My CrossFit Open 2015 Post Mortem

Saturday April 4, 2015
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The 2015 CrossFit Open season has come to an end.  The top performers have now turned their focus to Regionals, and perhaps the Games, but my season is over and it is a good time to reflect.

2015 marks my third year of participation in the Open.   I did participate in the 2012 Open as well, but not as a registered athlete — I was still new to CrossFit and scaled just about everything.

2015 also marks the first year CrossFit introduced a “Scaled” division.  Even though my fitness has improved every year, I’ve seen the intensity and demands of CrossFit increase as well. I wondered if I would be able to hang at the “Rx” level.  This is my recap of how it went and how I did.

2015 CrossFit Open Workouts

Note:  full descriptions of all the workouts and standards can be found at
http://games.crossfit.com/workouts/the-open/2015

15.1 and 15.1a “The Two-Fer”

Dave Castro started the Open off with a twist.   15.1 was a two part workout.

Part One was a 9 minute AMRAP of 3 movements:
15 toes-to-bars, 10 deadlifts (115 / 75 lb.), and 5 snatches (115 / 75 lb.).

In Part Two, athletes had 6 minutes to establish a one rep max clean and jerk. Part Two began at the 9 minute mark, immediately following Part One.

The was an interesting pairing because the first part favors an athlete who excels at light weights and bodyweight movements, while the second part favors an athlete who is able to move heavier weights, but must be able to do so after being fatigued. I am definitely better at strength movements than bodyweight, and my scores bore that out.

11043417_932797463419792_8018844247555010348_o.jpg
My Scores:

15.1 – 103 reps, rx
15.1a – 162lbs (PR!)

My Ranking: (for my division — Women’s Masters ages 40-44 worldwide)

15.1 — 2236/10558 — top 21%
15.1a — 206/10558 — top 2%

My score for the clean & jerk was by far my best performance for any of the open workouts and I was thrilled with it.  I think the secret to my success was achieved by following the advice someone offered of adding 1lb plates on first, before any of the other weights.  That gave me a finish of 2lbs higher and separated me from many athletes who lifted a similar weight.  I managed to complete 4 lifts in the 6 minutes, without failing any of them.  I also thought I had lifted this weight before so I wasn’t in “freak out” mode when I attempted what turned out to be a PR. 🙂

15.2 – “The Repeat”

15.2 was the same as workout 14.2 last year. I groaned when I heard it, because I had one of my worst finishes on this workout.  It is a series of 3 minute intervals where you must complete the work in the allocated time to keep going.  It pairs two tricky movements:  overhead squats (which I love) and chest-to-bar pull-ups (struggle-city).

15.2
Every 3 minutes for as long as possible complete:

From 0:00-3:00
2 rounds of:
10 overhead squats (95 / 65 lb.)
10 chest-to-bar pull-ups

From 3:00-6:00
2 rounds of:
12 overhead squats (95 / 65 lb.)
12 chest-to-bar pull-ups

From 6:00-9:00
2 rounds of:
14 overhead squats (95 / 65 lb.)
14 chest-to-bar pull-ups

Etc., following same pattern until you fail to complete both rounds

Last year I didn’t get past the three minute mark because I could only complete 14 c2b pull-ups.  I was determined to do better and move into the next time domain this year.   Alas, when I attempted the workout on Friday, I only got 38 reps — 2 shy of moving on.   This was very disappointing to me and I decided to give it another go on Monday.   On my second go round, my score was much better.

10959399_911238625575676_8414271031605552142_n-001.jpg

Score: 68 reps rx

Rank:  1754/ 9278  – top 19%

Yahoo! I was so pleased with this improvement.  I had heard the advice about “pacing yourself” in the early rounds, but after doing the workout, I realized that didn’t apply to me. I need to sprint like the dickens just to make it to the 3 minute cut off.  Unsurprisingly, I started to run out of gas in the 3 – 6 min timeframe but I was happy just to be there.  The takeaway for me, is that I need to keep on working on my c2b pull-ups and get more efficient in stringing them together (I did mine as singles).

15.3 “Must Have Muscle Up”

15.3, similar to 14.4 and 13.3 include muscle-ups.   However, unlike previous years, the muscle up was introduced as the very first movement for RX athletes.

15.3 Rx
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 14 minutes of:
7 muscle-ups
50 wall-ball shots
100 double-unders

Muscle ups have been considered the “holy grail” by many an intermediate CrossFit athlete and a requirement, according to Dave Castro, for any serious regional-caliber athlete.  Putting this movement first was clearly sending a signal, dividing the wheat from the chaff, as it were.

Unfortunately for me, muscle-ups are a hole in my fitness that I haven’t yet filled, so despite several days of working on them and hoping for a “CrossFit miracle”, my first muscle-up did not materialize.  That meant I, like thousands of others, had to complete the scaled version.

15.3 Scaled
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 14 minutes of:

50 wall-ball shots
200 single-unders

Men use 20-lb. ball to 9 feet, Women use 10-lb. ball to 9 feet

I was very disappointed that I had to scale this workout and not very enthusiastic about the scaled version.  Single unders!  An lightweight medicine ball and a low target.  The scales felt “too easy.”

