When Dave Castro smugly announced the CrossFit Open 17.4 WOD, my back immediately started hurting. Castro likes to repeat workouts once a year. This year, the CrossFit Open 17.4 WOD was a repeat of 16.4, a chipper full of deadlifts, wall balls, rowing, and handstand pushups. It is not a hobbit-friendly workout (below is the scaled version):
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 13 minutes of:
55 deadlifts, 95 lb.
55 wall-ball shots, 10-lb. ball to 9-ft. target
55 hand-release push-ups
Last year, the deadlifts did a number on my back. I felt excruciating pain, to the point where I didn’t go to CrossFit on the following Monday. I was determined not to have that happen again. I spent some time Friday night doing some back-friendly yoga, including legs up the wall.
Heading in to the box, I had a number in mind: 137. That was my 16.4 score. My judge, Sarah, knew that was my number because I had posted it on Facebook. I hoped I could beat it because:
a) My deadlift 1RM is 25 pounds more this year.
b) I’ve been doing wall balls for another year, with a “butt ball” to get depth.
c) I’ve been working on my rowing technique.
I spent the time before Holly explained the standards on a 400 meter run, doing some mobility, and warming up with good mornings and light deadlifts. I was as ready as I could be.
3…2…1…GO! CrossFit Open 17.4 Begins
So, I’m standing in front of the 95-lb. bar, and before the WOD actually began, I gave it an experimental lift. No biggie, I thought. I could do this. At go time, I lifted that bar 10 times before I had to put it down. Beast mode! Then it got heavy, and I had to do 6 reps at a time. There was grunting, and toward the end, outright roaring. I ripped off my weight belt for the rest of the WOD.
Then, I headed to the target for wall balls. I hate wall balls. If you’re a Hobbit of CrossFit, you know why. I’m 5’1″, as I am fond of reminding y’all. While that gives me a slight advantage on burpees, situps, and toes to bar, it does nothing for wall balls or rowing. Sarah had to coach me through this, too. I think I got four no reps and at least three whacks in the face.
That made 110 reps. The rower would be the moment of truth.
I strapped myself in to the rower, and Jonny sauntered by and flipped my screen up so I couldn’t see the calories I was rowing. I set the damper on 10. Then, I just focused on my form. I breathed, pulled, and stayed steady. At the 13 minute mark, the end of the WOD, I had rowed 52 calories.
I would have been ecstatic, but when I came off the rower, I was literally shaking. I could barely hold the pencil to fill out the rest of my scorecard. I sort of stumbled over to pick up my weight belt. Then I went to my bag and sipped my protein shake.
I feel like the CrossFit Open 17.4 WOD is what CrossFit is all about, though. It’s a chance to beat your old scores and compete against yourself. You get to see how far you’ve come and set goals for how far you’ll go.
One more WOD to go.