Come out to the gym TONIGHT at 8pm to celebrate the end of the Open and gear up for Regionals with a screening of The Redeemed and the Dominant: Fittest on Earth, a documentary look at the 2017 CrossFit Games. Bring your own drinks and snacks to share!
Open Diary 18.5
By Brett Ferguson
I felt much more at ease going into the last week of the Open than I had for the previous four workouts. Mentally, I was in my best head space yet. No excited anxiety. No regret from the previous week. Physically, I was tired. Doing each of the first 4 workouts twice had taken its toll. As a result, I did have thoughts that wavered between, “Let’s just get this over with,” and, “This is it! Let’s crush this one!” I knew the combo of Thrusters and Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups was going to hurt. And not just a little.
I loved running Friday Night Lights this year. The energy was awesome! Tons of people came to the gym to hit the workout and probably even more came out each weekend just to watch and cheer people on! What an awesome, supportive community we have! As much as I loved it, I realize now that coaching group classes from 8am-1pm, setting up the gym from 1:30-5:00pm, and then starting the first heats of Friday Night Lights at 5:30pm didn’t leave me much for mental relaxation or physical preparation. The stress (not bad stressed-out stress, just stress) of all of this along with redoing every workout, losing sleep because of anxiety, and not recovering as fast as I used to, and I wasn’t always set up well for my best performance on the work outs. Learning.
By the time I hit the workout on Friday at 7:30pm, I was pretty fried. I took way too much time transitioning from the barbell to the rig and back again (About :08-12, but who’s counting. I certainly didn’t go to the office on Saturday, put on the NestCam video, and obsessively write down all of my transition and rest times. Who would do that?). Besides that, I kept to the strategy I had planned on. Thrusters unbroken until I had to break them up based on feel. I finally broke them up in the round of 15. A positive result of the longer rests in my transitions was that I was able to keep these unbroken deeper into the workout. This was also the point that I started getting tunnel vision. I heard someone behind me say, “Why is everyone facing the other way? We can’t see any of their faces.” Between the tunnel vision and allowing myself to be easily distracted by someone talking, I had a feeling the wheels might start coming off. I know that my gymnastics endurance on the Pull-Up bar disappears quickly, so I broke them up early. Not early enough, though. In the round of 15, I started with a set of 4. I got back on the bar and after 2 more my lats just said, “No.” That was it. I did everything I could to keep hitting sets of 2 until I couldn’t do that anymore and ended with 3 quick singles on a lower bar. Pierre was yelling at me to get back to the Thrusters, but I just wasn’t in the right head space. Most of the time, I can tell myself, “You can do one rep. Just get started and do one” and get the work going.
This was not one of those days. The 18 Thrusters that were ahead of me might as well have been 100. A voice in my head said, “Even if you get through the Thrusters, your Chest-to-Bars are already failing so you won’t do well there.” Helpful. Thanks, brain. I grabbed the bar and battled through the Thrusters. One minute left to do as many Pull-Ups as possible. A set of 3, then 2, then singles. As the clock hit the 7 minute mark I had gotten through 15. I shook my head as I kneeled down. My goal had been to get to the 21 Thrusters. My frustration quickly became secondary as all the work that I had just done caught up with me and I rolled on the ground, unable to get comfortable no matter how I laid on the floor.
“Well, that strategy didn’t go very well. Let’s try something else,” I wrote my coach on Saturday. 12 hours later, I felt a little detached about my score. I had done the best I could given the circumstances, and the strategy that I had used. However, I knew my score wasn’t going to help my standings in the Region, so I felt some self-induced pressure to do better on Monday. Not because I necessarily had the confidence that I was able to do better, but I just had to do better. Logic there? None.
I decided to break up the Pull-Ups int0 even smaller sets than before in hopes of saving some energy there. I also changed my set up to minimize transition times so that hopefully I would buy myself some time for more Chest-to-Bars. I mentally prepped the shit out of this attempt. I was 100% ready to get to the next movement as quickly as possible. So, instead of :10 of transition, it was more like :03. Awesome! Right? No. Too Fast.
You know how in group class I always say, “Don’t come out too hot”? Well, I came out too hot. Without the extra transition time to recover, things fell apart even faster than on Friday: the Thrusters in the set of 12 this time. Even though the sets were smaller, I rabidly got back on the bar and kept moving. Getting to the barbell for the round of 18 Thrusters, I was :30 ahead of my time from Friday. Then, total body shut down. I put out too much energy too quickly. and it caught up to me. In my head I said, “Hold onto the bar and finish,” but my body just wouldn’t comply. I haven’t felt my body actually stop functioning in a long time (Well, not since 18.2, but before that, a long time, I promise). I let out exertion yells for the last three reps, just like I had done with a 315lb dead lift a week earlier. Singles right away on the Pull-Ups. My arms wouldn’t leave my sides. Dead weight. I felt like I was flopping limp limbs around in the air. On Friday I had done 15 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups in 1:00. On Monday, I had 1:27 for the CTB. I got 14. One rep less.
