Photography by Sarah Griffith
" It feels like a fire is burning in my lungs... Welcome to the Open!"
-Coach Jeremy Clifton said after completing 16.1, with a huge grin on his face
At Crossfit Eden, as we all sat around the gym Thursday night the air felt heavy with anticipation.... What would 16.1 hold for us? Upon the announcement of the 20 ( yes 20! ) minute AMRAP a collective groan went up from the crowd. Twenty whole minutes of overhead lunges, burpees and pull-ups, a twisted triplet that was sure to claim some victims.
But then, a buzz started to swell. Our members all kicked into gear, making a strategy for the best overhead grip, the best way to pace and some lofty goals were set. This is what we train for all year- a way to measure our level of fitness against our previous results and the entire Crossfit community. And we all have different reasons for doing the Open. Tiffany Murphy, a dedicated 5 A.M. member summed it up really well. " I wanted to do the Open for myself, to prove all those early mornings were worth it. I want that self-validation."
For many of our athletes, 16.1 was their first experience with a Crossfit competition. The entire concept of Friday Night Lights was built to make each week of the Open have the same feeling of a competition. For some, that means being nervous all day, like Kim Kallam. She said she felt the anticipation the whole day at work, but when the clock counted down " 3-2-1...GO" all that dissipated and what was left was the drive to see it through. Many of our members talked about the mental preparation as well as the physical preparation of sleeping well, eating well and staying hydrated.
Coach Timmy Weddle was totally in his element - when I spoke to him he was amped up by the crowd. " The atmosphere tonight is pumped! Everyone is cheering like crazy, not just for their team either. " And, it is true that you could hear all the yelling and cheering from outside the building. Kim Doran said it was all the noise that helped her overcome a slight misstep while lunging. " I heard someone yell Stand Tall, so I did, and then I kept on going in the workout." And " just keep going " was the advice i got from a handful of members. Teen competitor Colby Harris said " Just push yourself through it. Picture where you'll be on the leaderboard and just keep moving."
But the leaderboard can not tell about all the victories, so it's my job over the next several weeks to shine a light on all the things that you don't see on the leaderboard. Like the very first true chest to bar pull up that Beth Campos got- overcoming a 2 year fear of this movement. Or Bryan Petschul, who completed the workout one handed! Each week I want to shout it out from this virtual rooftop the victories and personal records that our members crush during the Open. I can't wait to see what you all achieve.