I didn’t sign up for the 2019 Open back in February because I wasn’t feeling like I could do my best at that point. I pretty much do worse every year in the Open, rankings-wise. And unless the workout is a straight up repeat of one I’ve done before, it’s really hard to gauge my own self-improvement. I hadn’t been running very much at that point in the year, and I also had a cold for a good two weeks during that time.

I decided to do the 2020 Open even though things haven’t changed all that much from February for me. Okay, I have gotten stronger since then, what with the Spartan training that I did. And I’ve been running again, which helps get my lungs in better shape for these challenges. And I have a much better attitude toward the whole thing right now. I’m just going to go out and do my best.

To that end, I signed up for Arbor CrossFit’s Open strategy class, Fridays at 6:30. The cost was not exorbitant, and I liked the idea of being in a group of people focused on doing their own bests. Not that that doesn’t happen on Sundays, but not everyone at Arbor is signed up for the Open (or even for the Fall League challenge at Arbor), so it’s a different energy. Just another workout for some folks, while others are striving to do their absolute best on this test.

I was a bit nervous before the first one, because what if these serious people were too serious for me? But I didn’t linger on that worry and I’m glad I didn’t, because it was all great people, most of whom I knew well already.

The class went well. I learned a new strategy for bar-facing burpees and did some practicing for the workout. Some people actually went ahead and did the workout that night, but I didn’t feel like doing it twice. The workout was 10 rounds of 8 ground-to-overhead (snatches or clean and jerks) and 10 bar-facing burpees with a 15 minute time cap. The Rx weight was 95 for men and 65 for women, with a two foot take-off jump over the bar required. The scaled weight was 65/45, with a step over the bar allowed rather than a jump.

I knew that for me the burpees would be the slowest part for me, and that slowness would carry over whether I was lifting 65 or 45 pounds. A 65 pound snatch is a heavy snatch for me at this point, but I got a chance at the strategy class to try out the weight, and I was able to lift it. By doing one rep at a time, I should be able to do my best for 15 minutes.

I had no illusions that I would finish the workout, but that would have been true scaled or Rx. So I chose to do Rx and test myself that way for this workout. In the strategy class, those of us who were not completing the whole workout went through 3 rounds. In those rounds, I worked out how to do the new burpee strategy, which involves a half turn in standing up and while it does have a two foot take-off, it doesn’t always have a two-foot landing (which is okay). I also noted that my time for 3 rounds was a bit over 7 minutes, which gave me a good goal for the real thing.

On Sunday, which was my birthday – thanks Dave Castro for giving everyone burpees for my birthday – I signed in to the 8 am class to go and do my test.

But I wasn’t in such a hurry that I went in the first heat. I needed to get someone to judge me, and, luckily, there were a few people there to watch and cheer, one of whom I was able to convince to judge for me. I told her my goal was to get 6 rounds and not stop moving.

I knew I wasn’t going to finish; not only are my burpees slow, but the 65 pounds for a ground to overhead is pretty heavy for me if I do a snatch and moderate if I do the slower clean and jerk. But I figured 6 plus rounds would be in my reach if I could keep myself moving for the whole 15 minutes.

Those 15 minutes passed fast! And painfully… but I managed to meet my goal and get 6 rounds plus 8 reps, thanks to some great encouragement from my judge. I stayed on to cheer and watch others do the workout, though no one else needed judging.

And as I watched others doing 20.1 at my gym, I felt a welling of tears in my eyes. My body has done more than I ever expected of it. And I have no reason to be ashamed of my body. If you’ve never felt ashamed of your body, then you might not understand why this felt so profound for me. I have never had the body that I was “supposed” to have. I’ve never been thin or skinny. I’ve never been athletic and toned. I have always been on the heavy side, and curvy, and padded. And my family was more likely to chide me for being overweight than be supportive of what I actually was or happy with what I could actually do.

I tried my best. I did my best. I didn’t quit. And that is what matters.

I started with snatches.

But 65 pounds is not an easy weight for me.

I stayed steady on the burpees.
And kept up the snatches as long as I could.

That was a good lockout overhead.
But I had to switch over to clean and jerks around the 3rd round.

Yeah, that’s about what I felt like at the end.

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