Heyyyyyyyoooooo. How’s it going for ya on this Tuesday? My Tuesday is going pretty swell, as I am sitting in my warm house (it’s terribly cold out there in South Carolina right now) with my 130 – ish (just estimating) bulldog in my lap.

I have a bad cold right now, which makes demonstrating any sort of CrossFit movement, and attempting to workout while we’re at it, and sleeping, and just breathing in general not the best…

And you know where this cold came from? 20.5 I tell ya. That’s the only reason I’m complaining about it to you. I woke up Sunday. I felt great. Immediately after doing 20.5…. BAM. Headache. Sore throat. Sneezing. Can’t breathe out of my nose (which is a shame because I’ve been trying to do more breathing out of just my nose when I have the chance to calm me down because I need it). Basically 20.5 was about 13 min of Fran lung for me. But I loved it so much.

Ok, this Open was confusing. Didn’t we just do this?! And if you have anything to do with making the gym you coach at the best it can be, maybe two opens in one year felt like a little much. It was tough to build the same hype that everyone was used to in March.We really tried to build up our Friday Night Lights and have two teams this year. Team Colin vs. Team Alison. I’m sad to say that despite having a strong start, Team Alison fell off during the last week, and we lost. Not proud about this, but we gave it our best, and sometimes that is just the way it goes…

What I loved most about the Open was seeing people at CFEC go ALL OUT – most peoplefor 5 WEEKS STRAIGHT. Some fell off along the journey. That’s ok. The intent was there. I love watching people surprise themselves by doing way better than they had anticipated. I could list out so many examples, but I would steal all your time and your weekly screen time would go up by like 5757%.

So, I’ll just name a few…

There is a couple I had the honor to train for several months. They’ve been friends of mine and Daniel’s for a good bit of years, despite losing contact here and there. We were even neighbors at one point a long time ago! It has been amazing to watch them both change in so many ways since starting CrossFit back over the summer. They hold their heads high, and they are doing cool things like jumping rope and pullups and lots of wallballs (my bad..but look, it paid off well!) and handstand pushups. Back in August, they were like “what is all this Open hype about?” So, they signed up, and shortly after that, they started jumping in class at CFEC. And since then, their progress has skyrocketed even more. I watched them come into the gym on that first Friday of the Open(20.1). They were both decked out in USA apparel (because they love their country, and because it was USA night). Kristi may or may not have thrown up before. Jake was pretty nervous too. BUT they did it. ALL OF THOSE BURPEES AND ground to overhead. And they realized that they are capable of more than they thought. So, they showed up every single Friday night and surprised themselves, did things they didn’t know they could do, and had a blast.

We had members give up their own time so they could count reps, judge, change weights, and cheer on their friends.

We had numerous people get their first double unders, toes to bar, handstand pushups, heavy deadlift, clean and jerk PRs, pistols, anddd….even a good bit of ring muscle ups – including one by my friend, Branson (age 12) who I’ve known and loved since he was just a little 4 year old. He was so excited. And then he was just as excited when his friend, Kaiden (age 14) got one about 20 min later.

My friend, Kate got a muscle up too. She got her first bar muscle up around the last Open (which, remember, wasn’t a year ago, but only like what? 6-7 months ago?!?). Kate can do whatever she sets her mind to!

I’ve absolutely LOVED giving a little bit of extra workouts/drills/skill work to a group of people from all over, and getting to see their success in the Open has been one of the coolest things, and I’m so thankful they would trust me enough to ask for strategies and tips and all that jazz.

Personally, I was feeling great leading up to the Open.. Healthy. No injuries. Feeling pretty strong. And for all those reasons… I’ll be honest.. I wasn’t like thrilled about the Open because I didn’t want it to get in the way of the fun I was having, and the progress I was making. I wanted to push this Open because of a few sanctionals I was interested in qualifying for out of it.

I also had a goal that I told only a few people about. I didn’t tell many people this goal – not because I am afraid of failing and then living with the embarrassment of not accomplishing what I said I would. The reason I didn’t want to tell people was because I felt like the goal was so big that it would come across as arrogant or prideful if someone heard me say it. I didn’t believe in my own abilities, and I didn’t want anyone to be like, “oh, poor girl.” Or “Bless, she really thinks she can hang.”

That goal was to be one of the top 100 in the world (out of just under 100,000 women). I’ve never placed that high before. I think last Open I was like 138th, or something…so, close!

I know things aren’t final right now, and there is still some shifting that can be done…but if everything stays, not only did I place within the top 100 (at 62, last time I checked) but I also can’t even believe that I am one of the top 30 women in the USA. I surprised myself by staying in the top 100 throughout the 5 weeks – even after that handstand pushup/handstand walk/deadlift workout (my worst finish)

This ended up being my favorite open yet. First of all, I LOVED the workouts. I feel like each one was a great test – strength, gymnastics, and a lot of just grinding through. The past two Opens had workouts that I wasn’t able to finish under the time cap. Both of these workouts I am thinking of had handstand pushups + handstand walking in them.

This year, I was able to finish every workout (even the repeat – that one tripped me up so bad back in 2018). This time, I had 2 minutes left at the same place I got capped out last time. My time wasn’t like GREAT or anything, but I was happy with my improvement.

I am so proud that I was able to clean and jerk that heavy weight in 20.4 without any misses, and after everythinggggg else. I could have let those box jumps (yes, box jumps get the best of me) get in my head, but I didn’t. I also told myself I could hit that 205 every time, and the *CONFIDENCE* I had in myself paid off.

Now, 20.5 was my favorite. Who would have thought rowing + wallballs + muscle ups would be such a deadly combo?!?! Literally. Remember, I am on my death bead with a cold right now. But it was so so so painful (and I LOVE rowing and wallballs). I also love ring muscle ups, despite not being “great” at them. I just think they are fun. It was a great workout to end the 5 weeks on. I like how everyone was able to do it, and it could be broken up however you wanted. Which means, for some, it was all about just getting through the wallballs and rowing under 20 min. For some, it was about having time to attempt a muscle up. For some, it was about finishing all FORTY muscle ups!!!! And for some, it was about taking the best strategy that works for them and going as fast as they can.

So, whether this was your 6th open, or your first open, I encourage you to think about 1-3 things you are grateful for coming out of it, or 1-3 things you learned. Do it while it’s still fresh in your mind.

I kinda already touched on this, but for me, it was all about what I am capable of when I actually admit and say out loud that I do belong…when I can comprehend that I am meant to have competitive times, and do things like lift heavyish weights, and walk on my hands (although pretty slow and not pretty at times) when I want to vom , and push myself to a dark place.

And saying I belong doesn’t make me prideful, or crazy. But instead, it just shows that good things take time (and for me, A LOT of time – ha) and the journey never stops being sweet, despite “win or lose,” – as long as we keep our head in it, remember to give thanks for the journey in the first place and all of the people who help us along the way.

Thank you to everyone who made the Open at CFEC really great – by helping judge, count reps, cheer, change weights, being flexible (in mind and body, I guess?) and for stepping out of your comfort zone.

Thank you to my husband for believing in me. For Colin for judging me and helping me along the way, although I think I am a pain in the ass. For Lindsey for always believing in me. For anyone who made those dumb videos I had to record kinda funny. For anyone who changed my weights for me in a workout (esp week 3, because I started that workout, or attempted it more times than I’d like to admit 🙂 And last, but not least, for my mom for sending me all the texts every weekend to ask how my workout went – although she knows nothing about handstand walking or thrusters or clean and jerks.

pic by Skyelar Winn
pic by Skyelar Winn
pic by Will Poteat Photography