This week wasn’t as mentally challenging for me as it was physical challenging. I knew that going in. I showed up and battled, but it just wasn’t there. Good to know for next year. I need to try to treat each Open workout like just another workout. It’s hard with all of the hype around the announcements, the excitement at the gym, Friday Night Lights, the leaderboard, and so forth. But I allowed myself to get too amped up about it in the first several weeks, and it caught up with me. That much energy and output wasn’t sustainable. There is a scientifically controversial thing called Adrenal Fatigue that is believed to happen to people after long period of stress, or, more related, after rigorous competition. Dr. James Wilson, who coined the term, believes that during these periods of stress, the body’s adrenal gland is overworked, continuously producing more and more cortisol to try to keep up with the demands of the body/mind. When the system can no longer keep up with the demand, there is a crash. I don’t know if this is a real thing. But it sure as hell felt real on Tuesday. Completely exhausted. I felt hollow. Not empty. I wasn’t depressed. It was more that I had been in such an adrenaline, anxiety-driven state for so long that as soon as it was over, I completely shut down. I think I’ll take a few rest days.
How did I do this year? Goals: I was hoping to be in the top 250 in the North East Region. I’m currently sitting in 291st place. Last year I finished in 379th place. I can let myself be disappointed for not reaching my goal, or I can reframe that bullshit and see how much I improved. Physically: I worked my ass off this year, and I can see that it is paying off. Not because of the results on the leaderboard but because of the improvements of both weaknesses and skills, and knowing my body better than I did before. There will always be more to work on, skills to improve, PRs to try to break, but I’m happy with my growth this year. Mentally: This was more of a challenge than I expected. As you read in my first three Open Diary entries, I have some deeply engrained habits of being hard on myself. Writing these entries each week really helped me to see this pattern. I’m going to continue more of this honest evaluation each week to see how I’m doing with it. Only 47 more weeks until you get to read about it again. You: Take a second and honestly assess how you did this year. Put your mental bullshit aside and really be honest. I’ll bet you are doing better than you give yourself credit for.
New and Notes
- This is the final entry in Coach Brett’s “Open Diary” series. Be sure to check out the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th entries if you haven’t read them yet!
- Farewell party/drinks for Coach Melo, Alex, and Lily will be this Saturday at 4pm at Pig Beach on Union St. All are welcomed!
Yesterday’s Results Board: Clean and Jerk | NFR Work
Respect the Bar Breaking Muscle
The Great Sadness of Ben Affleck The New Yorker
1) AMRAP 9 Minutes:
3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18… +3 reps per round of:
Burpee Box Jumps 24/20
Scale the Toes-to-Bars to Hanging Leg or Knee Raises as needed, or use this as an opportunity to work on them, knowing that you will be saved by the clock at 9 minutes.
Rest 3 minutes
2) AMRAP 9 Minutes:
15/9 Push Ups
9 Hang Power Cleans 115/80
The Hang Power Cleans should be on the light-medium side for you, unbroken on the fast end.
Rest 3 minutes
3) AMRAP 9 Minutes:
Scale the dubs to 100 singles or 20 attempts, or use this as an opportunity to work on them, knowing that you will be saved by the clock at 9 minutes.
Post rounds, reps, and Rx to comments.
Karina S says
Brett! A year is too long to wait for more Brett posts.
Oh man Saturday’s work looks fun, too bad I work for all possible hours.
Back lit from that heavy sumo. Got up to 113 on the clean and jerks. These are feeling way better since I fixed my start position. Jerks felt light even though they weren’t optimally performed, which is a victory in itself cause I think if you looked back to the summer I was crying a bunch about jerks (this wasn’t intentionally a play on words but I’ll allow it). Time to work on not starting the second pull too early and getting hip extension.
NFT work was nice. Great to be back in an ursine state of mind. I did 5 unbroken chin ups! Which was exciting. Until the next round when Whit showed up next to me and told me I had to straighten my arms completely at the bottom and to stop doing bro reps. Next set 3 and 2 with a friendly Whit spot.
Did just the body building portion of short circuit. Trying to get my back yoked for early summer fun. Brett did not correct my bro reps on the RDL’s where apparently there was a 3 second tempo but I wanted to rep out with the 40lb dumbells, Griselle took that honor. Skipped the heavy breathing and did some GHD setups. 3 sets of 10. Anxiously awaiting my morning abdo.
If anyone wants Punjabi Deli for movie night let me know!
kate tk says
Couple min on the air runner – weird but cool!
100′ single arm farmers carry
:30 side plank each side
8e single arm ring row – hardddd
HBBS 3×8 @ 3101 tempo
95, 115, 125
Started this at a warm up weight for the sake of time, but definitely saw stars during my last 3 reps at 125.
:45 hollow hold
:45 arch hold – impossible. had to do two sets.
