The One with the “Open” Mind

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I wrote an ode last year to the emotional and physical investment people make in the Open. Today I write the sequel.

2013 was my first Open to have ever signed up to participate in and no amount of stories of others’ experiences could possibly have prepared me for it. I liken the mental preparation for the Open to that of giving birth (which I have done successfully four times): you can ask all the questions you want, accept any advice given and listen to as many stories as others will tell you; but you just gotta go through it and find out first hand what it means for YOU. (As a side note: I have many-a-time offered that I would rather give birth over and above having to do “Karen”…)

Last year was no exception to the “you just have to see for yourself” rule. I think I speak for the majority of people at my box when I say that we didn’t expect to be quite as emotionally invested in the CrossFit Open as we were. Not me anyway.

Not five seconds after the first Open WOD was posted the statuses, tweets, texts and imessages were rolling in as fast the impending burpees would be the following day. Strategies, what-to-dos, stress, and “Oh my gosh can I get this done?” were but a few of the things going through everyone’s minds.

Thursday morning came and went and at the end of it, all the emotion and craziness and forethought that went into those 17 minutes of raw adrenaline seemed nothing compared to what we felt afterward. For some, including myself, it was absolute elation at making it to the 150 mark within the time cap (and maybe even having a little time left over to attempt a new PR). For others it was overwhelming joy at being successful at lifting 75 or 135 pounds for the first time ever; and for many it was disappointment that they hadn’t done as well as they had thought; or doubt about whether or not they could have done better. Many warrior-types went on to do the WOD twice, exemplifying the true grit and determination that comes along with competition both with the world and, more importantly, with yourself. Those people were even more successful in their second attempts and, for those of us looking on, we watched in admiration at how a person already far-exceeding the expectations of most could go on to do it again and push the envelope even further. In a word, I was in AWE.

The pride I felt was amazing at watching on as the ladies-only class screamed and cheered each others’ names; laughed with and high-fived each other; women I have come to know over the past year as some of the most beautiful, funny, emotional, sweet and kind people I have ever met. I felt proud to be part of this group, to know these women and to be able to be inspired and motivated by their enthusiasm and encouragment alone. One by one they finished the WOD, one by one they achieved their success.

There is also, of course, the inspiration I got when I saw the aforementioned warriors, many of whom are women and could easily snatch me over their heads 30 times, take a break, make a few calls, and still rock out top scores in the time cap. Regular people with full time jobs or families, pets, hobbies whatever else that keeps them busy when they’re not throwing down. It gives new meaning to the word “driven”.

In all cases, whether you are a CrossFit competitor extraordinaire or Weekday Warrior, one thing is clear: we all have a passion for this sport and we all give it our EVERYTHING each time we walk into the box. Deep down inside every one of us I’m willing to bet that it is about much more than a leaderboard; because the fact remains that we all know that eventually the whiteboard gets erased but the memory of how many people high fived us, shouted our name, cheered for us, encouraged, cried with and celebrated with us, lasts forever.

So on the eve of the 2014 CrossFit Open, remember to have an “Open” mind that is two-fold: put your all into each weekly WOD because you may surprise yourself and end up with a killer score that puts you in qualifying contention and also because you do this for a reason and that reason means a great deal to you. And whether you tell yourself it doesn’t matter or not, it DOES matter and it SHOULD matter. Rest well knowing that we are so fortunate that our regular, day-to-day lives are COMPLIMENTED, not DEFINED by the mark we leave on the Whiteboard and a sure reminder for us to be our best in every other thing we do – whether the clock is running or not.

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