When can’t becomes your crutch…

Do you ever get it in your head that you just can’t do something?

Come on, you’re human, just admit it.  Lord knows I do.  I’ve been better about it lately, and since starting Crossfit over a year and a half ago I am much more willing to at least try something that scares me.

But I’m stubborn as shit, and every once in awhile something ends up in the “can’t” basket.

Up until a few days ago, double unders were in that basket.

I would love to tell you that I practiced them religiously and just simply couldn’t get them no matter how hard I tried, but that wouldn’t be true.  Sure, I had practiced them.  For a few minutes at a time a few times a week, usually whipping myself in the shins or the ass and totaling maybe 50 jumps before getting frustrated and quitting.

When they showed up in any WOD I just did the penalty (at our gym it’s burpees) and never even tried them.

I had actually convinced myself that I didn’t care if I ever got a dub.  Didn’t matter.  Jumping rope is just as effective of a workout if you swing it once or twice and I’m not competitive or anything so it won’t matter if I never get them.

That was, until 14.1 was announced on Thursday night.  As most of you know, we are in the midst of the Crossfit Open.  The Open is a 5 week competition where anyone in the world can register to see how they stack up against Crossfitters everywhere, and against themselves.  The workouts are announced via a live broadcast on Thursday nights, at which point two of the big dogs go head to head and show us how it’s done.

Like every other Crossfit addict worldwide, I was glued to my laptop on Thursday beyond excited to know what the first workout would be.  Because the Open is truly meant for everybody, I was confident it would be doable movements and something I could totally excel at.

Imagine my dismay when they announced a 10 minute AMRAP (as many rounds/reps as possible) of 30 double unders and 15 snatches (75/55).

Um what?  The FIRST movement that you had to do in order to get ANY reps whatsoever were DOUBLE UNDERS?  And I had yet to ever successfully do even one.

I wish I could say that I put on my happy face and decided to give the workout all I had, but I can’t.  The truth is I went to bed that night telling hubs “well this sucks.  I guess I’m taking a 0 for the first workout because I don’t even see the point in trying.”

I woke up the next morning, the day I was to do the WOD, and just didn’t want to go.  I got to the box early and practiced for a solid 15 minutes.  I managed about 3 reps in that time, and truthfully, they were almost accidental. But I was going to try to do the workout Rx.  I wanted a score.  Even 3 reps was better than 0.

The clock counted down 3…2…1… and a funny thing happened.  Suddenly, getting double unders became important.  Not being able to do them just wasn’t acceptable anymore.  I had to figure it out.  And I had 10 minutes to do it.

I’m not going to say it was fantastic.  In fact, it was a tough and frustrating 10 minutes.  But by the end of it, I had managed 27 reps.  Mind you, I never even made it to the barbell or finished a complete round, but whatever.  It wasn’t a 0.  And for ME, it was a PR.

But what’s more, by the end of just 10 minutes of consistent practice with a clear goal in mind, I was actually stringing a few of them together.  I knew that if I had ANOTHER 10 minutes, I could do a lot more.

I’ve never repeated and Open workout before, but after taking the weekend to think about it, I decided I just couldn’t let that score of 27 stand.  Not because I cared about my standings, but because I KNEW I could do better.  That simply wasn’t my best effort, which isn’t ever ok by me.

Monday is the last day to submit scores for the week, so I went in early for class.  I warmed up alone and set up my barbell.  This time, I knew I would need it.

I grabbed a judge and asked them to count and time me, and set out with one goal in mind.  Get thru one round.  45 reps in 10 minutes.  I knew if I made it through the dubs I was home free.

What a different experience the second time around.  I was stringing together doubles in sets of 3-4, and at around the 5 minute mark I was done with 30!  I flew through the over head movement, and got back on the rope as fast as I can.  With just under 4 minutes left, I knew I could make it through one more round of jumps.


Not only did I, but I managed a few more overheads before time ran out.

Final score, 78!!!

I won’t lie, I almost started crying.

See, it doesn’t matter to me that the top competitors in our region and the world managed 450+ reps.  It matters that I did something I had NEVER done before.  I let go of the “can’t” and found the will to figure it out.

That my friends, is what is beautiful about the Open.  So many of us do Crossfit to push ourselves out of our comfort zones, and then still end up sitting there anyway.  Sure, the zone has become bigger than what it maybe was before, but it’s still there unless we continually challenge ourselves.

