Just the First Step by Emily W
A couple of years ago, the Crossfit Open started just a few weeks after my first class at Local. Overwhelmed, and certainly in over my head, I none the less dutifully signed up to compete – a strange word to me then, and now – in the Local Open.
Suffice it to say: I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
15.1 rolled around, and I found myself watching Froning and Fraser going head to head on snatches, deadlifts, and toes to bar, topped off with a 1RM clean and jerk. I remember being impressed with their athleticism, before being hit by a terrible realization: other than deadlifts, I didn’t know how to do any of those things. In what became a regular feature for the rest of the Open, I immediately emailed Kelly in a mild (moderate) panic about what to do.
That first Saturday, I found myself learning how to snatch (thanks Yelena!) and attempting hanging leg raises just moments before the countdown clock started. The whole thing was a blur. Once the metcon ended, and the clock started on the clean and jerk, I realized I literally didn’t know what to do. I looked around in a panic, flailed at a coach who walked by, and eventually did the only thing I knew how to do: I ran into the other room, grabbed Claudia Brady, and said “Help!” (P.S. that still happens a lot.)
Through enthusiastic cheers and quick guidance, I managed to clean and jerk 55# before the clock ran out. It was a whirlwind experience and I was, for once in my CrossFit life, feeling a little proud of myself.
The rest of the Open continued in similar fashion: watching Thursday nights with baited breath, emailing Kelly in a panic on Friday morning, and showing up later determined to do what I could (and learning a huge chunk of the CrossFit rolodex along the way). One of the best things about my Open experience was the feeling of being on a team alongside other Local athletes. I was truly spoiled, being the lowest ranking scaled female, to be paired with a team of (6AM!) powerhouses – Coach Brandon Santiago and Sarah Cheever. I still remember Brandon telling me not to worry about my score –“Sarah and I will take care of it” — and just to have fun.
So that’s what I did. I had fun. There were so many movements I couldn’t do – even modified – but I tried my hardest, and when I was lying on the floor after the final sprint of 15.5, I felt like I’d really, truly accomplished something.
I’m excited for the Open every year now. My CrossFit anniversary was a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve made a lot of progress since 15.1. When it rolls around in February, I’ll still be watching with baited breath on Thursday nights (please, no burpees!), but this time there won’t be any panicked emails. This time, I know what I’m getting myself into, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.