16.5: The One Where Mindset Mattered

And just like that, the 2016 CrossFit Open is over.  The announcement revealed that 16.5 would indeed be a repeat and ultimately a repeat of one of the ugliest workouts the Open has seen, 14.5.  I started CrossFit just after the 2014 CrossFit Open season, so I never did 14.5 myself, but I had long been a groupie and followed many bloggers who had written about their horrible experiences with it.  

CrossFit Open 16.5 (14.5)-3The workout is a descending ladder of thrusters and bar-facing burpees with NO time cap, meaning you have to finish all of the reps in order to get a score.  Gross.  To prepare, I re-read all of the 14.5 recaps I could find and strategized about how I would breakdown the movements.  Also, I spent most of Friday texting boyfriend funny 14.5/16.5 memes.

16.5 meme

16.5 meme 2

I decided to do the Rx version of this one, despite having never done 65 pound thrusters in a workout before.  I knew I would have to break the thrusters up into small and manageable chunks right from the get-go and I also knew how essential it would be to have a positive mindset to get through the pain-cave middle rounds.  I find the study of positive psychology SO interesting and having utilized mental strength for many long runs (and the marathon), I know it works.  Before the WOD, I even wrote 26.2 on my hand to remind myself of my biggest physical accomplishment to date.  Those little numbers on my hand served as a reminder that I can do hard things.  

Boyfriend and I completed the workout in separate heats, because I knew I would need him to coach me through the agony. Unfortunately, that meant he went first and I got to watch his suffer-fest before doing it myself.  

He did awesome, but it’s still a grueling workout to watch someone else do, especially when you’re trying not to psych yourself out.  When the clock started for me, I broke those thrusters into sets of 3 right from the beginning as planned and tried to remember to breathe.  


The rounds of 21 and 18 seemed to take for-ev-er, but I tried to just keep moving.  The thrusters felt heavy quickly and my arms were tiring from pushing up on the burpees.  More than once when I flopped to the floor, for a burpee I was tempted to just stay down and take a nap.  I can’t tell you how many times Boyfriend shouted “Kim get up! Get over that bar now!” at me.  Told you I needed him to push me on this one…

It was a huge struggle to maintain my positive mindset for this workout.  At some point someone next to me muttered “this sucks!” and I had to fight off that message from setting up shop in my own brain.  I mean, the workout did suck, but I had prepped myself to accept the suck and know I would get through it.  I have done hard things and I am capable of doing hard things.  In fact, I’m lucky to GET to do hard things like this.  I asked for it.  I paid money for it!  When people started finishing around me and I was only starting my round of 12, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t discouraged, but I fought through it and kept moving.  The movement was ugly and painful and slow, but it was progress.  I finished my last burpee at 19:14 and flopped onto the floor in complete exhaustion.  

16.5 after

16.5 (14.5) was easily the hardest workout I’ve done in my life.  But I didn’t die. 😉  The 2016 Open certainly ended with a bang and the thruster-burpee combo completely lived up to its scary reputation, physically and mentally.  In the end, I’m super proud that I finished and didn’t get lost in the pain cave.  Mindset matters, y’all.  Now go do hard things!  Except this workout…promise me you won’t do this workout!?

What’s your go-to mantra when things get hard?  How was 16.5 for you? Tell me about it in the comments! 


2 comments on “16.5: The One Where Mindset Mattered

    • Thanks, Annie! Who the heck cares what the time was really? You finished (and didn’t puke)! Congrats on finishing the Open, my strong friend! 🙂

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