My Open Experience-by Christina Cavanaugh

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What can I say about my first Crossfit Open experience? It was magical!

In January 2017, at a Happy Hour with some WildFire Crossfit Ladies, the Open series was brought up as topic of conversation. I didn’t know much about it and had a few questions to say the least. What is this Open and why would I want to participate? I mean at this point and time I had only been doing Crossfit for about 6 months. They told us it didn’t matter your level that the Open was a great way to get to know our fellow WildFire athletes and all movements can be scaled. That night myself, and a few other newbies made a pact to sign-up and participate not really understanding what we are getting ourselves involved in come February. However, we had every faith in our coaches that if they felt we could compete then we would do it!

I found out that the Open series is a five-week competition where workouts are released every Thursday of each of the five weeks and you have until Monday to complete the workout and log your score on the Crossfit website.

WildFire created teams to do an in-house competition for The Open series. I was placed on a team led by Tiffany Vacca, whom I didn’t really know but quickly found to be my biggest cheerleader! We were Team Vaccasdottirs. Pretty awesome name, right?

As the week of February 20th was approaching quite a few speculations on what the workout for 17.1 would be started circulating on our athlete Facebook page as Dave Castro would provide teasers prior to the release of the workout. I was simply hoping the scaled workout was something that I was physically able to do. Thursday came and this was my divisions scaled 17.1 workout:



Workout 17.1
For time:
10 dumbbell snatches
15 burpee box jump-overs
20 dumbbell snatches
15 burpee box jump-overs
30 dumbbell snatches
15 burpee box jump-overs
40 dumbbell snatches
15 burpee box jump-overs
50 dumbbell snatches
15 burpee box jump-overs

Women use 20-lb. dumbbell and 20-in. box, step-ups OK

Time cap: 20 minutes


The coaches advised us to review the standards of the workout on the Crossfit website so we were aware of how we’d be judged and what counted as a successful rep. Looking at this workout and the standards, I knew that my challenge was going to be the step-up on the 20-in. box, which in my 6 months of Crossfit had never managed to step-up to this height. To be perfectly honest, I was very much dreading this workout and wondering why I agreed to do this in the first place.

Saturday came and it was time for the workout. I knew I’d power through those dumbbell snatches and that burpee would be a piece of cake (never thought I’d EVER admit that one) but oh that box stet-up! I had a total of 20 minutes to get through the dumbbell snatch, the burpee and then work on that one box step-up. I was determined to get at least one step-up in those 20 minutes. About 12 – 15 minutes in to the workout I GOT that 20-in. Box Step-Up! It was an absolute amazing feeling! WildFire erupted and the cheers were more than I ever imagined. I managed to get 8 more burpee box step-ups and each one was as amazing as the first. Not only did I have the support of everyone at WildFire that day but the two people who were my rocks through those 20 minutes were Azzie Lane and Tiffany Vacca. Their two voices of support and encouragement were all I could hear during those minutes and they helped me keep my focus. Love you ladies!

The four remaining Open workouts had their awesome moments for me as well. While I never got out of a full lunge in the second workout, I never gave up despite the tears of frustration. In 17.3, I got my first ever jumping chin-over-bar pull-up and with only seconds to spare. In 17.5, I got through 350 single-unders, which are not my jam and 90 Thrusters in a little over 23 minutes. I truly thought I was going to be there all day with those single-unders!

Those feelings before the first workout of utter dread and wondering what I had gotten myself into quickly dissipated after that first accomplishment. I understood how amazing a competition could be in pushing oneself to accomplishing things our head tells us we can’t do. The 2017 Open changed my mindset. It gave me the power to know that I CAN and I WILL!

The WildFire comradery, the team comradery, being there to cheer on your fellow athletes and receiving them back for your accomplishments is what the Open is all about! It is indeed fun and magical!

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