from somewhere inside but from somewhere on the side — in the cheers and shouted encouragements of my boxmates and their grandmas and spouses.  It’s borrowed strength.

The other thing that makes the Open worth it for me is that it’s the best possible measuring stick of progress.  When I compare where I am next year with what I did this year, I will have an accurate assessment of my progress.

And that’s what it’s all about for someone like me – progress.  I don’t hope, need or want to be at the top of any leader board.  I just want to get better, stronger, faster, more agile and more able so that I can enjoy the best of this one life that I have for as long as I can, and participating in the Open moves me in that direction.

So what is someone like me doing in the Open? Besides swabbing the deck with her scores?

Getting just a little better, faster, stronger, more agile and more able — one  rep at a time.

  1. well said my friend!!! <3 i 100% agree, and i don't think i could have stated it any better….. love this.

  2. Kathi Miller says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one wondering who I think I’m kidding competing with these uber-athletes! In reality, I am competing only with myself, and I’m proud to say that I’m 46 years old, a cancer survivor, and I’m doing the Open workouts with the 20 year olds in our gym! So. let’s go ladies — let’s get better, faster, stronger every day! (I love that saying!)

    • Matt says:

      The original post is incredible; so well said and it expresses what so many of us are feeling. Kathi- your story as a cancer survivor is truly inspirational. Seven years ago I was diagnosed with MS and spent some time where it was difficult for me to even walk. So when I was standing at that wall last week, or anytime I enter my box, I am truly grateful for what Crossfit has brought out in me and I’m proud to meet people like you. Good luck with 13.4!!

      • Kathi says:

        Matt, you are an inspiration! I am in awe of the human body whenever I have a good workout or try something new. I had breast cancer 2 years ago which required a mastectomy and chemo but I’m back and as strong as ever. Doesn’t it make you feel powerful to know you have MS and you are kicking butt in crossfit? You are amazing! Now if I can just get my 1 armed handstand…

    • Yay you Kathi and your great attitude. May God bless you in every way. ~Tina

  3. Robyn says:

    If I could put it into words without crying, this is what I would say if someone asked me the question. As it stands, I couldn’t even get through reading it without tearing up! It resonates so strongly with my feelings about CrossFit, in general, and more specifically, of course, the Open. Love this and thank you for posting it!

  4. William Giakas says:

    Doing and participating, even when you know you aren’t going to be the best (or even close to it) takes strength and courage. It is exhilarating just to be a part of this CrossFit family! And there is always room for each of us to improve.

  5. ccp says:

    I told my gym owner no to signing up three times before I realized he wasn’t going to give up. I’m near the bottom too but have a benchmark that I will attempt to better one year from now. I’ve spent $20 on a lot of dumb stuff in my life, but never on anything that has motivated me this much.

    • Amen to having spent $20 on a lot of dumb stuff!

      I went for a free class with a friend but said I wouldn’t sign up because it was too expensive. Then I said, ok, I’ll sign up for one month. Then just two months. My friend quit but I kept going. Now I’d give up my phone before I’d give up my CrossFit! ~Tina

  6. Brenda says:

    this is awesome…i, too, fall far, far short of a good score. i figure on coming in somewhere around the bottom 10-15%. but, i’m giving it my all, and i’m proud to be posting the scores i am, because, like you, i know they’re GOOD scores, and non-questionable. and, at the end of the day, while it’s nice to compare my fitness to thousands of others out there doing the open, i’m really just competing against myself, and pushing myself farther than i thought i could. watch out next year, though…i’m gonna beast it out! :)

  7. Alisia says:

    Very, very, very well said.

  8. Marie Chavez says:

    oh my God! There are others who know exactly how I feel even though I am bringing up the rear!! I am 57 yrs old, the oldest person in my gym and finally realized that I only need to improve MY score. Cheers to all the comments before mine as I so feel your pain and rejoice in your accomplishments!!!!

