17.1 If you participate in Crossfit, you might recognize 17.1 as this year’s first Open workout. Now, I’m not a hardcore Crossfit enthusiast. At the end of August I switched from a HIIT focused gym to Crossfit. I switched for a few reasons:
- I wasn’t feeling as motivated to work hard. This is no fault of the gym I was at, it was my own mindset. I am super competitive and look to those who are more advanced to help push me forward. I’m very competitive with myself and am always thinking about achievements and readjusting current goals as I progress.
- Back in 2012, I tried Crossfit. I lasted a couple months and quit. I was mentally and physically not ready for that level of intensity. Crossfit claims that they can scale for all people, and for the most part I agree. And they had scaled for me, but I was too competitive and held way too much pride to accept being last in every workout. I hated being the weakest and the slowest, and I got frustrated and quit.
- I really wanted to build a lot more strength and that wasn’t happening at my current gym. Having small classes with good coaching was high on my priority list, so a big box gym was out of the question.
So, I spoke to and tried out several Crossfit gyms and ended up at the one I had quit several years before. I really needed to succeed where I had failed in the past. And I’ve been there since the very end of August 2016.
It’s only been six months and what possessed me to sign up for the Crossfit Games? In part because I’m competitive and in part because I like to see achievable progress. I really had no idea what to expect and I set just a couple goals for the next 5 weeks:
- Complete all five workouts
- Try to beat the clock
- Finish in top 50% of women in my age group.
I feel like this is achievable and then next year I can set new goals based on what happens this year, which brings me to 17.1
My heart dropped reading the workout. Burpees. I hate burpees. Not as much as I hate running or manmakers, but burpees aren’t too far behind. Box jumps. I’m still working on the mental hurdle to actually jump on the box (I’m jumping on to 4 – 45 pound plates right now). This is clearly an endurance workout. Goodbye lungs.
I already knew I’d be scaling the workouts this year because I’m still new and I don’t have the strength or endurance at this point, and I’m okay with it. The old me wouldn’t be as generous, but life has a way of changing you sometimes and I’m a bit more kind to myself these days.
Even with scaling (doing step ups versus jumping) and using a 20 lb. dumbbell instead of the prescribed 35 pound dumbbell, I wasn’t sure I could finish in the time limit. The 20 minute clock was going to be tough to beat, so my only goal was to complete 17.1 in the allocated time.
I knew going in, I had to pace myself and not jump out fast because I’d fail halfway through. Coming up with a plan when to take breaks was paramount because I struggle getting back into it once I stop, so I had to be strategic about when to give myself a chance to breathe. I had a feeling my shoulders would fatigue towards the end and wanted to allow a couple small pauses during that long span of 40 and 50 dumbbell snatches. Burpee box jumps are taxing on the lungs and I couldn’t stop during those or I might not start back up and thus planned to not take any breaks during that portion of the workout.
With my game plan set, I jumped at the chance to be in the first group. I hate sitting around waiting. Let me go first any day, whether it be a workout, a speech, or a test. It doesn’t matter. I want to get things out of the way, and the more stressful they are, the more I want to be first. Some people like to go later in order to pick up strategies along the way by watching those who go early. More power to them! I’m sure I teach a LOT of people what not to do, and I’m completely okay with that!
Jumping into the workout, I screwed things up pretty quick (not getting both feet on the box, not letting the dumbbell totally touch the ground), things I had to repeat and wasted precious energy, but eventually, by the end of round 1, I settled into a routine, the nerves strangled by an already severe lack of oxygen. Round 2 and 3 were okay. Somewhere towards the end of round 3, I started to doubt that I’d physically be able to finish. A quick glance at the clock forced me to do a double take. I was torn between relief that my time wasn’t bad and I’d actually have a chance to finish coupled with abject horror that there was so much time left on the clock and wondering if I could hold on for duration.
The second half of round 4 was where things became more mental than physical. My body was shaking, my legs struggled to get on the box and I tripped once or twice trying to complete a step up. Attempting to get off the ground from the burpee became an intense challenge I hadn’t anticipated. My arms and shoulders were fatigued already and lifting my body back to an upright position was taxing my minimal reserves. I kept moving, albeit slow, but I created a rhythm, and kept to it, my 8 step movement that moved me from burpee to box step to another burpee on the other side of the box.
Round 5 was pure tunnel vision. One movement. Then another. Followed by another. I didn’t care what the clock said, I just wanted it all to end. It was up to me to finish, and the sooner I completed one movement, the sooner I could move on to the next, taking me one step closer to completing this horrific workout. I somehow managed to get every repetition done in under 20 minutes.
I’m not sure I am mentally ready for four more weeks of this craziness, but I still have several days to find the right mindset.