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April 03, 2016

I’m still so sore from 16.5, that any movement is a test right now. Not even talking about traditional CrossFit movements like Olympic lifts, chest to bar pull ups, or handstand push ups. No, just lifting my arm to brush my hair or even typing this blog is a painful reminder of the ringer this year’s Open put us through.

But hey, I’m a mere mortal “casual” CrossFitter. I have to give serious respect to Games competitors who rose to the occasion, whatever Dave Castro threw at them. Here’s what two Veteran Games Athletes, who won their respective divisions (again!), had to say about Open 16. 

Masters powerhouses Cheryl Brost (45-49) and Matt Beals (45-49) slayed the Open. Cheryl didn't just top the leaderboard for her Northern California region; She placed 1st in the Worldwide Open for the 1st time in her CrossFit career. Matt has Placed No. 1 in his Open division four years straight!  So how did they feel about the 5 workouts, and the grand finale, 16.5?


1) What was your favorite Open workout and why?

Cheryl: 16.4 was my favorite workout this year.  I generally like chipper type workouts but this one had a higher rep scheme than we usually see with 55 reps at each movement.  It was a nice balance of two strong movements for me, deadlifts and hspus, with two of my weaknesses, wallballs and rowing.  My goal was to get through the entire first round and to crank out as many deadlifts as possible on the 2nd round.  In the 13 minute time cap, I was able to hit 35 deadlifts on the second round for a total of 255 reps.  

Matt: Short answer...16.4!  This is a tough question as I thoroughly enjoyed this year's test of overall fitness in the CrossFit Open!  I really liked 16.2, 16.3 and 16.4.  These three in particular were all very well put together elegant combinations of strength, speed, stamina, agility and skill.  True tests of overall fitness.  The slight nod for me has to go to 16.4, a 13 min AMRAP of 55 reps each in four subsequent movements:  Deadlifts (225#), Wall Balls, Rowing (cal), and Handstand Pushups.  I felt this combination gave equal consideration to all body types and sizes with Deadlifts and HSPU favoring shorter athletes, WB and Rowing favoring taller athletes, Deadlifts and Rowing favoring larger athletes, and HSPU favoring smaller athletes.  The timeframe was also right in the middle, between a 16.1 of 20 min and 16.3 of 7 min.  It was good to see such an elegantly designed workout where each element did not particularly affect the next movement with different muscles being utilized throughout - just overall fatigue affecting performance as you moved through each discipline.   Deadlifts are not my favorite as a Master's athlete with some low back issues, but the weight was not too heavy.  Wall Balls, Rowing and HSPU are some of my favorite CrossFit movements, which obviously made me very happy to see when this workout was announced.


2) What were you thinking during 16.5? Was it better or worse than you remember?

Cheryl: I was a bit surprised when they announced 16.5 as 14.5, primarily because we had already performed bar facing burpees in 16.1.  I wasnʻt extremely excited about it because I remembered how bad it hurt in 2014.  My goal with 16.5 was to set a PR on the workout and even though Iʻm 2 years older, I was able to do just that by shaving off 0:28 off my original time.  I completed 16.5 (21-18-15-12-9-6-3 thrusters and bar facing burpees) in a time of 10:46.  Through the workout, I tried to stay composed and calm and made a conscious effort to keep my burpees as fluid, efficient and steady as possible.  This workout was every bit as gnarly as I had remembered.  I was sore for days afterwards! Iʻm pretty certain thereʻs not one person out there who isnʻt majorly sore after 16.5!   

Matt: 16.5 what can I say.... I view life as an amazing journey that you must take full advantage of EVERY moment we have!!  I very much remembered the pain of 14.5 two years ago, it was definitely in my five least favorite CrossFit workouts ever done, it left a mark. To be completely honest the mindset I took into 16.5 was very different than many people that I heard exuding anxiety, complaint, blame, doubt, dejection, and just plain whining.  I set my frame of mind on the fact that I am ABLE to do this workout!!  I am BLESSED that I can DO IT!!  There are many disabled veterans, people afflicted with physical ailment, warriors who have passed that will NEVER get the opportunity to do this, and I will bet they wish they could!  I went into this with my "hair on fire" and tried to maintain an unsustainable pace.  I redlined in the round of 15s and could never fully recover, I just hung on to the finish, knowing the whole time I was going to have to re-accomplish this to remain competitive on a Worldwide stage.  BUT I finished it, I DID NOT quit.  Probably the toughest thing I have ever done mentally in CrossFit was complete this workout TWICE in three days, which I did and ended up with a score I could live with knowing I gave my ALL.


3) As Veterans Games Athletes, how do you prep for Regionals?

Cheryl: My coach lays out the programing, all I have to do is put in the work!  My training days donʻt really change, I train M-Tu-We, rest Thursday, train Fr-Sa, rest Sunday.  On Mondays and Wednesday, coach programs a couple sessions for us to hit.  During this prep time for Regionals, I also make special effort to take good care of my body and get plenty of rest/sleep.  

Matt: Regional prep for me is about just dialing in everything I am already doing.  With only three weeks of preparation I realize that 99% of the work has already been put in the bank.  Staying healthy is first and foremost, now is NOT the time to catch a heavy clean in a poor position, set a new deadlift PR, try to hit a 50" box get the picture.  I will dial in my diet to eat very clean facilitating performance.  Volume will stay high for the next two weeks but not to where it is a beat down.  Mentally I need to stay hungry and motivated surrounding myself with like minded athletes that know what I am working toward at Regionals.


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