Lessons Learned…

Ryan Mac', on the attack!

First off, I have to take a moment and acknowledge just how awesome you all are.  Seriously!  The level of participation, support and camaraderie coursing through our gym lately is truly awesome and inspiring.  But then again, this is nothing new to CrossFit West.  I’m always humbled by how incredibly strong our family and community is here at West.

Congratulations to all of you for stepping up and doing the CrossFit Open and hitting wod 12.1 with savage grace, whether you officially entered The Open or not.  What was even more inspiring was how so many of you chose to hit wod 12.1 a *second* time, even though the first time was oh-so brutal.

You should all know that your hard work has payed off.  After the 7 minute burpee amrap wod, out of 1,794 CrossFit Affiliate Teams officially entered in The Open, …CrossFit West Santa Cruz was tied for 71st in the world!  Out of 103 teams entered in our NorCal region, we were tied for 6th place, only 1 burpee away from being tied for 5th.  That is pretty awesome!!!

…With that said, during wod 12.1, I couldn’t help but notice many were facing the wod with some definite fear and trepidation.  There was a lot of nervous anxiety going into the wod….

Lessons Learned…

…I remember years ago, a friend of mine and I were headed to CrossFit HQ to get in a workout on a Sunday morning.  We agreed we wanted to do something quick so we could enjoy the rest of the day.  After all, it was a beautiful day.  A great idea, I thought, …until my friend uttered the words, “I was thinking we could just do ‘Fran’, bust it out and then head out”. …While my “Fran” time now is a legit 3:01, Chest-To-Bar, …at the time, my best “Fran” was just under 7:00 minutes and I was useless to anyone for a good 30+ minutes after.  “Fran” always induced a healthy bit of fear or anxiety or whatever and I’d always get all amped up like you would for a 1-RM Clean-&-Jerk.  …Anyway, I started my normal pre-Fran ritual; …taping, …praying, …focusing, …channeling entities from other dimensions and chalking in places that didn’t need chalk, like I was reliving a scene from Lord of the Flies or Braveheart or something.  …I was getting psyched up.  I popped my mouthpiece in and was ready to go.  …My friend then quipped; “Bro, what the hell are you doing?  Nah, man.  Ditch the mouthpiece, bro.  Don’t get all psyched ‘out’.  You don’t get ‘psyched up’ for Fran, you get psyched out.  CrossFit’s you’re thing, Dawg, you do it every day.  You’re the CrossFit OG.”

…He then added, “Just breath and relax, bro.  …Breath and relax.”

…And so I did.  And I shaved almost a full 2 minutes off my best “Fran” time.

…Recently, during wod 12.1, knowing that I am not in my normal shape, I ended up going into it with the same wind-up, (or “psych-out”), that I used to put myself through all those times going into “Fran”, …minus the mouthpiece.  I was so amped up, I blasted through the first two minutes as though it was a two minute amrap.  I did 52 reps in less than 2 minutes, (that’s more reps in 2 minutes than Danilla Shokhin, the guy who tied for first in the world on that wod, got.),  …and then in the remaining 5+ minutes, …I did another 52 reps.  I couldn’t even hold half my previous pace.  It’s the equivalent of running a 400 meter sprint, all out, getting a PR, …and then going, “Oh damn, …we’re running a mile.”

I was messed up for almost an hour after that.  …Partly due to not being in my normal CrossFit shape, and partly due to getting too amped up in the beginning and having a whacked strategy, going out way too hard and fast.  …Afterwards, I was light headed, nauseous, and felt like I had to go to the bathroom all of a sudden.  I laid on the floor in shock position for about 20 minutes before making my way to the bathroom where I wasn’t sure exactly what was going to happen.  It was physically and psychologically demoralizing and instilled the same thoughts many others that I talked to after doing it for the first time had, …”I am NOT doing THAT again!”

…Yet, like many others, I developed a yen to do exactly that.  …To do it again.

When the time came, however, I had a bit of trepidation, anxiety, etc.  After all, my previous attempt and exposure did not exactly procure a feeling I desired to relive.  Not to mention there were some beautiful girls there wanting to watch me, so, you know, …no added pressure or anything.

A few minutes before I was gonna hit it, Emmett (yes, our very own 141 reps, Emmett), called me over and sat me down on the bench for a little “pre-game speech” and pep-talk to get my mind right and coach me through it.  He saw I was a little nervous and saw me starting to get a bit amped up.  He said, “It’s not a one-rep max back-squat, J. You don’t need to get all psyched up.” …He then told me “Just breath and relax, J. …Breath and relax.”

…Instantly I was reminded of my friend and my 2 minute PR on “Fran” back at CFHQ so many years ago.

…And so I did just that.  I breathed and relaxed and just flowed.  I went into it with no trepidation.  No doubt.  Just confidence.  …I PR’d by 18 reps, jumping from 104 to 122, and all without feeling like I was gonna pass out, throw up, or shit myself.

Point of the story is this, …you are all athletes.  Every one of you.  You are CrossFit’ers!  You come in to CrossFit several days a week, every week, even twice a day sometimes, and you push yourself hard and often and test your limits regularly.  You have all experienced some healthy doses of discomfort.  Remember back to when you started.  Look at where you are now.  Look at how far you’ve come.  Reflect for a moment on your previous PR’s, whether how grand or insignificant they may seem.  Think of every CrossFit workout you’ve done from the time you started.  …Those times you wanted to quit, …but didn’t.  …Those Hero wods that you questioned whether you’d even be able to complete, …yet you did.  …And even those couplets or triplets that you absolutely crushed and shouted in your own head, “Hell yeah!–I KILLED that wod!!–Wassup!!”  …Then think of how good you felt after each of those experiences, (well, maybe not immediately after, lol), …the ones you crushed, …and the ones that crushed you yet you fought through.

…You are stronger now.  …Faster.  …More powerful.  You are fitter and much more dominant, …physically AND mentally.  Acknowledge it.  Own it!

As you attack wod 12.2 and take on the challenges ahead in The Open, whether hitting each wod for the first time, …or a second, …don’t get psyched out.  …Have no trepidation, …no fear, …no doubt.  Be confident!

You don’t need to be nervous.  You’ve worked hard to get to this point.  Nothing was “given” to you.  You had to earn it!

You don’t need to be nervous.  …You do this every day.  You CrossFit!

…Hone that mental focus.

…Be focused, …aggressive, …and confident!

Focused aggression!  …Supreme confidence.

And remember…

”Just breath and relax, bro. …Breath and relax.”



Front Squat: Establish a 1-Rep Max.

Foam Roll between warm-up sets.

Then:  (From CrossFit Invictus)

3 rounds for time of;

400 Meter Run

5 Power-Cleans

10 Front-Squats

(Men = 205, Women = 145.  Weight should be challenging, so scale as needed, whether down or up.)