Knowing that I would be on vacation during the announcement of 17.4, I had a little touch of panic setting in. Heading to the wonderful city of Las Vegas, Nevada for the opening weekend of the NCAA Basketball Tournament is a sports fan's bucket list item. Tidbit #1 about me, I'm a diehard sports junky. Goals include visiting all 30 Major League Baseball Stadiums, attending a Major Boxing Pay Per View in person and lastly, get to a Stanley Cup Finals game involving the Minnesota Wild and Pittsburgh Penguins (This year maybe??)
While walking to an Uber car in Vegas, I flipped YouTube on my phone just in time to see the announcement of 17.4 was.....a repeat workout also known as 16.4.
13 minute AMRAP (As Many Repetitions As Possible in 13 minutes)
55 deadlifts at 225 pounds
55 Wall Balls with a 20 pound ball
55 calories on the indoor rower
55 Handstand Pushups
The 2 things I remember about this workout were that my back was on fire for about 4 days after it was over and lastly: The wall balls and push-ups were miserable. Handstand push-ups in general weren't a strength of mine last year. I did work on them but for whatever reason, my technique wasn't quite on point. I remember getting done with rowing and feeling like someone had stuck a knife in my windpipe. I had about 3 and a half minutes to finish the handstand push-ups and I couldn't do more than 4 at a time. I failed on about 4 given attempts and was disappointed in my score overall.
This time around was completely different mentally. I worked out once and very light may I add in Las Vegas over those 4 days, I ate "so-so" and didn't sleep a whole heck of a lot. When I flew home on the red eye Sunday morning, I knew I had to sleep and EAT healthy over the next 24 hours to get ready for Monday afternoon. I had until 7pm central on Monday to finish the workout and submit a score. I needed that 24 hours to get ready and go. Not only go, but go at it alone.
Friday night lights will add about 5 reps to your score in my opinion. The energy levels and adrenaline give you a significant mental and physical boost. With this one on a Monday, I had one of my favorite coaches judging for me and it was essentially going to be just us. I was fortunate enough to have a couple of athletes stop and cheer me on for those 13 minutes of grueling movements.
I felt surprisingly energized walking in on Monday. I slept about 17 of those next 30 hours to recover. (because Vegas) I ate pretty well other than the cake and small cupcake celebrating a birthday on Sunday night. Drank about 300 ounces of water over that time period and simply rested. Having not touched a weight in 4 full days, my body felt spry and ready to go. My goal was 5 more reps than last year, to finish at 192 reps.
I went through my pre-workout routine, eating and caffeinating. I was once again in a zone walking in, everything felt crisp and light in warmups. 3...2...1...GO!
I was in an absolute zone from the jump. I have to thank my coach Caitlin for pacing me correctly, she knew exactly when to tell me to pick up the pace and also when to release a movement. I finished the deadlift portion about 20 seconds faster this year and got off the rower about 50 seconds faster than last year as well. My sense of urgency was higher than normal for 1 reason: climbing the leaderboard. I knew what other athletes had done prior and the number I wanted was 192 reps. Here came the handstand push-ups which buried me the year before.....
This time around, they kind of buried me again. I missed 2 reps and took a little more time then I had wanted to in between sets. I had heard Jake and Caitlin vocally pushing me to finish up with authority. The clock hit 13:00 with me at the top of a good handstand push-up, I had done 196 reps within that time structure, a 9 rep improvement over 2016 to the present day. I sat there stunned on the ground, wondering what went different this year as opposed to last?? Especially since I spent an 84 hour period in Las Vegas with minimal sleep or far from perfect nutrition??
I was in better aerobic shape the year before, even a bit stronger as well in my opinion. The one difference this year to last is mental toughness. I'm FAR FROM being an elite level athlete, my head and commitment are the reason why. Yet the growth year over year is leaps and bounds better in terms of my ability to push through a strenuous workout. I have to thank my coaches for that, they know how to motivate me and get the best out of my abilities.
The last 2 Open workouts have encouraged me to take on training to another level. Again, I'm not looking to gain "elite status", I'm just looking to compete on the highest physical stage that I am capable of. For the last 3 years, Crossfit has been and still is a hobby. Granted it's a physically demanding hobby but it satisfies my cravings for bettering myself and hopefully bettering those around me in the process. To be able to be ranked #13 in the State of Minnesota in my age class as well as in the top 6.5 % in the World is plenty enough of reason to pursue more advance training.
The key to the entire process is mentally withstanding obstacles when the going will undoubtedly get overly demanding. I want to thank my coaches and fellow peers at Crossfit Kingfield for assisting me in pursuing a little further and giving competition a serious try over the next 6 months to a year. I'm humbled by the entire process and know that the growth is just beginning. This has been a fun last 3 month period of training and learning, I most certainly intend on following up on the potential of ascending to a larger stage in September. I will look back knowing that I have given my all, competing AND cheering on my fellow peers!! The 2017 Crossfit Open is concluding this weekend, we have 3 days to get ready and attack one more challenging workout. I hope we all go out with a smile and some well earned praise from our community!
My name is Jesse Velasquez and I'm a fitness coach in Minneapolis, Minnesota. If you'd like to explore the Crossfit World a bit more, check out www.crossfitkingfield.com. Browse my website for all of your general fitness and nutrition needs. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @jcvwellness. Email me or search the website if you have inquiries about pricing, customized programming or any other fitness questions!