CrossFit Open 17.3: The Magic and a Mess Up

CrossFit Open 17.3: The Magic and a Mess Up

Aaaand I’m back with a recap of my Open workout 17.3. If you missed the first two workouts, read all about 17.1 and 17.2 first and I’ll meet ya back here for even more fitness.This latest Open workout is a little confusing at first glance, but essentially is an ascending ladder of pull-ups and a descending ladder of squat snatches with time caps that if met, “unlock” another time cap to continue the workout.  Here’s the official workout, Rx and scaled:

initial thoughts

Woof. Thumbs up for no dumbbells, at least?! This girl is still working on regular pull-ups, so chest-to-bars were out for me. Also, the Rx snatches are heavy for me. Unfortunately, the scaled version of 17.3 offered my least favorite way to scale pull-ups: jumping pull-ups. Could I have tried for that Rx score and yanked myself up there for a chest-to-bar? A few even? Probably…but y’all know my thoughts on scaling. So jumping pull-ups it was, but man I hate those.  It always feel like more of a workout for my legs than it is for my lats/arms/shoulders. 

I definitely scoffed at the 35-lb starting weight for the snatches (which I later regretted), and with my current snatch PR of 95-lb, my goal was just to get to that round. What I didn’t put together before doing this WOD was the total number of reps that had to be completed before I even got to 95-lb. Fifty four to be exact.  

the workout

3, 2, 1…I got right to work on the stupid jumping pull-ups and 35-lb snatches. The barbell by itself felt light and awkward, but by the rounds of 55-lb snatches my legs started fatiguing. I had totally underestimated this workout. 

I finished the first 6 rounds well within the 8 minute time cap and as such, earned the additional 4 minutes for the next 3 rounds (65-lb). Between reps, I tried really hard not to walk away from the barbell and just take a few deep breaths. 

The snatches were taking a toll on my quads, but also on my back. I don’t share much about it here (mostly because it doesn’t usually bother me), but I have a partially herniated disc in my lower back. The high volume of snatches wasn’t irritating that specifically, but I was definitely fatigued and my back felt tight. When I got to the round of 95-lb snatches, I took some rest, given that 95-lb is my current 1 rep max. My first attempt was a failure, but I was pulling it high enough to get under. I caught the next lift, but too far forward and I couldn’t stand up.

Here’s where the magic of CrossFit (and the Open) comes into play. After those failures, I started getting more of an audience.The coaches and other members gathered around me and wouldn’t let me give up on that barbell. The coaches and people I workout with day after day know what I am capable of and gave me the confidence to keep trying. This is one of my favorite things about CrossFit as a culture…the encouragement from people who know you can do something even when you aren’t completely sure of that yourself. And so, after a few more fails, I got one 95-lb snatch and then another.  

The snatch is still uncomfortable for me and I’ve been playing around with my hook-grip and widening my arms, so it’s a work in progress for sure. I finished with an official scaled score of 159 reps and am super happy about getting those two snatches at my previous 1 rep-max weight. If it wasn’t for the support around me, I know I would’ve just given up.

final thoughts

As I was typing this recap, I realized I screwed up and shorted myself on time for this WOD.  I finished the rounds of 75-lb snatches well under the 16-minute mark, so I should have had up to 20:00 on the clock to get through the round of 95-lb. Instead, I ended my workout at 16:00 on the clock, with no one realizing I had banked that much time. This is such a bummer because I could have taken much more time to rest between my attempts at 95-lb. Don’t get me wrong–I’m still happy with my score, but I probably could have successfully hit a few more. Dang it! I also screwed up a workout last year during the Open and it was one with jumping pull-ups. Confirmation that jumping pull-ups are not my friend!

Despite my mess up, I really enjoyed 17.3 and liked this format where you have to hit certain targets or times in order to keep going. If my back wasn’t being cranky, I may have considered redoing it but overall I’m happy with my performance! More importantly, I’m so glad the “magic” of the Open not only allowed me to hit my PR twice, but brought the fun community vibes of CrossFit back for me this week. It was definitely a welcome reminder!

Stay tuned for the last two workouts. Here’s hoping for no more dumbbells and definitely no repeats of 15.5 or 16.5!

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!