14.5: The Open Grinds to a Close

During 14.5 our resident grinder started to question many of his life choices, but he stuck with it and finished. Here's his story.
By Jamie Toland, CF-L1 ,

I feel like since basically everyone who had ever heard the word CrossFit was guessing that burpees and thrusters would be the two movements for 14.5, that Dave Castro would then make sure he did not program those two things. My mind went to the episode of Friends when Phoebe, Rachel and Joey all know about Monica and Chandler and decide to mess with them instead of just confronting them. Something to the effect of, “He knows that we all know about the thrusters and burpees, so now he IS going to program them just because everyone is thinking it’s burpees and thrusters because now we are sure he won’t program those because we think we know he’s going to change his mind.”

My thoughts became jumbled and unorganized. I became very James Joyce “stream-of-consciousness” mentally. This is the type of thing that attempting to figure Dave Castro’s mind out will do to a person’s psyche.

Then Castro did the unthinkable, he did what everyone expected him to do…almost. We got our burpees and thrusters, but we got them for time!

I can’t think of two movements that would be worse for me in a couplet than thrusters and burpees for time (in terms of things you’d find in the Open). But it is what it is. Almost 210,000 people around the world will be doing this so I don’t get a pass just because I suck at both of these.

My goals: finish and try not to embarrass myself too bad. I figured sub 20 minutes would be a goal but honestly this one will probably take closer to 25 minutes for me.

I’ll say that I didn’t game plan and prep this one as much as others because I just wanted to be done with it. I really had to force myself to go straight in on Friday and not try to delay the torture which I knew was coming my way.

Simple plan: break up everything from the word “go” and try to keep moving. I went with the 7-7-7 strategy straight out of the gate and it was fine. But much to my fear, I was immediately struggling with the first set of burpees. My mental plan was to focus my determination and positivity into getting through the round of 15 because I knew I would be more than halfway done at that point. This was the only thing that was going to give me the hope I needed to grind this one out. The round of 18 was excruciating even though I was able to be consistent and stay with the 6-6-6 thruster rep scheme I had planned out.

While thrusters were surprisingly going better than planned, the burpees were twice as horrible as I had even dreamt they would be. Hammering away at your arms, legs and shoulders in the sets of thrusters just does something to your lung capacity, which I began to find demoralizing. I knew by the round of 15, there was little chance of hitting the sub-20 minute mark and, honestly, I couldn’t have cared less. At this point in my life I just wanted for the thing I was doing to stop happening to me.

Earlier in the day I had commented that, “It’s only 20–25 minutes of my whole day. I have the entire rest of the day to NOT be doing 14.5.” That’s well and good, except when you are right in the middle of those 20–25 minutes.

I learned a lot about myself doing 14.5. I learned that if you go slowly enough, it’s possible to question a lot of your life choices mid-workout. I learned that I could possibly have the least efficient burpee movement of anyone at my box. I learned that I can get “Fran cough” mid-workout if it’s thruster based (that was a new one). I learned that no matter how awful a situation is I will finish and the people I train with will always be there with me in my worst moment as they have been with me in some of my best.

My time was 23:33. I’m not proud of it, but it’s my time. I’m not going to hide from it. I did it. I wanted to quit so bad, but I didn’t and regardless of how bad I think I did, I finished it and I completed the entire Open again. For that, I am proud and thankful I am physically and mentally able to accomplish this at almost 40 years old.

From past years of completing the Open I already knew what my favorite part was going to be: looking back. Not just because I am done, but the thing I love the most is typing in my name and seeing five scores next to it. I don’t care at all about the rank because that number will most likely never be significant to me. What matters is that I was given the work and I had the capacity, health and ability to take all five of these issued challenges and complete them as prescribed.

For so many that is winning the Open.

So the Open is over how did you do? I love to hear stories of triumphs and struggles. Share them with me at Jtolgrinder@gmail.com

Stay on the Grind.

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