• Cass Lau

The CrossFit Open 2020, & the ACF Open Black vs Yellow

Updated: Nov 15, 2019


If I could pick a word to describe this Open season, that would be it. You see, with the schedule changes for the CrossFit Games this year the Open moved up a couple of months, condensing the Open events with all the other regional events AND the Actualize CrossFit Anniversary, this quarter was BUSY.

Furthermore, because we decided on a new format for how we would run the Open, i.e. the Actualize Open 2020 — which was a pretty dope way to run it IMO — there were many little pieces to think about. (Thank God for all the people who helped along the way... otherwise i’d be x.x)

AND with 2 separate events to cover in October (one of which was a last-minute call for help), I had given up planning and lived each day as it went by.

So I would describe the Open as TRANSIENT because I floated through most of the WODs, allowing it to tip over either side of cruising or losing.

And it felt like I wasn’t in control for most part.

It’s funny huh.

5 Opens in and I still haven’t gotten the hang of it.


ACFOpen2020 Black vs Yellow

The days leading up to the announcement was abuzz with excitement/fear.

The TEAMS were announced to the box and the #colorwars had begun.

We were at the same time worried about how this would pan out.

Even after choosing throwdowns.com to be the platform to house the leaderboard, how would we collect scores across the teams? What if this didn’t work out the way we wanted it to? Mind you, this was RIGHT AFTER the Anniversary Celebrations and less than a month before the Open.

Honestly we left 30% to chance. The chance that this wouldn’t work. In my mind, that felt like a 60% chance that it wouldn’t work. Well it did, mostly. Maybe that’s the power of trust.

Then as all Open seasons go, the questions that would follow, often led by those newer to the sport, would be: What movements would come out? What if i’m not ready?

The coach in me would scatter euphemisms all over. The realist in me wouldn’t sugar-coat it and say: EVERYTHING WILL COME OUT. It’s CrossFit duh.

Maybe it’s because this is my 5th Open that I had given up guessing the ridiculous clues Dave puts on instagram. (Hey Dave, great to have you back despite that radio-silence last season though. We forgive ya.) I sound like a veteran at 27-years of age don’t I?

As the day grew closer to the first workout announcement, the talk grew, and I was caught up in it too.

I cared this time for a different set of reasons. The expectations that people had openly and silently placed upon me. Sure they may have been talking shop, but that matters-- to me at least.

What would 20.1 be?

The opening workout that would usually be a couplet of accessible movements to the community, yet nuanced ever so slightly to favour the elite athletes who could perform the movements efficiently.

#20point1: The Separator

10 RFT

10 ground-to-overhead @ 43/29kg

10 burpees over bar

I have always had a history of starting the open iffy, and my subconscious seemed to want to continue on this streak.

That day passed by in a blur, and those were the longest 15 minutes of my life.

When the workout was announced a flurry of discussions ensued. The newer athletes fussed about the weight and the sheer volume, setting themselves a target number of ROUNDS to complete, rather than a completion time. The “more experienced” athletes on the other hand, discussed who was most likely to complete, and if C&Js were a better approach than Snatches, or should we take advantage of the one foot step-in vis-a-vis the two feet jump in.

Oh yeah, and wear yellow. 3 articles of clothing had to be yellow. 🤷🏻‍♀️

I watched as Actualetes (we call our Box’s Athletes, Actualetes. don’t ask, way before my time) attempted the WOD from friday through saturday. Usually this time I’d take the performances and process how I would tackle the workout. That weekend my processor was ‘kaput’ (Deutsche for “Broken”) and I went into Sunday drawing a blank.

A part of me KNEW that I could finish the workout. My body was definitely conditioned to complete. But I had not set myself up for that success.

I threw my usual mental prep out of the window and waited to be told what to do.

The strategy was to go AFAP (as fast as possible) on the first set of burpees, and unbroken on ALL sets of snatches. I could slow down the burpees after.

Before I started, I had let the "you'll finish this cass", "you'll do well on this workout cass", get to me. And as I watched my training partner blaze through the workout with immense speed and focus, I felt defeated.

"Holy sh*t. Let's just see where this goes."

And then, oblivion.

I went hard on two rounds and was knackered after that. My mind could only bring me through the next 5 rounds as though it was dragging me through the dirt by the collar and losing grip as we trudged.

I didn’t finish.

And when I was done, i felt terrible. Not physically, but emotionally.

In hindsight I’d say that the word “burpees” caused the short circuit. It was like a trigger word for self-destruction in my mind.

When I finally had the time to process my thoughts for the weekend, the simple explanation was that I crumbled under pressure. Under that pressure of meeting the expectations of the people around me and of myself. This was made worse with the announcement of a workout that I am not good at. I have not mastered control over my emotional state and until that has happened, I simply need to learn how to manage them.

I call this "THE SEPARATOR" because Dave Castro himself said that the only way you would DO WELL would be to Snatch the weights rather than to Clean & Jerk them. It's also my separator because it exposed my mental as well as my physical weakness.

🔨: 156 reps | 78th percentile


Black vs Yellow & #20point1: The Separator (this)

#20point2: The Trudge

#20point3: The Revenge of Diane

#20point4: Is it weird that hate that this is "My Workout"

#20point5 & Final Thoughts

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