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My First Crossfit Open: 17.1

February 27, 2017
AUTHOR: Emilie
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Whether or not you’re a Crossfitter, you may be aware the the Crossfit Open is currently going on. The Crossfit Open happens at affiliates and in home-gyms around the country. Anyone can sign up for the Open. Open-level competition leads individuals to regional-level competition (“Regionals”) and then onto the Crossfit Games, which you may have seen or heard about. Games athletes are very highly regarded and in some ways are fitness stars in their own right. If you’d like to know more about the Crossfit Games, I encourage you to watch The Fittest on Earth on Netflix. The Open is inclusive and gives you the opportunity to compete against where you were last year. It’s about setting your own benchmarks and having fun.

My Fitness Journey

As long-time readers will know, I used to be fat. Not just kinda-fat, but morbidly obese. At 19 years old, my weight teetered near 250 lbs. As a sophomore to junior in college, I lost a significant amount of weight and began to change my life. Despite this significant change, it was not combined with enough of a lifestyle change for it to stick. While my weight never ballooned back to my heaviest, I did not maintain my lowest weight of 127 lbs. Eventually my weight held at about 150 lbs.

On a chart, this still made me  obese. I was not, though, interested in working out, tracking my eating, or really changing my life. I was satisfied simply with being thinner and was not interested in being healthy or fit. I spent years being satisfied with being “normal.” I struggled with my own issues around eating and consumption. This time was transformative for my understanding my relationship with food.

Even though I tried to workout, I never established any sort of real routine. I worked out because I feared getting fat again, never for pleasure or joy in the process. I did not understand how people enjoyed lifting and was intimidated by the gym because I did not know much about it.

How I Ended Up At Crossfit

After moving to North Carolina in May, I found myself in a new city where I knew no one, working from home full time. It was lonely to say the least. Transitioning to a new home anywhere is hard. I was lucky enough to bring my job with me- a blessing I know and recognize- but because of that I was not getting out of the house every day. On days where there were no work meetings (#nomeetingWednesday), I would not talk to anyone but my dog Bo until Casey came home from work. Some times the only time I’d get out of the house was to get the mail from the mailbox. I often spent days without putting on “real” clothes.

Then we got news that Casey would going away on a training thing for almost two months and we would not have any communication in that time. You mean, I just moved here and now you’re going to take away the only person I know here, Army? Really?! Yes. Really. Committed to getting out of the house every day, at the end of July, I decided I would try out the local Crossfit, Crossfit Raeford. It was a 6 minute drive from my house and would be a great way to get out of the house every day. The price was steep but I knew that would encourage me to attend as much as possible to get the most out of the price. Moreover, I liked to consider it an investment in myself. In retrospect, it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made. My first class at Crossfit Raeford was on August 1, 2016.

I’ve been increasingly more involved in my local Crossfit community. I competed in my first competition in October 2016 at Crossfit for Carson hosted by Crossfit QFE (Lumberton, NC). I’ve since also competed at the Ferus Games at Crossfit Ferus (Fayetteville) and Friday Night Lights at Crossfit Redpoint (Fayetteville). Monday to Friday, I’m at the 8 AM class religiously and I try to also attend on Saturdays, schedule permitting.

Crossfit for Carson at Crossfit QFE in Lumberton, NC

As I shared about in my reflection on my first Hero WOD (Workout of the Day),

I’ve never really like “gym culture,” though. You go to the gym; you lift heavy things; you go home. The end? I’ve found it off-putting. There’s no community, and there’s no group accountability. I never really liked going to the gym when there were other people there because I was never comfortable in the gym. There’s something about that, though, that’s important to note. At the gym, you as a person should be comfortable. What you do while there, should push your outside of your comfort zone. This is a distinction that has defined my Crossfit experience: I am comfortable at my box (what Crossfit gyms are called) and every workout (called WODs, or Workouts of the Day in Crossfit) pushes me out of my comfort zone.

