Organizing and hosting the CrossFit Open and managing Intramural team competition is a draining process that starts weeks before and continues several weeks after the 5-week Open.  This year for the final team challenge I decided to ask for a gift for me.  Something to remind myself why I do this, proof that it is all worthwhile.

This year I asked Intramural team participants to reflect on their best moments of the 2020 CrossFit Open.  I have really enjoyed reading the responses.  They have affirmed to me that it is all worthwhile.  As there are a lot of reflections to share, I will dedicate a separate blog post to each team presented in no particular order.   The Super FunFit Heroes are up first because their reflections came in a neat, ready-to-post package.

War machine’s high point during the open was beating mom Pepper in the first challenge (he didn’t think he would and said he was just so proud)!

Mine is subject to change and I don’t know if this counts yet (because it didn’t technically happen in the open) but yesterday I got my first unassisted strict pull-up so if I can do that just once tomorrow I will be so happy and that will be my golden moment! I’ll keep you posted.


Confirmed, got my first official pull-up today in the open !!


  1. Watching Livi participate, push herself and enjoy it was so great! She impressed me with her courage and perseverance every week.
  2. I loved being surrounded by everyone in this community during such an important time for our family. I felt like we were surrounded by family before and after the birth. It’s made adjusting to life as a family of 6 such a smooth transition.
  3. Mission accomplished! I showed my kids and myself that I could stay active right to the end of the pregnancy and it felt great and definitely helped with the birth and postpartum.


  1. I liked being part of The Open because I like working out with Mom.
  2. I’m excited to share a couple weeks of The Open with my new baby brother by my side.
  3. I like watching Mommy exercise because she pushes herself and I like that.


– definitely seeing Sandman without a shirt, with a cowboy hat to boot, very steamy 🙂
– The Heat getting his first kipping HSPU in class a few days before the wod, then totally killing the open wod
– Pepper’s determination and focus, watch out, she’s coming for us all
– Electric’s amazing double under streak, going from just getting a few in a row a month ago to 24 unbroken in a wod
– DK for having Electric hold up a sign that let us know that he really does ‘swing both ways’ Note  “I love d**k”
– a shout out to all the ladies who have had babies and still made it through all those double unders (continence is overrated)

Makenna was proud that she was able to finish every workout and that she joined in the first place. She enjoyed watching everyone do their best every weekend.

My high point was doing the Open with Makenna and seeing the CFE family support and encourage each other week after week.

My reflection on my first CrossFit Open is that I am so very glad I threw my name into the hat that Saturday morning!
I’m grateful for the teamwork that made the task of recruiting & organizing our team a ‘super-fun’ challenge.
I appreciate Corey for his thoughtfully crafted and highly entertaining weekly costume & soundtrack themes.
I’m grateful to DAUNTLESS, HHH, HARDROCK, HEEHEE, ELECTRIC, D’KNEE, SMASH, and SPRITE for the supportive and encouraging tips shared moments before and during each WOD (and to JEDI for sending me her coles-notes the Friday night before each WOD!).
I’m grateful for the costumes and for all who enthusiastically committed to playing along and emphasizing the fun friendly competition of the CFE Open Intramurals.
I’m especially grateful to the Empower community for being an incredibly supportive, inclusive, fun, and empowering group of people to spend these past sweaty Saturday mornings with, and to our CrossFit Empower coaches for the organization, communication, gym set-up, and extra extra time and thought that has gone into making the Open accessible and so much fun for everyone.

My reflections of the 2020 CrossFit Open High Points / Breakthroughs are as follows:
*seeing Dauntless clean and jerk 110 pounds – wow!
*watching Hard Rock plow through the workouts doing so many reps with great finesse
*Fierce showing up until just days before giving birth – and looking gorgeous all throughout — incredible!
*watching Makenna and Livi do their workouts – it is so fun to have the kids working out with us
*Celebrating the Heat’s 50th birthday on Nov.2
*Doc Disc in his Superman Corset
*DT in the Incredibles outfit, doing the full workout
*Watching Motor and HHH with their amazing pistols.
*Heehee and Smash kindly barbecuing outside for the rest of us to enjoy the food.

For me personally (this being my second time competing in the CrossFit Open):
*For the first 4 workouts (have not seen the 5th one yet) I have managed to Rx some of the movements in each workout for the first time(!!).
*I did 35# dumbbell thrusters for the first time in a my life for 4 reps.
*My deadlift went from 135# to 155# for the first time ever; I managed to get 155# off the floor for 3 reps!
*My clean and jerk went from a 1 rep max of 80# to doing 85# for 15 reps over a period of about 7 minutes.

