17.1 Accomplished

For me, 17.1 was equally as bad as – if not worse than – 16.5 (a sickening combination of burpees and thrusters). I’ve only been in the “pain cave” that deep a handful of other times in the past 3 years of crossfit.

If you will recall, I was kind of pumped when I saw the workout announcement last Thursday.

Here, publicly, I would like to confess I was wrong. So wrong.

My initial reaction was genuine – look, a workout I can do all the movements RX for! – but as the weekend went on, I began to feel an impending sense of doom. Luckily it was a very fun and busy weekend leading up to that (I’m an auntie for the third time now!), but yeesh by Sunday morning I definitely felt sick to my stomach.

I was glad to be in the first heat on Sunday and just get 17.1 over with. My friend Rozie volunteered to judge me and she held me accountable for clean reps.  (Also, I view Rozie as a very strong athlete and definitely didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of the competition!)  😉  Fortunately I had lots of friends – Dana (ok, more than a friend), Meg, Laura, Jo, and Anna – in my heat to suffer alongside.

My strategy wasn’t very flashy – just keep moving and do the snatches in sets of 10. Don’t rush.

One of my biggest mistakes, though, was that mentally I wasn’t prepared to finish within the 20 minute time cap. I hadn’t even considered that as a remote possibility, so minutes before starting when Rozie informed me that I would “definitely” finish under the time cap, I was a little flustered I think.

3, 2, 1… go! The rounds of 10s and 20s felt doable.

I kept my strategy going in the round of 30s but was starting to breath hard.

I think my strategy went to pot in the round of 40s (AKA the halfway point). It was 9:XX around the halfway point and I realized that Rozie was right – I could finish under the time cap.  Shit. 

The 40s and 50s were very uncomfortable for me. My heart rate was too high, and I was redlining.  More times than I’d like to admit I found myself taking an extended breathing break, or even SITTING ON MY BOX gasping.

I think I finished the round of 50 snatches (THANK GOD) around 17:XX, but that meant (A) that I could finish 17.1, and (B) that I would have to move briskly. Which no one feels like doing when their heart is beating out of their chest and the need to vomit is looming.

Needless to say, somehow I got through those last 15 horrible burpees over-the-box, and collapsed writhing on the floor. Very dramatically because that’s honestly how shitty I felt.

Thanks to Coach Eric for the flattering pic

19:21 RX

I finished a minute or so after Anna (*shakes fist*), and Meg finished shortly after me, and then Dana finished just under the time cap.

We were all so glad to be done!

I rowed a bit to bring my heart rate down and rolled my quads a bit. My back felt awesome until about 20 minutes after… and it’s been incredibly sore since then.  Oddly, not much else is very sore.  My back took the beating.

The rest of Sunday was great – I judged a few heats, socialized, and cheered on other athletes. And I had my first float at Clear Float which was among the coolest things I’ve ever experienced.

All in all, a very fun, extraordinarily busy weekend complete with visits with friends and family, getting to meet new baby Emily, deep meditation, and super-intense fitness.

Lesson learned for the next time 17.1 shows up – move a little slower than necessary so I don’t need to take gasping-for-air breaks constantly.  This approach will decrease the need for and longevity of sitting-on-the-box breaks.

Looking forward to the 17.2 announcement on Thursday night. Any guesses?  How’s your back feeling after 17.1?



Tips & Tricks: Open 17.1

Last year, every week of the Open, I wrote a “Tips and Tricks” post with my thoughts, strategy, and some tips from experts out there in the internets. Of course everyone has their opinions, and many people are more qualified and educated than me on the sport of fitness, so I’m not sure my post really has any purpose now.  I’m your average crazy-about-crossfit gal and I don’t claim to be an expert. 

I’ve thought about this a lot since the last Open, and I think I will continue to write a weekly Open post like last year, even if it only benefits me.  Feel free to comment below if you like these posts, or find them irrelevant now.

As I was suspended midair while slipping on the ice this morning on my morning dog walk, all I could think about was “must not break body before doing the 2017 Open!” Luckily I managed to catch myself and maybe only slightly tweaked a glute in the process.

I’m going to need my body to be the healthiest and strongest it can be to survive, judging by Dave Castro’s 17.1 announcement last night. My initial reaction, which I think I proclaimed to Meg, was “I’m pumped!

Now that I’ve had some time to mull over the workout in my mind and build up some anxiety, I’m officially nervous. As Dave was announcing the workout in his very slow way, I thought it might be a 12 minute time cap or something shorter.  But of course, he aims to humble us all and so why the hell not start off the 2017 Open with a “for time” 20 minute time-capped WOD?  And she’s a spicy one!


I’m pretty sure everyone in the CrossFit world assumed 17.1 would have a dumbbell (DB) component since Castro hinted so heavily about them. Snatches seemed likely.  I wasn’t so sure what the other part of the WOD would be.  Burpees – and over-the-box ones at that! – are sure to wind us quickly.

My strategy for 17.1 is steady as she goes.  I’m getting over a pretty dreadful head cold (perfect timing, I know) so keeping my breathing under control will be essential.  Although my box typically doesn’t program DB snatches, I did them occasionally at my prior gym and prefer them to barbell snatches.

Part of my crossfit strategy (always, not just the Open) is:

  1. Know what you’re good at.
  2. Know when to breath.

Happily, I’m passably skilled at both DB snatches and burpees.  I realize that both elements will have me breathing fire quickly, so I’m aiming to break up the DB snatches into sets of 10, and just keep moving when it comes to the burpee box jump-overs. For me, the burpees are the breathing component where hopefully I can keep my heartrate in check.  [Don’t quote me on that.]

I’ll pleased if I beat the time cap.  How’s that for a goal?

Expert advice on the Open:

  • My coach Eric Barber writes a post each week on the Open with movement advice and a warm-up.  It’s a mix of science, math, and pure magic.  Here are his wise 17.1 words.  In two words: “KEEP MOVING!”
  • Opposite to my strategy, this article advises to “worry more about the burpees.”
  • This blog post emphasizes treating 17.1 like a long run rather than a sprint, sufficiently warming up and cooling down your lower back, and has some good analysis of the pros from the announcement.
  • If you have some time on your hands, this video by Again Faster could help you with your DB snatch technique.

hunger games crossfit

CrossFit Sunalta is hosting the Open this year on Sundays, intramural team-style.  I’m a co-captain for the team Sunalta Strong. Our team is a little smaller than the others, but we’ve got some big hitters so I’m pumped to see how the Open plays out!

I’ll be back with a recap early next week.  See you then!

What do you think of 17.1?  Do you have a strategy?