CrossFit Open 16.5 Recap: That’s All, Folks

Because of the Easter holiday, my box had a 16.5 throwdown, complete with pizza and a bounce house for the kiddos, on Thursday night. So I headed over, and a bunch of us gathered around Holly’s tablet to watch the 16.5 CrossFit Open announcement. We were excited, because the showdown featured Rich Froning, Ben Smith, and Mat Fraser. Surely Dave Castro wouldn’t give them a boring, painful workout, right? There’s no way he’d ever sneak in thrusters.

Wrong! 16.5 was a repeat of 14.5, and it had a repeated movement (bar-facing burpees, which we’d done in 16.1):

21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:

Men use 95 lb.
Women use 65 lb.

Scaled women’s was 45 lb., and that’s where I’m at. I had never done a 45 lb. thruster before. Ever. (I confirmed this by looking through my journal. It has never happened.) I whined, I moaned, and then I threw myself into the first heat to get it over with. My judge was A.J., one of the coaches. At first, I was thinking I could break up the thrusters into sets of 7, but that didn’t happen.

CrossFit Open 16.5 Recap thrusters face
I made some awesome faces. Photo: Rob Salinas.

After the first set of 21 reps, it was pretty clear I’d have to break down the thrusters further. The weight was entirely too close to my one rep max push press, and a thruster is basically a front squat and a push press, so A.J. had me break the thrusters down to sets of 3. That seemed to work. I flew through the burpees, but the thrusters made me think I was going to meet Pukie. It was tough! AJ was amazing; I can’t say enough about her. Really. Having a judge who not only was cheering me on but coaching me through the reps? I wanted to cry. I wanted to smile. But at the end, after I hopped over the bar for the last time, I collapsed onto the floor and prayed that I wouldn’t puke.


16.5 was a Pukie-meeting workout if I’d ever met one. But what it comes down to is believing that you can get through it. I doubted it. I really doubted myself during the whole WOD, mostly during the thrusters. I got through it, though, and I can say I’ve completed my first Open. It’s a really good feeling, if somewhat exhausting. I did things I didn’t think I could do: 23 toes to bar, a series of snatches, 45 lb. thrusters. And I didn’t meet Pukie.