Industrious

“I Took Last Place in the CrossFit Games Open” By Industrious Athlete Greg L

I began doing CrossFit in June 2013. Horribly out of shape and overweight, I made a decision to change my situation. It wasn’t easy. Athletic things came easy for me much of my life. In my late 20s, I stopped making my health a priority and began to gain weight and lose fitness. From there started a downward cycle. Trying to climb the fitness mountain seemed daunting. And the slide continued.

My wife had already been doing CrossFit for about a year. She was hooked. I saw how much she was enjoying it. I told her I would try it. She was encouraged…albeit skeptical that I would last. I was skeptical that I would last.

So many things went through my head before I started:

  • “I can’t do it.”
  • “I don’t want to be made fun of.”
  • “Everyone will think I’m wasting my time.”

I’ve never been last at anything athletic that I can remember. I had to come to grips mentally that I would be last now. It was the largest mental hurdle that I had to tangle with. I knew everyone in the gym would be fitter, faster, more flexible and stronger than me.

I kept seeing mention of the term ‘community’ on CrossFit websites and I didn’t understand what that meant. It made no sense to me. I was used to ‘team’. Team means to showcase the best and replace the weak link. I didn’t want to be the guy that everyone felt sorry for. I would soon learn what community meant.

I sat in the parking lot before my first On-Ramp Introductory class. Walking those last few steps was perhaps one of the more difficult things I have done. We started the warm-up. It was simple dynamic stretching. I was already struggling. We then ended the warm-up with a 400m run with a coach’s instruction to not leave anyone behind. I didn’t make it 50m. As I struggled to catch my breath, two wonderful people, Katherine and John, walked with me that last 350m.

The start of my CrossFit journey was slow and steady. I began learning the movements and learning what I needed to do to scale each exercise to be self-sufficient.  I enjoyed it.

Each WOD provided new challenges. As my body adjusted to pain and soreness, I became more comfortable with each movement. My mobility slowly started to improve so I could do the basic moves without too much discomfort. I took last every day, every WOD, nearly without exception. My results were the worst on the entire board everyday.

Most times at the end of class, I would walk close to the board to give the coaches my time, my rep, or my barbell weight. I struggled with the embarrassment of last place and being the worst.

Finding the right gym for me was key. The coaches at our gym are great. They understand what I need to do to scale and be successful. Every coach not only seems technically strong as an instructor, but they also provide a good mix of motivation and care and concern. In addition to the encouragement from coaches, my gym-mates would even cheer me on as I tried to finish each workout. I wasn’t expecting that. Was that the ‘community’ I had heard so much about?

Nine months into my CrossFit journey, I was making some progress. I still had last place solidly locked up, but I was getting stronger, more flexible, and fitter. The CrossFit Open was coming fast and I knew the question would be asked—Are you going to sign up? I had never done any workout at RX. I wasn’t even close much of the time. Many of the basic movements I knew would be programed in the Open I could still not do. For example, I still scaled pull-ups to ring rows or box pull-ups. Every time I was asked and encouraged to sign-up for the Open, I always said no.

Thursday morning before the first Open workout was announced, I signed up.

First on the list was double-unders and power-snatch. I had never done a double-under. I viewed it as a good opportunity to practice them and went into it with the attitude that it was a good time to learn. I signed up for my heat. The gym was buzzing with excitement and packed from wall to wall.

I walked out onto the competition floor at my prescribed time. I looked around and I was the only one standing there. Somehow, this was a heat of 1—me. I was used to being last and used to having people watch me struggle, but the spotlight heat scared me. There was no turning back. I turned to my coach and said, “My goal is 1.”

doublunder

“3-2-1-Go”. My plan was to pace myself and work steady to hit one double-under. I planned on using the entire 10 minutes to get that one rep. I hit my first double-under in the first minute. My gym was excited. They cheered and yelled, but no one was more surprised than me. I didn’t know what to do next. I had not planned for success. In the end, I completed a total of 8 reps. I was tired from 10 minutes of jumping rope, but 14.1 was complete and I was on the scoreboard.

14.2 brought a new challenge: overhead squat and chest-to-bar pull-ups. Pull-ups were not going to happen and for me to hit an overhead squat I would need to hit a PR by 15 pounds. Somehow, I completed 6 reps in the 3 minutes. I felt proud of my accomplishment.

