The 9,251st Fittest Man on Earth

Last year, the Open was my first competition. I loved it and have done several local competitions over the year.

I’ve improved a lot in the last year, but how much? There’s not really a good way to measure up against the rest of the CrossFit community, other than the Open, so I was really looking forward to the 2013 Games.

I learned a lot in my 2nd Open…

  • CrossFit works. If you’re consistent and dedicated, you’ll see amazing results and do things you didn’t think were possible.
  • The CrossFit community an a whole, in different regions, and in each box is more amazing than we realize.
  • There will always new ways to format a WOD.
  • Expect the unexpected. Be prepared for the “unknown and the unknowable” is what we like to say in CrossFit.
  • We all have weaknesses and we will always have weaknesses. With hard work, we can turn some of them into strengths and improve others.
  • Competition can bring out the best in people.

My goal for this year’s Open was to be above average and finish in the top 50% of men. After the first workout I realized that goal was too easy and I bumped it to the top 25% of men. No small task, considering I finished 16,395th out of 22,183 in 2012, which put me beating 26% of the men.

After 5 workouts, I ended up 9,251st out of 46,227 men (those that submitted scores for all 5 workouts), which is the top 20%! Bottom 26% to top 20% in one year…HELL YEAH! I couldn’t be happier with that progress.

This year’s Open was actually a rough start for me. I placed 18,903rd in 13.1 and was pretty disappointed right after the workout. Here is what I wrote in my recap…

I was disappointed (and still am a bit), but then I realized that last year in 12.1 I got 92 burpees in 7 minutes and in 12.2 I got 36 snatches in 10 minutes. In this combined 17 minute WOD I got 82 burpees and 60 snatches. Hell of an improvement, so I’m going to chalk this up as a win. The snatch is one of my weakest movements, so I ended up pretty well and I’m way ahead of pace to finish above average in the Open.

It was nothing but up from there. In 13.2 I placed 10,012th in the world, jumping me up almost 6,000 spots in the overall ranking, to 12,969th. The workout they decided to reuse from last year was my best 2012 result, so I was thrilled to give it another shot a year later. I had a great improvement for 13.3, doing muscle-ups for the first time in a WOD! I ranked 9,246th on the workout, which would be my highest ranked workout for the 2nd year in a row, moving me up to 10,326th in the overall ranks.

I’m not a fan of redoing workouts in the Open, but due to timing my plan was to tackle the 4th workout twice. I hit 13.4 right after the announcement, because I was starting the road trip from Phoenix back to Saginaw the next morning and wanted to get in a score in case I didn’t make it home in time for a real attempt. Then I gave it another go back at my home box Survival Fitness. The extra time to come up with a strategy allowed me to make a nice improvement on that safety score. I ended up placing 10,568th is the world on the workout, moving me up once again overall, cracking the top 10k at 9,851st in the world.

I was really hoping not to see C2B Pull-ups and Thrusters come back for the final workout, but I should have known better. After throwing down in the workout, I’m glad I had to do them though. In 13.5 I was 11,527th which moved me up to my final spot of 9,251st.

What an amazing journey it’s been in the last 12 months of CrossFit. I’ve improved in so much, but the Open shows us what we need to work on. I’ve created a list of things to focus on for the next few months. Some of them are directly related to the Open workouts and others are things I knew going in.

  • OLY (snatch, clean, and jerk) technique. Keep improving hip extension.
  • Get unbroken MU and figure out wrist turnover during the transition.
  • T2B completely die out over the course of a WOD. Hips stop working, so need better endurance.
  • Get 1RM back squat closer to deadlift.
  • Strengthen upper body.
  • Increase OHS.
  • Learn C2B butterfly pull-ups.
  • Handstand without a wall and handstand walk.

How was your Open and what are you going to work on?

2013 CrossFit Games Open Workout 13.5

Yesterday my body was absolutely wrecked after training for a total of about 6 hours Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. I took the day off and even took an hour nap around 4pm. After 13.5 was announced last night I figured I’d give it a go today as long as I didn’t feel like shit. At 4 minutes, how bad can it be? So I went in around 4:30 to warm-up and hit it at 5pm.

Warm-up

  • 750m Row
  • 10/10 Leg Swings (F-B, S-S)
  • Light thrusters

Open Workout 13.5

4:00 AMRAP

  • 15 Thrusters (100#)
  • 15 C2B Pull-ups

* If 90 reps (3 rounds) are completed in under 4 minutes, time extends to 8 minutes.
* If 180 reps (6 rounds) are completed in under 8 minutes, time extends to 12 minutes.
* If 270 reps (9 rounds) are completed in under 12 minutes, time extends to 16 minutes.
* Etc.

