From over-estimating (14.3) to under-estimating (14.4)

What do 99% of all CrossFitters do? They judge a WOD before starting the WOD.

We all have our go-to or favorite movements and when we see those in a WOD we immediately think it will be easy. We all have movements we absolutely dread and when we see those in a WOD we immediately think it is going to suck. Sometimes the rep schemes of the WOD dictate how you feel about the WOD before starting. No matter what the reason most of us usually have a feeling about a WOD before we begin.

This multiplies during the Open. During the Open there are so many videos on strategy (which I am really starting to think are a large pile of you-know-what), so many people comparing how they score to your score, and vice versa and typically there is a large number of people you work with on a daily basis screaming at you to “go!”. Listen, if I could “go” I WOULD FREAKING “GO”!!

When 14.3 was announced I was a bit afraid. I hate, hate box jumps and am weak when deadlifting. As a guy who weighs 205 on a “light day” getting up onto a box is tiresome. Unfortunately, this guy who usually weighs closer to 210 doesn’t deadlift like a guy who weighs 210. My max deadlift is 365 which is probably 100 pounds less than what it should be. I recently deadlifted 315 for reps in one of the mainsite workouts so I knew I could lift that weight, if I got there. The thought of 25 reps at 275 scared me, especially after doing all those box jumps. Then the flood of “my dream WOD” talk that came across Facebook and the interwebs scared me even more. If everyone else LOVED the WOD then I assumed they would score well and my score might lack which would make me look bad. AIN’T NO ONE WANT TO LOOK BAD! The nerves were piling up shortly after 14.3 was announced on Thursday evening.

When 14.4 was announced I was ready for it. Rowing is easy for a big guy like me. I’m not tall, but I just put my weight into it and can pull sub two minute 500 splits pretty easily and I figured I could row easily for three minutes and get my 60 calories. Sure 50 toes-to-bar was a lot, but I have done that many in a WOD before and I didn’t completely die. Besides, the 50 T2B is followed by a measly 40 wall balls. I actually really like wall balls and 40 is nothing. Finally (for me), there are 30 cleans at 135. While 135 isn’t as light for me as someone who has a max clean of 300, I have done Grace recently in less than three minutes and these 30 cleans don’t require a jerk. Finally (for everyone else), were 20 muscle-ups. I have been working on a muscle-up for like two years now. In February I dedicated time after my WOD three times a week to muscle-up work. I still don’t have a muscle-up. I figured I could easily get through the 60-50-40-30 in about 12 minutes (max) and then have two minutes or more to try to get my first muscle-up. Hey, there are reports every year of someone getting their first muscle-up during the Open. Why can’t that someone be me this year?

Leading up to 14.3 I did Romanian deadlifts while standing on a 45# plate and nailed 315. I then backed off and did regular deadlifts for multiples at a lighter weight. Along with jumping rope that was basically my warmup for 14.3 Loosen the Achilles and lift a heavy deadlift to gain confidence and stretch my posterior chain. Along with the deadlifts feeling good I was now set on doing step-ups instead of box jumps which should save me a lot of energy. Still, the nerves were there. My plan was to do the rounds of 135 and 185 unbroken and then break up the 225 into sets of five with short breaks. When/if I got to 275 I was going to just do as many as I can and keep to small sets. The goal on the step-ups was to not stop and just do all 15 every time without any breaks. I honestly was not sure I would get more than five to 10 reps at 275. Another guy at our box did the WOD the night before and his max deadlift is around 500 and he barely got over 100 total reps, which is not even half of the 275 pound deadlifts.

I blew through the set of 10 at 135 and set of 15 at 185 unbroken as planned. The steps-up were not an issue. I nailed four sets of five at 225 and actually felt like I could have done more reps each set, but stuck to the game plan. When I got to 275 it didn’t feel as heavy as I had thought it would. I got through all 25 reps with about 35-40 seconds remaining in the WOD. If I hurried I could maybe get one pull at 315! I had figured that if I needed to hurry at some point I would switch from step-ups to box jumps, but my legs weren’t jumping, so I hurried as fast as I could through the step-ups but only completed 12 of the 15 reps when the clock expired. 127 total reps was about 27 more than I expected and I didn’t blow out my back. Success!

14.3 went so well that I was going to re-do it on Monday morning with the confidence to get back to the bar this time to get at least one rep at 315. I figured I could break up the round of 225 into sets of seven, seven and six rather than four sets of five to save enough time to get back to the bar. The trainer that was going to show up on Monday morning to judge me got sick so I did not re-do. Probably for the best. Those who did it twice had bad backs for a few days following. Scoring 127 was good for me so I was happy.

And then there was 14.4…

Leading up to 14.4 I felt ready. I was going to smoke it and get a few attempts at my first muscle-up. First up was the row and I had about 30 calories completed after the first minute on the erg. My stroke rate was closer to 30 strokes per minute than the 20-22 I had planned, but I felt good so I tried to keep it up and finished my 60 calories in about 2:25. My original plan of doing 5×10 for T2B was scrapped minutes before the WOD in favor of singles from a low bar. While it took a while to complete I kept a good pace and never failed. On to the wall balls where I was 100% positive before beginning the WOD that I would do two sets of 20 wall balls. NOPE! I think I went 15-12-7-6 and was gassed. I was feeling much more exhausted than I figured. The cleans were all singles but I tried to follow the bar to the ground to make sets of three or four when possible. What I didn’t expect was the strong urge to puke two or three times while doing the cleans. The feeling of refunding my lunch kept me from going quite as quickly through the cleans, but I still finished them with 1:05 remaining on the clock. I knew I wasn’t going to get a muscle-up in the condition I was in so I took a knee until there was 15 seconds left in the WOD to attempt a muscle-up. I didn’t get it. 180 reps and really, really disappointed – and exhausted!

Someone asked me on Saturday morning if I was going to re-do 14.4 and I think my exact response was “fuck no”. First, 14.4 sucked and sucked hard and second, what’s the point if I can’t get a muscle-up. I decided to work on my muscle-up progressions on Saturday morning after getting in a WOD and on my third set of hollow rock/supermans from the rings my right hand tore – a lot. Blood was running down my hand and that sealed the deal: my score on 14.4 was going to be 180.

Perfect example of under- and over-estimating a WOD before doing them. On one hand I thought I would just suck at 14.3 and did a lot better than expected and on the other hand I thought I would do pretty well in 14.4 and was semi-hopeful I would get my first muscle-up, or at least get three or four good attempts at my first, and I barely was even able to attempt one.

One week left in the Open and the buzz is wearing off. Much like it did last year. Early on I want to do well and by this stage I am securely in the top 1,000 in the Southwest Region, but I probably won’t finish outside the top 1,000 and probably not inside the top 800, either. It is what it is and the last WOD will just be another WOD. I’ll try not to judge it before performing it. Doubtful.

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