And here’s what happened next.
Guest post by Jaye Brumfield
The only reason I signed up for the CrossFit Open was peer pressure. Plain and simple.
You see, I had watched my box mates — athletes I strive to emulate — in last year’s Open and every WOD I’d think, “no way could I do that.” I don’t Rx workouts. And my list of I’m-working-on-it movements is too long to comfortably admit. Competing never entered my mind. That is, until some friends’ good-natured harassment. I heard multiple times: “Are you going to join the Open?” It was worth the $20 just to make it stop.
Then something crazy happened. Castro announced 14.1, and it included a movement I can actually do: double-unders. And you know what? I wasn’t last. I thought: “Maybe I can do this.”
Yeah. That idea quickly died when 14.2 rolled around.
I purposefully scheduled my 14.2 during the day so that no one would be around when I attempted to meet my paltry goal of getting through the first set of overhead squats. (I’d never done 65# before, so I truly didn’t know if I’d be able to do even 10.) But there stood Grady, coaching me through them a couple at a time. … until it was just one at a time. I struggled and shook through every single rep. But he and the other amazing athletes that were there that day didn’t make me feel any less as I almost buckled under a weight that’s light for most. They cheered me on and they made me feel like I was their equal. They made me better. And though I didn’t get a chest-to-bar pull-up that day either, I did do my very first pull-up ever.
The pattern of pushing outside of my comfort zone and surprising myself continued with 14.3 and 14.4, as did the amazing support from my fellow CFHers. I couldn’t believe it, but I was enjoying myself. As 14.5 approached, I felt like I could take on anything — or at least try. I had done 48 toes-to-bar, after all. (Which is 48 more than I had ever done before.)
Then I watched Annie. And I thought, “If she’s struggling this much, I’m going to die.” I truly wondered if I could finish the WOD. I mean 84 thrusters at 65#? That’s crazy talk. I had only tried a 65# thruster once in a workout. Once. And that WOD had only 30 reps (which almost killed me). This would be almost three times as many. And we haven’t even talked about the burpees.
Right before attempting the WOD, I tried to think positively and visualize what it would look like to finish. You know what came to mind? Crying. Me. In a heap. On the floor crying. So when I stepped up to the bar, waiting for the go, I was way past the nervous pee; I wanted to run right out the door. But I couldn’t. Because Molly stood beside me, feeling the same way, and we had promised each other we’d do it together.
I said a prayer as the timer started.
I’ll spare you the entire blow-by-blow. Honestly, I can’t remember much of it. And, really, I don’t need to recount it, because many of you experienced your own agony much the same as mine.
But I do want to tell you about the last 10 minutes of my 14.5. For me it epitomizes what CrossFit is all about, and why we all keep coming back for more.
You see, almost everyone else was done. I had resorted to singles on the thrusters and stepping down and up on the burpees a long time ago. Everything hurt and I wanted to quit. Just stay laying there right in the middle of a burpee. But every time I’d pause at the bottom and turn my cheek to the floor, voices urged me to get up. Do one more. Just do one more, they said.
At one point, I got stuck at the bottom of the squat and had to dump the bar. I stood and turned my back on the circle that had gathered around and I thought to myself, “If you quit right now, they’d understand.” And they would’ve.
But then I heard someone say: “You’ve come so far. Don’t stop now.” No judgment … just a fellow athlete that wanted me to succeed. What else could I do? I had to try. So I gritted my teeth, turned toward the bar and did one more. And another. Until I finished.
Let me tell you, the noise and the energy carried me at the end. And the exhilaration I felt when I came in under 30 minutes? I lack the literary talent to describe it (but if you’re a CrossFitter, I’d venture to guess you’ve experienced it yourself).
And in case you were wondering … I did cry.
Thank you to everyone who took part in my first Open adventure and allowing me to share in yours. Truly. And don’t be surprised if next year I’m bugging you: “Are you going to sign up for the Open?”
Stephanie Wimer says
I love your story so much Jaye! I am so proud of you and so happy I got to witness your 14.5 experience. You have worked so hard and your determination is unstoppable!!!
Thank you, Steph. Your support means the world to me (and to the many other athletes you encourage and inspire).
Great story, Jaye! Thank you for sharing!
You are amazing Jaye!! I am so proud of you! We made it through and I am truly inspired by you and all the other women who never give up at Crossfit!
Would not (could not) have done it without you, Molly. And you killed that WOD … I’m definitely proud of you. Thanks for always making WODs alongside you a joy.