a crossfitter’s diary | the open, weeks 1 & 2

Gina Rae Miller Photography Crossfit 165

Years ago, I Blogged a few “Running Diaries” when I started running 5Ks with my husband. It was fun to track my progress and keep a little record of my thoughts as a new runner.

I started Crossfit in August. I keep a VERY detailed diary of my progress by way of Instagram, (Check #ginascrossfitjourney) but I’ve never Blogged about my experience. Until tonight. It takes a while to plan Blog entries and include the pictures I want. I sit with ideas of entries in my head and then when it comes to executing them, eh, I lose steam. =P But I had two cups of coffee tonight so here you go, a fresh Blog entry from me! If you’re not into Crossfit, you may want to skip this entry. And oh, we probably can’t be friends. :)

Gina Rae Miller Photography Crossfit 165

Gina Rae Miller Photography Crossfit 165The plight of the photographer. Everybody else gets cool “real” photos and she has to rely on iPhone shots and mirror selfies. =P

After my coach’s repeated recommendations, my husband and I signed up for the Crossfit Open. What exactly is the Open you may wonder? It is a series of workouts (or WODs AKA “Workout Of the Day”). 5 to be exact. One gets released each Thursday evening, live. Then you have Friday-Monday to complete the WOD and submit your scores. Yes you are judged. This initially turned me off. In fact, I thought ALL of Crossfit was like this. People watching and judging your reps and movements. It isn’t. Don’t be fooled in case you stumble upon pictures lately of people staring down other gym members trying to lift some weight off the ground. You don’t always have a judge with a whiteboard scoring you. ;)

Gina Rae Miller Photography Crossfit 165

So back to the Open. We signed up. We were told “It will be fun!” and we were going to do the workouts as a gym anyway, so…. sign up!  I am in the Womens Scaled division. My husband is in the First Responders division and thus far, has been RXing the workouts (doing the prescribed weights AKA heavier crap). There really is something for everyone here.

Last week was the first WOD. 16.1 <– official name. It was long. It was brutal. It seems like I completed it a lifetime ago so my thoughts regarding it aren’t as fresh in my mind. I was on Cloud 9 last Friday after I got it done. I. Got. It. Done. That is all I really wanted. To not flake out. To not walk into the box, see this and be intimidated and want to run away.

Gina Rae Miller Photography Crossfit 165

I saw the tape lines and instead was like “Lets just do this!”

This Friday, WOD 16.2.  After I saw it’s announcement Thursday night and saw the weights, I was like “Ok, not getting out of Round 3”.  This is a classic Crossfitter’s mindset. Well, wait. Maybe not the negativity part (that’s just a little Gina special) but the plotting and planning definitely is. You see a WOD and immediately start to plan your attack. What you know you can do, what you think you can do, what you may do if pigs decide to sprout wings that morning…

I will try to explain briefly without sounding too “Crossfit cultish” (but I think you do need a little explanation if you have no idea what I am talking about. This won’t even make sense). Here is this week’s workout, for me:

The Crossfit Open 16.2 Womens Scaled

4-min. AMRAP + bonus time:

25 hanging knee raises
50 single-unders (jump rope)
15 squat cleans*

Time extends 4 minutes each time a round is completed.

* Reps decrease. Load increases.

Round 1: 55 pounds (15 squat cleans)  Round 2: 75 pounds (13)  Round 3: 95 pounds (11)  Round 4: 115 pounds (9)   Round 5: 135 pounds (7)

The last time I did any sort of one-rep max power clean, I hit 110 pounds. So you can see where my mind was like “You’re not getting into Round 4″ once I saw the weight was 115 pounds. 9 times.

My body felt differently though.

I went into the gym Friday morning for my standard 9:30am class (I workout faithfully M-F at 9:30am unless there’s an extenuating circumstance. And if there is an extenuating circumstance, it kind of ruins my whole day. =P )

My Coach asked if anyone was planning on 16.2 and when I said I thought we were all going to tackle it, he said “Nope. You don’t have to do the workout today. We have another WOD planned”. But A- I psyched myself up to do it at 9:30am on Friday and uh, B- I was kind of dressed for the part.

Gina Rae Miller Photography Crossfit 165I feel the need to put my Fashion degree to use somehow.

See? Cute workout pants were on. I needed to get this workout done. This outfit was no accident my friends. No accident.

Four of us did it. Two vs. two. We judged one another. I went up against my friend Melissa. We stood at the rig, ready for our hanging knee raises to start. We gave each other a high five. And then that pesky little wall clock starting the 10 second countdown and I had a few thoughts in my head:

1- I want to puke.
2- Why am I doing this?
3- Can I go home and do it this weekend instead?
4- My pants are on point!

Just kidding. I thought #4 earlier at home when I got dressed but not when I was standing under the bars.

