Reflecting On My First CrossFit Open | Sarah Wyland

Reflecting On My First CrossFit Open

Reflecting On My First CrossFit Open | Sarah Wyland

“It’s Open season!”

Someone scrawled those words on the whiteboard at the gym ahead of the announcement of the first workout of this CrossFit Open season – 19.1.

For those unfamiliar with CrossFit, the CrossFit Open is a worldwide competition that takes place over the course of five weeks. The workouts are announced on Thursday nights, and athletes have the next few days to do the workout and report their scores. Its open to everyone and has RX, scaled, masters, and teen divisions.

In years past, the Open was a qualifier for Regionals and the top athletes at the Regional events went on to compete for the title of Fittest on Earth at the CrossFit Games. Things changed drastically for this year’s Games with the end of Regionals and the introduction of sanctioned events. I won’t begin to try and explain the qualification process of the CrossFit Games now, but if you’re interested, you can find a bit of a primer here.

My box – and many other boxes – holds a Friday Night Lights competition. Ours is done team style – there’s even a draft – and every Friday evening during the Open, the workouts take place with everyone cheering each other on. Everyone is incredibly supportive and we just have a really good time. Plus, I got to judge heats on occasion and I do love a position of power, ha! I didn’t know what to expect for my first Open, and I came into it having just wrapped up my latest weightlifting cycle and meet, so I took it week by week and tried to be smart.

In hindsight, I underestimated myself. Let’s recap my first CrossFit Open.

CrossFit Open 2019 | Sarah Wyland
Synchronized wall balls during 19.1.


15-minute AMRAP
19 calorie row
19 wall ball shots

This was a simple yet devastating couplet. It wasn’t designed for the short person. The female wall ball line/target is 9 feet. At 5’2”, that’s nearly twice my height. I cover less distance when I row as well. Still, being short is advantageous to both lifting and most other CrossFit movements, so my complaining fell on deaf ears. I RX’d this workout (14lb wall ball) and overall, came out happy enough with the results. I kept my pace on the rower and my wall balls strong. In hindsight, I broke up the wall balls too much for what I was capable of. I can do 30 unbroken on a good day, but in an effort to maintain pace, I broke them into sets of 7-6-6 when I could have done sets of 10 and 9, or even started off unbroken.


Beginning on an 8-minute clock, complete as many reps as possible of:
25 hanging knee-raises
50 single-unders
15 squat cleans, 55 lb.
25 hanging knee-raises
50 single-unders
13 squat cleans, 75 lb.

If completed before 8 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
25 hanging knee-raises
50 single-unders
11 squat cleans, 95 lb.

If completed before 12 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
25 hanging knee-raise
50 single-unders
9 squat cleans, 115 lb.

If completed before 16 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
25 hanging knee-raises
50 single-unders
7 squat cleans, 135 lb.

Stop at 20 minutes.

This was a repeat of 16.2 and it was my favorite Open workout. I made it to the 115lb bar and got five of nine cleans before time ran out on me. I didn’t realize at the time that I could mix and match RX and scaled for Friday Night Lights – I thought it was RX OR Scale – so because I can’t string together a ton of volume on toes-to-bar just yet (but I can do them! That’s a new trick!) and my double unders come and go as they please, I went scaled.

CrossFit Open 2019 | Sarah Wyland
First round of 19.2!

The weight was far too light for me however, as cleans are a wheelhouse movement for me. I train at heavier weights at least a few times a week. If I would have done this one again, I would have stuck with the scaled single unders and hanging knee raises, but gone for the RX weights.


For time:
200-ft. dumbbell front-rack lunge
50 dumbbell box step-ups
50 5-in. elevated strict handstand push-ups
200-ft. bear crawl

35-lb. dumbbell, 20-in. box

Time cap: 10 minutes

I also really liked this workout. I likely could have RX’d this one – but I didn’t realize that until after the fact. I did this workout at 9AM as I had a flight to Memphis at 4:15 that afternoon and missed that week’s Friday Night Lights. If I would have been in Chapel Hill, I think I would have tried it again at RX to get my team a higher score.

This is not a fun one to do and then go sit first on a plane for a few hours and then in a car for seven two days later. Oh my glutes.

Going into this one, I “couldn’t do a handstand push-up.” I had exactly one kipping HSPU to my credit at that point and it was a questionable one. I was going to do the L1 version my box put on the board of dumbell presses in place of HSPU, But, one of our coaches, Melissa, encouraged me to give the scaled version a try. And so, after lunging my life away and then all the weighted step ups, I kicked myself up into a handstand (I do love handstands!) and tried a HSPU.

I got it.

So I did another.

Next thing I knew, I was out of time with 21 strict (scaled) HSPUs to my credit.

I had no idea I could do even one. That, truly, is what the Open is all about – learning what you’re capable of.

CrossFit Open 2019 | Sarah Wyland
Rare footage of me doing cardio – ha!


For total time:
3 rounds of:
10 snatches
12 bar-facing burpees

Then, rest 3 minutes before continuing with:
3 rounds of:
10 chin-over-bar pull-ups
12 bar-facing burpees

I also liked this one. I had figured out by now that I could mix and match RX and scaled, so I RX’d the snatch (65lbs – I can go unbroken on those all day long!) and tried to scale the burpees by stepping over the barbell to save energy until Coach Chad stopped by my lane and informed me “we’re not doing that today. Jump the barbell.” In hindsight, I’m glad he challenged me. There really was no excuse not to jump the barbell. I did a combo of kipping and supinated grip (hands facing me) pull ups to scale (RX was bar muscle ups) and didn’t get through all three rounds before meeting the time cap because pull ups are my kryptonite. It would have been wonderful to snatch again instead of pull ups!


For time:
Jumping Pull Ups

20 minute time cap

Do you know Fran? I do. I don’t like her.

Fran is an infamous Crossfit “Girl” workout. Fran goes like this:

Pull Ups

I’ve successfully avoided Fran every time it has been programmed, but then CrossFit decided we’d basically do Fran two-and-a-half times to end the 2019 CrossFit Open, but with chest-to-bar pull ups instead of the standard Fran pull-ups. I don’t have chest-to-bar pull-ups yet, so I scaled to jumping pull ups, and ultimately opted, very last second, to scale down from the RX weight of 65lb to the 45lb scaled weight for thrusters. The workout went like this – 33 thrusters, 33 jumping pull ups, 27 thrusters, 27 pull ups… all the way down to the final nine of each.

It was horrible.

I’m in the minority of people that like thrusters. I generally like anything with a barbell. In classes, I can move the 65lb RX weight well, but the volume was so high – 105 reps of each movement – that I opted to go for time. I finished at 16:20, and in hindsight, wish I’d tried it with the 65lb bar. I wouldn’t have finished, but I would have an idea of what I could do.

CrossFit Open 2019 | Sarah Wyland
See how far away that wall ball target is? (the green line)

Overall, I had a blast during my first CrossFit Open. I looked forward to the Friday Night Lights workouts every week, and the themes (favorite sports team, pajamas, toga, St. Patrick’s Day, and 20s/Speakeasy) were so much fun – I can’t wait to see photos from 19.4 and 19.5. My 19.5 costume was sparkly and perfect.

Post Open, I can identify places I could have pushed myself harder, as well as areas I can improve in. That’s ultimately the goal for us “normal” people who won’t be going to the CrossFit Games anytime soon – noting areas of improvement and setting goals for the next year.

Up next? A weightlifting meet in June. Always working towards a goal!

Did you compete in the Open? How did you do? Favorite workout?

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