Crossfit Games Open Week 1: 15.1/.1a

I know I'm behind on my 2015 CF games Open coverage. I've had some time-consuming developments in my professional life recently that I might write about here in the near future. 

Wilmington, NC: Home of the Cape Fear Comedy Festival

Wilmington, NC: Home of the Cape Fear Comedy Festival

For now though, one thing that I will announce is that I've been invited to perform in the 2015 Cape Fear Comedy Festival in Wilmington, NC April 29th - May 2nd. I've submitted to a handful of comedy festivals over the course of my career and this is the first one that's given me a spot on their lineup, so it's an exciting milestone for me.

Now let's talk about these first two 2015 Crossfit Games open events.

I'd like to state here that my only goal for the open is to contribute to our team score at Crossfit 212 and to prove to myself that I'm still good at Crossfit despite the heavy strength bias in my programming. I have no delusions about qualifying for regionals. I've encountered a few regionals-level Crossfit athletes in my day. I've watched them work enough to know that I am not one of them. So I just want to see some events that enable my particular skill set to be put to good use and help out our team.

On Thursday 2/26 dramatic pause aficionado, Dave Castro announced 15.1:

9 minute AMRAP:

15 Toes To Bar

10 Deadlifts, 115 lb

5 Snatches, 115 lb

When this was announced, I was indifferent. There's nothing too intimidating about it but it's not exactly in my wheelhouse either. The barbell is light enough to keep the DL/Snatch unbroken. I knew it would just come down to pacing the toes to bar and not burning out my grip. Then... 15.1a was announced.

Starting as soon as 15.1's 9 min AMRAP is over, you have 6 minutes to establish a Clean & Jerk 1RM

Clean & Jerk 1RM's are almost as far inside my wheelhouse as you can get. If I was doing an MTV cribs walk-through of my wheelhouse, Clean and Jerk 1RM would be way up on the 4th floor as the grand finale. So this was something I could sink my teeth into. Below is a video of my lifetime PR from a meet in December 2013. 137 kg/302 lbs.

My advice to anybody performing an Open event is to go in with a strategy. Have a plan in mind, but don't be married to it. Over 50% of marriages to Open WOD strategies end in divorce because you said those vows with a resting heart rate.

I made a commitment to 3 sets of 5 for all my Toes to Bar. But around minute 7 of the AMRAP, I was lead astray and couldn't resist indulging in some sets of 3 and 4. I kept all the barbell work steadily unbroken and managed 169 reps. 11 reps shy of my 6 round goal.

The second that 9 minutes was over, I put the whole triplet behind me. Now the real work began. I quickly changed into my weightlifting shoes and loaded 225 on the bar. Easy lift. At this point my breathing and heart rate were returning to normal and the only thing that felt inhibited was my grip strength. Nothing some chalk couldn't fix. Next up was 255. No problem. I loaded 275 on the bar, rested about a minute. It took a little more aggression but the 275 went up about as fast as the 255. At this point I had met my goal. I wanted 275 and I had it. That's just over 90% of my all-time best lift, so I didn't really expect much more. But I had time left. I decided to get a little greedy. I loaded 290. and I waited. I watched my time expire. I knew I only had one shot at this anyway so I wanted to get in as much rest as possible. With 15 seconds remaining I set up and pulled. I remember it feeling strong off of the floor. My chest caved forward a little as I caught the clean in a deep front squat. I was off balance, in my toes but somehow I stood it up albeit very inefficiently. Now I was standing there with the bar racked on my shoulders, still in my finger tips. The weight bore down on my frame, making it hard to breathe. I performed a small dip-drive so I could regrip and get setup for the jerk. I've never had less confidence in a jerk attempt in my life. I wasn't sure if I could put this bar overhead but if I could, I'd have the biggest 15.1a score in the gym. I took a deep breath, popped my hips, and dove under the bar.

I suddenly found myself in a balanced split-stance, elbows locked overhead with 290 lbs of metal and rubber perched on my wrists. I brought my feet together, standing tall beneath the barbell and looked over at the clock to see the final seconds of the 6 minute window pass. The lift was good and I had secured the top men's clean and jerk for the team, lifting 95% of my lifetime best.

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