There are thousands of stories like mine, but this is my story.
I was just one year into my CrossFit experience when they started the first ever CrossFit Open in 2011. 10 minutes of 30 double-unders followed by 15 snatches (ground to overhead) at 75 pounds. For me at that time, it might as well have been 300 double-unders.
To say I wasn’t good at them is laughable. Literally, I had my coach Brian attempt to video my double-unders so I could see what I was doing wrong, and we were laughing so much that we couldn’t even use the video.
Back in the old days (three years ago) our box was nowhere near the spacious facility we have today. I ended up doing my workout in the parking lot with two other people. Up until then, I had possibly done 9 or 10 in a row but probably had to take 5 minutes to recover. The prospect of 30 unbroken reps was not realistic. I grabbed a rope, any rope (because let’s face it, did it really matter?) and set up my bar to get ready to go.
Selecting the jump rope reminded me of stories I’d heard about kids who got in trouble in the old days and their dad would tell them to go “get a switch” for which why would be whipped. This was basically what I was doing.
At the countdown of “3,2,1 Go!” I proceeded to whip and slap this jump rope all around my legs, feet, arms and hands over and over, occasionally hitting two or three double-unders at a time. At some point one of two things possible things happened. Either I finally accumulated 30 reps or, more likely, said “screw this” and just told myself “close enough” and then went to start on what I assumed was the “light” 75-pound snatches. All this at took five of the allotted 10 total minutes.
I need to clarify that I was not in any way actually registered for the Open so my score was not to be brought into question. I’ll spare you the details as to my second “round” of this workout but if you’d like a mental picture just reread the previous paragraph and picture me doing worse. After the buzzer mercifully sounded I was flat on my back and close to bleeding from a lot of places. Brian asked my score and I just said two rounds. Now, did I get two full rounds? I’d have to say that was not really what happened. Feel free to judge me because I’m sure this was the first time in recorded history that some guy made up a story to save face.
Fast forward to 14.1 on February 27.
I’m sure that a lot of people claim they “called it” when this announcement was made, but I did call it and I have witnesses. My actual statement was, “I really hope they do something like 11.1 because I did such an embarrassing job and I’d LOVE a second chance at that.”
I got my wish.
I watched the live announcement, saw the scores, talked it over with friends and colleagues, studied the coaching videos and read the articles about strategies. The main thing is that I am flat out better at CrossFit in 2014 than I was in 2011. My snatch PR is up from 95 pounds to 155 pounds. My max unbroken double-unders is up from a shaky 10 (on a good day) to around 80, and I regularly knock out sets of 50 plus.
The results: 2011 I scored and unofficial and VERY debatable 90(ish). 2014 on 14.1, in a group of 20 with an official judge, I scored 225 reps (5 full rounds). Is this scored going to send me to Regionals? Hell no. But did I prove to myself that if I work hard and something I was terrible at I could get better? Absolutely.
Common social trends point towards adding weight, slowing down and giving up on physical health as you age, but I (and countless others) am getting better the older I get. Often we hear “CrossFit is a fad, it’s a cult, it will go away, people get hurt, it’s dangerous ….” Whatever. What I know is that I do it. I love it. And it has made me a better man in every way possible.
14.2 is next week. I can’t wait.
Share your improvements and war stories from 14.1 with me at Jtolgrinder@gmail.com.
Good luck in the Open and Stay on the Grind.
Jamie Toland (JTol)