In April 2018 I added something new to my fitness routine and began my Journey into the world of CrossFit.
It’s now almost a year later and true to form, and my competitive nature, I signed up to take part in the open. It’s just been revealed what 19.4 is and I figure now is as good a time as any to reflect on what I’ve learned during my first Open.
Everyone should sign up for the Open. Why – Because who wouldn’t want to challenge themselves to compete on a global scale? The atmosphere, community spirit, and feeling of belonging, that comes from the Box during the Open workouts (and Open re-do’s) is amazing. Before this month I’ve participated and slowly broken down my own socially awkward barriers, but during the Open it’s different.
I’ve found supporters, and idols during this past month – many of which are the amazing Juniors who train in our box, I mean can we just!!? They are absolute goals, and I wish I was half the athlete they are now. They make my heart bleed!
Community is a huge part of CrossFit – I have to admit, when first joining I didn’t buy into it. I didn’t go to meet new people, or have a new social outlet, I joined to turn up do a workout and improve my Roller Derby. But I don’t think you can truly be a part of CrossFit if you don’t go in head first and embrace the whole ethos. As a socially awkward human for me it’s taken a good 9-10 months to break down my own walls, but I think that would have taken less time if I hadn’t had the anxiety struggles and been more forgiving of myself.
Which brings me to my second learning from taking part in the open – Rx isn’t the goal – for me being able to compete at any level and put a score up is the goal, and if that means Scaling the prescribed workout who cares? Your coaches will always want you to push yourself out of your comfort zone, but if you can’t do Dubs (Double Unders), or you can’t do a Muscle Up they aren’t going to force you to do a skill if you aren’t able to.
It’s all about mastering the skills and building up and developing as an athlete in a structured way. As a Roller Derby Coach I follow the same structured method, and if anyone has a Coach who makes them feel guilty for not competing at Rx or belittling their Scaled efforts you’re clearly in the wrong box. Scaling is working on the skills that will get you to that first Muscle Up, Pull-Up, Dubs – make those your goals for next season. Use the open to give yourself focus on what you want to achieve over the next twelve months.
I’ve completed 1 of the 3 workouts so far at Rx, and I have had zero people make me feel any less of a competitor or shame from this. They have revelled in my victories as much as I have, they have cheered me to the last moments and supported me through my dark place (everyone goes to a dark place during certain WODs yeah?). They even put up with me swearing profusely at myself when I get in my head during a heavy lift. This is what the open is about.
The last thing that I have learned is that my body is strong, but so is my mind. I managed to get a PR during 19.2 that blew my tiny mind, I found something deep within the soul that pushed me to get that next target weight. That made my open – That was the day that I realized I can, but I have to engage my brain (or shut it off depending on what it is that’s holding me back). I have built up the physical strength, but not always the mental strength to pull it off. As a 75kg female, being able to squat clean 60% of my body weight (under fatigue) is something I never thought I’d achieve, for some that sounds like small change, for me that was a HUGE accomplishment.
I know I’m not going to be at the top of the leader board, but by competing I’ve learned a lot about myself, my goals and CrossFit as a sport. Here’s to the last two of this season… let’s have it!
NB: If you want to see how I’m doing you can search for me in the leaderboard under Claire Robinson (CrossFit Chester-Le-Street)