“THE OPEN IS COMING!”
How many times in the past month have you seen or heard those 4 words around the gym or on social media. Almost to the point where they have lost their value. Or, if you’ve just joined the gym and have never participated in the Open before, those 4 words never meant anything at all.
Ok, the Open is coming…so what?
In a sense, “so what” is absolutely right. For the 99% of us that are not moving on to Regionals, the Open workouts are exactly as they sound, just another workout. So what’s all the fuss about?
We’ll get to that. But before I get into why I think you should care about the Open, let’s take a little trip down memory lane…
This will be my 5th Open coming up, and I’ll admit, up until a few weeks ago, I had lost a bit of my enthusiasm for the whole thing. Before my first “official” Open in 2014, I was super pumped. I had been doing CrossFit at an affiliate (after attempting to do it on my own at a “globo gym”) for less than a year, and I wanted to give the workouts my best shot and see if I could hold my own against others in the gym. For the first Open workout that year, 14.1, I wasn’t even at my home gym in New York. I was in Houston for a wedding, and I found a gym near my house that would let me drop in and complete 14.1 with the class. I remember arriving to the gym, and most of the members in the class not even knowing what the Open was or being that into it. I was excited about it, and I wanted them to be as well! When I got back to New York, I was happy to complete the rest of the Open workouts at my home gym where the spirit of the Open was alive and well. After 5 weeks of grueling workouts, and seeing myself rank 9,243rd in the world, I was super motivated to hop on the gains train and get ready for the following year. And each consecutive year that the Open rolled around, and I saw myself improving. Ah, what I wouldn’t give to go back to my first 2 years of CrossFit where PRs were a weekly occurrence!
Then, 2017 came along…
I moved to Cayman in July 2016, and with a bit more time to train and recover than I had in New York, I thought, this will be the year of gains! In January, I told my coach that I wanted to focus on getting stronger, even if that meant sacrificing some conditioning and not being in top shape come the Open. Of course, the Open rolls around in February and I immediately regret my decision. If you’ve participated in the Open before, you know that while there is some basic strength required, the workouts are primarily testing your engine and work capacity. And boy I was not ready for that. Being the competitive person that I am, I let this get to my head and took the workouts way to seriously. In fact, I didn’t even do the last workout because I was afraid I was going to burst into tears mid-double under!
Why was I so upset?! Everyone kept saying to me, it’s just a workout. Who cares! But I let my ego get in my way and kept thinking about what other people would think of me. As a coach, you sometimes feel like you’re expected to be a top athlete, and I didn’t want to let anyone down. I also had people back in New York asking me how I did on workouts, and I let that pressure get to me instead of just focusing on myself and what I could do given my current circumstances. I was afraid that while in previous years my performance in the Open had always been on an upward trend, this was going to be the first year where I had actually regressed.
Long story short, I had lost sight of why I fell in love with CrossFit and the Open in the first place. It’s not about how well you do in the workouts. It’s about SO MANY OTHER THINGS.
It’s about the entire world coming together and doing the exact same workouts for 5 weeks. My 63 year old mother participates in the Open, and it’s so cool that we can talk to each about our experiences.
It’s about camaraderie in the gym. How many times a year does the entire gym get together and cheer each other on? If you’ve ever been to a Friday Night Lights at 7 Mile, you’ll understand. If you haven’t, watch this video and tell me that doesn’t get you pumped up.
It’s about accomplishing things you didn’t think were possible. Each year in the Open, we see people achieve personal bests, whether it’s a new 1 rep max on their clean and jerk, or doing their first bar muscle up.
It’s about pushing yourself past your limits. You come to the gym a few times a week and complete the workout of the day. Sometimes you feel like pushing yourself, and sometimes you are just going through the motions. During the Open workouts, the energy is contagious. Yes, it’s going to hurt, but that euphoric feeling your get once it’s over makes the pain totally worth it.
It’s about connecting with others. We’re all in this together. yes, the workouts are going to suck, but everyone is going through the same experience, and that brings you that much closer to each other.
It’s about showcasing your new skills. Maybe you weren’t able to do a toes to bar or a pull-up last year, but you’ve been putting in extra work and this year you’re able to string a few together in the Open workout.
It’s about inspiring people without even realizing it. This might be your fifth year doing the Open and like me, maybe your enthusiasm has started to fade. But maybe you’ve made a new friend that has joined the gym in the past year, and watching you workout is what inspires them to make it into the gym every day. You never know who is looking up to you.
The bottom line is, the Open is supposed to be fun. It’s a time for everyone in the gym to come together and support each other and for some, to see how far they’ve come over the past year.
As a coach, I couldn’t be more excited to watch you guys leave it all out there on the gym floor. And I can’t wait to be a sweaty mess right there next to you as you do it.
Yes, the Open is coming. And so are we. Because WE ARE 7 MILE!