Closer: My 2016 CrossFit Open

The Fit Life Blog

In 1987 I was a freshman in high school. That year I decided to try out for the sport of cross country. I knew little about running but I knew that I wanted to be successful.

That first year I tried my hardest but we came up well short of the ultimate goal which was to win the state championship. We didn’t even qualify to compete with the best.

In 1988 I had a year of running under my belt with a more clear vision of the goal. Our team knew what we needed to do and we executed. In the end we settled for 10th place. It was a year of getting stronger and learning. Our time was coming. We were getting closer…

In 1989 it all came together and we won the state title. In 1990 we did it again.

Why do I share this story? (By the way if you want to read the expanded story of our state title run in please read “The Pursuit“.)

It’s eerily familiar to my current CrossFit Games journey.

In 2014 I set a goal to go the to the CrossFit Games. The 2015 open was my freshman year. I learned a lot but didn’t find the success that I needed.

2016 is my sophomore season at the Open. I didn’t make it to the next step but I did get closer…

Honestly it stings a little to be THAT close to making it to the next step.

It also is great motivation because I can clearly see and I can FEEL that next step. So close….

To earn a spot in the qualifier this year I would have had to average 309th place in each event. It I take the average of my 4 best workout places it was 345.


Where did I go wrong?

Let’s take a look a the workouts.

16.1: 20 minute AMRAP of overhead walking lunges, bar facing burpees, overhead walking lunges and chest to bar pull-ups.

My finish: 575th

This was was a grind. I did pretty well but to be honest I thought I would have done better. It was the first workout so lots of people gave it there all so, all in all, I’m happy with my performance.

Takeaway: I need to get faster at pull-ups. Must learn butterfly pull-ups for sure.

16.2: toes to bar, double-unders and ascending weight squat cleans.

My finish: 1543.

Here is where I lost my chance to make it to the next level.

A little back story.

Back in October I hurt my shoulders pretty bad. While it wasn’t debilitating and didn’t require surgery, it did restrict my training a TON. I didn’t do toes to bar, anything on a ring, push-ups and burpees for several months. My injury was pretty much healed in time for 16.2 but I was super week at TTB because I basically didn’t do them for almost 4 months.

This cost me a chance to get to the 3rd round. If I had made it to the 3rd round I would have made the qualifier.

Takeaway: Toes to bar……

16.3: Light snatches and bar muscle ups.

My place: 316.

At the time this became my highest finish EVER in the CrossFit Open.

The irony is that it was the only Open workout that had ever been announced that actually scared me. When the workout was released I literally had only done EXACTLY one bar muscle up in my life. We didn’t even have a place to do them at our gym.

The workout was released on Thursday night and at noon on Friday we figured out a way to jerry rig our pull-up bar to work for bar muscle-ups. I did one and it hurt my shoulder a lot. Crap.

I did a couple of more and the pain went down. I gave the workout a shot and I did surprisingly well the first time. I did it a 2nd time a few days later and improved my score. At the time I thought I was back in the hunt for the qualifier.

I finally had a good score in the open. I didn’t know at the time but the next two workouts I would actually get BETTER….

Takeaway: I can do this. What an amazing confidence boast to crack the top 400 in a workout!

16.4: The chipper. 55 reps of deadlifts, wall ball, rowing for calories and handstand pushups.

My place: 315.

Last year there were handstand push-ups in the open for the first time. I was tremendously underprepared. It was actually my WORST score of the open. I was 2221st. I turned it around this year and had my BEST score EVER.

What a difference a year makes!

Takeaway: Need to get stronger. The deal lifts were tough for me at 225 pounds.

16.5: Death by thrusters and burpees.

My place: 175.

As it turned out there was no way for me to make the qualifier but I gave my best anyway and even redid this one for an additional 14 seconds. To finish 175th our of 20,898 is pretty amazing. It’s top .8% in the world. This means that out of ever 1000 masters in my age group that did the workout only 7 beat me. I am proud to have finished off the open in this manner.

So another open has come and gone. I did my best and I am hopeful for the future.

The goal all along has been to earn a spot at the CrossFir Games. The goal has not changed. The timeline has changed but not the goal.

I am pretty happy that I almost had a seamless open. I struggled with the TTB and the heavy squat cleans. Both of these can be explained by some injuries that I was fighting through. My weaknesses are identified and I will fight to make them strengths.

The last Open workout that I did was Monday at lunch time. At 5pm I was back at the gym working out again and I haven’t one of my two a day workouts since. I am fighting to get to Carson….

I may not have the most talent but I will not be outworked.

On I fight.

Have you listened to my podcast yet?

The fit Life Podcast

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