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! 


16.4: The One Where My Legs Betrayed Me

Good morning! So it’s Thursday and I’m finally sharing my 16.4 CrossFit Open recap, rather than Monday when it should have been posted.  Honestly, I put off writing my recap this week because the workout didn’t involve a PR or crazy impressive CrossFit feat, so I didn’t feel like it was worth writing about.  It’s just so middle-of-the-road and I didn’t have much to say.  But I wanted to document my experience through the Open, so fiiiiine, here we are.   Remember last week when I missed the announcement on Thursday and ended up screwing up the workout?  I made sure that didn’t happen this week.  I went to the gym Thursday to workout and watch the announcement and came in ready to go on Friday.  For those who don’t know, here is what 16.4 looked like:


Once again, I found myself stuck in the weird space between Rx and scaled versions.  Though I haven’t retested my 1-rep max deadlift lately, 155-lb deadlifts are heavy for me and although it is doable, 55 repetitions is A LOT.  So I opted to go with scaled for 16.4.  It certainly looked like a burner, scaled or not, so I mentally prepared by reminding myself that no matter how rough it would get, the workout would be over in 13 minutes.

So 3, 2,1…deadlifts.  Fifty-five of them.  The scaled 95 pounds was easy enough to move at first, but I made sure to break them up to save myself in the long run.  I did 4 sets of 10, then 8, then 7.  By the time I hit 30 reps, I was already feeling tired but kept moving.  Those 55 reps seemed to take forever.  

Up next was my old friend the wall ball.  I’m pretty sure my first three attempts were all no-repped.  I had the whole ball spinning in the air without actually coming in contact with the wall situation going on.  Since wall balls are the worst for me and once again, 55 reps is a lot, I broke them up early and did sets of 10, then 5.  My judge did a great job of encouraging me to take a few breaths and then pick the ball right back up for my next set.  I think my saving grace was the fact that the scaled workout used 10-lb wall balls.  Thank goodness!

After the hellish wall balls came to an end, it was time to strap myself into the rower.  From watching others go before me, it seemed that this was the point where people went into the pain cave.  55 calories after 55 deadlifts and 55 wall-balls is just NOT fun.  Though I usually feel strong on the row, my legs were definitely feeling those previous 110 reps.  I focused on my breath, found a pace that I felt was sustainable and dialed in.  It wasn’t fun but I finished the row in 9:36, leaving me just over 3 minutes for the push-ups.

Getting off the rower and into a plank position to start my hand-release push-ups was an unbelievable struggle.  My legs were toast.  Plenty of people talk about having “bambi legs” during/after WODs, but this was a whole new sensation for me during push-ups!  I thought it would be all arms and chest, but my legs didn’t want to lock out and it threw me off balance for sure.  Push-ups are not my strong suit and I was already exhausted.  I tried to get through a few reps at a time, then pause to lower to my knees and shake out my arms.  In the last minute of the WOD I was doing 1 rep at a time and groaning my way through it.  I ended up getting through 38 of the 55 push-ups.

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Not 16.4, but basically how I felt after the row…

My final score was 203 reps (scaled) and I’m happy with that, knowing I gave it all I had.  Could I have done the workout Rx to get that Rx score on the leaderboard?  Sure, but I’m working hard to do what makes sense for me right now…and 55 super heavy deadlifts would not be smart.  And trust me, my Bambi legs were plenty sore after the scaled 16.4!

With 4 workouts down and 1 to go, I’m kind of ready to be done with the Open.  Tonight is the final announcement and I’m feeling a mixture of relief, excitement and dread.  I’m predicting thrusters and/or box jumps in this one, since those are two movements we haven’t seen yet.  Usually they repeat a workout from previous year’s Open, which hasn’t yet happened so that might be coming too!  Eek.  Fingers crossed it is NOT 15.5.  Stay tuned!

Have your legs ever deserted you in a workout?  Any guesses on the 16.5 workout? Share with me in the comments!