More than anything I just love being around the gym to cheer people on, help change plates, to be a judge, to receive a hug, to see the kids, and to have a chance to chat and socialize a bit.  It feels like festival season for me, spending with people that I really appreciate, because we have a common interest in challenging ourselves to improve our strength, fitness, agility, etc. and because our members are genuinely very nice and interesting people.

CF Open season is always a great time at Empower. This year was no exception. The WODs themselves, usually only 10-2o minutes long leave a long shadow over the whole month. You re-orient your training around them, plan for them, fret over them, and finally on Saturday execute them. As a community we get geared up and celebrate a year’s worth a training by doing these open workouts together. It’s inspiring and uplifting.

For me personally, the Open this year was a mixed bag. I started the Open season training with the somewhat heroic sounding “high performance group”. WodF and The Truth ran us through a month of intensive work getting us to work on skills geared specifically with an eye to competition: breathing, pacing, efficiency of movement as well as specific skill development around known Open standards. Working with Motor, Sandman, Hard Rock, Boomer, Silk and getting expert coaching from two great teachers was a highlight.

But what about the WODs themselves? I managed most of the workouts without too much duress. However, after four weeks I felt somewhat deflated. The breakthroughs that you want and wish to happen weren’t there. 95# ground to overheads: competent but still not a weight light enough to move though quickly; DB thrusters: a movement that I struggle with mightily; handstand push-ups: getting better but still a bit of a battle at times; clean and jerks: 135# is manageable but 20.4 WOD stalled out at 185#. In many ways however, this is the story of Crossfit and what keeps us motivated to get better. Progress feels fleeting at times even though we perhaps forget that we constantly move the goal posts forward for ourselves.

Without a doubt, this years Open was punctuated for me with a muscle up break through in 20.5. I have been working on this difficult movement for 3+ years with varying degree of success. There was no way to avoid the inevitable confrontation this year given how 20.5 was structured. I had to give it a go. The moment of truth came when HHH took away the thin white band crutch I have not been able to give up. It came almost effortlessly after that. Where once you could not now you can. Its hard to put into words what that feels like.

Somehow every Crossfit Open provides a moment or two that provides the inspiration to keep moving forward. I had to wait until the last week to find it.

The 2020 Open represents my 4th “Official” CrossFit Open, and it marks five years since I joined the CrossFit Empower community. I’ve been a serial monogamist all of my life having demonstrated long-term and exclusive commitments to fitness endeavours like running, boot camps and – as some will have recognized during 20.4 – step aerobics. But never has a fitness program held my interest like CrossFit. And never has a fitness community captured my heart like CrossFit Empower. I am both surprised and excited to say that Open 2020 has left me with renewed enthusiasm!

I went into the 2020 Open feeling a whole lot of trepidation. To be honest, the past year has been a difficult one for me as far as CrossFit is concerned. The dramatic change in HQ programming that came in the new year just didn’t sit well with me, and my poor form on strict pull ups left me struggling with a bad case of tennis elbow. Open 2019 pushed it over the edge and left me feeling broken and battered. A few months later – finally starting to see some progress with my elbow – hamstring issues and ongoing knee pain sidelined me once again. In June, feeling like constant fatigue and daily 4:45am wake ups were robbing me of a life outside of CrossFit, I made the difficult (and quite frankly, heartbreaking) decision to leave my beloved 5am family. My first instinct was to simply quit CrossFit altogether, but Smash encouraged me to push through and committed to joining me in the 6am classes. That amazing crew has welcomed us with arms wide open, but I continued to battle knee fatigue and to feel more broken than bad ass.

So to say I went into Open 2020 hesitantly would be an understatement. Knowing I lack the ability to compete without pushing myself, I made the decision to participate as a judge, an enthusiastic cheerleader and a casual athlete but NOT as an official competitor. And then, something happened.

The week before Open 2020 began, I reluctantly put up my hand to participate in CrossFit Empower’s Intramural competition. As a former Spirit of the Open winner and past team co-captain, I’ve been knee deep in Intramurals before. But again, the pressure and commitment had started to wear on me, and I hesitated to jump back in. I was assigned to a team of remarkable CrossFit Empower athletes. One in particular – an amazing first year competitor who, knowing little about the Open but clearly enthusiastic about the CrossFit Empower community,  jumped head first into the role of team organizer. DT kicked us off with a boom, organizing contact lists and team chats, and keeping us focused and on track with challenges. She played to my strengths, calling on me to assist with team names and other creative endeavours. Her enthusiasm took me back to Open 2017 – my first and most memorable – and I started to feel the itch. A few days before Open 2020 – supported and encouraged by DT – Smash and I recorded our “Why we do the Open” video. Off the cuff, I noted that part of my rationale for doing the Open is the ability to track my progress against previous years. A nasty little voice inside my head reminded me…  “You’ve battled injury and fatigue since Open 2019. How can you possibly expect to see any progress since then?”

