CocoPro ambassador Sophie Adams has just completed the CrossFit Open 2018, documenting each of the workouts and her achievements throughout. Here she talks about personal growth, the box community and what she would do differently next time.

 

It has been that time of year again when CrossFitters across the globe in different boxes put themselves head to head to see who can make it to the Regionals and ultimately, to the CrossFit Games.

So as an average CrossFitter, why did I bother with the Open? I know I won’t make the Games, let alone the Regionals. I can generally do about two thirds of the movements RX and the rest scaled; I sit in an awkward in between position..so why did I take part?

After missing the Open last year due to racing I knew I 100% wanted in this year. Why? Mainly because of the atmosphere and camaraderie I witnessed watching at the box in 2017. I hated the feeling of being left out even though I could support everyone else. I can’t explain the way in which people seem to come together to support and push each other. That’s the one thing I have loved since joining CrossFit – the feeling of being part of a bigger community and team again. Whatever box I have gone to around the world, I have always felt welcome and at home.

So now with the CrossFit Open 2018 finally over I look back at the workouts, what I learnt from taking part for the first time and what I would change if I did it again.

Photo credit @nataliasalminen

 

18.1

Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:

8 toes-to-bar

10 dumbbell hang clean and jerks

12-cal. Row

From the offset I thought 18.1 looked like a pretty tame one from Dave Castro (CrossFit’s games maker). Although the time cap was lengthy, the rep scheme was relatively low and the weights weren’t too intense. I went into this workout really focusing on slowing my pace down – usually I bolt out of the gates full speed, but I knew I would burn out if I did this and my shoulders would be fried.

My toes-to-bar were very recently formed, only managing to string 6–8 together at a time. Never having tried them out in a workout before, I decided to split them up from the offset into 3-3-2 which lasted for about 3 rounds until they all ended up as singles and having to do a knees to chest before each one to get my kip going! The dumbbell weight wasn’t as bad as I expected and I managed all of these unbroken, transitioning into the rower pretty quickly and ensuring I kept my grip as loose as I could throughout.

What would I do differently if I re-did 18.1? Mainly I would pick up the pace a bit more and try harder to link my toes-to-bar to reduce time dropping back and fourth from the bar. Looking back I wasted far too much time on this and focussed too much on slowing down. I really enjoyed the workout and would love to go back to this at a later stage when I am more confident with my toes-to-bar. At least from this I have learnt to think about how to pace more effectively and also think about splitting up reps and the time it takes to transition. My score for RX was pretty low, but I am so happy I managed to take on my first Open workout at this level more than anything!

 

18.2

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 reps for time of:

Dumbbell squats

Bar-facing burpees

 

Workout 18.2a

1-rep-max clean

 

After not getting into the evening slot I’d hoped for, I was feeling a little put down about doing 18.2 in the morning. This was mainly due to personal fuelling and also an atmospheric point of view – everyone seemed to head down to the box for the later sessions to cheer. Much to my surprise, I loved everything about this workout and felt great! Plus my Richmond Throwdown, and Unite team buddy, Ryan was my judge who spurred me on and made me feel totally at ease.

This was another workout I felt comfortable to RX, as the weights and movements weren’t too complex. There was a fine line for me between deciding to go all out on Part A or not to. I knew the clean wouldn’t be my forte, so would it just be better to focus on getting a better time? In the end I kept a steady pace but quick enough to ensure I had enough time to prepare for the second part of the workout, hopefully giving myself a 1 minute rest in between.

Finishing in 8.16 I had just under 4 minutes to attempt the cleans. Not one of my best movements, I started comfortably at 40kg and after four lifts – jumping incrementally – got to 50kg before the time ran out. If I were to redo this workout I think I would push harder on the first part and start heavier on the clean – my body wasn’t as fatigued as I had anticipated, but I am still learning the art of correct pacing and would rather feel comfortable and not burn out at this stage.

 

18.3

2 rounds for time of:

100 double-unders

20 overhead squats

100 double-unders

12 ring muscle-ups

100 double-unders

20 dumbbell snatches

100 double-unders

12 bar muscle-ups

 

Well we all knew it was coming, that workout which doesn’t quite go to plan. The open can be full of PBs and successes for people, but sometimes it can just plain suck and you get to learn a hell of a lot from it.

The whole day I was in a dilemma about RX-ing this workout. I had been working so hard on my double-unders over the last few months with the hope to test them out in the Open, but typically the weight of the overhead squat was questionable for me being just under my 1 rep max, and muscle ups were still a skill I was developing. In the end I made the decision not to scale. I felt that if I had done the scaled version of this workout I wouldn’t have pushed myself and would have felt unsatisfied.

The first 100 double-unders flew by, but I was totally out of my depth when it came to the overhead squats. I was mainly doing one rep at a time, totally failing them on depth or dropping the bar. Frustration, disappointment and determination all set in, but in the end I only ended up with 9/20 before the time cap.

