I remember my first CrossFit Open very vividly. I had no idea why I had signed up, or how I even did. Kevin has a way of persuading people and getting them to do things without them really knowing sometimes. CrossFit still had their terrible website, and I don’t think Facebook Live was a thing, so we waited for the announcement every Thursday night.

This was back in 2013 in the dungeons of Coppermine. Most of you haven’t known me that long, but let me tell you things were very different. I avoided most workouts with a burpee involved. I was probably still on green or blue bands for pull-ups, I avoided being watched by the coach. I only attended classes that Kevin coached because I was comfortable with him, to a point.  I was about 4 months in, had done a few in house competitions, and I was loving CrossFit. I was losing some weight and gaining a little bit of confidence. But I still wasn’t confident in myself, nor in my abilities.

The first workout was this:

Proceed through the sequence below completing as many reps as possible in 17 minutes of:
40 Burpees
45 pound Snatch, 30 reps
30 Burpees
75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
20 Burpees
100 pound Snatch, 30 reps
10 burpees
120 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible

I remember freaking out, thinking it was going to take my 17 minutes to do 40 burpees, and even if I somehow got through that, the 45lb snatches and the other 30 burpees, I couldn’t do a 75 lb snatch. I had never done that before! I think the most I had done was 55lbs. Well that week, I did at least 3. I can’t remember my final score, but I know it was a PR and I did it more than once. I remember watching Angie get 100lb snatch, catching it on one knee and somehow standing up!!! That was the first time any woman in the gym had hit 100lbs for a snatch and it was electrifying!

The second week was a blur.

The third week was, well, let me tell you. The workout was this:

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 12 minutes of:
150 Wall balls (14 lbs to 9′ target)
90 Double-unders
30 Muscle-ups

I remember looking at this and being like what, the, hell. I had JUST started using a 14lb wallball like the week before. Now I had to do 150 of them, and IF I finished, I would have to do double unders?! Something I had done once, but that might not have actually been one, I think I was just spinning my rope loudly. Back at the old spot, we had 9ft ceilings, so we had to do wallballs outside. It was mid to late February. I remember priding myself on being from the midwest, so I was ready to do them in the cold. Some people opted for what we called “the Serbian Shed”, a small closet inside that had high ceilings, and did them in there.

I grabbed someone to count me, Ivana, and we went to the wall. We started the clock. She was counting out loud for me “1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4”. I dropped the wall ball and looked at her. She said, you aren’t getting low enough! I took a deep breath and picked up the ball again, I started “5, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7” Again I dropped the ball. She said the ball wasn’t getting to the line. I could feel my tears start to build, my frustration coming out, and my mental game declining. I started telling myself I sucked, blah blah blah. This went on for 12 minutes. 12 minutes of Ivana being fair, and awesome and repeating numbers over and over, and 12 minutes of me crying and trying to get to 150. I believe my score after 12 minutes was like 120 wallballs, but I had to have done over 225 reps. I stormed out. I got in my car and started crying. I wasn’t mad at her, I honestly hated myself. How could I not do them? Why was I so awful? Why did I care so much!? I drove around angrily for 30 minutes. I got a message from Ivana “sorry for No-reping you….i just did what i thought was right but didnt wanna upset you.” But this wasn’t her fault, she was doing the right thing, holding me to the right standard, making me a better athlete. I at one point calmed down and drove back to the gym. I grabbed Angie, went into the Serbian shed, and re did the workout. I didn’t get all 150 but I did do better, and I still got no-repped. I left feeling ridiculous, yet still proud. That was the day I did over 350 wallballs. And probably one of the reasons I still CrossFit. Many of you have heard this story before, but for those who haven’t I hope you get something out of it.

CrossFit is crazy, just as crazy as those who do it. But it has changed my life. As has the Open. I didn’t log my scores that year, and I wish I had. But I did the next three years, and every single year I have improved. From 2014 to 2015 I improved 81 places in the region, from 2015 to 2016 I improved 309 places in the region, and 2016 to 2017 I improved 126 places. I hope that 2018 brings me more improvement. But this isn’t about me, see I am trying to use my story to help you build yours. We all have our own, but we all should be tracking our progress, and challenging ourselves. I hope that you sign up for the Open, as you could learn something about yourself.

Love,

Coach KP