After getting 82 reps Monday on the 12.5 Fran ladder with 95#, I figured 60 was a realistic number to shoot for in this 4 minute WOD. With all sets being 15 reps there is a lot less transition time so pacing should overall be faster.

I planned to do 8-7 or 9-6 on the first 15 thrusters but felt good, so went unbroken. I stuck with my plan to go 5-5-5 on the first round of C2B and it worked well, keeping me away from the point of failure. I think my first round was done in around 1:20. In round number 2 I planned to go 5-5-5 on the thrusters, but again felt good so went 9-6. I didn’t have a plan for the C2B because I knew I’d be feeling the burn at this point. I did 5-4-3-3. I hit my goal! Then back to thrusters to go 5-6 and that last rep was a struggle. I don’t think I could have done a 7th if I had time left, so I think I attacked it pretty well. 71 reps in total, 11 more than my goal!

When I hit that point of muscle failure I’m pretty much dead from there on out, so I’m not sure trying to stretch out my sets would have helped me at all. Probably would have caused me to be hitting singles in that second round of C2B and wasting a lot of time dropping off and jumping back on the bar. I’m thinking I won’t hit this one again, but may give it a go on Sunday just for fun and try to push closer to failure to see what happens since it’s only 4 minutes.

The did some work with Kevin…

Warmed up bench press with 10 @ 45#, 5 @ 135#, and 5 @ 165#.

Strength

10:00 EMOM

  • Odd minutes: 5 Bench Press (165#)
  • Even minutes: 5 Weighted Pull-ups (15# DB)

I was a little fatigued from the WOD, so went easy on the weights to make sure I could get all of the reps in.

Conditioning

5 Rounds each

  • 20 cal Air Dyne
  • DUs until partner completes their 20 cal

Boy that Air Dyne is a bitch.

Finisher

10-8-6-4-2

  • HR Push-ups
  • Pistols
  • American KBS (71# KB)

Went unbroken on everything and finished in 4:06. Nice little WOD and some more good conditioning.

2013 CrossFit Games Open Workout 13.4 (Redo)

welcome-back-balloonsI arrived home in Saginaw, MI at about 1pm yesterday. My Survival Fitness (CrossFit Saginaw) family surprised me with a welcome back party at the gym last night. I thought I was going in to witness a 13.4 throwdown between Matt and Casey, but they got me good. I felt bad not drinking with everyone, but I was exhausted so I wanted to be able to get a quality night of sleep, plus I was doing 13.4 today.

I didn’t get quite as much sleep as I hoped for, but it sure is nice to be back home in my kick ass bed. Went in early to warm-up and got going head-to-head with Brent a little after 11am. I scored a 73 in my first attempt, but knew I could smoke that score. I was hoping to get up close to 90 if I could execute the strategy improvements I wanted to.

I warmed up with a 500m row, some PVC pass-thrus, a bunch of stretching and rolling, and some TnG C&J reps at 95# and 135#.

Open Workout 13.4

Complete as many reps as possible in 7 minutes following the rep scheme below:

  • 3 Clean & Jerk (135#)
  • 3 T2B
  • 6 Clean & Jerk (135#)
  • 6 T2B
  • 9 Clean & Jerk (135#)
  • 9 T2B
  • 12 Clean & Jerk (135#)
  • 12 T2B
  • 15 Clean & Jerk (135#)
  • 15 T2B
  • 18 Clean & Jerk (135#)
  • 18 T2B
  • If you complete the round of 18, go on to 21. If you complete 21, go on to 24, etc.

I wanted to get through the 3 & 6 sets of C&J unbroken and I did. I also wanted to get through all of the T2B through 12 unbroken, but I had to break up the 12 with a quick jump off the bar and then back on. Matt was there yelling at me not to take the step away from the bar when I went to singles and it really helped me a lot. I knew I was in good shape when I got to the round of 15s over 30 seconds faster than my first attempt. I think I had somewhere between 20 and 30 seconds to get the 15 T2B done, but my hips were not having it. I struggled to get 7 reps. Had the time to get really close to 90, but my body said no. I’m really happy with a 9 rep improvement though. I knew I had a lot more in the tank than what my first attempt showed, but that’s understandable since I did it right after the announcement with no time to strategize.

