Competition Isn’t Always About Finishing

Every year around February the CrossFit Open starts. It is 5 weeks of competing against any and every CrossFitter in the world who wants to compete. The reason they do it is to find the best athletes to go to the CrossFit Games that you see on TV where they compete for the title of “Fittest on Earth.” I do it just to see how I do compared to the year before, gauge my personal progress and to see how I stack up against my friends at my box (gym). I cannot believe that this year is my 5th CF Open competition. When I first did it I had no idea what it even was but my coach said I should do it, and he believed in me so I did too.

This past Friday was the second week of 5 workouts, and it was a TOUGH one. I thought the week before was bad because I had to snatch a 35-lbs. dumbbell over my head with 1 arm but this past week I had to do lunges with two 35-lbs. dumbbells and that was just the beginning. Here is a picture of the workout:

CrossFit Open 17.2 workout
Sure the lunges were enough to make me want to throw up a little in my mouth but I felt quite confident that I could use pure will and determination to get through them. I even thought that I might be able to do them quickly so I wouldn’t have to hold the dumbbells on my shoulders as long. I had visions of giving my brothers piggy back rides up the stairs and knew my short legs could take it. Next exercise… toes-to-bar… I could do that too. If I needed to break it up into smaller sets to preserve my grip strength then that is how I would approach them. Cleans with the dumbbells, ok, I can do those. Don’t get me wrong they sucked. My strategy here was to get all 8 as soon as possible and jot down my time for the tie breaker. MORE lunges next, fine! Toes-to-bar and cleans – check!

Now this is where I knew I was going to be in trouble both mentally and physically. To go into a workout where I am pretty confident I can do everything is great but when I go into a workout facing a movement that I did for 1 rep a year ago in the CF Open and haven’t even attempted since is a whole other ball game. Let me restate that… going into a workout when I know deep down in my soul that I am not going to get a bar muscle up this year. Not even one, not even close. That can mess with your head and crush you before the clock even starts.

So what did I do? I had 2 choices. I could stop trying and proceed to cheer on my friends in the same heat, basically quit OR I could keep on going to see what happened. This is the point in the workout where my plan fell into place. You see, I knew on this night that it wasn’t going to happen for me. Not only was I NOT going to finish but I was going to get to the point where I couldn’t continue because I couldn’t do the movement. It sucks to be all pumped up with adrenaline, the crowd cheering and to look at the clock with 6 more minutes and 22 seconds left and know all you have left in you is failed attempts.

Remember that plan I mentioned? Since I knew this would happen I pushed as hard as I could and went as fast as I could on the first part of the workout without draining my tank down to empty just in case. I didn’t put the weights down on rep 6 or 7 to rest like suggested so I wouldn’t have to do an extra rep when I picked them back up. I sucked it up and did all 8 reps in a row because I knew the only thing that would save me in this workout was that tie breaker time. In the event two or more athletes tie with the same number of reps completed they would look at who got to this part of the workout the fastest and that person would get more points. I kept going for the rest of the workout, and I got some chest-to-bar pull-ups while trying to get a bar muscle up. When I got done I was happy with my performance. For me this was about not losing it half way through the workout or feeling bad about myself. I was healthy, I did my best and worked my butt off. My plan worked for this week. Let’s see what next week brings.

Here is the video of my first round of lunges with the 35-lbs dumbbells and the toes-to-bar.


by Kerry Marraffino | Mar 8, 2017 | Crossfit


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