12.1 was probably the second greatest troll event in CrossFit history. For the record, I think the call of Double Grace in the last 10 seconds of the 2014 CrossFit Games was the greatest.
2012 was the second year of the Open and the participation in the sport basically tripled, from 26,000 to 75,000. Everyone was guessing and expecting something nasty, complex, heavy, or whatever.
We got the first live announcement in Games history, although I think it was actually tape delayed from LA. Three girls from the Valley faced off: 2010 Champ Kristin Clever, powerhouse Katie Hogan and 2 time podium finisher Becca Voight were the top of the CrossFit heap throwing down and we expected some fireworks. Instead we got 1 movement – a smirking Dave Castro announced burpees for 7 minutes.
I did this workout 4 times. I had qualified for the Regionals the previous year and finished 10th, 6 spots from a Games ticket. In 2012, I was probably in the best shape I have ever been in, but in no way did I feel safe – like I would easily qualify again. I really wanted to make it to the Games, and I wanted the best performance out of every workout, no matter what.
I have never been great at the really grindy kind of stuff – I always performed better at the higher skill workouts. It doesn’t get more grindy than 7 minutes of burpees.
I got 111 my first go on Thursday night. I knew this wasn’t gonna get it done. All my competition buddies were playing extremely coy and close to the vest on what a good score was gonna be. No one was posting to the games leaderboard. I spent the next 4 days refining my technique. I knew I wasn’t going to get faster, but I could move smoother. I basically watched a Carl Paoli video over and over again, and really cleaned up my burpee technique. I got 119 on Friday, 120 on Saturday and 121 on Sunday. I would guess I did another 150-200 burpees in warm up and technique refinement in those 4 days. I think was in the top 120 or so in the region, which ended up being enough, as the next week I got a great score on a snatch ladder and was safely in a qualifying position. This was not the case for me the next two years, as the first workout always dug me a big hole, and I clawed my way back into qualification spots as the higher skill workouts played more to my strengths.
Is this the greatest CrossFit technique video? I ran into Carl in the bathroom at Regionals that year and thanked him for this video. It wasn’t super weird at all…
Workout of the Day
Pause Back Squat (3 second pause)
5 sets of 3, 55% of 1RM
Burpees to touch