Yesterday at Crossfit, we did one of the Open workouts. 14.4 to be exact. The last time I had tried that workout was in February of 2015. It was just before the Open, and we were practicing for it. Practicing for the Open meant pairing up and taking turns doing the workout and judging each other. I happened to be paired with one of the most athletic women there.

The workout is simple enough. 60 calorie row, 50 toes to bar, 40 wallballs (14 lbs for women), 30 cleans (95 lbs for women), 20 muscle ups. As many rounds as possible of those exercises in 14 minutes.

Back in February 2015, that did not go very well for me.

I got through the 60 calorie row. It took me a while, but I did it.

And then I spent the rest of the time desperately trying to do even a single toes to bar.

I got close several times, whiffing the bar with one shoe, but not both. I kept trying, even as it became obvious that my body was not ready for that movement. The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak.

I was so frustrated that day. I didn’t feel like I had gotten a good workout, because I spent most of my time not doing toes to bar. I was practically in tears by the time I walked home, and I was certain that I wouldn’t be participating in the Open.

But I spoke to other people who, like me, couldn’t do toes to bar (some of them had wisely just scaled the damn movement). And I was convinced that, because in 2015 there would be scaling options for the Open, that I could give it a try.

I did, and I enjoyed it.

When I saw this workout posted last night, I was excited. There have been a couple workouts in the last few weeks involving toes to bar, and I knew I could do them. I wasn’t entirely sure about 50 in a row in the time frame, but I could start them. I could beat my last attempt for sure.

We didn’t do it as a judged workout this time. Everyone judged themselves. I set up for the wallballs and the cleans, both with scaled weights (12 lbs and 55 lbs), but I didn’t bother to put much thought into what I would do instead of muscle ups. My focus was on conquering those toes to bar.

I took a slow and steady approach to the row, trying to keep my calories per hour above 800 and my stroke rate below 27. I surprised myself by not finishing last and headed over to the bar.

In mostly sets of 5, I worked my way slowly through 50 toes to bar. The only sets that weren’t 5 were the last 2. My toes missed the bar on rep number 49. I hit on the next one and dropped, leaving me still at 49. I had to hop up one last time to finish, despite the pain in my hands that grew worse with each rep.

There was less than a minute to go; I had no hope of completing 40 wallballs no matter how light I went. So I went rogue and borrowed someone else’s rx weight wallball (14 lbs), because she was busy doing the cleans and wouldn’t need it. I got in 6 reps. And since I didn’t make it to the movements that I couldn’t do at rx (the cleans would have been difficult and the muscle ups impossible), my workout was rx.

50 toes to bar. From 0 about 20 months ago. Progress can be slow. It can go in fits and starts. But I am making progress.

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