This workout will be one I won’t forget in a while. The one thing I could not fault was the support of the people watching at the box and the encouragement they gave me. I am not sure if it was this that caused me to burst into tears at the end of the workout or the fact I felt I had let myself down, made the wrong decision or ended up looking like I was acting too big for my boots. Either way, I wouldn’t change my decision to RX – you learn far more from failure than you do from success and it was just the push I needed to start focusing on those weights again and reassess my own goals.

 

18.4

For time:

21 deadlifts, 225 lb.

21 handstand push-ups

15 deadlifts, 225 lb.

15 handstand push-ups

9 deadlifts, 225 lb.

9 handstand push-ups

21 deadlifts, 315 lb.

50-ft. handstand walk

15 deadlifts, 315 lb.

50-ft. handstand walk

9 deadlifts, 315 lb.

50-ft. handstand walk

 

I love a deadlift and even though they aren’t my strongest I do love a HSPU too! I was excited to RX this workout even though I knew I wouldn’t get past or even to the handstand walks.

I bashed out the deadlifts at a comfortable yet quick pace, splitting the reps into 3 x 7 which felt fine. I took the remainder of the minute from the deadlifts to rest before attempting my HSPUs. From previous WODS, I knew that my HSPUs fail quite quickly. In practice I can perform about 6 in a row, but under the stress of a workout 2/3 is a more manageable amount. I decided to treat it like an EMOM and would attempt 2 on the minute, taking the remainder to rest before the next set. This worked well for me as I didn’t fatigue, but due to the new judging criteria I did miss a few reps by not getting my feet fully over that damn line!

Initially I was pleased with my result on this, but now I would love to come back and do this workout at a later date once my HSPUs are more formed with the hope of getting to the walks – sadly I think they are a little way off yet! My favourite Open workout for sure!

 

18.5

Complete as many reps as possible in 7 minutes of:

3 thrusters

3 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups

6 thrusters

6 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups

9 thrusters

9 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups

12 thrusters

12 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups

15 thrusters

15 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups

18 thrusters

18 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups

 

So Dave Castro decided to switch it up a bit for this workout by giving us the option of choosing from three different ones! We all knew it was going to involve some form of thrusters and chest to bar pull-ups and we weren’t wrong. I stayed up to watch the announcement and vote; luckily the one I opted for was the one that got picked!

The ‘umming’ whether to RX this one was a hard choice. My C2B were only weeks old and a shoulder niggle was feeling pretty real. Inferno Racing was also only a week away – I really didn’t want to do anything to aggravate it further or injure myself before the competition. It was about weighing up what was more important – RXing all 5 workouts, maintaining a higher leaderboard score and pushing myself, or letting it go and realising my main goal was to support my partner in another competition and look after my body first off. I wouldn’t be going to Regionals so did it really matter? No.

I have to say other than the shoulder pain I rather enjoyed this workout. It was fast and sweaty with its 7 minute time cap. I think I moved pretty consistently throughout and started to break up the thrusters into two sets from 15 onwards. If I were to do it again I would try at RX just to see if I could. If I were to do it again scaled, I would probably push myself a little harder on the thrusters and transitions between the rig.

 

So in review what are the main things I have learnt from 5 weeks in the CrossFit Open?

Don’t get caught up in the leaderboard. So many times I was happy with my own result until I started to see everyone else’s come in above me. CrossFit is a competitive sport, but it also should be about your personal growth as an athlete and hitting your goals. I need to remember that I have only been doing it for just over a year and even then I only upped my workouts to 5 times a week since January. To achieve 4/5 RX workouts is a huge achievement in its own right. Should I have scaled some of them? Potentially yes, but it pushed me to see what I could do.

There’s no family like a CrossFit family! Over the last few weeks I feel closer than ever to the community at the box. Seeing these faces every week to tackle the same challenges together has made me realise so much about our relationships and the support they provide. I honestly don’t know what I would do without being part of such a great CrossFit community and I so appreciate all the time and advice the people there have given me. Without them, I wouldn’t have grown as I have.

There’s always next year. If you didn’t hit that PB or achieve what you wanted to there is always next year. The Open provides a fantastic opportunity to find and work on those weaknesses and come back a year later to smash them out the park!

CrossFit is awesome. The change I have seen in others and myself in such a short period of time is mind blowing. The CrossFit Games seems like the ultimate CrossFit goal, but I sometimes think we forget that it is more about the little communities and the achievements of everyday people who make it what it is.

I would highly recommend giving the CrossFit Open a go if you didn’t this year, or even trying out CrossFit if you haven’t already. This fast growing sport is a fantastic way to improve your health and meet some fantastic people along the way.

Photo credit @nataliasalminen



About the Author

Ultra & Trail Runner

Connect with Sophie Adams

Sophie Adams is a London based trail and ultra marathon runner; as well as co-partner of the running community Wild Trail Runners.

Starting her journey as a track athlete and representing her local county at a young age, Sophie has now progressed into longer distance running and competing in various races across the world. She has recently competed in European races such as the Skyrunner World Series race Transvulcania, on La Palma Island, and Italy’s Sciacche Trail.

After transitioning to long distance, mountain running events Sophie also has a strong focus on strength conditioning and crossfit endurance training.