    • Teri DesOrmeaux says:

      Best of luck to you! I’m 57 and my son is the CrossFit gym owner. After getting daily texts from him about signing up for the open I finally gave in and did so! I’m tied for 4th in the region (I know the Masters region doesn’t count) and stare at my scores in disbelief! Son kept telling me that region doesn’t count but I told him for me, it’s what keeps me motivated. So far I’m 172 in the world in the Masters, never dreaming this could happen. Everyone in the gym calls me “momma”. Can’t tell you what this sport has done for me. The little voice in my head that says “I can” is finally screaming louder than the voice that says “I can’t”.

  9. Tami Ball says:

    You hit the nail on the head! I’m 50 and never did I think I would be so excited to be 500th and somethingth in my whole life. I too am careful about meeting the standards and have no-repped myself before my judge had a chance. The wall balls killed me but I did more than I ever have before. I tell myself that I am doing the same workout that women half my age are doing and that keeps me inspired. Thank you for putting into words the way I feel about the Open!

  10. Tin says:

    Reblogged this on "Running the Good Race" Stories and commented:
    Exactly my thoughts….

  11. Michelle says:

    Yes! I, too, am at the bottom of the heap and coming last at my box but I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve had to hit a PR each time I do an open workout just to make the weight and my scores have been pitifully low but you can’t wipe the smile off my face after each workout because I realise I can do so much more than I thought I could.

  12. Ruth Cordingley says:

    You read my mind.
    Someone who very rarely does an RX WOD.

  13. Loved reading this and as many, can sure relate. I particularly like the part of the pain of hearing “no reps” but also am grateful for a chance to REALLY be aware of my form from now on. I’m 61 and have been with cf for almost a year and it has been the most exhilarating, scary and physically demanding thing I have ever done. The results are beyond worth it but participating in the Open has been an honor. Hats off to all of you that forged ahead and signed up despite the fear.

  14. […] There may well be a few sore legs today after a heaving afternoon yesterday on 13.3. With that in mind, train smart today – if you’re not feeling it just come in and move around to ease the aches and pains. Here’s an interesting bit of reading for anyone who is wondering today why they signed up to The Open if it leaves them feeling like someone removed their quads last night What Is Someone Like Me Doing In The Open? […]

  15. Girl, you are absolutely on the same page as me! :) This has been an awesome experience (as I sit in 39,000th place after 13.2) and we are going to continue to grow and become even more awesome!

  16. EvolvingAmy says:

    I’m right there with you…only rather than exceeding my (fairly low) expectations as I did on 13.1 & 13.2, 13.3 kicked me squarely on the ass & reminded me how many times I’ve avoided WODs with wallballs! Clearly I need to work on them because getting as many no-reps as I did on that WOD was NO FUN! But I’m not sorry I entered the Open and it’s fun to see where I stand in the world, especially being at the very upper-end of my age group.

  17. Really needed this today. Thank you. I was so frustrated with my score on 13.3, but I am doing better than last year. Where I am in almost uncomparable to where I was a year ago. I need to keep that in perspective. I love participating in the Open for many of the reasons you listed. I need to let go of 13.3 and look ahead to the next WOD. Thanks for reminding me that we are not alone at the back end of the leader board!

  18. Peter Oates says:

    Yesterday was my birthday. As I stood there with a 20lb ball looking up at the 10ft mark I was thinking the exact same thing. Why the hell am I here? Well said and well done for competing. I am nearly always last in my class, my scores are practically always the slowest, weights lifted are the lightest…but as my late dad used to say, someone cant come first without someone coming second…or last for that matter! :) Crossfit game would be nothing without the 1000’s of average atheletes trying their best to get better. I always scoffed at the “community driven” lines I read before starting last august. Now I’m a believer and more importantly for me a follower of that mantra! Well done again and roll on 13.4! :) Although as a 5.5 male, I really dont ever want to see 150 wallballs again! :)

  19. Bill Peniston says:

    Very nice article!!

