The first first (ha) is participating in the CrossFit Open. I started CrossFit in May, so I hadn’t begun my forray into CrossFit in time for the Open last year. Honestly, even if I had, I doubt I would have participated because I had no confidence whatsoever in my CrossFit abilities back then and was very timid. The Open is a pretty deal at my CrossFit gym in Chicago. Every Friday at 7 PM, they host “Friday Night Lights” and encourage everyone to come and complete the Open workout for that week and cheer on their friends. To officially participate in the Open, you must complete the workouts as prescribed (Rx), but my CrossFit gym also offers scaled options (Ry and Rz) for an intra-gym competition so that EVERYONE can participate and complete each workout, regardless of skill/fitness level.
CrossFit is founded on the principle of general physical preparedness, so there is always an element of surprise incorporated into the Open, Regionals, and the Games themselves. That’s one of the things that makes the CrossFit Games distinct from other types of competitions – each year, the athletes never know exactly how they will be tested – the events of the Games generally aren’t released until the day before or day of the event, and they change every year. The Open is the first step of getting to the Games. Top athletes from the Open progress on to Regionals, and then the top finishers at Regionals move on to the Games, which is the best of the best. However, the Open is for everyone. The workout is announced each Thursday night and then everyone has until 5 PM PST the following Monday to complete the workout and submit their score. This goes on for five weeks.
I registered to participate in the Open before I could talk myself out of it. They announced the first Open workout (referred to as 14.1) last night. It ended up being a repeat of the first Open workout of 2011 (11.1) – 10 minute AMRAP (as many rounds/reps as possible) of 30 double-unders and 15 power snatches (75 lbs men/55 lbs women). I can’t say I was too thrilled. Although I can do double-unders, my ability to do them consistently and without stopping is hit or miss sometimes. And the snatch, well that is my weakest CrossFit movement. In fact, my one rep max for squat snatch isn’t that much higher than the prescribed weight. However, I also thought it was fitting that my first Open workout was comprised solely of two exercises I had never done until I started CrossFit. I definitely had a lot of anxiety about it. I knew it was silly to be nervous because I am just doing the Open for fun with nothing on the line, but I didn’t want to make a fool of myself. I wanted to beast mode this workout.
I wasn’t able to do Friday Night Lights this week (thanks to another of my weekend “firsts”), so I woke up early and did the workout at 8 AM. Much to my relief, it was determined that for 14.1, you could do either snatch OR clean and jerk. I am MUCH more proficient at clean and jerk than I am at snatch. My one rep max for clean and jerk is almost double the Rx weight of 55 lbs, which makes the Rx weight far more manageable for me in this movement. Anyway, I did the workout and was able to complete 178 reps (almost 4 full rounds) in the allotted 10 minutes. I won’t be winning any awards for my performance, but I am super proud of the fact that not only did I do my first CrossFit Open workout, but that I did it Rx.
So now, with 14.1 safely behind me, I can look forward to what I think will be an amazing weekend. I tried out a church in Chicago a few weeks ago called Park Community Church. While I was there, they were promoting their Singles Ski Retreat Weekend. Although I didn’t know anyone at the church, I felt like it was something I should do. I mean, what better way to meet more people and build more friendships? I registered without giving myself an opportunity to talk myself out of it, which is good, because I definitely felt like backing out at various points this week.
There are like 200 people going on this trip, which to me, is overwhelming (especially since I don’t know anyone). Oh, and have I mentioned that I’ve never been skiing before? Or on a church retreat? Heck, I’ve never even been to Wisconsin (where the retreat is being held). But at some point this week, my mindset switched from one of fear and doubt to one of enthusiasm and optimism. The retreat seems to be very well-organized, and I connected by email and text with the guys I am carpooling with a few days ago, which did a lot to put my mind at ease. I honestly felt led by God to participate in this retreat, and because of that, I expect great things to come from it. So, I am super excited to see the great state of Wisconsin, figure out whether I like snowsports, and to meet and spend some time in fellowship with a ton of single, twenty and thirty-something Christians.
Never having experienced something before often scares people away from trying it when they get the chance. I fortunately hold the opposite attitude. Never done it before and get the chance? Seize it. Kinda scary and definitely uncomfortable? Run toward it, not away from it. Growth comes from embracing the things that scare me, whether it’s trying CrossFit for the first time, moving to a new city, or putting myself out there amongst a bunch of strangers.
Regret never accompanies courage.