I have similar thoughts before ALL of my WODs. I always think “Why am I here?” LOL But I know why I am there. Because I LOVE it! I feel strong and powerful and soooooo accomplished when I am done! But that doesn’t mean my mind doesn’t always play games with me and tries to psych me out before every. single. workout. I just don’t listen. If I did, I’d never start a workout.  Ever. I grab the bar or the ball or the rower and I just start, because I know I have to be stonger than the doubts circling through my head. Crossfit is half strength, half mental clarity. I am always fuzzy on the mental part. =P

So 16.2. I had those thoughts for the 10 second countdown and then I just jumped up, gripped the bar and started those hanging knee raises. I was going to get this workout done!

The workout went in 4 minute increments. Every round you finish bought you another 4 minutes. Sounds sweet at first until time starts going really fast and the weights start getting really heavy. Lets skip ahead to Round 4 AKA 115 pounds….

I did the hanging knee raises. I did the single-unders. I looked at my barbell, loaded with four ten pound plates on each side (pretty impressive looking when they’re all stacked up like that) and thought “Not happening”. Unfortunately, I had that thought out loud and my coach heard me. ha! He said “What do you mean “Not happening?” How do you know? I’ve seen people get their first muscle-ups in competitions!” (Muscle-ups AKA another crazy hard movement). My friend and for those 16 minutes, rival (heehee), was always 5 or so reps ahead of me. I knew I needed to do something to pull ahead and make this workout something to talk about with my husband later. I just looked at the bar, took a deep breath and friggin’ PULLED.

And I did it! I passed my previous PR and set a new one during the Open: 115 pounds cleaned and front squatted. I took a deep breath, pulled hard, had fast elbows and caught one hundred and fifteen pounds right on my collar bone (it doesn’t sound as painful as you might think. If you catch it right, it actually feels friggin’ fantastic!)

I could have stopped there and been happy. My Coach said “Pick it up again!”

And I did.

I picked it up again 3 more times for a total of four 115 pound squat cleans. I honestly felt I could have done a few more, given I had more time. It was a combo of the adrenaline, the fact I was already a sweaty mess, and you know, I wore the good pants.

I finished 16.2 in the 4th round at 343 reps. I am so happy with my score! People Crossfit for many reasons. People do the Open to advance to the Regionals and then the Games. I am a mom of 3 who just really wanted to be stronger and fitter. That’s why I walked into those doors (scared out of my ever-loving mind back in August!) I just try to beat my own scores and have something to talk about with my husband. ;) I’m not looking to be the biggest and best. I am always looking to improve and get stronger.  If I can feel like I accomplished something in my own mind, I win. And that’s exactly what has happened the past two Fridays of the Open. Do I have the highest scores in all the Crossfit land? No way. I don’t even have the top scores in my gym! But that’s not what I’ve ever been aiming for. I set small goals, like small little orange cones on an obstacle course, and I just methodically aim to hit each one.

Here’s the cool thing about Crossfit though. And I get it. If you’re not a part of it, you feel we are a “cult”. Frankly, I think you sound ridiculous when you say that and like you really don’t know what you are talking about, but I will give you a pass. People tend to mock things they don’t understand. It’s fine. But we are just a REALLY cool group of people who cheer one another on constantly, and I feel you should know that. Nobody is poking one another, pointing and laughing. We actually WANT you to do well!

After my heat, two of my friends had their turn. And one of them got into the 4th round as well, with plenty of time to spare to beat my score. Coach said “You need 5 reps to beat Gina” and I said “I am gonna cheer for you anyway!” Yes, I was rooting someone on to beat me because in the end, what did it matter? Nobody could take my score from me and this isn’t like a make or break for me to advance. I am a scaled athlete just trying my best. So I cheered her on and she beat me by two reps! And I was happy for her. :) In a world where everybody snickers, sneers and judges everybody else on the daily, I can understand why this is a foreign concept to the majority. Open your mind. Not everybody is out to see you fail.

Gina Rae Miller Photography Crossfit 165

Gina Rae Miller Photography Crossfit 165Strong women raise the bar! 16.2 ~ BOOM!

I went to the box this morning to watch a dozen or so members compete and tackle their 16.2s. It is such a great feeling cheering others on and seeing them do well. Crossfit is empowering. It kind of takes over your whole being but in a good way. Strong mind, strong body, healthier eating, healthy routines, for me it’s been something fun and awesome to do with my husband (we may have been told we are “hashtag couple goals”. I mean, I’m just saying….) My kids are kind of into watching what we do, my muscles are growing, I am a stronger, healthier individual than I was this time last year, I hang out with cool people every morning just throwing some weights around and my husband says I look great in my leggings so yeah, there’s that. ;)

I know a lot of people who tell me they are scared to walk into a box. Don’t be! I was too, but I walked in anyway. You need to do the same. Nobody else can walk in for you. You can be scared but don’t let it stop you from starting. Really, what have you got to lose?

Gina Rae Miller Photography Crossfit 165

 

Gina Rae Miller Photography Crossfit 165The hubs completing 16.1 last weekend.

Gina Rae Miller Photography Crossfit 165

Gina Rae Miller Photography Crossfit 165Sometimes, you’re just dead.

Gina Rae Miller Photography Crossfit 165

Any Crossfitters who stumble upon this entry, best of luck with 16.3!

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