Got to knock out Open WOD 16.1 today and in the process was reminded of an important lesson. Don’t listen to everyone else and form your own opinions.

The workout as prescribed was:

20 minute AMRAP
25′ of walking overhead lunges w/95#
8 bar facing burpees
25′ of walking overhead lunges w/95#
8 Chest to Bar Pull Ups

It was announced on Thursday night, which is the Crossfit Open tradition. By the end of the day Friday I had seen so many posts along the lines of:

“Worst WOD I’ve ever done.”

“It was horrible.”

“It was worse than either Open 14.5 or 15.5” (Both of which are infamous in Crossfit circles.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but that noise really got in my head.

I was planning on doing the WOD Saturday when Crossfit Durham ran it for all of the participants in our Intramural competition. The WOD was going to run heats from 9 am until everyone had a chance to execute. It was going to be a bit tricky for me as I was scheduled to coach at 10 and noon, but it was doable. I definitely had my chances.

My first chance, was a legitimate miss. I was counting for someone in the second heat and fully intended to occupy his lane for the third heat knocking the WOD out early. Unfortunately, the transition times between the first two heats was too long. That third heat was going to run well into the 10 am hour when I was supposed to be coaching the kids.

Now, I’m pretty certain that no one would have complained if I’d done the WOD and started the kids’s class late and just ran it a bit long to compensate. Hell, 3 of the 4 kids attending were my kids and the gym owner’s son. Still, I let my apprehension about the WOD get the best of me and used the coaching obligation as an excuse to bow out of the heat.

After the kids class, I had another one hour window where I could have gotten the METCON in, but by that time I didn’t want it. I used the excuse that I didn’t want to inject myself into the line of dozens of competitors who had been queued up for an hour or more waiting their turn. It felt like a jerk move to pull ‘coach’s perorgative’ on these athletes who had been waiting and mentally and physically preparing themselves. I kept telling myself, ‘don’t be that guy.’ What I was really saying was, “I’m not ready for this.”

Again, I’m certain no one would have objected if I had asked and pointed out that I was coaching at the top of the next hour. But I refused to do it. So I sat our again. My last class teaching ended literally two minutes before the final heat of three or four athletes was done.

I knew I’d have another chance to run the WOD today as I had agreed in advance to open the gym early and conduct the WOD for an athlete or two from my Intramural team. I figured I’d just run it with or after them today. Fortunately, it worked out that one athlete had her husband count for her. My wife Erin counted for me and Coach Lindsay was gracious enough to count for our third athlete. So we were all able to go together as one heat. The ladies absolutely crushed the workout!

For me, based on what I’d seen some friends and peers accomplish over the past few days, I came into the workout telling myself that 4 rounds was the target and if I could get beyond that, I’d be thrilled.

Walking lunges got tough the last two rounds. To the point where I would touch the back knee and actually rest and center myself there before rising up to complete the rep. This was the element that concerned me most with this WOD because I was certain it would wreak havoc on my knee, but it wasn’t an issue.

Burpees also had me tense. I was worried about the required two-footed landing. But as long as I went straight over the bar and didn’t attempt any in air twisting of my feet, these were ok.

Chest to bar pull ups were the limiting factor for me and I knew this going in. I wasn’t confident how many legitimate reps I could do. Therefore I was very deliberate with them right from the start. One rep, drop. Take two steps away from the rig. Take two steps back, breathe and go. This worked very well, but not perfectly.

Erin no repped me at least three, possibly 4 times. Did you read that?! My own wife NO REPPED ME!!! Frankly, I’m grateful she did. There have been other competitions and Open WODs where I was kind of uncomfortable with the scores that my counters awarded me. Today, I have no doubts or insecurities about my score.

Another note on the pull ups, I did not get through all 20 minutes without any issues with my knee. I actually aggrivated it DOING PULL UPS! One one of the reps in the second round, I needed an exaggerated swing and kip and somewhere in there my knee strained! Didn’t quite pop, but it had the tension and feeling as if it MIGHT pop at any moment. That was kind of distracting on the third round of lunges, but eventually it relaxed.

In the end, when the 20 minutes had past I came up 6 reps short of my 4 round goal. So my score for 16.1 is 98 and I’m very comfortable with it.

Was the workout tough? Undoubtedly! Worst WOD ever? Not by a long shot! I can think of 5 WODs off the top of my head that I feel were much more demanding. Do I want to attempt it again tomorrow before the score submission deadline occurs? No. I don’t have anything to gain. There’s nothing I could do tomorrow to vastly improve my score. Would I want to do it again? With two healthy legs under me?

Sure. So I guess in the end, this is just a friendly reminder to myself and to you. Don’t believe the hype.