The next week of deadlifts and box jumps provided a new challenge. Somehow again, (I figured this was my Open curse) I was the only person in the entire heat. Before my heat, all lanes were packed. After my heat, all lanes were packed. For my heat, it was just me. My PR for box jump was 20 inches and I had only completed 1 rep. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do a 24 inch box jump. After I completed the deadlift, I turned to the box. I lacked the mobility to step-up to the box, but I didn’t want to quit without trying. The crowd cheered my first few attempts.

boxjump

And then I missed. I missed badly. I missed very ungracefully and ended up crashing into the wall and in an embarrassing mess on the gym floor. The crowd went silent. My shin was dripping blood. I was angry for missing. I was angry for signing up. The voice in my head yelled to get up and not quit. A new surge of adrenaline and endorphins pushed me to my feet. I got up.

Then something unexpected happened. I made it. And then I hit it again. Despite the blood and pain, I completed the required 15 reps and made it back to the bar for a few lifts before time expired.

My score was poor, but I was happy to have completed my third event.

That day I learned about community. People I barely knew told me how I inspired them. I didn’t understand. I just humiliated myself. I was limping, in pain and bleeding. I took last place, yet people were encouraging me and patting me on the back for a job well done. That day I learned that community was about the shared struggle. It is about recognizing people trying their best.

Next week, 14.4 was a pleasant row for me. I was unable to progress to the next movement because toes-to-bar are out of my reach.

The final week brought burpees and thrusters. I am horrible at burpees. When the coach reviews proper burpee technique with a class, he points out all the things not to do. Everything he says not to do is how I complete them.

Before this workout, my coach asks me if I want to scale the workout. He knows I am horrible at burpees. I see the look of concern on his face. Without hesitation (or maybe defiance), I say, “No, I want a score.” I’ve gone four weeks and bled to get a score. I didn’t want to quit now.

thruster

As the clock starts, I settle into a steady pace to complete the work. Today, I will not be saved my friends called AMRAP and Time cap. It is just me, my barbell, and my willingness to not quit.

The thruster weight is a PR. I struggle early. My body hurts everywhere. Tonight, the voice in my head tells me to quit. I want to quit. My coach/judge, Shelby, is the same judge that I have had for each week of the Open. For the past month, she always seemed to know what to say. She is awesome and I am grateful for her support. She balanced pushing me, yelling at me, coaching me and feeling sorry for me.   Tonight, she asks me if I want to quit.

I keep fighting that voice. The voice ten months ago that told me I was crazy. The voice ten months ago that told me I couldn’t do it. Rep by rep, I try to just keep moving. I learned cursing the barbell doesn’t make it lighter and you don’t feel rested lying on the gym floor. The voice in my head slowly changes from telling me to quit to telling me that I can’t quit.

As my last 6 reps were approaching, all of the spectators in the gym cheered every rep. I was overcome with appreciation for this community. I loved the community. I felt their care and excitement for what I was accomplishing. It meant everything to me. I completed the workout with a time of 1 hour, 3 minutes, and 38 seconds. It is one of worst times in the world (literally—check the leaderboard), but I didn’t care.

burpee

I actually completed the workout. I even completed it RX. My name had an RX behind it. Like an “I Love Mom” tattoo on a sailor, I had CrossFit’s badge of honor.

Afterward, people sent me notes of praise and recognition. I had a lot of time to read them as I could barely walk for the next few days. The Open was over. I succeeded in a way I couldn’t imagine. And I took last place. I took last place in my gym. I took last place in my region. I nearly took last place in the world. But that isn’t why I succeeded.

Somehow in the end, I was proud. I wasn’t proud of last place. I was proud of what I started 10 months ago. Out of shape and feeling trapped, I competed. I posted a score every week and had many PRs.

But more important, I learned what community means. It is more than a collection of people that go to a gym. It is coaches and athletes. It is friends. It is people that care about your success. It is people that cheer where you are going more than where you are at today. I am grateful for the coaches and especially our gym owners, Molly and Stephen. I am thankful for my community.

Post a Comment

  1. Suz says:

    Greg, You are a true example of “sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, and I promise something great will come of it”! I do understand having the courage to start, which is always the hardest! Even after doing each workout in the opens you continued to smile. I love your courage! Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow”! I do have to say we have the best community and coaches but I know I am bias. Thanks for sharing your CrossFit journey! Truly inspirational! Suz

  2. Debbie K. says:

    Greg, we were in On Ramp together but have not been in the same class together all year. When I saw you at the Opens I was so proud of your determination and your willingness to overcome the embarrassment of being last. I have struggled with that all year. I was not able to compete this year but you have convinced me that next year will be a YES for me. Thanks for the great article. I have never wanted a tattoo but RX does have a certain appeal….

