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16.1: A True Grinder

The Open is here and we all have to power through the next five weeks, in sickness and in health. This is a story of facing the Open, even if your health isn’t wanting to cooperate this first week.


On Tuesday, February 23, two days before the announcement, I started feeling sick. I don’t remember being sick once in the past 365 days, but then right before the announcement of 16.1, I started coughing and sneezing all over and was having trouble breathing because of reduced lung capacity. This was not great news.

Needless to say that when the details of 16.1 were released — 20-minute AMRAP of 25-foot overhead walking lunges (95 pounds for men and 65 pounds for women), eight bar-facing burpees, 25-foot overhead walking lunges, eight chest-to-bar pull-ups — I was trying to figure out how I’d be able to do this given my poor health.

Illness and injuries are some of the things you can’t control. I popped in on Friday morning and helped count reps for the 5 a.m. class while the 6 a.m. group started to warm up. Watching them hit the floor in sweaty human piles after finishing this workout did not increase my optimism that my current condition would lend itself to a successful effort.

The question became, When should I do this? I’d already missed some of the week of training because with the illness coming on, I opted for more rest instead of early-morning workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday. My initial plan was to see whether I was going to feel better by Friday afternoon and then tackle it, but that didn’t pan out. I decided to rest as much as possible and complete it one way or another on Sunday. To my dismay, I woke up on Sunday morning with a sinus headache to go along with everything else. But I decided to get it done, so I headed in determined to put this thing to rest, even if I only got a round or two.

The thing about these situations is that you always seem to do better than you thought when you have a community pushing you to do more. I went into 16.1 with a plan to just keep moving and definitely breaking the pull-ups into singles from the start. With my coaches and fellow Open athletes cheering on, I trudged through five and half rounds and scored a decent 143 reps Rx. Not the best score and certainly a number that I think I could blow past if I was completely healthy, but just like injuries or other factors, getting sick is just something that happens. You can either suck it up, pick up the barbell and go or you can use it as an excuse to give up.

I picked up the barbell.

Over the weekend, I read numerous complaints about the lack of space in some affiliates to complete the overhead lunges. We are lucky enough to have a massive warehouse for our affiliate, so that wasn’t a factor. What I did see was (similar to the announcement of using a rower in 2014) affiliates reaching out to smaller gyms in their area and offering to let other gyms use their space so all their athletes could get 16.1 completed.

Also, some athletes, including Games athletes, were talking about how this was one of, if not THE, hardest Open workouts we have had to do. My response, “HELL NO.” Not even close. This wasn’t easy, but we have done a lot of workouts that were WAY worse than this one.

So what was your 16.1 experience like? Also, what do you think Dave Castro with have in mind for 16.2?

Stay on the grind.