Score:  690 – scaled

Ranking:  3508/8156 — top 43%

This was my worst finish, placement wise for the Open.  The scaled workout was definitely taxing and I could have done better, but my heart wasn’t in it.  The real issue is that I need to continue to work on muscle ups.  I am determined to have them by 2016! (Barring injury, and Lord-willing).

15.4 “Heels Up HSPU”

15.4 provided another twist in that it introduced a previously unseen movement in the Open:  the handstand push-up.  Those who have’m were excited, and those who don’t groaned.  BUT, in yet another twist, a new standard for measuring this movement was also introduced, and it was a game changer for many.

A tape line had to be put on the wall relative to the height of one’s wrists overhead while standing with toes against the wall.  This meant that someone who normally used a super wide arm stance might not get high enough.  It also required driving through the heels to get them to clear the line, a slightly different movement mechanic than what I was used to.

15.4
Complete as many reps as possible in 8 minutes of:

3 handstand push-ups
3 cleans
6 handstand push-ups
3 cleans
9 handstand push-ups
3 cleans
12 handstand push-ups
6 cleans
15 handstand push-ups
6 cleans
18 handstand push-ups
6 cleans
21 handstand push-ups
9 cleans
Etc., adding 3 reps to the handstand push-up each round, and 3 reps to the clean every 3 rounds.

Men clean 185 lb.
Women clean 125 lb.

Handstand push-ups are not my strongest movement, but I am pleased to say I can do them.  I have a decent kip and I knew I could do this workout Rx, even if I didn’t get a huge amount.  When I performed this workout for the first time on Friday, the heel standard was challenging for me and I got quite a few no reps.  It’s tricky because you need to practice the movement, but you also don’t want to wear out your shoulders and use up all your energy.   My score on Friday was 32.  It was ok, but I felt like I could have done better.   So I decided to try again on Monday and again, the extra effort yielded a positive reward.

Score: 48 Rx

Rank:  644/7430 — top 9%

This was one of my better finishes and I’m very happy with it.  It definitely reflects all that I was capable of.  The only way to improve it is to continue to work to increase strength in this movement so that I can string more reps together.

15.5  “The Grand Finale”

Most people were expecting a big chipper finale, but Dave of course, mixed it up again.  It was only two movements, but the pairing and the rep scheme promised to be physically and mentally brutal.

15.5

27-21-15-9 reps for time of:
Row (calories)
Thrusters

Men use 95 lb.
Women use 65 lb.

CrossFitters are used to a 21-15-9 rep scheme, but this one started with a round of 27.  It was a question of how hard could you pull on the rower without destroying your ability to grind out thrusters.

I watched the top ladies execute this flawlessly, without ever breaking up their sets, but I knew that wasn’t my game plan.  Instead, I tried to give myself a target and limit how often I put the bar down.  My goal was to only drop the bar once each round.  The round of 21 got me and I put it down twice, but otherwise I stuck to the plan and managed to finish the final round of thrusters unbroken.

Score:  11:03 Rx

Rank: 515/6711 — top 8%

I don’t consider myself someone who excels at “mental grinder” wods, so I was surprised and pleased with my result.   This ended up being my second best finish of the Open.  I had no interest in re-doing, I felt might only shave off a few seconds at best.

Summary

Overall, I really enjoyed the Open.  Even though I am not a “Games-bound” athlete, I enjoy the thrill of competition and the chance to measure myself — against me, and against my friends and peers.

I recently heard a great quote from CJ Martin: “Full effort is full victory.”  This really resonates with me — I love the feeling I get from knowing I’ve put everything I have into the workout.  There aren’t a lot of things I do in life that demand that level of intensity and I think that is a big part of what makes CrossFit so attractive to me.

I know that I am stronger, faster, and fitter than I was a year ago, and even though I am “north of 40”, I expect to continue to improve my fitness and make gainz (Lord-willing).

Here’s a snapshot of all my finishes.  I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings!

My 2015 CrossFit Games Open Standings:

Overall Rank:  1042 out of 6714* –> top 16% of Masters Women Ages 40-44 Worldwide

Score Rank Participants Top %
15.1 103 2366 10558 21%
15.1A 162 206 10558 2%
15.2 61 1754 9278 19%
15.3 690-s 3508 8156 43%
15.4 48 644 7430 9%
15.5 11:03 515 6711 8%

*This is the number of people who completed all 5 workouts.  Many thousands more participated in some of the workouts but did not enter a score for every week.

My 2014 Finish:

Overall Rank: 1084 out of 4373 –> top 25% of Masters Women Ages 40-44 WW

Score Rank Participants Top %
14.1 180 2529 6752 37%
14.2 34 1758 5612 31%
14.3 132 521 5481 10%
14.4 169 1024 7574 14%
14.5 17:25 1189 4373 27%

 

My 2013 Finish: 12789 out of ?? –> top 42% of Individual Women 18-39 WW

Score Rank Participants Top %
13.1 134 18135 46516 39%
13.2 250 11522 42522 27%
13.3 188 17355 38288 45%
13.4 60 10345 31151 33%
13.5 23 18484 27692 67%
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