12 box jumps
:30 supinated grip hollow hang
Got through 3 rounds. Hellooooo, all my weaknesses! My back is LIT from deadlifts + my core is weaksauce, so this was challenging and good for me. Eat ur veggies, right? Happy Friday.
7am w/ Lauren doing Thurs
C+J: 83×1, 93×1, 103×1, 113×1, 123×1 (my current 1RM), 128(F)x2. On those last two, the clean part actually felt pretty great, and I reeeeally fought it out under the bar but just COULD NOT stand it up!! Might cut down on my warmup sets next time and see if that helps.
Then some leisurely NFR. I did extra running by accident (4th ave, 3rd ave and back).
Tomorrow’s workout = a bunch of my favorite things! Yay!
Shawn Campbell says
Brett – another great write up. I think that it’s possible and OK to have two different feelings about the same thing at the same time. Congratulations on how far up you’ve come on the leaderboard! As far as not making your goal position – it seems like you have a good grasp on what you could have improved and how much further up you could have been versus how little (zero) control you have over how other people do. Thanks for all your candor in these entries.
7am with JB doing Saturday’s work.
This was a good lil’ triplet for me to begin new habits of pushing through as I fatigue. I scaled movements specifically to limit room to hide. TTB became solid kipping hanging knee raises after the first round. I moved slowly on the BBJs only as needed to not miss any. I was landing these really low and heavy even in the beginning and did miss one in the round of 12, after which I took a long pause but otherwise tried to maintain. I got to the BBJs in the 15th round and managed 8 there. I had pretty good pace for me on the squats and push ups and hang power cleans. Maybe a little too light on the bar (63#) but I did half of the sets unbroken – managing this in my last set. (I gave myself a Stella talk, “Don’t you dare put that bar down”.) Then I did more than 6 sets of the 50 SINGLE unders (still breaking in my new rope and did not want to mess around with misses which lead to stops) and one sit up in that would-be round of 6. Good times!
Brett! Not only a wonderful introspector (is that a word? introspectEr maybe?), but a thief of dignity, since we all looked pretty ridiculous doing monster walks in Short Circuit this morning. That was fun!
Thank you for your Open openness and sharing what you’ve learned about yourself in the past five weeks!
Jaime C says
Man, I am REALLY going to miss these posts from Brett. Even though I’m not hard on myself at the gym, or competitive in any way, I sure as hell have my own stresses in all other aspects of my life. Each post makes me feel more human, more normal, more okay with where I’m at. And Brett, I’m REALLY proud of you! Being able to say you’re the 291st fittest dude in the REGION is the coolest thing ever! Seeing where all of our coaches (and members!) stand on the leaderboard is SO great and something that makes me extremely proud to be part of this gym. Goals goals goals!
Thursday’s work with Lauren (and shouts of support from JB!)
Clean & Jerk: 63×3, 83×1, 93×1, 103×1, 113×1 (bar punched me in the throat here, wow ok), 123×1, 128F, 128*
Another PR! Very happy with this. The jerk is the limiter here – the first attempt I got it overhead, but wobbled and the bar toppled. The second attempt took a split second to solidly sit overhead, so it could have been a lil’ cleaner but it counted!
NFT work was welcomed. I would love to string together more than on chin up at a time one day. Something to work towards!
you didn’t put a star next to your 128# c+j PR on the whiteboard, but don’t worry; I did it for you 🙂
Jaime Cheng says
You are doing the absolute most in this friendship/swoleship!
ALL THE FEELS
Allie B says
I feel like I’ve never exercised my legs before! They are so. sore. from Wednesday.
Took short circuit, then 10am doing Thursday’s work.
Worked up to 113- called it there because I wasn’t getting fully under on the split jerks and had little press outs. Gotta work on that!
Fun doing the bear crawl dragging a kettle bell.
Chin-ups up to 10#
5:30 sneak in group class last night!
C&J – told myself I wasn’t gonna go heavy. and then oopsie!
85×2, 105×2, 115, 125
135, 145, 155, 165, 155
pretty sure my best C&J together is 170, so felt great to hit a very high percentage there. that being said, it wasn’t very pretty, so came back down to clean it up for my last rep of the day.
was focused on aggressive pull around the bar, moving my feet on the clean. this worked out really well but at 155-165 I definitely let myself catch a bit soft.
jerks felt very solid all around, until that 165 which was just a bit unstable in the initial landing.
NFR work: got 3 rounds with the jog, bear crawl to the beat of the music fwd 50′, bkwd 50′, and 5 strict chins.
Today, SHORT CIRCUIT:
8 erg pike ins, slow and steady
10ea lateral band and monster walk
some lat activations and single arm ring rows
6ea 1/2 kneeling DB press @ 20×1 – 30#
3x, :40 work/:20 rest
sit ups (16-20 reps)
sled spring +45#
slamball (22-25 reps)
SA KB swing (10-12 each side)
plank walk outs (4-5 reps I think?)
echo bike (smoooooooth, somewhere over 300 watts)
rvrs bear crawl plate drag 25#