The Open Announcement

At the cost of only $20, I decided to sign up for the Open. Even though it wasn’t a necessity, I thought it would be a worthwhile experience for me and I considered it an extension of my fitness expenses for the month. I didn’t sign up with aspirations of doing well. I signed up simply because I wanted to set baseline metrics that I would have to compare my future workouts to. Plus, knowing myself, I knew that FOMO would kick in if I didn’t sign up.

Last Thursday night, Bo and I (yes, I brought my dog to the gym) headed out to CFR where we watched the Open be announced with all the other wonderful folks who went. Then three great athletes and two of our Crossfit Kids did the workout! That night! No discussion, no strategy, just diving right in!

For reference, 17.1 was the following:

Workout 17.1
For time:
10 dumbbell snatches
15 burpee box jump-overs
20 dumbbell snatches
15 burpee box jump-overs
30 dumbbell snatches
15 burpee box jump-overs
40 dumbbell snatches
15 burpee box jump-overs
50 dumbbell snatches
15 burpee box jump-overs

Women use 35-lb. dumbbell and 20-in. box

Time cap: 20 minutes


It was awesome to be there to cheer my fellow gym-goers as they dove right into the first workout of the 2017 Open!

Competing in 17.1

On Friday morning, I went to my usual 8 AM. I didn’t want to break out of my routine- you know the ol’ saying, don’t change anything on game day. Unfortunately, though, I felt a lot more anxious going into this workout. Even though that week’s programming had been full of longer WODs and I regularly attended Saturdays which are always longer WODS, I felt very anxious about this workout. I couldn’t tell you what it was, but this one psyched me out.

My partner Laura (not my sister who has the same name) was not competing this year, but because of her work schedule, we decided it would be best if she went first- she had to get to work and I have a little bit more fungibility with my time in the mornings. Laura and I both set goals for how we wanted to do. We both decided to compete at Rx- meaning we would be using the full weight and movements, as opposed to a scaled version.

On Friday, I reached 140 reps in the 20 minute time cap, at the 35 lb dumbbell and 20 inches burpee box jump-overs. This means I made it to the 40 dumbbell snatches and only got 35 of the 40 of them done. 

To Redo or Not To Redo?

Frankly, I was really disappointed with my performance. Most of my dumbbell work had been focused at the 20 lb weight. The 35 lb weight felt heavy. Dumbbell snatches aren’t a great movement for me, and my arms are wildly uneven in strength. I was fine at the burpee box jumpovers and kept a steady pace throughout, but during the dumbbell snatches I took too much rest and let the movement get in my head.

Given that workouts can be redone as many times as one would like before the logging deadline, I seriously considered redoing it. I knew that other people at the gym would, so it would be easy to find someone to judge me, in exchange for judging them. I also knew that some people advised doing workouts over again because one could get better in the movements. I often find this to be the case- my third and fourth rep of a new movement are almost always better than my first or second. Before the Open, though, I read Phil Hesketh of CrossFit Innerfight on why you should be one and done with the CrossFit Open (translation: not repeating workouts to improve your score).

At the end of the day I decided not to redo 17.1. It was hard the first time around. Even though I am wholly confident that I would have improved if I did it again, I didn’t think my body could really handle that sort of demand again in a way that wouldn’t negatively affect me going into 17.2. Plus, I didn’t want to diminish or not recognize my efforts from Friday. I tried hard and even if I didn’t perform my best, I performed my best at that moment.

Looking Forward to 17.2

Going into the rest of the Open, I’ve decided I’m not going to redo any of my workouts. For the next four Fridays, as I go into the gym, I’ll won’t know the WODs that are coming for me, but I will give them my absolute best. I will Rx them as much as I can. At the same time, I recognize that I’ve only being doing Crossfit for 6 months and that I have lots to learn every day. I will, though, be one and done this Open. I will be confident that I will give my everything every time.

Remember, you can always follow my Crossfit progress on my Fit/Foodstagram at @FoodEmilieEats or add my on MyFitnessPal at @EmilieBurke93.

Now… can 17.2 please be sleep for time? There’s a WOD I actually have a shot at.

As the saying goes,

It never gets easier. You just get better.


Are you competing in the Open? Have you ever had any thoughts about joining Crossfit? Let me know what you think!

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