{17.0} “Zero the Hero”— Blogging My First CrossFit Open

[NOTE: While my #designthinking experiment is on hiatus, hope this #EvanDoesCrossFit series will contribute to the goal of getting “unstuck” in 2017]

Circa age nine, during tee-ball practice, I was unable to catch a single fly ball from coach. He must have hit a dozen into the outfield as I chased air with a faux-leather mitt, my tiny teammates staring on in adolescent horror. This feat earned me my first childhood nickname: “Zero the Hero.” Which — in retrospect — I believe was an earnest attempt by these nine-year-olds to make light of what could have been a scarring core memory. Even at the time, I honestly thought it was pretty funny. Come the next game, coach said he had a special spot for me: pitcher! (reminder: tee-ball).

Anyway, thus began a career littered with both athletic excitement and embarrassment. There was the time our club soccer team conquered a rival at a tournament thanks to a beautiful cross from my left foot. Then there was the time I puked up a hot dog during an 800 meter relay and lost us the JV conference. Last year, I stumbled across the finish line in 33 degree sleet, despite complete numbing of extremities during the Cleveland half-marathon.

But through many years of perfectly mediocre athletic participation, I’ve coasted by with only a surface-level appreciation of competition. What truly motivates us to go far beyond what is comfortable?

I plan to fix that over the next 5 weeks. How? I’ve signed up to compete in the CrossFit Open.

What is the CrossFit Open?

According to their website:

The CrossFit Games events are made up of a broad range of functional movements. Functional movements move large loads, long distances, quickly.
This five-week, five-workout competition is held in the winter in CrossFit affiliates and garage gyms around the world. Workouts are released online each Thursday, and athletes have until the following Monday to submit their scores.

Why am I doing this?

To be clear, I’m relatively new to CrossFit. I did about 6 months in Cleveland last year, then took the second half of the year off to be a slob. Since moving to California this month, I’m about 3 weeks back in the routine. I’ve always been terrified of this type of competition, and I’m especially scared of injury.

But to be honest (channelling Lady Gaga), I have literally a Million Reasons why I’m going to blog my CrossFit Open experience. Here’s just a few:

  • Prove to the insecure teenager in my brain that I can be physically strong
  • Do my part to verify the maxim: “The two most obnoxious cults in the world are BurningMan and CrossFit.”
  • Obtain a bombin’ body to show off at Venice Beach this summer
  • Combat the crippling anxiety that’s cropped up in my life the past few years
  • Inspire friends and strangers to challenge themselves physically
  • Get positive social attention for being good at something other than partying
  • Learn how to take better care of my body and mind, so I can have a more positive impact on the world around me
  • Share what I’m learning and hopefully help others do the same

What are my goals?

To keep it simple, I don’t want to set any lofty expectations. Just this:

  • Complete all 5 CrossFit Open Workouts
  • Write about each of these five workouts at least once

I’ll attempt my first workout, 17.1, this Saturday morning (Feb 25) at Paradiso CrossFit, which is:

For time:

10 dumbbell snatches
15 burpee box jump-overs
20 dumbbell snatches
15 burpee box jump-overs
30 dumbbell snatches
15 burpee box jump-overs
40 dumbbell snatches
15 burpee box jump-overs
50 dumbbell snatches
15 burpee box jump-overs
Men use 50-lb. dumbbell and 24-in. box
Time cap: 20 minutes

Follow along here, or on Instagram/Twitter: #EvanDoesCrossFit

Thanks, and looking forward to getting my ass/mind kicked pretty damn hard.

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