2013 CrossFit Games Open Workout 13.4 (A Safety Run)

I’m hitting the road back to Michigan early in the morning. It’s been a great 3 months in Phoenix but I’m excited to get home. Since the trip is 3 days I wanted to make sure to get in a score on 13.4 in case I got stuck on the road and don’t make it home as planned. I should get home on Saturday afternoon or right though and be ready to hit this one again on Sunday with my Survival Fitness family.

After doing 100 pull-ups and 100 push-ups in yesterday’s WOD I was really hoping not to see pull-ups in 13.4. I got my wish, but I’m not sure jerks were any better because my shoulders were pretty fried today.

I warmed up with a 500m row, some PVC pass-thrus, and some clean and jerks with increasing weights up to the 135#.

Open Workout 13.4

Complete as many reps as possible in 7 minutes following the rep scheme below:

  • 3 Clean & Jerk (135#)
  • 3 T2B
  • 6 Clean & Jerk (135#)
  • 6 T2B
  • 9 Clean & Jerk (135#)
  • 9 T2B
  • 12 Clean & Jerk (135#)
  • 12 T2B
  • 15 Clean & Jerk (135#)
  • 15 T2B
  • 18 Clean & Jerk (135#)
  • 18 T2B
  • If you complete the round of 18, go on to 21. If you complete 21, go on to 24, etc.

I finished the 12s and got 13 of the 15 C&J for a score of 73 total reps. I dropped every single C&J. I also broke up the 9 T2B into 5-4 and the 12 into 6-6. My buddy Adam, did in with me and we’re usually back and forth depending on the WOD. He did the 3 and 6 C&J as touch-n-go and didn’t break up any T2B until the round of 15, where he finished 13 of them. So his total score was 88. To be honest, this workout really didn’t feel too bad. It’s hard, but I think I’ve felt worse doing Grace because the C&J reps are not broken up there like here where you get a change of pace with the T2B.

I’m confident when I do this again on Sunday I can follow a similar strategy to Adam, maybe even get in a couple of C&J doubles in the round of 9 or 12. I also did mostly push presses like a jackass when I planned to start with jerks from the beginning. If I can do that, it’ll really help save my arms so the later reps aren’t so slow. Getting through those 15 C&J and having time to get back on the T2B is huge because those are quick reps. Every rep in this one is going to be huge for your ranking because there will be so many ties without a tiebreaker. I’m shooting to hit 90+ on Sunday.

After sitting around for a bit, I did an easy 2k row in 8:57 for a cooldown.

Now that I’ve sat around and showered at home, my shoulders and back are getting lit up. The next 3 days will be in the Jeep driving over 2,200 miles. I’ll do some body weight stuff in my hotel room the next two days. My shoulders and grip should be well rested come Sunday morning for a second shot at 13.4.

2013 CrossFit Games Open Workout 13.3

Originally a few of us planned to do 13.3 on Friday, but our quads were still blown up from Wednesday’s squats. Better to take the extra day of rest and hit it hard today. Adam and I did it side-by-side, which helped us to push each other throughout the entire workout.

Open Workout 13.3

Muscle-up Bruising
Bruising from the rings. Is much darker than the picture shows.

12:00 AMRAP

  • 150 Wall Balls (20# MB, 10′ target)
  • 90 DU
  • 30 MU

My strategy going in was to do sets of 25 to start, then drop down to 20s, 15s, and 10s when I needed to, depending on feel. I think I did 2 sets of 25, a set of 20, and then the rest was a blur. When I broke a set, I stood up against the wall with the ball on my chest, in order to rest my arms and not have to do extra work to pick the ball back up. My strategy couldn’t have worked any better and my splits were even better than I was expecting.

I crushed my “Karen” PR by over 2 and a half minutes, finishing in 6:14. Grabbed a quick swig of water because my mouth was so dry, and knocked out 40 DU. I think I did 3 more sets to finish them out with a split of 8:19. More water and deep breathing. I didn’t even get up on the rings until close to 9:00 on the clock because I wanted to rest and make the most of every attempt. A failed MU is really taxing on the system. I managed to get 7 MU with one failure. After I got my first one I was so happy and the rest was gravy! I’ve never even done 7 MU in one day, let alone in a WOD. Hell, this was my first time even doing a MU in a WOD. Last year I had about 10 or 15 seconds to attempt a MU so this is a huge improvement for me.

On to 13.4…

Hike

Went out for a quick 1.83 mile hike in 31:08, hoping it limits the typical “Karen quads” that can be brutal for 2-3 days.