I watched the 20.5 announcement at home, and I just had a feeling that something was up when the first movement announced was 40 ring muscle ups. I was right; This workout of 40 ring muscle ups, 80 calories on the rower and 120 wall balls was different from any other Open workout that has come before it. Because in this workout, every athlete was free to choose their own rep scheme.

So for those of us who don’t have ring muscle ups, or maybe only have a few, we are free to complete the calories and wall balls and not worry about the muscle ups. The scaled version was the same for the calories, had a lighter wall ball and substituted chin over the bar pull-ups for the ring muscle ups. I figured it would be just as painful either way, so I went Rx, with the 14 pound wall ball. 

I really dislike wall balls, and I was not looking forward to 120 of them. At the Friday night workout, we talked about strategy and how to divvy things up. For those who were close to getting a first ring muscle up, it was advised to try and get one in the first five minutes, and then, if one was got, hurrying up to get through the row and wall balls – it wouldn’t make a difference for your score if you got 180 reps and one of them was a ring muscle up; someone who did 200 reps and got no ring muscle ups would be ranked higher.

Several of us tried practicing muscle ups, but no one who hadn’t already done one got one. I can do a ring pull-up, but I don’t have the strength to get through the transition, and I also, technically, don’t have a ring dip, so I probably wouldn’t be able to push myself to the finishing position if I did get through the transition. I know I can’t do one now, but I am determined that I will do one someday.

For the workout, I decided that I’d take 8 rounds of 15 wall balls and 10 calories. 15 wall balls is a doable set for me, and I prefer 8 rounds to 10. I wasn’t feeling very well (again) that night, so I decided to do a trial run but not actually complete the workout. I got through 3 of the 8 rounds in a little over 5 minutes, so I believed that I would be able to finish the workout when I did it on Sunday. Afterwards, we all chatted and hung out, and I am going to miss that class. I hope they do it again next year.

On Sunday, we were back to having two heats, so my friend and I got to judge each other. She did the scaled version and came pretty close to finishing. She was doing 10 rounds of 4 pull-ups, 12 wall balls and 8 calories. Oh – one of the annoying things about the workout was that the rower was supposed to be reset after each set, so you couldn’t have any rollover calories. At least the judges were allowed to reset the rowers so the athlete working didn’t have to worry about it.

When it was my turn, I executed my plan. I intentionally started with wall balls so that I would be fresher on the first set and so that I would finish those first. I went unbroken on the first 5 sets – 1 set more than I had hoped for. On the 6th set I broke at number 11, which was irritating. So on the 7th, I decided to break intentionally at 10, and then do another set of 10. That way, on round 8, I got to just do a set of 10. It was kind of nice to be able to re-figure my plan mid-workout.

On the row, I just pushed as hard as I could. I can sprint the rower for very short periods of time, but for this workout I didn’t want to burn myself out on the rower. So I didn’t go as fast as I possibly could; I just tried to keep a decent pace. Well, until the last round when I didn’t have any more wall balls to do. Then I let it rip, finished up, and collapsed.

I felt pretty good about the workout, and the Open overall. Even though I couldn’t replicate my handstand push-ups from 2018, I am stronger and more skilled than I used to be. The journey isn’t in a straight line, and that’s okay.

Judging time! Not that there’s a whole lot to judge on the rower.

On wall balls, I need to look for proper depth in the squat and the ball getting high enough. 
There goes my ball; It’s right on the 9. 
Row, row, row your Concept2….

I’m imagining that I’m going gently down a stream. 

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