The CrossFit Games Open 14.4 – My Own Worst Enemy

One of the things that surprised me the most throughout this journey – The CrossFit Games Open – Is the mental places it takes you. I walked in, knowing I wasn’t regionals material, knowing I wasn’t the best in my gym, knowing I probably would be closer to last. I walked in as confident as I could be, knowing it was just for fun. Still, it has definitely taken me places, mentally, that I just didn’t expect. Nothing made this more evident than 14.4 – The Chipper.

20140326-215824.jpgAnd boy-oh-boy was this a chipper. 14.4 was as follows

14 minute AMRAP:
60-calorie row
50 toes-to-bars
40 wall-ball shots, 20 / 14 lb.
30 cleans, 135 / 95 lb.
20 muscle-ups

This was the first time ever that rowing has shown up in the open. I’m not a huge fan of rowing, just because I have short legs and a short stride…so it’s very hard for me to be efficient, but it’s definitely not the worst way to start a workout. That being said, rowing can take a lot out of you, and going straight into that many toes-to-bar afterwards is pretty brutal. I have no problem with toes to bar, I was kind of hoping for them, and actually all the of the movements for this workout (with the exception of the muscle-ups) were well within my abilities, but…the volume. Watching the athletes do the workout during the announcement, and watching one of the coaches do it that night, it quickly became apparent that this combination of movements was way worse than it looked. I made a goal for myself of getting through the toes to bar. I struggle with grip endurance, so I knew I would have to pace this one.

I came into the box on Friday, and I taped my hands up to help with the grip. I wanted to give myself any advantage I could. I asked how people had been doing with it, and the coach mentioned that none of the girls had gotten past the toes to bar up until that point (it was still early in the game though). That made me want to reach my goal even more, but it also made me nervous.

3 – 2 -1 – GO!

I paced myself pretty well through the rowing. I think I averaged pretty solid for myself, and my stroke rate was pretty consistent. Still, it took me almost 4 minutes to pull the 60 calories. Then it was time for Toes-To-Bar. I started off pretty good, doing sets of 3 or 4. It quickly became apparent that the tape was nothing but a problem, so any time I jumped down to take a breath, I ripped some of the tape off. Then, around rep 20 or so, it happened. I hit a mental brick wall, big time. All of a sudden I was essentially paralyzed. I was hanging from the bar, psyching myself out, and this huge feeling of dread and doubt washed over me. I kept feeling like I couldn’t do it, even though I had just chipped my way through almost half of them. With every kip, I couldn’t bring myself to close my hips or swing my legs up. I jumped down and paced. This ate up a good minute of my time. I paced and breathed. I could do this, I can’t give up, Keep going, I kept telling myself. The coaches encouraged me to take my time, and keep going. Finally I broke through and did another rep. I was doing singles at this point. Jump up, rep, jump down, repeat. I didn’t even notice any pain in my grip, just that each rep was taking more and more out of me. Towards the end, I got three or four “no reps” in a row. My body was just giving out, and I couldn’t summon the extra strength or momentum to get my toes all the way to the bar. I pushed and pushed, but I was just done.

Then the time was up. I got through 45 of the 50 reps for Toes-To-Bar. 5 reps short of my goal. I was satisfied, since I had the highest score out of the girls up until that point, (and most people would go one to beat me, but that’s OK), so I felt I didn’t do terribly, but it still would have been nice to get to the wall balls. I think the most disappointing aspect, was that mental wall I hit. On one hand, it was profound and powerful to reach a point like that, and be able to break through it and free. On the other hand, I kept wondering if I hadn’t hit that wall, if I would have been able to reach my goal. I looked down at my hands, which were ripped up badly, and accepted that there was no way I was going to be able to re-do this. Some people can’t even do toes-to-bar, and I should be extremely proud of what I CAN do and have done up until this point.  20140326-215804.jpgNow I wait for tomorrow’s announcement of the final open workout. I honestly have no  clue what they could possibly throw at us. They have really challenged everyone this year, and I have no doubt that whatever they prescribe, I will gladly accept it with enthusiasm and the best of my abilities.

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