Athlete Journal: Michael Winchester, Entry 4 – 3/14/12

Michael asks this week, “What does The Open mean to you?” and elaborates on why everyone, not just the elite, get something amazing from competing in the CrossFit Games Open.


Journals will be posted at 3pm Pacific:

Mondays – Ingrid Kantola of CrossFit Central

Tuesdays – Peter Egyed of CrossFit Fury

Wednesdays – Michael Winchester of CrossFit Central 

Michael Winchester – Athlete Journal 3/14/12

(Read Michael’s Bio here)

The 2012 CrossFit Games Open, WOD 12.3

Workout 12.3 was…hard.

This was quite honestly one of the harder WODs I have done in a while, not in terms of skill, but in terms of outright work capacity. At CrossFit Central, we have been hitting the Open WODs on Fridays at 1 PM – to coincide with our normal training hour. This past Friday we had a cold front pass through the night before, so the Friday of 12.3 was overcast, cold, and rainy. Not ideal conditions for toes-to-bar (our pullup bars are set up in bay doors that face outside).

I was happy to see this WOD would be relatively “low skill” and “high engine” – a straightforward triplet of very common CF movements. I know I can handle 9 toes-to-bar per round and 115# is light weight. I am not a huge fan of box jumps, but I can hold my own.

What I did NOT expect was for the 115# to get as heavy as it did so quickly…I went unbroken through the first 5 rounds, but at round 6 – things got wonky and I had to drop the bar. I decided to step down from every box jump from the first round on, and this definitely slowed me down, but I also did not stop but twice during the entire WOD – so I think the time lost was probably made up by little to no rest breaks.

I finished with 8 rounds, 15 box jumps, 12 push press and 2 toes-to-bar – almost 9 rounds. My goal for 12.3 was 10 rounds – and I have that in me – but not yet. My fitness is still not reaching its “peak” and won’t until Regionals/Games.

Speaking of Regionals and the Games…

What does The Open mean to you?

I have been asking this question of my athletes recently, but had yet to ask the same question of myself.

I think this is an important question to ask especially as we see the sport grow and begin to realize almost 50,000 people registered on the Games’ site for The Open this year.

The Games’ site has already put out several great videos with interviews and clips of people talking about why they do the Open, and why they CrossFit (health, competition, etc.). Many of the athletes I train will not make it to Regionals as an individual or on an affiliate team. So it is always interesting to see why they put themselves through the sacrifice they do to compete in something they know they will not “win.”

To me, the CF Games season is a long one. My goal is and always has been to win the Games with Team CrossFit Central. This is not unrealistic, as our team has finished 3rd and 6th in the World in the past four years. We have an amazing team rich with amazing competitors and a will to win.

To me, the season is a chance to compete and express myself through the magic of movement. It is a chance to show both myself and our clients/athletes we are always capable of more as human beings and to inspire them to push themselves beyond their limits.

Almost every day, I lead, coach, and watch my people put themselves through self-induced hardship. It is not often they get to see me do the same. The Games season is the best role-reversal I can imagine! They get to come watch and coach me through workouts and I get to see them supporting the community and the sport just like our coaches do every day.

The Open is also a chance for our community to come together like no other time of the year and celebrate the Sport of Fitness. There is a tangible buzz in the air when it comes time to do the Open WODs around the gym. Every age and skill level instantly puts on a war-face and gets ready to test the limits of their being. It truly is a beautiful sight.

On my side of things, the Open is a step in the process to reach the Games – a chance to see where I stand and where our team stands Regionally and Worldwide. Currently we are 2nd in the Region and 21st Worldwide – good for now, but still not good enough for us.

The pain of last year’s 4th place finish at Regionals still haunts us and is something we will no doubt amend this year!

12.4 comes out tonight – eat your greens, get your sleep and good luck!