If you’re looking for a how-to-master-chest-to-bar-pullups-in-less-than-four-days article, you’re in the wrong place.
If you seek tips on how-to-warm-up-so-well-that-I-don’t-even-feel-those-overhead-lunges, then I’ve got nothing for you.
If you’re looking for a cure to that jumping-over-a-bar-between-burpees phobia, let me know if you find one.
But if you’ve done 16.1, and you cried (or barely managed to hold back tears), and you’re pretty certain that you’re a failure and that CrossFit is stupid and ruining your life, this is your article.
Because I am an expert in CrossFit Disappointment. And I’m also an expert in getting over it.
Since January 1, 2016 I have been healthy enough to CrossFit for a total of four weeks. For the last two weeks I have been unable to breathe without coughing up disgusting yet interesting chunks of who knows what. I fell asleep during the 16.1 Announcement. Tomorrow I will enter the box for the first time in 16 days and give 16.1 a whirl. Rx-style.
This will be my 3rd CrossFit Open. And it will be my best so far.
During my first Open in 2014, I achieved my first overhead squat at 65lbs and got my first chest to bar. I was both amazed at my progress but disappointed to the core that I hadn’t done better. At the end of 14.5, after nearly 30 minutes of bar-facing-burpees and thrusters, I collapsed. The weight of it all – on the bar, in my brain, from my expectations – carried me down.
Last year I was determined not to let the Open get to me. When 15.3 was announced and the Muscle-Up Cry was heard around the world, I didn’t even care. I went scaled, used a 10 lb wall-ball, and got to do single unders. It was a blast. But by the end of the Open, I was hating everyone (including myself), feeling like an idiot, and really questioning why I paid a monthly fee to experience an ego bashing.
This year I have every excuse to do badly. I’ve been sick. I’m older. I even took a break from CrossFit for a few months. But when I joined CrossFit Upheaval late last year, I made myself a deal. I would allow myself to CrossFit, but I wouldn’t allow myself to give it more importance than it deserved.
Here’s the True Barbellion 2016 CrossFit Open Guide to Coping with
1. Feel it.
Kick something. Go outside and yell a bit. Make a nasty face at someone who did well (This one is tricky. You probably really like the person who did well and you shouldn’t make a nasty face. But can you really be held accountable for your actions during times like this? So just make sure no one sees you make your nasty face at the nice person.). But take a few minutes and let it out. You can’t help the way you feel. You can decide what you’re going to do about it.
2. Stop, Drop and Roll.
Time to put out the fire. Why are you so upset? Was there a guy who just irritates the hell out of you and you can’t believe he did better than you? (And you know he knows you were hoping he’d fail, and now you’re pretty sure he’s gloating?) Were you a master at handstand push-ups until Mr. Castro added that little line on the wall? Did you spend 18 minutes out of 20 doing four chest-to-bars?
Figure out specifically why you’re so disappointed. “Because I thought I would do better” is not a reason. Be honest. Were you really, truly a master at what you messed up? Or are you upset you weren’t saved by a miracle? Did you even mess up? And is focusing on what went wrong completely overshadowing any success you had during the WOD?
3. Review Your Expectations
When you signed up for the Open, what did you expect would happen? While we’re on the topic, I would suggest taking a minute to think about your expectations for the Open. Write down some goals. What do you need to achieve during these five weeks in order to feel like you’ve succeeded?
I am working full time and going to school full time. I am also a full time wife. These other, more important commitments mean I do not spend a ton of time at the box. I am also in my mid-thirties. Is it truly a realistic expectation for me to measure up to Regional athletes? Or even younger or more dedicated members of my community? No. So why expect to?
The Open is not a time to become someone you aren’t. The Open is an opportunity to try things you wouldn’t normally try, go a little harder than your normal Monday WOD, and make fun of Dave Castro’s hair once a week.
4. Get Over It
Come on. Put it into perspective. If there’s one really bad thing about CrossFit, it’s the belief that you haven’t done well enough. You joined CrossFit to get in shape, improve your life, and strengthen your mind. Did you plan on developing these skills just so you could get better at CrossFit? If all your efforts at self-improvement are happening in the box or in relation to what will happen in the box, maybe it’s time to reevaluate some things.
Are you really going to ruin your day, or your spouse’s day, or your child’s day because you had a crappy workout?
Own your screw-ups. And if it’s really something you care about, work on it for ten months so it doesn’t trip you up in the next Open.
5. Remember Your Community
Every year my CrossFit community becomes more important to me. I can’t wait to do the Open workouts with my Upheaval friends. I can’t wait to watch the Open Announcements with them. I can’t wait to cheer them on (genuinely, I swear. No nasty face!), and let them cry. The Open is so freakin’ cool because for five weeks your community is almost 300,000 strong.
This is a celebration of all the work you’ve done, not an opportunity to belittle your efforts. Don’t make light of what you and your community accomplish. We all have different goals, abilities and priorities.
The best way to beat Open Devastation? If you can’t get over your own disappointment, help someone else get over theirs.
**A special thank you to Gabriel Sanchez for taking pictures and dealing with me on a Sunday evening.**