Open 20.1 arrived and it was a 15 minute killer that combined ground-to-overheads with bar facing burpees. I arrived on that first Saturday rocking my gold, super hero booty shorts – specifically BECAUSE my 12-year-old son had told me that NO ONE wants to see a woman in her 40s in booty shorts – and competed as a casual athlete. I did better that that snarky little voice inside my head had said I would and a stronger, more powerful voice was taking over… “You can wear booty shorts HHH! And you HAVE battled fatigue and injury all year, showing up consistently despite that battle. And you CAN realize progress, in whatever form that takes!”

I signed up to compete just hours before the Monday deadline.

For five weekends since, I have thoroughly enjoyed the Open spirit. The magic of the CrossFit Empower community has been on full display with casual and competitive athletes coming together to have fun and get fit. The inclusion of the little ones in this year’s Open has been a fantastic change, and really demonstrates the family-first commitment of our community.

In 20.3, the opportunity to really see my own personal progress came as a redo of 18.4. That previous Open saw me accomplish my first handstand push up. I struggled to get one HSPU in that workout during an “Away WOD” in Palm Springs. It was an accomplishment, but it wasn’t the same having done it away from CrossFit Empower. And those HSPUs have eluded me ever since! In 20.3, I competed in front of a smaller Sunday crowd, having limited my Saturday participation to judging and cheering to help recover from sickness. Despite the smaller crowd, I managed a 100% improvement over 18.4 with TWO handstand push ups!!! And The Touch, Crusher, Motor, Bruiser, Smash and a few other CrossFit Empower members were there to celebrate with me. It was magic.

Five weeks done and I HAVE seen progress. Open 2020 has left me with renewed enthusiasm for CrossFit and an even stronger connection to my CrossFit Empower community. It feels damn good! Bring it on 2021!!


If I was to sum up my Crossfit Open experience in two words, it would be Disappointing Success.  This I see as a positive outcome.

The Open is a well known speaker of truth – it can celebrate your strengths and demonstrate your weaknesses.  The results of my first open illustrated both.  Completing all five events Rx’d, even with a health challenge, was a definite highlight.  Watching the enthusiastic members of CrossFit Empower show up in great numbers work, cheer and encourage was an amazing experience.

The disappointment resulted from always feeling, after completing a workout that I could have done better – one more rep, one more round, faster, heavier.  Truly finding the point of exhaustion for your body and pushing through.  Finding what your body really can do. It makes for interesting reflections on training in the new year.


2020 Open High points/Breakthroughs

20.4 Dauntless made her personal best on Clean and Jerk.  Her awesomeness helped me my personal best as well on 20.4.  “I think I can do this!” she told herself with a plan. And she did it!  That inspired me to go 105lb Clean and jerk for my personal best ever! I wasn’t sure that was possible.

She cheered me on “HeeHee, you can do this” with her confidence as an experienced player.  As if she put her confidence spell on me. She made me believe in me as well.  The Open event is awesome because with all the people believing in me, I believe in myself. Because  you showed me the way…It is powerful moment.

I had a moment of realization.  In life we all have ups and downs same as WODs at the gym. We shared the moments of victories.  We bonded through breakdowns that led to breakthroughs.  All we have to do is collect them in our basket for this journey in life.

I’m proud to share this journey with you all!  It has made us strong inside and out while having fun experiences together.
Love you all!!!

I am really impressed by this year’s Open, it has been the most fun yet.  I’m not sure if that’s because I know more people this year or my confidence.

I had a really interesting Open.  The first workout was hard for me. I know that one of my weaknesses is my engine, and that was confirmed today as well.  I know I say it every year but double unders and toes to bars would be nice.  I was lucky that they were in the 1 workout.

There were two highlights for me – I got a 110lb clean and jerk after a full workout – I was so excited.  The other win for me was the 205lb deadlift in the workout- even though it didn’t count because I did not do handstand push-ups, I did the deadlift and it made me proud.

Now about the Open as a whole, it pushes us further each year and it involves us in other members’ wins and almost wins.  Watching Shine do a workout Rx when she did not believe it possible or UN’s determination to get through today’s workout.  It’s tear jerking stuff.  However I felt about my workout, watching others kill it makes the long days worth while.

Yes I’m not the strongest in the gym, but I love working out through the year, the ups and downs, the frustrations and the tears but also the smiles, the open shows us we can try and we can succeed.

Thank you for everything