The Crossfit Open: A Beginners Journey into the Unknown 18.1

I am known for going into the unknown and tackling things I don’t necessarily think I can achieve but this was a big one for me. I had been doing Crossfit since November 2017 and at best my attendance was sporadic. This was due to multiple circumstances that I let get in the way, I loved Crossfit but just didn’t give it the attention it deserved. When it comes to all the movements that come with Crossfit I was a beginner at best still, so when the Crossfit Open came around I was intrigued but not committed enough to sign up, luckily for me Fitcetera opened the website, slid it over and told me to fill in the registration form. Idiot mode kicked in and within minutes I was signed up for my very first Crossfit Open. Ironically me, a mere novice…am signing up as a Master, purely because I’m old as shit!

Fast forward to the 23rd February 1am and the 18.1 live Facebook announcement, with Samantha Briggs Vs. Kristin Holte and the nerves were kicking in. I’d watched the Crossfit Open announcements previous years as a fan with no intention of competition, but watching the announcement this year was really special, and during those moments of the workout it felt exhilarating. But also bloody scary, as I watched them complete toes to bar and just felt totally lost as to how they strung them together so well.

The Announcement was:

This is where it got strange as during the day, I let the demons creep in and the mind talk began, I started to feel out of my depth for signing up. I was doing the workout scaled which meant I had to do:


Now I have never done a hanging knee raise in my life, let alone in AMRAP form. What it I failed? What if I made myself look stupid and felt like I could never go back to Huntsman, my new home for Crossfit. What if I make George look silly and embarrass her? What if I hurt myself and jeopardise my London Marathon plans? These thoughts continued all day as the anxiety built, so much so that I felt sick to the pit of my stomach with nerves. What had I become? I wasn’t even this nervous for my first Marathon.

A few hours later and there we were, driving to the box both feeling incredibly nervous…and of course the fact that George was nervous made my nervousness double at least. I’ve always looked up to her as she is so strong and absolutely amazing at Crossfit. If she was nervous then I’m proper screwed….

Once we’d properly warmed up and I tried a hanging knee raise I felt a bit better, I had no style, decorum or rhythm. But I could just about string enough together for it to count. And that was it, the time for the Crossfit Open was here. It was time to go, my judge was chosen, my lane was set and the dumbbell was ready. Fight or flight time, and I chose FIGHT! The minute the clock started the nerves went, as predicted by George. I tried not to set out fast on the rower and keep my grip quite loose as I’d seen that tip online during the day. This would help slow down the rate your arms blow out!


A post shared by Ian Arnold (@ianrunsldn) on

I didn’t feel too bad during the first ten minutes and couldn’t really spot the clock which worked to my advantage because I can be a notorious clock watcher, almost trying to pace myself to comfortably get a certain rep count but not pushing for more. My goal with 18.1 was to do more than 10 rounds! As I hit the ten minute mark, my judge Becky yelled ‘six rounds done, keep pushing’, that was all I had to hear! I was more than on track and I CAN do this! I kept pushing and it was uncomfortably comfortable, always out of breath but not dying. Until I got to 17 minutes then death started knocking, I was GASSED! If it wasn’t for the encouragement from the other Hunstman crew and people watching I may have slowed entirely, I was feeling it big time. Arms, chest and legs were going big time. But it was time to dig DEEP and bring this home! The last three minutes seemed to disappear, and that was it…I was done! A steaming sweaty mess laying on the floor feeling like I was going to puke! Full of so many emotions, I was proud I got it done, proud of George who smashed 18.1 Rx in the lane next to me, and also extremely happy because I love the life I’m living right now and Crossfit is an integral part of the journey I’m on.

So how did I get on I hear you ask? Did I make 10 rounds? Hell yeah I did, 10 rounds and 18 reps, which gives me a total of 338 reps in my first EVER Crossfit Open workout. FUCK YEAH!

Oh and before I close this post out, I have a tip for you on the rower! If you have a great judge who will tell you when you hit the cal goal on the rower, shut your eyes and row. When my eyes were open it felt a struggle, a frantic and stressful ordeal. But when my eyes were closed it felt calm, tranquil and more controlled. Try it sometime in your training, you can thank me after…

Did you do 18.1? Was it your first experience in the Crossfit Open too? How did you get on?

Comment and let me know, I’m really interested to hear from you…



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