  3. Thank you for sharing your story with us, that is awesome!
    I so know how you felt at the beginning.
    Congratulations and I hope I meet you sometime in the gym.
    Paul Hunsinger (Molly’s Dad and Shelby’s Father Law)

  4. Jen T says:

    Greg: So much of your story hits home for me. Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. Charlie W says:

    Greg –

    What a powerful blog. You captured the essence of Crossfit perfectly and the honesty around your journey has me inspired. I’ve dropped into Industrious before (in fact, I did 14.5 with your gym) and heard about your legendary RX workout. Crazy, but I believe you were my soccer coach for Emerald City FC fifteen years ago when I was in middle school. Is that true? Thanks for your impact then and now.

    Charlie Waldburger

  6. Jen_Haynes says:

    Wow Greg! Thank you so much for sharing this with us. You are amazing! I’ve read your story several times with tears of joy each time for your victories. Inspiration doesn’t seem like a strong enough word for what you’ve accomplished. I’m so excited for the next Open and to compete alongside you. Thank you again!

  7. Username* says:

    You did better than me not competing, Keep kicking ass!

  8. Karen says:

    You guys, I love this. “The whole thing, but especially this: But more important, I learned what community means. It is more than a collection of people that go to a gym. It is coaches and athletes. It is friends. It is people that care about your success. It is people that cheer where you are going more than where you are at today. I am grateful for the coaches and especially our gym owners, Molly and Stephen. I am thankful for my community.”

  9. AL says:

    Truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story! I was choking down tears through much of this & can relate to some as well! I’m so glad you didn’t quit! Great job, my friend.
    From Central NY

  10. Chip says:

    Greg you are a stud!

    I plan on sharing this with my kids.

    You exemplify all of the qualities that I aspire to have regardless of how your workout is scored. It all comes down to putting your fears aside giving your best effort and having a never give up attitude that makes you truly inspiring.

    Thanks for sharing.

  11. Travis says:

    Greg,

    This is very very inspiring. The never give up attitude of finishing the workout is pure determination. This is the true community aspect, and it happens every day! Keep working hard, and your friends, gym, and coaches will always be the first ones to keep you pushing!

  12. Karen says:

    Well done!! Congratulations!!!!! I hope that you are so proud of yourself!!

  13. Alfred says:

    Good job, the only person you have to beat in any wod is that voice in your head. Once you defeat him your good

  14. Jack says:

    Wow, what a great story and thanks for sharing Greg. I am inspired when I hear stories like yours. I think some people are intimidated by CrossFit, but I truly feel like anyone can do it.

    You can do it!
    The CrossFit community supports you!
    And, you are not wasting your time!

  15. Username* says:

    I love this! This is what cross fit is all about!

  16. Skylar says:

    I visited Industrious in the summer of ’13, and I instantly felt like I was part of the community. What a great and inspiring story. Well done!

  17. Anthony G. says:

    Greg, I met you for the first time at the deadlift and box jump open workout. It was inspiring. In this blog you’ve captured the Open, CrossFit, community, and the common bond we all share of persevering against odds. Your attitude is commendable. Thank you for sharing your story so succinctly.

  18. RCinLA says:

    Congrats, man! I’m three months and three days in, and I’ve never been any place but last.

    I always tell myself, though, that last place beats not showing up.

  19. Crossfitnana says:

    What an absolutely awesome testimony about how Crossfit changes lives!
    Greg thanks for sharing your journey. Most people think they can’t do Crossfit;
    Say it’s too hard. You shared it’s all about showing up, working hard and be willing
    To leave the ego at the door. Congrats !!!!

  20. BGoly says:

    Greg!!!!! amazing story sir! You had me in tears as i read your story. I know your feeling and i am super proud of you for this. I dealt with something similar when i started and i never forget where i came from! I admire you and your coaching staff at your box and most of all YOUR community. Keep it up bud!

  21. Jenn V. says:

    Love. Love love love.

    Congrats on your tremendous success.

