18.1 Accomplished

Hi everyone!

I’m taking a different approach to the 2018 CrossFit Open as my box is doing the workouts on Friday nights, instead of Sunday afternoons like last year. While I’m definitely glad to do the workouts earlier in the weekend so I don’t have time to nervously dwell on them, writing a Tips & Tricks blog post like past years on Thursday night seems redundant.

Perhaps because I’ve been slowly recovering from two different injuries (a strained low back and tricep) since December, my enthusiasm for the Open is slightly lower than normal. I actually didn’t pay my dues for the Open until the announcement of 18.1 because I wanted to be sure my body was up to the challenge.  Although last year I did all the Open workouts RX, I am open to doing the scaled workouts this year if needed because – let’s face it – I’m not going to the CrossFit Games one way or another, and I’d like my body to stay healthy and well for a long time.

First impressions on 18.1? To be honest, I got distracted after work and tuned into the announcement as the athletes were already chipping away.  So I didn’t even know what the workout was!  18.1 was:

20 min AMRAP

8 toes-to-bar (T2B)

10 dumbbell (DB) hang clean & jerks (35/50#) [5 reps/side]

12/14 calorie row

I really like that the quantity of reps for the movements was relatively low. I can usually string together 8 T2B consistently, and 5 DB clean & jerks didn’t sound too bad (although I had never done the movement in a workout before).  And only 12 calories for ladies?  That’s nothing!  (Classic CrossFit – if you find yourself thinking something is * only * anything… you’re screwed.)

Coach JP briefed us all about movement standards and then I judged a couple heats before I warmed up myself. The clean and jerks felt a little awkward, and with my left tricep blown up the past two months, I wasn’t sure about the jerk/push press portion of the movement.  I grabbed the ladies’ scaled weight, as well as the RX, when I set up my station for the workout – just in case I needed to change mid-workout to the scaled version.

18.1 surprised me. In past years, the hardest element would have been the T2B for sure!  This year, I think the T2B were the easiest movement for me.  The row was deceptively gassy, and to my surprise, the clean and jerks were definitely the toughest part of the workout.  I found myself resting the dumbbell on my chest after the first five reps so I could finish the other side’s five reps unbroken.

I had hoped to finish somewhere between 8 and 10 rounds, and happily finished the 8th row in time for a few T2B for a finishing score of 242 RX.  The best part of all is that my tricep felt fine throughout the workout and I didn’t need to use the lighter dumbbell.  All that physio has paid off!

I definitely slept well that night, but didn’t feel too horribly sore on the weekend. In fact, I decided to go for a light run on Saturday and ended up doing 8 kms because it felt good and the sun was shining.  All in all, I didn’t mind 18.1 and am looking forward to the weeks of the Open to come.

Any guesses for 18.2? How did 18.1 go for you?


17.5 Accomplished

Thanks to my mama for the pics this week 📸

Can we talk about how relieved I am to be done with the 2017 CrossFit Games Open? Yes, I had fun.  Yes, I did crazy things.  Yes, I love the community spirit that the Open creates.  Yes, I love CrossFit.  And yes, I love competing alongside friends.

But ultimately I am relieved. This month was a busy one with an array of emotions and frankly, it wore me out.  The weekly challenges provided by the Open itself were just the cherry on top.

My best performances – and the ones I felt most like myself doing – were 17.1 and 17.4. I felt a bit like a giant turd doing 17.2 and 17.3.

17.5… I did it but it wasn’t pretty. The word on the street was that if you started with a good pace, the first five rounds (of the ten) felt like sunshine, rainbows, and butterflies, and then sh*t got real.

This was not the case for me. It could have been the less-than-ideal sleeps I’d had all week leading up to Friday, the (one glass of) wine I drank on Thursday night, or work stress, but 17.5 made me crawl in the pain cave from round one all the way up to round ten.  It may have been just as painful as 15.5 (the thrusters and rowing WOD – oof – but I didn’t have a blog then to record it on), but let’s just say it was even more painful because IT LASTED TWENTY FRIGGIN’ MINUTES.

My parents and Meg kindly came to CrossFit Sunalta to cheer me on, and then when I needed a judge, Meg stepped up to the plate (thank you dear friend!!).

The thrusters were totally fine. I did a few rounds with a 5/4 split, and a few with a 6/3 split.  I didn’t split because the thrusters were hard, but because I was desperately trying to keep my heart rate down for the double unders.  This theory didn’t work very well because I was breathing fire pretty much the entire time.

That pike meme I used on Friday morning’s Tips & Tricks post? It held true for me for the entire 350 double unders.  (Although Meg said it wasn’t the worst piking she’d ever see me do, so there’s that.)

Since I definitely wasn’t having an “on” day with double unders, it became more about knocking a few off, breathing heavily, then chipping away at a few more. 17.5 was so painful for me to do – my heart rate was redlining the entire time – but I was persistent and somehow completed all ten rounds exactly on the dot at 20:00 RX.

