The Magic of the Open by Kelly Castellano
Everyone who knows me knows that I am a huge proponent of everyone doing the CrossFit Open. I get all excited every spring when the Open comes around again. I tell all of our members sign up for the Open and if you are unsure, talk to a coach and we will tell you why you absolutely should sign up. I have heard just about every excuse and, regardless, I will tell you to register. The Open is MAGIC. It is so hard, so fun, but also so exhausting, in a good way. We all make ourselves sick every Thursday waiting for Dave Castro to drop another bomb on us. This is when our community truly outshines all the rest. Every year that never changes.
Now the reason I love the Open really has nothing to do with me. This is my 5th Open and I am quite aware that I am not going to make it to Regionals, much less the Games. There really isn’t anything too exciting about what I will do. I set reasonable expectations, as I do for every workout or competition that I compete in and the same goes for the Open. And those expectations are to know what I am capable of and HOPEFULLY do just a little bit better than that. I know that I am not a gymnastics goddess, so when bar muscle ups come around, I just want to get at least one. The thing that gets me so excited about the Open is what it does to my athletes. For those athletes that have never been in a competitive CrossFit atmosphere (outside of what they feel during regular classes), this is their chance to experience that for the first time. THIS is where it happens.
If you are wondering why in the world would Dave program pull ups in a scaled workout? Why does he program that ridiculous weight that only a few people can lift? The reason is the MAGIC. He wants to hear the hundreds of stories of people pushing through and getting their first whatever their struggle is.
There is a question I hear over and over every year from my athletes. Should you do RX or Scaled? And I answer that question with another question. What kind of fight do you what? The answer is not the same for everyone. Should you go RX and fight for that chest to bar pull up/toes to bar/heavy snatch or should you go Scaled and fly through a lung burning WOD with hundreds of reps? That is the good stuff. Not everyone can get that hard, technical movement that they are fighting for but if they don’t, it always sparks a fire to go out and work on that weakness. This is where what seems like is impossible actually happens. The Open shows us where our faults lie. You know, the ones that we constantly avoid and scale through because they are hard. And I am no stranger to that. For every athlete that didn’t get that pull up during 17.2, I bet you they started practicing their kip after class. I have heard several stories in the week and a half since that workout of athletes who have achieved that goal already! MAGIC.
I did get to experience a little of that magic this year. 17.3 was announced and the 3rd weight was JUST over my 1RM snatch; a weight I hadn’t hit in quite a while at that. But I knew I was going to fight for that snatch knowing that there wouldn’t be the same atmosphere/ excitement/buzz any other time. Now was my chance! So as Friday Night Lights approached and we warmed up for our coaches’ heat to kick off the heat. I worked up in weight on my snatch and got to that 135#. Got set, pulled it, and missed it just a little bit forward. Okay… I need a little more power. Take 2. Set up, pulled and got under it but missed it backward. Whew. I got this!! Take 3 – nailed it. I was SO EXCITED!!! I was ready. Now, would I be able to do that again after all that other work? I have no idea but I was going to give it my all.
I get through the first 2 weights and make it to that 3rd game-changing round. Here we go! I take my time coming off the chest-to-bar pull ups to be sure I don’t wait my energy. Get ready and BOOM! I hit it! I have never been so excited in a workout! I could feel the energy of everyone else there with me. All I wanted was that one rep. Goal accomplished but I knew I had more. I went on to hit that same weight a total of 5 times! THAT is what it is all about! If I could make every athlete feel that, they would know all the struggle and work we go through is worth it! Pushing outside of your comfort zone and making $#!T happen!!
Is it too early to start recruiting for the Open next year?!