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!

Girls Gone Rx: Calgary Recap

On Saturday, Meg, Anna, and I competed at Reebok CrossFit Ramsay’s Girls Gone Rx: Calgary event. Although we didn’t podium – despite the many jokes that were made beforehand that we would – we all had a very fun day of fitness and I’m proud of team Sunalta Strong’s performance in the four events.


Of course because of my excitement about the competition, I was awake at 5 AM Saturday morning. I tried to sleep until 6, then got up and had a larger-than-normal breakfast of smoothie and oatmeal.  Meg picked me up and we were at Ramsay by 8 AM for check in.  I’d never been to CrossFit Ramsay before and WOW the facility is beautiful and huge!

Anna arrived shortly after, and then the organizers held the athlete briefing and discussed movement standards. We were feeling a bit nervous as we were in the first heat, and by the time the briefing wrapped up, we only had 7 minutes to warm up for 1 RM (rep max) cleans.  Luckily they delayed the start a few minutes, but I was still a bit frustrated by the lack of warm-up time.

Event 1

Fortunately, the lack of warm-up didn’t seem to hold Sunalta Strong back! Meg PR’ed her power clean, Anna PR’ed her hang clean, and then I PR’ed my (full) clean by 15#!

I had went into the event hoping to PR my clean with 135#, but of course with competition adrenaline and some awesome crowd support, I somehow managed to clean 145#!  I was so happy with the first event.


Event 2

For the second event, an 8 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible), we beat our previous trial score by 9 reps. We flowed smoothly between wall balls and power cleans, and then I smashed out the last 15 power cleans to give us a score of 5 full rounds.

We finished the event feeling very sweaty and pleased with how well our plan had worked out.

Event 3

The third event was our best finish – 6th place!  It was a “for time” chipper event featuring double unders, lunges, and burpees, while two athletes hang from a pull-up bar.

Luckily, from our trial, we knew our forearms would take a beating and we were prepared mentally for the challenge.

And perhaps the burpees made the event a shorter athlete’s game (which was definitely in our favor, as we three girls were on the more petite end of the spectrum for the competition).

Regardless, we finished in around 9 minutes, which cut a whole minute off our previous trial time.  Yay!

(Somehow all the photos I have show Anna doing the chipper while Meg and I hang out… I promise we all participated!)

Event 4

We were all dreading the fourth event – the 100 calorie row for time, and it snuck up on us because our heat started before the scheduled start time (meaning I didn’t row at all before the clock started!). Definitely not ideal to go from cooled down to 110% effort in zero seconds!  We stuck to our plan of each girl rowing for :50 seconds at a time and helping each other transition, and finished around 5:10.  I felt horrible after the row – calves and forearms cramping, and extremely nauseous.

We hung around for the big group photo and the awards ceremony after, and I managed to down some food which helped with the desire to lose my breakfast.

I wasn’t sure what caliber of athletes would show up for a “fun” competition like Girls Gone Rx (where the prizes are loot, not cash). Turns out, the competition was full of very strong, competitive ladies!  To give you an idea, Alex Parker was in attendance.  In the end, we finished 17th out of 21 teams.  But it goes to show how fierce the competition was!

Overall, despite the rough last event, the competition was a fun one and I’m very proud of how hard all of us worked. We beat all of our trial times, and PR’ed our cleans.  We gave each event our 100%!  It was a great day and a positive, challenging competition!  Thanks to our family and friends who came out to cheer us on. ♥

Thoughts for future competitions:

  • Pack a proper lunch because snacks all day won’t cut it
  • Ensure there is enough time for warming up
  • Team comps are so much fun!

As a final note, I’d like to give a shout out to my physiotherapist Gina of Action Sports Clinic here in Calgary.  She’s been treating my right shoulder for several weeks (for a prior self-inflicted injury) and my shoulder’s happily on the road to recovery.  I can’t say enough good things about Gina and her physio skills!