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.
The 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.
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 (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!