  20. Toni McElhaney says:

    Great read!! I’m with you in bringing up the rear!!! But hey, next year for sure we will have improved!!!

  21. Margaux says:

    Found this blog post from another coach from our gym, I absolutely love it! Keep up all you do and the amazing accomplishments that you have made so far. Love your attitude!

  22. Arianna Jimenez says:

    I couldn’t have said it better myself! Thank you for voicing my very own thoughts and fears and hopes and dreams so beautifully.

  23. You just described beautifully what I went through from 13.1-13.3. I just started CrossFit back in January and it has been a blessing and pure torture. I should’ve signed up for the Open but for some reason I thought to myself there is no way I’m competing with these athletes. Then after doing 13.1 I understood its really not to compete with these guys, but to measure myself and see where I stack up. Its actually been very motivating to me to know that I have gotten this far in just 2 months time. Great blog and great post!
    Please check out my blog if you get a chance as I am just starting out, want to see if there’s any improvements I could make to my content.

  24. StrongMommas says:

    LOVE THIS! Thanks for putting so many of our thoughts into words that others can understand. :)

  25. spadehands says:

    GREAT BLOG. First year competing in the open and I feel exactly the same. Thanks for sharing this.

  26. Jim Wojo says:

    I did 13.3 on my 4 month Crossfit Anniversary. I’m 59 years old and 4 months ago I was 32 pounds heavier and 9 % greater Body Fat. I’ve gone Paleo. My wife started at the same time and is more impressive in her accomplishments than I. She has not entered the Open but has embraced that challenge that is Crossfit. I love the sense of community in our box. There are many extremely talented buff athletes there and some have called us an inspiration to them. I’m almost beginning to believe them. I am way at the back of the pack on the leader board and my competitive nature is trying to ignore that fact. I can’t wait for next year. One thing I’ve learned doing the Open is how to try and plan the attack of the WOD and I plan on applying that to the WODs in the box. Had the pleasure of doing 13.2 while on vacation in Cabo/San Lucas. Beyond cool to learn the spirit of the Crossfit community transcends language and geography. I am so hooked on this!!

  27. […] CrossFit Open – What is someone like me doing in the open? Have you ever asked yourself this question during the last three weeks? Well here is a great article to show you exactly why you DID sign up and you ARE competing. https://notesfromthebox.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/what-is-someone-like-me-doing-in-the-open-2/ […]

  28. Keith says:

    I saw the Crossfit 2012 games on TV in December, loved every minute of it. Looked up the local box here in Australia, and did my first class about mid December and I am now hooked. I am addicted, can’t get enough of it. I at first ignored the invitation to join the open. Kept saying that I still had a lot to learn before I could do something like that. I was convinced to join and I have loved every gruelling rep and minute. I am 49yrs and I am competing against myself so watch out next year I will be beating my previous scores. Thank you to all those involved in putting all of this Crossfit together.

    • Jim Wojo says:

      “Walking tall” ……. Maybe ten minutes later after I crawl back to a standing position. :o) ~ Jim Wojo

  29. Jim says:

    Wonderful article and an equally amazing set of replies! There will always be someone faster, someone stronger, someone smarter, someone better looking ……. but there will never be anyone who feels more alive when you finish a WOD. Out of breath, dripping with sweat, and ready to drop ….. but walking tall with your feet 10′ off the ground. That’s Crossfit!

  30. Jennifer Ford says:

    This is my 2nd time doing the CrossFit Open and I almost did not sign up this year; for the very reasons listed in the editorial above. Yet this time around, I am heads and shoulders above my performance in the 2012 Open. I blew the LID off 13.3 getting much farther than 2012 and setting a record in the gym for Wall Balls. Knowing that a year of hard work, consistency and dedication to my daily WODs has made THIS MUCH difference is really something to be excited about. It’s like a final exam in my favorite subject; it’s still a test, it’ll still be hard, but it will be FUN to see where I stand!

