Three. Two. One. Go…

March 2, 2015

The CrossFit Open has begun. This week, the workout was this:


First, let me decode it: Open workouts are numbered by year, so “15” is the current season. The numbers and letters after the “point” signify the order in the series. This week, there were two workouts (.1 and .1a), expected to be performed against a running clock in 15 minutes.

AMRAP means “as many reps as possible” in the given time. The rep scheme 15-10-5 is frequently seen in CrossFit workouts. In this case we had to perform as many rounds as possible of 15 Toes To Bar (T2B), 10 Deadlifts, and 5 Snatches in 9 minutes. (Each movement counts for one point, so 15 T2B is worth 15 points.) Competitors are left with six minutes to reach their maximum Clean and Jerk lift. During the submissions period, you can attempt the workout as many times as you like, and turn in your best score—whether it was the first or the last—by the deadline. Strategically, most competitors choose to keep their results close to the vest until the last possible submission is in. That was today, at 5 P.M. PST.

On Friday, I made my first “go.” After practicing mobility movements and warming up with an 800m run, I scored 148 points, which means I nearly finished five full rounds. My grip and forearms were throbbing, so I rested for a full minute before I took my first lift. With a one rep max on the clean and jerk of #110, I made my first attempt at #95. Nailed it. Being cautious, I inched up: #100, #105, #110; after scoring at each of those weights, and with a few seconds left on the clock, I went for broke, and tried #120. And failed. Still, I had a respectable score on the books.

On Friday night, I had bodywork done: a painful but effective pressure point treatment that focused on hands and shoulders. Afterward, I watched video of my performance and, using a stopwatch, noted my progress throughout, like how many reps I’d reached by what point in time. I noticed that I reached the end of Round 3 in 5:30—could I get there on Monday in 5:00?

On Saturday, I spent about two hours in the gym, working alone and with a stopwatch, breaking down the elements of the previous day’s challenge to see exactly how fast I could perform a single round. After several attempts, I found that the fastest I could do 15 T2B was :55, within two seconds of the speed at which I had performed any of the five rounds I’d completed on Friday. But I found that by keeping the bar very close to my body during deadlifts, I could improve by :04 each round. And with snatches, I could save :05. So I could gain :45 if I maintained form on those two movements. And that would be just enough time to crank out 6-7 more T2B. I also hoped I could add two pounds to the Clean and Jerk. Making another attempt would be worth it.

Sunday was a day of rest. I stayed in my bathrobe all day and read every page of four newspapers and a few magazines. And I wrote out the times, down to the second, that I wanted to make in each round.

And today, I went in confident. In 9:00, I completed 154 reps, a six-point improvement over Friday’s number. I made my lift at #110. I failed #112. Still, these scores put me at 5th place Worldwide for the first workout of the CrossFit Open in 2015.

One down, four to go.

Mont Blanc 21315-11



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1 Comment

  • Reply Rev. Cathleen Cox March 4, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    As ever, my dear cousin, you are astonishing and an inspiration! I’m loving your new website and blog. As for me (in the fitness department) I am grateful to be able to say that 1) I am more regular at the gym of late than I had been, and it feels great 2) I am definitely more fit than when I began working out 5 years ago, and that’s something to be proud of 3) fate having cast my lot a year ago with a partner who is a serious backpacker, with thousands of miles under his belt (so to speak), I am now ramping up for a couple of weeks backpacking in Yosemite this summer. For you, this would be a walk in the park, for me it’s a bit of a challenge. Joy and success to you on the next leg of the journey – xo Cathy

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