16.1 and 16.2 plus Unicorn Dust

Hungry? Well, too bad.  It’s the Open.  All you should be eating is haunch of boar and the occasional brussels sprout.  Just kidding.  Try this.


The CrossFit Games Open is upon us and so far I’ve survived the first two workouts.  Mostly.  Since this is my first ever paid-for-a-seat-in-the-Open experience I thought it would be fun to review the experience.  I could be wrong, but let’s see where this goes.

16.1 (a.k.a., Ass Assasin)

The announcement played out much like you might have thought, with very fit people doing very fit things.  I think it may be possible that CrossFit HQ is reading my blog because low and behold they integrated average athletes into the actual aired and featured workout! That was wonderful.  You’re welcome, CFHQ.  You know where to find me if you need any other super marketable ideas.  After watching the WOD I mentally decided that my goal would be five rounds.  Five seemed doable.

If you didn’t watch the video, the workout was prescribed as follows:

25-ft. overhead walking lunge
8 bar-facing burpees
25-ft. overhead walking lunge
8 chest-to-bar pull-ups

Men lunge 95 lb.
Women lunge 65 lb.

That’s not what I did, though, because I’m firmly in the not-even-kidding-scaled-athlete camp, so that meant:

25-ft. front rack walking lunge
8 bar-facing burpees
25-ft. front rack walking lunge
8 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups

Men lunge 45 lb.
Women lunge 35 lb.

Like 99.9999% of people signed up for the Open, I did the workout the next Friday. I walked into the gym and saw colored tape marking out lanes and looking eerily similar to a complex network of runways at a high volume airport.  I chose a rickety chalk lane in the far corner, and in terms of strategery this was a poor choice because it ticked rep-less time off the clock as I moved back and forth between my bar path and my jumping pull up station.   3-2-1 and GO gets called and I move off in a steady, although not spritely, pace averaging 8-9 lunges per 25 feet.  Burpees are, well, burpees.  Truthfully, by the time I get to about 20 burpees it starts to feel like I’m trying to fold an orange with all that bending. And jumping pull ups are what they are.  You jump and pull up.  Twenty minutes is a long workout, and of all the workouts that one could watch this was probably one of the most droningest boringest ones created since Cindy, so hats off to all you coaches who had to watch gawd knows how many iterations of that silliness.


At the end of 20 minutes, I had achieved my goal! Five founds plus 10 extra reps saw me come in with what I thought was a respectable 140 reps.  Then everyone else started callouchie-doging in their numbers and I realized that I must’ve been standing still, or lunging in slow motion, or standing still.  Mostly standing still, apparently.  So, while I did make my goal happen, it was clear that I hadn’t pushed myself nearly as hard as I should have or could have.  But, by the time I accepted this DOMS had settled into my cheekular muscles with alarming and focused intensity.  Like, my ass was on FIRE and not in a gaseously punitive way.

By Friday night, stairs stopped being stairs and became horrid abominations of torture.


So, understanding how I felt after five rounds I promptly entered my score into the Games website and called it good.   By Monday night at 9pm, I was ranked 10,977 in the Open for workout 16.1.

16.2 (a.k.a., Farewell, Grip. I hardly knew Thee.)

This workout was filmed in a home garage gym in North Carolina and judging by Castro’s arctic explorer outfit it must’ve been cold.  The workout was a ladder-style workout, well considered and well designed.  The scaled options are in italics.

Beginning on a 4-minute clock, complete as many reps as possible of:
25 toes-to-bars (hanging knee raises)
50 double-unders (single unders)
15 squat cleans, 135 / 85 lb. (95/55)

If completed before 4 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
25 toes-to-bars (hanging knee raises)
50 double-unders (single unders)
13 squat cleans, 185 / 115 lb. (115/75)

If completed before 8 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
25 toes-to-bars (hanging knee raises)
50 double-unders (single unders)
11 squat cleans, 225 / 145 lb. (135/95)

If completed before 12 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
25 toes-to-bars (hanging knee raises)
50 double-unders (single unders)
9 squat cleans, 275 / 175 lb. (155/115)

If completed before 16 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
25 toes-to-bars (hanging knee raises)
50 double-unders (single unders)
7 squat cleans, 315 / 205 lb. (175/135)

Stop at 20 minutes.

I thought to myself, Self, this is really a workout you could enjoy! After all, who doesn’t like squat cleans? The rest of it was not exactly my favorite, but endurable to see how far I could get with them squat cleans.  I set my sights at three rounds.  I wanted to get at those 95lb bars.  I walked into the gym feeling all swole and shit, wearing my PR pants and everything.


And, what do you suppose happens? Oh, just guess.  No?  OK.  Apparently you’re a sucker for happy endings.  I totally made it five reps into the 95lb squat cleans before the 12 minute cap. I felt elated, pumped, and nauseous all at the same time.  My last rep had me all like,


This workout tempted me with the idea of a redo, but to be completely honest, it was unlikely I’d magically complete 11 reps at 95 pounds, so contentment settled in, a drink got poured, and I posted my score of 258 reps and a tie breaker time of 10:01.   As for coming in somewhere in the middle of the pack? I’m calling lower one third, but who’s counting.  Oh yeah, those database jerks at CrossFit. Well, drink that score in, database jerks.  Drink. It. In. Also, what’s CrossFit without a dose of humility with a heaping side of smashed ego? While I’m riding high on my little 5 rep accomplishment, there are a lot of folks  in the scaled division that almost finished or ACTUALLY DID FINISH this workout! Y’all are amazing .  AHHH-Mazing.

SO. Now, what does this all mean? Well, nothing if you’re not tracking the CrossFit Games Open or concerned in any way about my fitness levels and their relative increases or decreases.  Yet, from my own view as an active participant in CrossFit and shepherd to my gainz this has been nothing short of extraordinary.  While I’m not a full convert to the idea of paying money to enjoy the rewards of the Open I am suspicious that in doing so I have a more visceral investment for the outcome of each week.

  1. 95lb squat clean is 90% of my currently known 1 rep of 105lb
  2. I need longer legs if I’m going to participate in a lunge workout like that again.
  3. My grip strength is improving noticably, allowing me greater endurance on gymnastics movements, even if my knee raises looked more like hanging grand mal seizures.
  4. Having a great person counting reps, judging, and encouraging makes ALL the difference between making the goal like an EFFING MAN and just making the goal and wondering if I could have done better.
  5. Extra work pays off.  I’m going to keep on doing extra work.



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