    • I am so glad that you stopped by to share that story Jennifer – such a good reminder that every rep is worth it, that there is a payoff and that the Open is a great way to “collect” on all that hard work! Measured progress is an awesome motivator! ~Tina

  31. […] Games posted this link on Twitter last night and I couldn’t help but identify with every word of this post. […]

  32. Vicki Grover says:

    I’m turning 61 on Friday and am in my first Crossfit open. I was pretty discouraged after 13.3. It just about killed me to do 140 Wall balls, but at least i didn’t have to do double unders which still confound me. Having read this blog, I realized it’s hard for everyone and we all have our individual challenges and victories. I’m approaching 13.4 with a renewed attitude – thanks for the post and replies

  33. MegG says:

    This was perfectly said, I too am at the bottom of my box’s roster and I’ve been crossfitting for over 2 years. Until now crossfit was more about crosstraining and keeping me strong for running. My priorities switched and now while I’m still planning to run fast, I am taking more time and effort to get strong and accurate with crossfit. This is the ultimate way to be measured, and I can’t wait until next year rolls around and I can see how far I’ve come. Thanks for writing this, it hit the mark.

  34. Mary Beth price says:

    I grew up competing in horseshows. While that definitely has it’s own skill set, I was never your traditional athlete. I think carrying a couple of 20 gallon buckets of water at a time helped me be stronger, but I hadnever done anything like this. I get my plow cleared on a regular basis but I have never been more proud of my physical accomplishments! I am so grateful that I wandered into Crossfit Evergreen nearly two years ago!

  35. Joseph Croce says:

    AMEN I am not the only one feelings this. Three months into this Crossfit world and doing this to me was just a way to measure future progress. It has been fun though and I have made new friends in the “EXTRA” weekly wod for 13.whatever. My first 20 wall balls last week were no reps, I was not getting low enough but man it felt like I was hitting the floor. Good luck to all of us struggling through these workouts!

  36. Jackie says:

    Quoting bits of this to my facebook, wonderfully said. Thank you!

  37. […] to read: What Is Someone Like Me Doing In the Open? This blog post is me to a tee! Great […]

  38. thebexfactor says:

    This is me to a tee. I joined my box’s team this year under peer pressure. I’m 5 months post-baby and definitely not at a level I’d like to be for competition. I’m at the bottom of the roster for every WOD and I don’t care because I’m still hitting PR’s and accomplishing more than I expect myself to do. Great post, thanks for sharing!

  39. K says:

    Just wanted to say I love this post, especially this: ” I don’t hope, need or want to be at the top of any leader board. I just want to get better, stronger, faster, more agile and more able so that I can enjoy the best of this one life that I have for as long as I can…”
    Thank you for posting!

  40. […] ‘What Is Someone Like Me Doing In The Open?’, by Notes From The Box. […]

  41. […] you read any further, I need to refer every single one of you to What Is Someone Like Me Doing in the Open? She explains it better than I ever could. After you’ve read that, you can come back and keep […]

  42. Supers says:

    Love this post. I’m somewhere down the bottom in my region, at my box. But it’s been amazing for me to do WODs RXed and actually PB them. I managed to get one rep out on 13.4 at 95lb which was amazing as I struggled with the shoulder to overhead at 75lb on 13.2.

  43. […] What Is Someone Like Me Doing In The Open:nftb […]

  44. […] from: (here) “Why, you might wonder, would someone like me participate in the CrossFit Open? Clearly, I am […]

  45. […] And even though I am swabbing the gym floor with my scores, participating in the Open has been well worth the $20 and humiliation for a number of reasons. Keep Reading (from the blog Notes from the Box) […]

  46. […] What Is Someone Like Me Doing In The Open? (notesfromthebox.wordpress.com) […]

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