Locked and Loaded – The OPEN 2018

Locked and Loaded – The OPEN 2018

For those of you in the CrossFit world, you’re probably experiencing a mix of crazy excitement, nerves, and possibly dread because… * drum roll* … the OPEN IS HERE! Tomorrow 18.1 will be announced and so begins the 5 weeks of ultimate torture and fun! (Weird, right?).

This will be my first Open, and like many of you, I’m not sure what to expect other than deep dives into the ‘pain cave’. However, as I’ve been reflecting on and processing through my feelings towards the Open, I’ve come up with a few thoughts that I wanted to share with all of you.

1. It’s just fitness.

One thing I’ve had to constantly remind myself of is that the Open and CrossFit in general, is just working out. Before I started CF, I use to work out all the time with no pressure or anxiety of the competition. So when the clock is counting down from 10 and your heart is racing, embrace that feeling and remember, IT’S JUST A WORK OUT.

2. Check your expectations at the door.

 This one is a BIG challenge for me. I’m naturally a competitor and I have dreams of going to Regionals one day in the future; so having the understanding that my performance in the Open determines whether or not I will reach my goals has added some more to the ever increasing amount of pressure and anxiety I’ve been experiencing. However, I’m also aware of the caliber of the athleticism that is required for Regionals. Further, I know I’ve only been in the sport for 9 months. Therefore, I shouldn’t have an expectation for myself in the Open this year because it’s my first one! I want to complete the workouts to the best of my ability. Period.

To put this in perspective for myself, I think about it as if someone walked into my gymnastics training facility, had only being doing gymnastics for less than a year, and told me they wanted to go to World Championships in a few weeks. Skurt. WHAT? Excuse me? Come again? That request would be audacious and ultimately insulting. I had done gymnastics for almost two decades and never made it there. That requires elite skill and ability.

The same goes for CrossFit. I’m not saying it’s going to take me another two decades to reach my CrossFit goals because the sports differ in longevity; however, within this framework, it allows me to be more patient with myself. I don’t need to qualify for Regionals my first year. And that’s okay.

3. Stay in your lane.

 One of the elements I’ve struggled the most with in CrossFit is my mentality. If a workout doesn’t go according to plan, I’m just having a rough day or (God forbid) someone’s beating me in a workout, my brain tends to shut down. I don’t try as hard, I beat myself up, and I ask myself why I’m even doing this stupid sport. Healthy, right?

Because of these tendencies, I’ve been told over and over and over and over and over again by those in the sport whom I look up to, stay in your lane. Meaning, stop looking around at every one else or even at yourself in the future. Shut up, grind it out, and give it all YOU have right now in the PRESENT. It’s not about beating those around me or even my future self, although those can be motivators. But I can’t expect to ever beat anyone else if I’m not getting any better, and I’m sure as heck not getting better if I’m not giving it my all during the task at hand.

I actually just experienced a healthy mentality in a workout for the first time, this week! My strategy didn’t go according to plan, I messed up my desired rep scheme, and instead of breaking down, I took a breathe and told myself it was ok. I kept going. I finished. And honestly, that was a better feeling than any workout I hadn’t struggled to complete. This is my goal for the Open. For workouts to challenge me mentally and for me to overcome them.

4. HAVE FUN!!!

 My last thought stems from the reason the Open even exists – to have fun and enjoy the amazing community that you’re blessed to be a part of: CrossFit. There is 1% of the CrossFit population that makes the Games. A little bit larger percentage that makes Regionals. The rest is for those of us who love the sport and love the one’s we do it with, just for the sake of doing it. SO ENJOY. Every second of every workout. It’s not about being Katrin or Tia-Claire. It’s about grinding it out with your best box friends and being better than yesterday.

To my fellow CrossFitters,

Good luck and love your life while you’re doing it!

Ashley

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