Damn. Enough said.


25 feet of linear space, 2 50lb dumbbells and a pull-up bar.



12 minutes – a loooong 12 minutes

The WOD (Masters 40-44 Men)

    2 rounds of:

  • 50ft walking lunges with 2 50lb dumbbells in rack position (35lb scaled)
  • 16 toes to bar (hanging knee raises scaled)
  • 8 dumbbell cleans (with 2 50lb dumbbells, 35lb scaled)
    followed by 2 rounds of:

  • 50ft walking lunges with 2 50lb dumbbells in rack position (35lb scaled)
  • 16 bar muscle-ups (chin over bar pull-ups scaled)
  • 8 dumbbell cleans (with 2 50lb dumbbells, 35lb scaled)

12 minute time cap. If finished the above before time expires, circle back to the beginning to continue.

17.2 was a tough workout. When the second WOD for the Open was announced on Thursday night, like a lot of members at Rocky Lake Barbell, I was at the box watching the live broadcast projected on the wall. As the Rx standards were reviewed, I was a little disappointed. Not that I was planning to do Rx – quite the contrary, I am registered for scaled and completed the first workout scaled. But the scaled adjustments to the movements weren’t going to push me quite as hard as I expected. They were still tough. But scaling from toes to bar to hanging knee raises was less than exciting for me. And scaling muscle-ups to pull-ups was still not challenging. The workout would still be a burn, but there was nothing outside my comfort zone. Good in some ways, but not so good in others.

After I had completed 17.1, I briefly thought about attempting it Rx. But I am still recovering from my second rotator cuff strain, and so a 50lb clean on my left side would be fine, but on my right side, with the volume required, was just not an option. So when 17.2 was announced, I briefly thought about Rx again – just to try one workout Rx was what I had in mind. But I also have tendonitis in my left knee (aging sucks) so I wasn’t sure I could handle the weighted walking lunges. I grabbed a couple of 50lb dumbbells and tried a few lunges – wow they did not feel good. Scaled it would be.

Friday night is when we try to get Open testing done in the box – as much of it as possible anyway. I’m a judge as well, so I showed up as early as I could swing and judged a couple of people, then took some time to warm up. When it was my turn, I stayed pretty relaxed and completed the workout and cycled back to the start, finishing with an additional 25 feet of lunges before the time cap. All in all, it felt pretty good and my knees didn’t give me as much trouble as I thought they would and neither did my rotator cuff.

I stuck around, did some more judging and watched a few people do some muscle-ups in their workout. When all the testing was done, several that didn’t yet have muscle-ups stuck around to take turns trying for them. It took me several attempts, but I got one. Then, a few more failed attempts later, I got another and then strung two more together. I was feeling pretty good. Then I tried the walking lunges again with the 50lb dumbbells. Not bad. I decided right then and there I would re-test for Rx. But I would rest a bit to be sure I was fresh. So Monday I would test again.

Monday morning, I went to the box at my usual 6am time to workout, intending to go easy since I knew I was going to re-test 17.2 a little after lunch. I inadvertently PR’d my front squat by not adding up the weight until after I has already lifted. Well, at least my legs were warmed up, and I wasn’t feeling any ill effect from pushing them.

I ate well after my workout, had a protein shake mid-morning, and downed some BCAAs on the way to the box. I watched several athletes complete the workout Rx before it would be my turn, and that helped a lot too. I got a sense of how the pacing was different than it was for the Scaled version of 17.2 and where some smart breaks could be taken to keep the grip as fresh as possible.

Round 1

When it was my turn, I attacked it. All things considered, I didn’t feel to bad after the walking lunges. They were heavy, but my knees didn’t hurt during or after, so I figured that was a good sign. Next was the first set of toes to bar. I’m comfortable with these and ordinarily I would just rip through all 16, but having watched more experienced athletes break them into sets to give their grip a rest, I opted to do the same. Good thing. If I had done them unbroken I’m sure I would have regretted it. Then back to the dumbbells for cleans. Heavy, but manageable and like many others I took a break after 7 so that I could use the 8th to transition directly into the lunges again.

