Games Open WOD 13.4 – CrossFit and “Firsts”

Photographer: Sweat RX

I suppose you could say I have a bit of history with toes to bar in the Open. It was two years ago, during WOD 5 of the 2011 Open, that I accomplished my first toes to bar.  With 20 minutes on the clock, and 10 toes to bar to complete before being permitted to move on to wallball, I was obliged to apply the concentrated effort that I had neglected to give to the skill previously. I must have missed the bar 100 times in those 20 minutes, often by an inch or two. But when I finally got one, the cheering squad that had formed around me erupted so loudly that competitors at the other end of the room stopped to see what was going on.

My toes to bar abilities have improved dramatically relative to two years ago, but I am still embarrassingly slow at them, and I must admit that the skill has become something I dread.  It is one of my dearest ambitions to be able to link toes to bar together smoothly, instead of taking thrice as long on each rep to do the awkward “kip-swing-dangle-swing-kip”.

Last year, the toes to bar in 12.3 nearly undid me, mentally; I began failing reps over and over and had to watch as the last of the 18 minutes ticked by. This year was less devastating but, once again, I found myself 4 failed reps short of reaching the goal I’d set for myself.

The Open has a knack for revealing your weaknesses. It forces you to face skills that you haven’t worked up the courage to try, as well as those that you may have been neglecting since last year. You can’t skip going in that day because you don’t like what was posted, and you can’t “just pretend” you completed the rep. By the end of the Open the long list of “things I suck at” can be daunting and discouraging.

But as I watched others at my box experience the jubilation of their first toes to bar, not to mention the many folk who got 95 or 135 lbs overhead for the first time, I was reminded of the rewards of a concentrated effort and a lot of perseverance. I was also reminded of how far I have come and how many firsts I have experienced in the last two years.

That first toes to bar was a defining moment for me; I stopped working out just to get my calorie burn, and began to get a little competitive, both with others and with myself, and to really concentrate on improving my strength, skill, and fitness. After a little stroll through my journal of firsts (if you don’t keep one, you should!), I’m feeling refocused and rededicated to the task of self improvement.  The firsts may be fewer and far between these days, but I know I have many more to come.

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