The CrossFit Open is a magical time when we are pushed to perform beyond our assumed limits. This year was no different, and while the amount of personal accomplishments were once again staggering, I want to highlight a few members whose efforts stuck in the minds of coaches and team captains.
First off, let’s talk about this year’s Open MVPs: Shannon Earl and Earl Rosseaux. Shannon has been battling an injury over the last few years but loves to compete. When I spoke to her about signing up for the Open we talked about treating it like a class — i.e. only doing what she could. Well, not only was she healthy enough to finish every WOD and exceed all her expectations during the Open, but she competed in her first 5km immediately following the end of the Open!
Our men’s MVP is a guy who always joins in and always works his ass off. Earl Rousseaux came to Alchemy after a heart attack scare and has likely participated in every event and competition we’ve put on since. I will never forget seeing him bang out pull-ups for the first time during 18.3. It just represented such an evolution for the guy that walked through our doors originally, and it was wicked to watch!
And lastly a huge group MVP shoutout to Team Scaled Pregnancy. This year, four women, in various stages of pregnancy, participated in the Open (with modifications for their respective pregnancies). Kim, Marissa, Victoria and Mackenzie still put up amazing scaled scores each week even though some of them were approaching 40 weeks. Full respect to Victoria who gave birth the day after she finished her last Open workout!
Now, here are some highlights during individual WoDs:
18.1 12 minutes of Toes-to-Bar a Dumbbell and Rowing
Right out of the gate one person put in one of the most impressive performances of this year’s Open, and that person is Dieter. This was his first Open and to prepare he attended both gymnastics classes and our Open Prep workshops. The result was awesome. He crushed this workout with a score of 330 reps, which ranked him sixth overall in the gym!
18.2/2A Squats and burpees then heavy lifting
If you have met Matt Taylor (No. 2) you’re aware that he has some pretty crazy athletic chops. If you have never met him, but saw him work out during week two you also know how crazy he is! After doing this workout once he decided he had left some on the table so he tried it the next day. He went nearly one minute faster the second time around and also PR’d his clean by almost 50 pounds hitting an attempt at 223. Not a bad improvement in less than 24 hours!
18.3 Mixed bag of Muscle-ups, Barbells and a whole lot of skipping
This really marked the Year of the Women at Alchemy. Eight different women hit a ring muscle-up during this week and more than half of them got through all 12! Shout out to Emily, Leanne, Jenn L., Bailey, Lomo, Monica, Alex B,. Eden, and Jodi. Emily and Lomo also had two of our best female finishes in an Open in years!
18.4 Deadlifts and push-ups
Given the difficulty of handstand push-ups this workout saw lots of us opting to scale. And we had some people fly through it! Alex P. cruised to a 6:07 finish and Jess M. bear-crawled her way to a time of 6:21! But the most impressive feat of the week in my books belongs to chiropractor/superstar Lisa B. Lisa is one of our longest tenured members and for the first time ever got a handstand push-up. Seeing somebody who has been working hard at this over the last seven years still achieving new firsts is incredible and we are all so proud of her!
18.5 Thrusters, pull-ups and certain death
This painfully difficult workout was the most memorable for me personally and that’s because it was a) brutal and b) came with the indispensable support of Harry. I can honestly say that if I didn’t have him counting my reps and telling me to get back up, there is a good chance I would have just laid down and never gotten up.
I’m not the only one whose most memorable moment is one where I got the encouragement I needed at a critical second during the Open. When I polled the captains and coaches for their most memorable moments, all of them mentioned an instance that involved a judge/friend/spouse or fellow member that offered support at just the right time. Hats off to our community, which sweats and suffers and supports each other through it every day. That support for us and each other is what creates the memories that far outlast any given day, week, month or year.
Duncan McNeill is a coach and co-owner at Alchemy CrossFit