I looked up from where I was, trying to shut out the massive noise around me. Hands on my knees, trying to control my breathing, with saliva dripping out of me. I was ready to throw in the towel. I badly wanted this to be over.
Taking in the scene around me when I looked up, I smiled. Yes, I smiled. There was a Commonwealth Games weightlifting athlete shouting at me to pick up the bar. My buddies were counting down my rest time. They too, were screaming at me to pick up the bar. At that moment, I felt important. This was my performance. To give up was to let them, myself down.
The smile on my face got wider. I fully embraced the noise, walked back to bar, and continued my performance.
This happened during 14.5. It was probably the most mental Open WOD this year. Fitting end to the Open after 5 weeks. Nobody expected it to be this tough, even though we had an inkling of what was to come after Dave Castro, Director of the CrossFit Games said: “The clock will not save you. You either give up or quit” when he announced the WOD.
I had witnessed an incredible scene before it was my turn to attempt 14.5. One of our members, who was beyond exhausted, pleaded with his judge to stop the time. He wanted to give up. It was too much for him to handle that he even shouted at my coach to “shut up” when the poor guy was trying to encourage him. However, the community rallied behind him and cheered him to the finish line.
This was just one of the many stories that the Open had produced over 5 weeks, with many more stories appearing on my social media news feeds. There were stories of people getting their first muscle-ups, of people like the member in my box who found the marker on his previous limitations and placed it a little further away.
I am happy to share my own story.
2014 is my first year attempting the Open, a year after watching the live announcement of 13.5. I remembered watching Rich Froning, Jason Khalipa, Samantha Briggs and Camille Leblanc-Bazinet throwdown, which piqued my curiosity for CrossFit. Registering for the Open this year, I knew I wasn’t going to qualify for Regional, but I knew I was going to learn a lot about myself.
There were painful moments, there were frustrating moments. There were even moments when I questioned my decision to sign up for the Open. But all these were never going to replace the lessons I learnt about myself, about life.
14.1 taught me that anything was possible. No matter how behemoth the task I had before me, the effort to attempt something I thought was impossible was enough to produce results. That’s how I ended up with 60 double-unders in 10 mins, when I was expecting to spend 10 minutes trying to finish 30 double-unders.
I learned how important was it to control my emotions when things don’t go my way in 14.4. It was frustrating to get no-rep after no-rep during the wall balls. At one point I was even punching the ball after a no-rep. When I was stomping around after the WOD, trying to vent my anger, I wondered how different the situation would had been if I had been calm in the face of all those no-reps.
That can be translated in to life too. How you handle your emotions during a WOD is a reflection on how you handle your emotions in your daily life. And yes, this “stomping around, venting my anger” ritual is something I always did when things don’t go my way. It was childish and immature, and after 14.4, I took a deep and long look at myself.
Did the thought of repeating the WODs to get a better score on the leaderboard crossed my mind? Yes, after 14.4. Then I remembered that I went in to the Open with the goal of not repeating any of the WODs because I was going to do my best and giving my all with no regrets. No disrespect to those who repeated the WODs, because we all have different training objectives.
There will probably never be another competition as unique as the CrossFit Open because it allows you to challenge with the best of the best around the world and learn things about yourself you would never have otherwise learned. People like me would have realised that after the Open, the only competition that we have is ourselves. What is better than doing that and having fun at the same time?
This is my story of the CrossFit Open. What is yours?