Round 2

The second time through the lunges felt a lot heavier than the first. Not only was I slowing down, I was also in need of more air. My breathing became a lot rougher by the end of the lunges. Then back to the bar for more toes to bar. I was slower on these ones, but I still felt OK all things considered. I still had to work on getting my breath back, but I had to get rolling on the dumbbell cleans again to chip away at my tie break time (which is the time at the end of each set of dumbbell cleans). I did all 8 unbroken and then took a break to get my breath back a bit. The next round of lunges would kick off round three and bring me to the muscle-ups.

Round 3

I swear, the dumbbells got heavier. Or my legs got weaker. Or maybe both. This set was really rough. I took a short break at the mid-way point and tried to keep moving. I wanted to give myself some time with the muscle-ups just in case. But by the time I got to the end of the lunges, I knew the muscle-ups were going to be much tougher than they had been when I practiced them. I finally got to the bar and had to take a pretty big break just to have the energy to attempt the first muscle-up. I failed and looked at the clock. I had about 2 minutes to go, so I knew I wouldn’t finish the muscle-ups – not even close. But I did aim to get a couple of them. The muscle-ups stopped a lot of athletes who couldn’t get them at all, so even one would be a separator on the leaderboard. I took a little time to recover again. Second attempt – no dice. And I needed another break. So I rechalked and climbed back up. Only about 30 seconds left. I took a few more deep breaths and tried to focus my energy on one strong kip to get up high enough to get my weight on top of the bar. And I got it – on my last attempt with 2 seconds to spare.

Lessons Learned, Goals Calibrated

At Christmas time we had a party at the box and we all wrote our goals for the year on little ornament cards that we placed on the tree. Among my goals for the year were muscle-ups. Granted, a goal is never just to get one. But that’s a starting point. It at least means I’m on my way. And now that I know there is not some reason I can’t get them at all, that goal has become much more real to me. I now know they’re reachable and I can certainly get better on them with work. So I plan to chip away at them in the coming months. They’re not likely to come back in the Open, but the Open was just the kind of pressure I needed to make a strong attempt at them in the first place. Now I want to keep that momentum rolling.

I don’t view myself as an Rx athlete quite yet. The first two workouts of the Open have reinforced that for me. I have a few nagging injuries and deficits in overhead movements that have not yet come up in the Open that I suspect will and scaled would be the only option for me regardless – and even then I have my doubts. The risk of injury, when I have these issues already, is fairly high if I push myself too hard, and because I’m quite competitive, the risk is higher still. So I resolved to keep my Scaled score and not use my Rx score – it was more about proving to myself that I could that actually trying to achieve an Rx standing. Next year. But not this year.

So this has been a learning experience for sure. Like for so many other Crossfit athletes, the Open challenged me to try something I hadn’t tried before. I learned from it, and I recalibrate my goals as a result.

Something else I’m especially enjoying is a little bit of in-box rivalry. There are a couple of athletes with whom I work out regularly, who are also in my age bracket and are right along side me on the leaderboard. We’re having some fun with it, gently smack talking one another. We’re not taking it too seriously just yet – hell, it’s pretty early in the Open – but it’s just another way of feeding from one another’s energy to perform better as a group. I’ve always felt that way in class anyway. There are certain people you get comfortable working out with – people that push you to perform, people that encourage you to keep going when you’re drained. The community that is Crossfit is part of the attraction. I couldn’t do these workouts on my own – not even close. And I wouldn’t want to.

So Jason, Dan, Mike, Colleen, Alanna, PJ, Matt, Ticia, Mark, Heather, Jeff, Liz, Janice – and so many more that deserve mention – you guys keep pushing hard and I will too. We don’t have to be in the same age, gender or athletic ability. You all push yourselves in every class and in the Open (those of you doing it) and without fail drive me to work harder as well. I’m proud of what I’ve managed so far in the Open and I hope to continue to push myself as hard as I would any other day with you crazy awesome people along side me.

Keep pushing team. 17.3 is just days away.

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