I won’t rest.  I will grow.  I won’t fall victim to “can’t.”

Thanks Crossfit.

30 thoughts on “When can’t becomes your crutch…

      1. Depending on where you start just know it gets better. This girl figured things out, set some goals, have enough clients to pay bills and make it my only job…2014 is AWESOME!

      2. YAYYYY! OMG I’m so glad to hear that. I feel like I’ve been with you thru some ups and downs and I’m so glad to hear you’re in an UP!

  1. Congrats! It’s amazing how much mental strength influences our bodily strength. I’ve tried my best to cut out toxic words like can’t. Even when I’m watching what I eat, I try to say “I don’t want it” rather than “I can’t have it.” Serious kudos to you – inspiring!

  2. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post!! Congrats and that is awesome!! I judged a girl in an almost identical situation and she ended up getting a score of 39, and I wanted to cry happy tears for her! 🙂

    Are you on Twitter? Wanted to credit you when I tweet this post.

    THIS is what Crossfit is all about. It pushes you so much further and makes you do things you never thought you could do. Last year I FREAKED OUT when there was 95# clean and jerk. My max prior was maybe 75. But I did that Open WOD and managed to eek out 2 reps. I re-did it and still got 2 reps, but it was a MAJOR PR!

    I am not good at DUs but again can’t say I dedicate much time to putting in extra practice daily, especially right leading up to the open. I re-did my performance too and ended up improving my score as well. Let’s hope 14.2 is something a bit more forgiving..! 🙂


  3. Way to go! Love that you went after the WOD again and totally crushed your score! I’m a CrossFit newbie and needless to say, this was the first time I even ATTEMPTED double unders! I felt the same way when they announced such a sucky move to start the Open with. But hey, it only gets easier from here right? (wait what, it doesn’t?? oh my…)

    I enjoyed reading your recap of 14.1. If you’d care to read mine, head over to my blog ifailedfran.com and check it out. Here’s the link: http://ifailedfran.com/14-1-i-love-the-sound-of-dus-in-the-morning/

    Keep on removing can’t from your life. Good things will happen!

  4. Way cool! I, too, get stuck in “can’t” (I only recently stopped automatically reaching for the 15 pound bar every WOD because I figured I “couldn’t” do anything heavier). And I, too, need to figure out the dubs…just got singles but can’t string them together and I need to because that’s my goal for part of the “challenge” my CrossFit gym is doing. And I’m impressed as hell that you did the snatches…I avoided the workout because I figured I “couldn’t” do any at that weight. Congrats, and thanks for the reminder to stop the “can’t”!

    1. I’m so glad I offered a little perspective! I actually was in the same boat for my first probably 6 months of CF. I always went with a light weight and didn’t have confidence that I could do more. It was actually during the Open last year when I realized that I was selling myself short and I am capable of doing a lot more than I thought I could. One thing that I started doing after that, any time we did an AMRAP, I put 10 more lbs on the bar than I thought I could handle. In an AMRAP you can’t finish last right? So I decided I would rather do less reps but do them a bit heavier, and I can’t tell you how much I surprised myself and put up scores that were impressive (for me) with MORE weight.

      Keep pushing yourself. You got this.

  5. Yessssssssssssssssssssssss! I just want to high five you! Great post. Keep up the good work…and can you imagine where the next 6 months you’ll be….or year! AWESOME!


  6. When I get into the “I can’t” funk, I switch it up with “Just keep moving, one more rep” and it usually calms me down and helps. Glad to see you had a similar attitude and was rewarded with an awesome score! Congrats!

    1. Aw thanks. I won’t lie, after I did the workout a second time I was fighting back tears a bit too. I’m NOT a crier AT ALL, so thank god I was also dripping with sweat so no one knew the difference.

  7. Hi Nicole,

    So truth be told, as much as I am a fitness aficionado, I’ve yet to try Crossfit. I’m so impressed with your accomplishments. Keep it up!

    Hope all is well!


    1. You really should give it a go! You’re in Cali, which is like the Mecca! Though if you’re ever back in this area and want to drop in on an amazing Box with a great team of coaches and a fabulous facility, just let me know.

      Now that I’m thinking about it though, you would totally be one of those newbies who comes in and does everything damn perfectly the first time and I will probably want to punch you. In a loving way of course. 🙂

      Take care lady. I love reading about your adventures!

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