After I did my last double under, I collapsed on the floor for a few solid minutes while I got over feeling like complete death. I think my face was tomato red for at least the next two hours.  But I survived – both 17.5 and another CrossFit Games Open – yay!

I realize my score isn’t the least bit competitive; however, I did do more double unders on Friday than I’ve ever done before so I’m proud of that small gain. As well, once I got going, I realized that any time finishing the WOD would be a true accomplishment for me, so just to finish (RX) was enough.  I never want to do 17.5 again!

It was cool to see all my friends’ scores through the weekend – after all, everyone has their strengths. Some of my Sunalta friends are real firebreathers!  Dana did 17.5 on Friday evening with me, and seeing how smooth his double unders were both made me feel ridiculously proud and envious.  Rozie, Carrie, Anna, and Meg (and many others 😉 ) all had me beat this week.

My calves and shoulders were very sore on the weekend, but the quads/hamstrings pain that everyone else was talking about? I fortunately missed out on that!  I was glad to have done the workout on Friday night so I could enjoy the rest of my weekend stress-free.

I’ll be back in a few days with another post about what I’ve been up to in the background. See you then!

How was the 2017 Open for you? Favorite WOD? 

Tips & Tricks: Open 17.5

The last CrossFit Open WOD of 2017 is upon us.  17.5 is here!  I’m feeling a mix of relief, anxiety, and excitement – it’s a weird feeling I assure you, although for those doing the Open, I’m sure many can relate.

17.1 brought us dumbbell snatches and burpee box jump overs.

17.2 featured dumbbells again (cleans and walking lunges), plus toes-to-bar and muscle-ups.

17.3 was snatches and chest-to-bar pull-ups.

17.4 was 16.4!  Deadlifts, wall balls, rowing for cals, and handstand push-ups.

I’m sure the majority of us were anticipating thrusters for 17.5, as they’ve been known to pop up in the last Open workout the past couple years.  And surprise! (See Alex Parker’s reaction here):


I actually am surprised that the thrusters are with a barbell, not dumbbells.  And I had heard internet whispers about double-unders (DU), which would make sense given that we hadn’t seen them yet in the 2017 Open, but I was also praying that they wouldn’t show their face.

pike meme

I digress.

I can do double-unders, but they sure as hell aren’t pretty.  Worse yet, my parents are down visiting this weekend so I’ve got to perform (just kidding… kind of).

440 reps.  The thruster part I’m reasonably happy about due to my short stature and quadzilla legs.  The double-unders are the liability portion of the workout.  Once my heart rate gets uncomfortable, I have no stamina for double-unders and the dreaded piking/tripping/swearing starts.

Some mantras I will be focusing on during the double-unders:

  • Breath
  • Relax
  • Toes <– mentally, this cue helps me stay upright (not piked)

Since the pros took just under 7 minutes-ish, I’m not sure what to aim for.  Goal: keep heart rate under control.  Finish in under 20 minutes. 

I’m going to try a 5/4 rep scheme for the thrusters with the aim to keep my heart rate manageable.  And for the DU, perhaps a 18/17 split?  We shall see if it’s a good or bad double-under day when I get there (which may change my strategy).

Nagging Reminders (from the 17.5 Standards):

  • Your skipping rope has to stay on the ground while you do thrusters.  Not on an elevated box.  Not hanging from the rig.  Not handed to you by a friend.
  • The official time cap is 40:00.

Advice from the Wise Gurus of the Internets

For the athlete who is [much] stronger and faster than me, you might appreciate CrossFit Games’ Nicole Carroll’s tips:

  • Main strategy: find a pace that allows you to do the thrusters and DU unbroken.
  • Don’t waste time transitioning.

Note from Kait… that was basically the least helpful advice ever.  Okay, moving on…

Actual constructive advice:

  • From the hilarious and wise Coach Eric of CrossFit Currie Barracks/CrossFit Sunalta (check the link for an extensive warm-up and tips): spend time in your warm-up actually getting warm and super mobilized, breath, have a work:rest plan, and know your capabilities.
  • From the very thorough WOD Superstore blog: “YOU DECIDE WHEN TO BREAK… DON’T LET THE WORKOUT DECIDE FOR YOU.” And have a backup plan for if things go sideways.  Don’t wear your lifters.
  • From Breaking Muscle: focus on a very reasonable pace for the first five rounds – this will ensure you have the gas in the tank to survive the next five rounds.  Don’t let missed DU reps get in your head: take a breath, and get back at it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these “Tips & Tricks” posts the past five weeks – thanks for checking in!  Keep it on the DL, but I might attempt 17.5 tonight after work… I’ll be back with a recap next week!

Enjoy 17.5 and let me know how it goes for you!