My CrossFit Open Experience: Tessa Lumley

My first CrossFit Open was in 2016, and at the time I was fairly new to CrossFit, I had only been doing it for around 4 months or so. When I first started at CFN, I could only manage to make the 8pm evening classes, so I began to see the same familiar faces almost every night. After a few months I had established a good group of friends and the 4 of us got to know each other really well - it wasn’t long before we had the typical group chat. 

One day, one of the girls posted about the Open – I hadn’t heard much of it so gave it a good old Google! I admit I was a little reluctant… but there was talk around CFN and it was fast approaching so I decided to give it a whirl. From my experience we all entered for the pure fun of it (reflecting afterwards we were probably all secretly a little competitive) but regardless, every Friday we did the same time slot so we could all do it together. None of us had participated in the Open before, or done any sort of competition, so it was a first-time experience. I can remember someone would post in the group chat literally at the crack of dawn on the Friday morning once we had found out what the workout was. And then we would come in on the Friday evening, do the work out alongside one another, and then sit down together and enter our scores – not that any of us cared or were serious about our scores! I can vividly remember 16.4 because the scaled version ended up being the yellow wall ball that none of us had used in class yet, and it was only that ball because of the difference in weight between England and America. Ohhhhh how we laughed so much at how our wall balls sucked in that workout, but it was re assuring to know we were all in the same boat. We laughed and laughed and laughed. The 2016 CrossFit Open for me ended up just being a hell of a lot of fun with a group of gym friends, and I’m so glad that I signed up even though I hadn’t the foggiest clue what the Open entailed!

Now I wanted to share how my 2016 Open experience differed to 2017. Nothing had changed for the worst or anything, I was still friends with the same girls, still did the occasional 8pm class, still wasn’t amazing at CrossFit. However, my attitude had changed a little. In the year prior, I had really begun to work on my weaknesses. I started using Open Gym a lot more and so trained a little earlier than 8pm, and so I began to meet new people in different classes. At the back end of 2016 I had picked up a little back injury, nothing serious, and with a lot going on in my last year of University (and a dissertation looming over my head) I managed to rest my injury in the weeks before the Open was to start. Unfortunately, I still couldn’t do either the RX or Scaled version of 17.1 but was determined to give the following weeks my best shot. Because I had spent more time focusing on my training, really getting stuck into CrossFit, and obviously having a year’s experience under my belt I was determined to do better in 2017 than 2016. I managed to RX some workouts, not even the whole workout necessarily, but certain movements which was progress. 16.4 ended up being re-tested for 17.4, so I can remember really looking forward to beating that damn wall ball this time round. It didn’t worry me though as I had had plenty time to get used to the yellow wall ball in classes! Of course, the 2017 Open was still fun - still laughed a lot, but I personally pushed myself harder and my whole outlook on the Open experience was different from 2016. I wouldn’t say I was looking to be ‘top of the leaderboard’ or anything like that… I just wanted to beat myself, I wanted to do better than last year, I wanted to push harder, and I wanted that extra rep. 

My whole message that I’m trying to get across is that whether it’s for fun with friends, or whether it’s solely for yourself… sign up to the Open!!! Give yourself a target for next year, make yourself aware of your weaknesses, give yourself something to focus on, give yourself a reason to put the extra time and effort into open gym, and make yourself a better version of you. I know I’m certainly excited to see what CrossFit Open 2018 brings…