"My Open" - Mary Spaniol

"My Open" with Mary Spaniol

What was your first open workout that you completed? 

The first open workout I can recall is 14.5 (21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps of thrusters and burpees).  I had no idea what I was getting into, assuming it was just a class WOD, which in retrospect that was a good thing.  When I was laying on the floor, I then was informed that I was experiencing the aftermath of an Open workout. I honestly think the first workout I did, knowing it was an Open workout going into it, was when I participated in my first official CrossFit Open; 16.1 (20min AMRAP: 25ft. overhead walking lunge (65#), 8 burpees, 25ft. overhead walking lunge, 8 chest-to-bar pull-ups). 

How did it go and where did you complete it? 

I approached those two workouts very differently and the end results were VERY different.  I didn’t know that 14.5 was thee 14.5; I felt great, didn’t think much about it, and I remember finishing pretty fast! 

I DEFINITELY underestimated 16.1 – it’s great that 65 pounds sounds light in my world, but overhead lunges at 65 pounds - well that was a whole new game.  Needless to say, it ended up being quite the humbling experience.  It seemed a lot easier watching other people do it (Imagine that!), and even though it was a mental AND physical challenge, the suffering ended up getting the best of me and I finished last in my ‘heat.’

Why do you participate in the Open?

I do the Open for the same reasons I do CrossFit.  The fall of 2013 was a pretty tough time in my life; I’d definitely say I was at a ‘fork in the road’ of life.  Either I was going to ignore my struggles/problems (and party through them) or I was going to tackle them head on.  Fortunately, I chose to fully throw myself into the hard and scary stuff. Doing things that are scary or hard are part of what CrossFit is about, because if we’re honest with one another, no one LIKES doing thrusters, or wall balls, but yet we show up and do them (even though they can be scary and ARE hard). The Open has all of the same physical and mental hurdles that come with CrossFit, yet it adds in the element of the unknown. In the Open, and in life, we don’t know what we’re going to get, and most of the time we don’t have enough to completely prepare (physically or mentally) for the ‘main event.’  For some people that’s SUPER scary, but for me it’s exciting!  The Open gives me a chance to face the scary things with a team of people cheering me on!  There’s a unique bonding or special connection created when you go through difficult or scary things other people, and who doesn’t want to walk out of a scary situation victorious with all of their friends beside them.

What has been your favorite Open workout?

I’ve had a BLAST doing the Open workouts in class these past few Fridays, so it’s hard to pick.  I really enjoy WODS that are chippers, so probably 16.4 (13min AMRAP – 55 DL, 55 WB, 55 cal row, 55 HSPU).

What has been your least favorite Open workout?

My least favorite Open workout that I have done was probably 16.3, an AMRAP for 7 minutes – 10 power snatches at 55 pounds and 3 bar muscle-ups.  If I could do bar muscle-ups, I’m sure I’d LOVE this workout, yet… I can’t.  So picture this (well maybe don’t)… 6 minutes of failed bar muscle-up attempts, which meant me hitting my chest against the bar (because I didn’t get up high enough) and BADLY torn (bloody) hands. No Bueno. Showering…getting ready work… getting my hand to scan so I could leave work… umm adult-ing was hard the next few days.

Oddly enough, I’d do 16.3 again!  I’m praying that we don’t see 15.5 - Rowing for calories + thrusters = me crying. A lot.

What movement do you expect to see this year?

I’m expecting a lot of endurance stuff (i.e., rowing, wall balls, thrusters, double unders) mixed with some heavy weights!

What movement do you hope to see this year?

Dumbbell squat snatch J because I can do them.

For those people wondering if they should compete in the Open, what would you say to them?

Absolutely!  You should compete in the Open! It’s a fantastic experience whether you’re watching or participating. Also, it’s really cool to see all of our talented coaches show off their athletic skills (because we all already know they’ve got the best coaching skills)!  The hardest thing about the Open is just showing up :) So make it your goal to just get into the room and you’ll be supported the rest of the way! You won’t regret it!