I’ve spent the last three weeks trying to convince athletes at my gym to sign up for the Open. The two biggest reservations I hear are, “I don't think I’m good enough,” or “Competing is too nerve-racking.”
I always tell them, “That’s the point. It’s supposed to be both humbling and nerve-racking. It's about conquering those feelings. Even the top athletes feel stress.”
To this I generally receive skeptical glares.
Well, here’s proof: Many of the top Canada West ladies admit they will never totally escape the Open anxiety.
Veteran Games competitor Angie Hay, who always looks like the most calm athlete on the floor says that even though the Open is further down on her priority list than normal this year, “It still makes me want to vomit knowing the suck is coming.”
Regional podium finisher Erica Livett described her Open stress level as an 8 out of 10, although is feeling more calm than usual this year. “So happy when the Open is done. Far more stressful than regionals,” Livett said.
Last year's Canada West Open winner Delaina Snider added: “Even though the Open is just the first step and definitely not the final goal, or what I’ve been training for, you know the workouts are going to be painful as always and just hope that you can get through them without too much discomfort."
And even Emily Abbott—whose performances in the past year say she has little to worry about heading into the Open—admits her stress levels might rise when she sees chest-to-bar pull-ups show up.
Despite the inevitable stress, these athletes have also found ways to harness that anxiety, to conquer it, and come up with achievable plans.
Deanna Fester, who keeps getting better and better each year, has a goal for herself that she’s calling the “No Scroll” rule. “My goal is to not have to scroll a whole bunch to see my name on the leaderboard,” she laughed.
Abbott, too, has a mantra for herself: “Be present. No past, no future, but only this moment that I have decided to be in. Every breath, every rep and workout will be done with presence,” she said. If she does this, she will find herself feeling free, she added.
One of the toughest things to do during the Open is to accept, and even embrace, where you currently are. Because we all want to be better. And it's at a point now where CrossFit is so damn competitive that most people aren’t happy with where they end up on the leaderboard. But when you can find a way to accept where you're currently at, you'll find that inner peace and happiness. This acceptance is what Abbott is striving for.
“Whatever the present moment contains, I will accept it and work with it—not against it,” she said.
Accept yourself. Sign-up for the Open!