On some things I improved, like the wall ball, double under workout. On other things I didn't do great, like the snatch workout. I think what impacted me the most this year had nothing to do with my performance at all. I was able to do the workout each week and walk away satisfied. I only did one workout twice and that's because I busted my leg open on box jumps the first time.
My biggest takeaway from this year's Open is how much pressure people put on themselves during this season. In some respects, I understand it, I do it too. What would normally be just a workout for which you would come to the box and scale or just go after with intensity, suddenly becomes a workout that somehow reflects your self worth and becomes a matter of life and death. I saw people put out incredible efforts then walk away shaking their head because they didn't get 'enough.' I saw and heard people talk about doing workouts over because they thought they were capable of more...than someone else who got a better score. I heard people complain about not completing some component of the workout, despite the fact that NEVER before that day had they been capable to doing it (ie muscle ups). Of course we all do it, shake our head and comment on what could have been. There seems to be some kind of social rule that we should never reflect pride in our performance, especially when we are near the bottom of the leaderboard.
Ok, ready for me on my soapbox...
While I do believe pride can be a very dangerous attribute and should be tempered, I do not think showing satisfaction in one's performance equates to sin. In fact, I wish more people showed excitement for their accomplishments during the Open. So here's my advice if you choose to do the Open next year, or really any competition, or let's face it, any workout at all in CrossFit:
- When the clocks beeps that time is over, SMILE, and be excited for whatever you just did.
- When someone comes over and pounds your hand (because you are all sweaty and nasty) and says "good job," respond with "thank you" instead of "yea, I was hoping..." yada yada yada. That person took time to show you they thought you were awesome - be grateful.
- If you have never done a muscle up or chest to bar pull up before the day of the workout and you don't get one, don't walk around with a frown on your face. You are no further behind than you were yesterday. If you gave it your best attempt, know that that is more than most people give and that is all we ask for and you should ask for. Don't be greedy and expect miracles to happen every time you walk into the gym.
- If you accomplish something you have NEVER done before, like the before mentioned muscle up C2B pull up or weight, ring that bell when you are done so everyone can be excited. Celebrate it. When others celebrate their accomplishments, join them and don't fret about whether you did it or not.
- The number you post does not reflect you as a person. I can promise you that everyone watching is cheering for you whether you complete 15 thrusters and not a single pull up or whether you get through 90 and open Pandora's box of Fran. Sure, you can be frustrated with your score, but remember that who you are is reflected more in how you handle that frustration than what the number actually was.
- Finally, I am sure when you tell non-CrossFitters what you do on Saturdays for an 'extra' challenge or what you do 2-3 times a week, most people respond with something to the effect of "holy cow, I could never do that." Ever heard that? Yea, so when you do 90 wall balls and wish you had made it to 150 and through some double-unders, please remember that what you do is more than most people would even think about doing. You are an inspiration to a lot of people. Ok, so you couldn't snatch 75lbs even once? Most people don't even know what a snatch is. You got 'only' 4 chest to bar pull ups? I know people that dream of getting just one regular pullup. Be proud of what you do to get fitter and allow CrossFit to do just that. Don't let the frustration take away that this sport is designed to make your life better.
**If anything in this post offended you for any reason, please understand that most of my examples are slightly altered to protect the identity of the participant. I speak as much of my own attitude as other people, so this is as much a personal lesson as one for the masses.