I have no idea what it would feel like to believe that I’m “ready” for all the twists, turns and challenges that the CrossFit Open throws at me every year. In 2011, I did most of the workouts with the other members of our box. Having barely been in CrossFit training for a year and with no scaling option, I completed three or four of the workouts and really did it more for the community aspect than any delusion about qualifying for Regionals.
The following year, I did all five workouts but didn’t register for the Open because I still thought it was for “real” athletes. I was too old, slow and weak to waste my money doing all the workouts in an official capacity or to make my scores accountable to the worldwide community.
In 2013, I registered for the first time officially and finished around 34,000th in the world. As I was already going to Regionals as a writer anyway, my place in the final standings didn’t matter to me as much as having the common experience of completing all five workouts the same way the athletes I was interviewing had.
Following that first official year, I have registered every single time — no questions asked. The fee is small, but the level of accountability is so much more beneficial for those of us who decide to put our scores out there for the whole world to see. My best finish was in 2015 (my first year as an official Masters athlete) when I finished around 5,000th in the world and 425th in the newly formed Central Regional.
But results aside, no matter the amount of training I put in, there is always a point during the Open when I feel like I’m in over my head. Last year, it was the bar muscle-ups. I was determined (at 42) to get one even though I had never even come close before. After practicing, coaching and pushing myself, I got not only one but seven. With the scaling option, one of the biggest challenges becomes deciding each week whether to push through the prescribed version or to scale it down and take a reduction in your score.
Even the most talented and accomplished CrossFit Regional and Games athletes still struggle with some of the workouts during the Open. But that’s just part of it — prepare for everything as best you can. Facing the unknown and unknowable each week will leave you feeling unprepared. As the saying goes, “The juice is worth the squeeze.”
So here we go, five weeks of challenges, successes and failures, all while finding out who we are along the way and pushing ourselves harder than we normally would.