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My First Crossfit Open: 17.2

March 6, 2017
AUTHOR: Emilie
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How many muscles in your body are sore right now? If the answer is anything other than absolutely all of them, you might not have done 17.2 this weekend. I did it on Thursday night and I am still feeling the effects. Boy, oh boy, am I sore!

Thanks to all the new visitors from The Morning Chalkup. I’m so honored to have had my reflection on 17.1 featured in their newsletter and on their Facebook page. It is by far one of my favorite newsletters! Welcome to the Burke Does family!

Recovering from Last Week and This Week’s Training

Have I mentioned lately that I’m sore? I mean, all the muscles are sore. This is, I think, in part because I’ve hit a wall. I’m working hard right now. Of the 28 days of February, I was in the gym 20 of them. I traveled for another four. As I look at my logs (doesn’t everyone keep these? no? just me?), there is a very clear 11 day stretch with no rest. #mybad? Okay, maybe that wasn’t the greatest move on my part, but it is what it is.

Photo by Kelli Frances Photography

I don’t know if deciding to really step-up my game was correlated with the Open,  associated with my feelings of plateauing, or maybe from just crossing the six-month mark lately. I was talking to one of the newer members at the gym this morning as we were practicing HSPU (hand stand push ups can be seen in the Crossfit Games here). I don’t have HSPUs yet. I can’t even kick up to a handstand against the wall reliably. I can, though, get into a tripod (demo video here) really easily. That was one of those movement, though, that I didn’t have that long ago.

You see, I’ve had multiple concussions from being an athlete my whole life, so overhead stuff is not my jam. I get really nervous because my brain is my money-maker. I remember the first time I worked on tripods. I remember the first time I watched Coach Keith demo the movement. Just watching it got me antsy. That was at most 16 weeks ago. Now, I can get into a tripod without thinking about it. I just got up from my comfy office chair and did it on the rug in my office to confirm I wasn’t making that up. I’m still surprising myself with how far I’ve come.

That being said, I know that these things are related. My ability to get into a tripod whenever I want is the result of all those days in August, September, October, November, December, January, and February. It’s the cumulative effect of putting in hard work- of going in on Saturdays, even when I was there every day that week- of not sleeping in for another hour because sleep is so good– of focusing on technique instead of just trying to go heavy. I remind myself every day that it’s hard and it sucks. It never gets easier. You just get better. This is my mantra every day as I roll out of bed and go back to another 8 AM class. It’s hard. My muscles are sore. I’m going to have to put in work, but the work will pay off if I let it.

Going into 17.2 I knew that I wanted to rest, but I also wanted to make as many gains as I could. Not knowing what to expect, I didn’t know which exercises to focus on. I trusted in my gym’s programming and went with it. I focused on my pulling movements in my free time because I knew that they were a weakness of mine and would most certainly be something we continued to see in the open.

I volunteered to do the workout on Thursday night right after the announcement in front of all my gym-mates. I loved being there for the announcement last week, so being able to jump in and doing the workout in front of everyone was nerve-wracking but also exciting. It hit many of the same nerves as competing has in the past. Even though I was only competing against myself, it was exciting to be back in that competition mindset.

Thursday Night

Normally, I would never miss a day at the gym, but I took Thursday morning off, knowing that I was going to be doing 17.2 live. Looking back, there was a different sort of feeling leading up to the workout announcement. Even at Crossfit competitions I had done in the past, I knew that I was in the scaled division. In this case, though, I was trying to Rx the workouts, as much as I could. I had Rx’ed 17.1 last week and was hoping to also Rx 17.2, but with no way to tell what was coming, I had no way to mentally prepare.

Then came the announcement. 17.2 for Rx women was as follows:

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 12 minutes of:
2 rounds of:
50-ft. weighted walking lunge
16 toes-to-bars
8 power cleans
Then, 2 rounds of:
50-ft. weighted walking lunge
16 bar muscle-ups
8 power cleans
Etc., alternating between toes-to-bars and bar muscle-ups every 2 rounds.

