My First Experience With The Open: What the Excitement is All About

It’s that time of year again. CrossFit Christmas, otherwise known as “The Open”. CrossFit Oshkosh will hold its first Friday Night Lights of the open season on February 26th, where box members will WOD it out and perform whatever Dave Castro may throw at us for 16.1.

For us CrossFit “veterans” at the box, the excitement has already been buzzing around for a couple of weeks. There has been talk of what movements we are excited to see and those we are also dreading. We’re discussing the leaderboard and how we hope to see our placement improve from 2015 to 2016 (even if that means finishing in 999th place instead of 1000th). Some of us our hoping to get our first muscle up, while others are hoping to string movements like toes to bar and pull ups together with ease.

But for CrossFitters who have only been exposed to the atmosphere of the box for a couple of months, when The Open rolls around – they are just straight up confused about the excitement of a $20 online competition.

mary 15.3
Author of the article, Mary, during her second CrossFit Open.

I started CrossFit in October of 2013, so I got my first Open experience during the 2014 season. I had no idea what The Open was. Absolutely zero clue of what all the hype was about. I remember getting asked on the daily by my coach “Are you going to sign up for The Open?!”,  in the back of my head I was thinking “what is this guy talking about, I’ve been doing this stuff for hardly 6 months and he wants me to sign up for some online competition?!”, so I would just smile and say maybe and continue to wonder what this “Open” excitement was all about.

After completing the 2014 Open I finally understood why The Open was such an exciting event in CrossFit land. It’s not going to the box to do just another WOD like I expected it to be. It is pushing yourself to dig out every last rep you can possibly complete, all while being cheered on by your fellow box members and coaches. It’s watching someone from your box complete a work out they never thought possible and celebrating their accomplishment with some of the best people you have ever met. It’s spending your Friday night with a group of people who have the same goals as you and cheering them on throughout the whole remainder of the WOD, just like you know they will do for you. It’s entering your score into the leader board knowing you did your very best and excited to see what next week brings.

If you are stuck in the same place I was, not quite sure if you should spend $20 on signing up for an online competition, or give up some Friday nights to be at the box. Trust me when I say, it is worth it. Over the next five weeks you will strengthen and make new friendships within the box, push yourself harder than you ever thought possible and probably even do a thing or two you never thought you would be able to do.

If you are in the area and need your Open workouts to be judged feel free to join us on Friday nights at every week of the Open.  Email to let us know you are coming.

We will also be holding 16.2-16.5 in our new location, and the last workout of CrossFit Oshkosh 1.0 will be Open workout 16.1.

Written by:  Mary Weider


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Brief personal history and journey towards beginning your CrossFit journey:

Well, I was an athlete in high school (played center in football for four years) and carried quite a bit of extra weight.  The summer after high school graduation marked my many year journey of getting into shape.  I’ve always been a goal setter and I came up with this crazy idea to run a 5K race (3.1 miles) without walking.  This was a big goal because I had never run much past a 400m dash in high school.  I completed the race without walking.  Completing the race sparked my desire for living a healthy lifestyle.  This led to completing several WORS races, a full marathon, leading adventure camps, and completing a full Tough Mudder (though I don’t remember completing the race because I was electrocuted so badly).  Accomplishing these things over the years caused me to become very interested in proper eating.  I struck up a conversation with a neighbor about locally grown food and he started talking about this gym he goes to that was called Crossfit Oshkosh.  What? Crossfit in Oshkosh?  No way!!!!!!  I thought Crossfit was only for big cities.  I went with him and dropped in at a 5 am class.  A year after that I went through some things personally and I needed a change and I guess you can say the rest is history.  I’m so happy I gave up the purple gym routine.

What brought you to CrossFit Oshkosh?

Life became ordinary over the years.  My life was turned upside down in the middle of 2015 when I went through a divorce.  After my divorce and losing that companionship, I began to evaluate many areas of my life.  I knew that becoming part of a community of like-minded people was really important.  If I didn’t have my faith along with this community, and a workout program that was constantly changing and evolving, I’m not sure where I would be at today.  It’s been great to catch up with people after a difficult WOD, toss a disc to Indy (sorry Indy if I spelled your name wrong) or swap funny stories with other athletes.  Crossfit Oshkosh has helped me get through some hard physical and mental battles in my personal life.

Your first impression of CrossFit Oshkosh?

Why are people laying on the ground after a workout?  Really, six minutes of working out and people are on their backs, come on?  Fast forward ten months and I now know why, because last week I was one of those people on the ground after getting off the rower.

The box was intimidating at first because it looks nothing like the purple gym I went to.  There’s no fancy painted purple and yellow equipment.  No treadmills, no racks of dumbbells.  You certainly won’t see a Smith Machine at CFO.  Instead, you will see the bare minimum (rigging, weights and barbells) in a box that comes to life with some incredible coaches.

What has been your biggest hurdle since starting?

They don’t give this award out at Crossfit Oshkosh, but I believe Ben and Justin (a former Coach at CFO) gave me the Least Mobile CFO Member Award.  I thought I would get 6 pack abs doing crossfit, but mobility wasn’t something I even thought I would get better at.  I don’t think I have won the award for Most Mobile CFO Member, but I’m able to do much more than I was when I first started Crossfit.  I’ve enjoyed reminiscing about how poor my mobility was and seeing the progression over the months.

What is your favorite aspect of CrossFit?

I absolutely love how wasted you feel after a workout.  A twelve minute WOD can leave you laying on your back cursing how much you hate the movement you just did.  Days later you feel your muscles aching.  I wish I could come every Saturday for the partner WODS.  I love the camaraderie you have with other people who complete the workouts.  I also really like that all the programming is done for me and I don’t have to think about it.  Sometimes I purposefully don’t look at the workouts because I like the secrecy of Crossfit and not knowing until minutes before a WOD.

What are your current goals in CrossFit?

  • Master the elusive double under.
  • Become better at rowing.
  • Working on my mobility.
  • Become better at all the Olympic lifts.  I can now snatch 65lbs., which is better than just a PVC pipe.
  • Encourage people around me more.
  • Being able to do more pull ups.
  • Make better choices when it comes to the food I put into my body.
  • Back squat 350 and front squat 250.

What is something we don’t know about you?

Not too long ago I was called by the Pentagon to be a Special Agent with a little Federal Agency called the Drug Enforcement Administration.  I’ve gone bungee jumping and have jumped out of a perfectly good airplane with a parachute on my back.  I could eat Chinese and Mexican food along with pizza every night of the week. I’ve climbed 17 mountains in the United States.  Completing a 24-hour mountain bike race is still on my bucket list.