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15.1 The CrossFit Games Open – This is Hard

Two years ago I entered my first CrossFit Games Open Competition. This is what I wrote about that first day of self-torture…

2014-03-02IMG_52332014Today I completed workout 13.1 for the CrossFit Open. It was hard. The workout was as many reps as possible of

  • 150 wall balls with a 14lb ball to 9 feet,
  • 90 double unders (jumping rope with the rope passing under twice for each jump)
  • 30 muscle ups on the rings.

The 14 pound ball was heavier than the 10 pound I was used to. I couldn’t get my rhythm on the double-unders and I have never successfully performed a muscle up.

But the really hard part was what was going on in my mind. You see, I just moved back to Dallas a newly divorced mother of 3 kids and have bee2014-3-15 029n trying quite unsuccessfully to find a job. I was a teacher, but this is not the easiest time of year to find a teaching job. So, for now, I am just doing everything I can to find a job. I am keeping very busy working on ways to make money, but I haven’t actually made any yet and I am getting nervous! And all of this was going on in my mind while I was doing the workout.

At several points in the workout I found myself wondering, “Why?”. Why am I putting myself through this? Why does it matter if I push? Could I ever do anything with any of this? Am I too old for this?

2014-12-26 006I finally came back to the realization that I stay fit so that I can keep up the fight. I realized that this workout is just a metaphor for the rest of my life. Every day we come across obstacles, hurdles, things we have to deal with even though we really don’t want to. Sometimes it’s just cleaning a dirty house and sometimes it’s struggling to pay all of the bills or put dinner on the table. Sometimes it’s learning how to get out into the world again after a difficult part of your life and sometimes it’s deciding to get up off that couch and change your life. What ever the hurdle is, you must have the fight within to take it on. That is what a CrossFit workout is all about.

At the beginning of a workout I am always dreading what is to come. I look at it with apathy, apprehension and misery. As I start to warm up I feel the dread begin to slip away as I plan my strategy for attacking it full on. 2014-03-02IMG_52772014Once the real workout begins, the doubt actually increases. I wonder if I can do it, why I am doing it, how I am going to possibly finish? About one-third of the way through I start to think maybe I can handle it. After all, I have already completed so much, another small amount isn’t that much harder. That’s when I start to really push. I get faster, stronger, better. About two-thirds of the way through I am really feeling the pain of the workout and part of me really wants to quit. That’s when I tell myself again that I only have a small amount left and I am not a quitter! I give my all in that last third and finish the best I can. I am heaving, sweating, trashed. But I did it and I am proud.

And although I didn’t get a score that will take me to compete in the CrossFit games (I was number 2060 in my age group out of about 14,000 women my age who competed), I got through the obstacle… just like I will get through all of these other obstacles in life. I will find the fight within me to be the best I can be. I will persevere. I will succeed. And I will do it with passion and grace!


Now here we are two years later. Since then, I have opened up a CrossFit box with an elite Games competitor, survived a 2014-7-14 201life-threatening illness and completely changed my life. This weekend I competed at CrossFit Dallas Central again for 15.1. As soon as I got there I was crazy nervous once again – so much adrenaline I was almost shaking! The self-doubt set back in and I hesitated, but I really wanted to look back with no regrets and know that I gave my best so I jumped right back in. I was in the last heat of the night with only one other girl, which put me right in the spotlight – not where I wanted to be. To make it worse, the other girl was probably in her twenties, tatooed up and looking fierce! I was so intimidated! What surprised me is that I kept up with her the entire way. I really did!I think she ended up with 3 more reps than me, but that’s not much. On the max clean and jerk I ended up with a higher score than her. I couldn’t believe it!

Sometimes it’s hard to see ourselves as amazing, accomplished, strong people. We see the faults in ourselves so easily. But today I am remembering the fight… the journey. I am persevering. I am succeeding. And I am doing it with passion and all the grace I can muster! 2014-6-25 092

  • Ellie Bishop McKenzie
  • Crossfit Odyssey and Odyssey Martial Arts
  • The Journey to Extraordinary
  • 6162 Sherry Lane
  • Dallas, TX 75225
  • 214-234-0299
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