Women use 35-lb. dumbbells


Well.. Bar muscle ups (BMUs)… Yea, I don’t have those. As I sat with the two other women who would be doing the workout that night, they had decided that they would be doing the scaled versions. As I read the scaled workouts, though, I knew I would still struggle with it, as the scaled version would still require 16 chin-over-bar pull-ups for the last two rounds, a movement I do not have at that scale.

I decided that I would Rx the workout. If I reached the BMUs, then I’d just keep doing toes-to-bars (TTB) because I was doing this for me and not for some spot on a leaderboard. After all, my participation in the Open was about me pushing myself. With my judge assigned, my dumbbells separated, my arms and legs warmed up, and my bar on the rig picked out, I was to do an Rx 17.2 on a Thursday night at Crossfit Raeford.

Crossfit Open Seventeen Point Two
Photo by Kelli Frances Photography

I planted myself on the side of the gym with the other Rxers- all dudes, all way fitter than I- and ready to go. Each round consisted of three parts: the lunges, the TTB, and the power cleans. The first set of lunges were cake. Though the dumbbells were heavy, I was much confident using them after 17.2 called for them. The first round of TTB, though, did not go as smoothly. You see, TTB are still a relatively new movement to me. In fact, I can’t yet string them together. I can almost always get one, but in order to get a second I need to restart my swing. This means I end up using more energy than necessary, resulting in an inefficient movement. After the initial 10, my arms were smoked. I was missing a lot of attempts, wasting energy, and getting frustrated with myself. Nonetheless, I pushed through. The power cleans were heavy- I mean two 35 lb dumbbells = 70 lbs =  more than half of my body weight – but as long as I focused on form (and actually using my legs), as opposed to muscling them up, I was fine. I was successfully able to do the first round unbroken.

As I headed into the second round, I found my body screaming for rest already. My arms naturally shifted in my positioning for carrying the dumbbells, relieving my arms of the weight but pushing my forearms. When I got back to the rig for my TTB, I was in trouble. My arms were done and I did not think I had sixteen more TTB in me. Not only that, but to my left I could see the men on their BMUs meaning I was a full round behind them. Pushing that out of my mind, I walked over to the chalk bucket taking a couple of deep breaths. I walked back to my bar and cranked out four TTB. The next 12 TTB were hard. There were a lot more no-reps than there were reps, but I powered through with wonderful and encouragement and made it happen. I powered through the power cleans in two sets, knowing that would be my tie-break time. I finished the second round at just under 10:28. I powered through the lunges before hitting the 12 minute time cap.

I got a 78 on 17.2 at Rx, putting me at the 50th percentile for women. My tie-break time of 10:28 wasn’t great, but I’ll take it because I know I did my absolute best. I know I gave that workout my everything. In fact, when I sat down afterwards, my forearms had been worked out so hard that they were physically hot to the touch.

Sticking to My Guns

As I shared last week, I was committed to being one-and-done this Open season. In other words, I would not be repeating workouts. But… I was really tempted with this one. Tie-break time, when I finished that second round of power cleans, was going to really make a difference here. I watched people re-do 17.2 in an effort to bring their tie-break time to under 5, under 4, under 3 minutes, knowing that they weren’t going to be able to get those bar muscle ups, but were willing to take 6, 7, or 8 minutes trying. Hitting that 79th rep in the Women’s Rx division is a game-changer for placement, but I knew that wouldn’t be possible. Getting that time down, though, maybe? Ehh, I decided instead to stick to my guns.

I submitted my score.

Looking forward to 17.3

This week, I will not be at the Open Announcement with my lovely CFR friends. I have a babysitting gig on Thursday night and will most certainly not make it home in time to catch the workout or the announcement. Instead, it’ll be all cell phones and incessantly refreshing Instagram as I try to learn what 17.3 has in store for me. It’s a real bummer too because this week the pregnant and recently post-partum women at the gym are showing their skills on-the-spot. I am always in shock and awe at the power of the human body, but I am exceptionally humbled by the power of women’s bodies that create, birth, and support another human being. Just, wow.

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

Photo by Kelli Frances Photography

All the photos in this post are from Kelli Frances Photography. Kelli is a member of the CFR family and took some amazing photos that I couldn’t resist sharing. Pictures were used with her permission. If you’re in the Fort Bragg/Fayetteville-area and need pictures taken, you need to reach out to Kelli!

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