Every year when the CrossFit Open is over I go back over the workouts and I reassess. I look at each workout and how well I performed and I try to figure out what worked for me and what worked against me. As a coach I try to do the same with my members. How can I help them get better? How can we change our classes to address those needs?

This year I felt like my performance in the Open was quite mediocre. Two years ago I ranked 18th in the South Central Region and this year I ended up 38th. I knew going in that I was going to have trouble. My shoulder had been hurting for months and my workouts had been impaired. Because of that I was really worried about toes-to-bar, pullups and chest-to-bar, but I was at least able to perform them after getting very, very warmed up. However, I wasn’t able to get that stinkin’ muscle-up – AGAIN (Insert angry emoji).

I was really bummed that my shoulder kept me from working on my muscle-ups and finally accomplishing them. For partially the same reason, my barbell snatch in 17.3 was okay, but I feel like it should have been a lot better. I have been at a snatch plateau for a very long time now and I would really like to move past it. The worst WOD for me was 17.4. I did this one last year and I hated it. This year I completed 1 more rep … then I redid it and got one more rep again – but I actually finished the row. All of that work for Two. More. Reps. Part of me is thrilled that I finished that blasted row, but part of me is really ticked off that I didn’t get to do any handstand pushups… I can really rock those suckers! Finally, this year I feel like my cardio sucked. Sucked wind. A lot of it.

On a positive note, there were some really good moments this year, too. I loved the dumbbells! I was really great at the DB snatches and I pretty much love lunges of all kinds so that was great. I also felt like I had really great tie-breakers in 17.2 and 17.3, so that’s something. And to be fair to myself, I did improve my score from last year in 17.4 and I did finish that dreaded row! Finally, 17.5 was a huge winner for me. It was Thrusters and Double Unders and I finished that WOD in 12:02, which was 11th in the region and 121st in the WORLD out of 820 in the region and 9980 women age 45-49 in the world. Seriously, I felt like a rock star after that one!

As a coach the Open is a completely different eye-opening experience. Here I can see what is working and what isn’t from a teaching standpoint. What do people need more help with? Where can we add more progressions? How do I get my athletes (you) to focus on the details that will catapult them to the next stage? I saw a lot of good, bad and ugly out there this year, so let’s just get that ugly part over with…  that is the problem of “Perfect Practice”. When we come to the gym on a daily basis we are tired and we may be cranky and we may not feel like doing it right because we just want to get through it today. And sometimes we get really focused on that score on the board instead of focused on our movement. And sometimes we think, it’s easier if I do it this way instead of the way the coach teaches me to do it. And sometimes I don’t feel like taking the time to learn to do this the right way, that will take forever! But here is the thing… if you practice it ugly in class you are going to perform ugly in the Open – and that often means NO REP! It also often means back pain or shoulder pain or some other discomfort I would rather not experience. If you take the time to learn how to do the movement correctly and you demand of yourself that you always get your squat below parallel and your wallball over the line and your chin over the bar and your arms fully extended and anything else in a movement that we are constantly barking out in class, then eventually that correct movement will start coming naturally, and when it comes time to do the Open you will kick some serious ass! You will also feel better!

Now for the good and the bad, and this is more perspective than anything else. We all (you, your coaches, your families and the CrossFit world) discovered that pretty much each and every one of you guys is a helluva lot stronger than you have been letting on!!! That’s right! When you enter that competitive environment you push yourself in a different way and you discover what you are really made of. So you may think that’s bad because you’re seeing yourself as sandbagging all this time, but the truth is that this is why we want you to try The Open in the first place. We know that strong person is inside of you, we just want you to find it out. And when you are in the midst of sweat and anguish and your friends are cheering for you and you really want to do your best, you discover a beast inside that is absolutely indomitable. And that beast will take you places you never dreamed of going.

So here is my advice for myself as well as for you. Start now. Today. Get your workouts in every single week. Show up ready to learn and work hard. Find your weaknesses and work on them. Push yourself to your limits regularly. Demand the best of yourself every single day. And finish each day knowing you gave you best.

Oh, and here is one more thing I learned… you guys are the BEST!!! I was incredibly proud of each and every one of you. You worked hard, encouraged each other and had a lot of fun – and that’s what this is all about!