  22. Garyman99 says:

    Great job, Greg. I know all too well what it’s like to be consistently last on that whiteboard and I think I speak for many when I say that your level of determination is something we all wish we could achieve. It took me until the Thursday before the open to sign up as well, by the way. :-)

  23. jack040806 says:

    YOU FREAKING ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Kurt says:

    Greg, you’re an inspiration and your attitude is amazing. Your box sounds a lot like mine, Hermes Crossfit in Spanish Fork, UT – very community and family oriented. When I work in Seattle, I’ve dropped into CrossFit Belltown, because it was convenient to my location, but when I’m there later this summer, I’ll try to go out of my way to drop in at least once to a box like Industrious, based solely on your testimony! Keep up the good work!

  25. fruizm says:

    Very well sir, very well.

    You had me crying starting from the jumping boxes part.

  26. ozi says:

    Hey,
    Put this to the crossfit.com!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Finally someone who understood the meaning of crossfit. Go Greg!

  27. ariel_dbaf says:

    Amazing, congratulations, you have great spirit :D Keep going

  28. […] “I Took Last Place in the CrossFit Games Open” By Industrious Athlete Greg L | Industrious. […]

  29. Greg, you are such an inspiration! Congratulations for completing the Open and setting many new PRs. Good luck with the rest of your CrossFit journey!

  30. Ashley Short says:

    You took first place in my book…

    Thank you for sharing… You are an inspiration ..

    … And thank you for not giving up.. Xo

  31. Kellene says:

    Fantastic! Thank you for sharing your story! I applaud you for your tenacity…..something you can always be proud of!

  32. Connie says:

    Thank you for sharing this, I read it this morning I am so proud of you and you are such a inspiration, you have help me have the will power to keep going on and trying harder, I was ready to give up on the working out thanks for sharing your story.

  33. Elyse says:

    This brought tears to my eyes and has been shared on every form of social media I work with. This is the epitome of CrossFit and why I encourage ANYONE to try it out. There is nothing more supportive than a CrossFit box. Everyone knows the struggle and everyone knows the pain. We have all been there. We get it. Congratulations to you for completing the Open. You are an inspiration to every CrossFitter, past, present, or future. Way to go!

  34. alvin545 says:

    Wow, that was a very inspirational story. Thank you so much for writing that up, and keep up the amazing progress!

  35. RaeRae says:

    AMAZING! Congratulations, Greg. You are what CrossFit is all about and why I wouldn’t do anything else. Keep up the good work!

  36. I usually don’t post on a stranger’s blog, but after reading this I feel like you’re not a stranger at all! As I read your experience, I couldn’t help but tear up. Although we’ve never met- I am so stinking proud of you! I wish I was able to celebrate with you at every milestone. Way to go!

  37. Awesome job completing the open, Greg!!! It is certainly not an easy task. Continue to battle each day and improve. Be 1% better today than you were yesterday. Its a mental challenge in crossfit. The strong will get through it mentally. The physical nature is second. Good luck and have fun.

  38. CarlosOne says:

    An old man’s marathon tee shirt reads in the back: I am diabetic, obese, old and ahead of you… Sorry to burst your bubble, but, dead last is the one that is not trying and they are closer to dead than you are. They have not earned the one thing you have, RESPECT. So, Who’s dead last? Certainly no you.

  39. Miggie says:

    Love it!
    I am two years in and still king of all modifications …..
    Strong Island Crossfit – Merrick Long Island

  40. q06as says:

    Great,
    What an inspiring story. Keep up the great work. This is exactly why we all love Crossfit. We come for the workouts and stay for the community. Awesome.

  41. Chris Rosa says:

    A real tear jerker, thanks for posting this

  42. Encouraging says:

    Keep up the hard work!

  43. SarahW says:

    Incredible! Beautifully written Greg! Congrats on completing the Open! You are amazing!!

  44. […] as well as those from other CrossFit gyms in the area, will make it just a bit easier. Win, or lose, I know that the community will be behind us. And, like my partner Kristy says, we’re just […]

  45. ryptide says:

    Well done, Greg. You’re an inspiration! Keep going!

  46. Jon says:

    It is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog! Excellent work, you are human like everyone else, you will get the goals you want if you put in the time and effort.

  47. Username says:

    Thank you so very much for posting this blog. I too am overweight and athletics NEVER came easy for me.
    Thank you for showing me the courage to keep going. And the courage to enter into the open next year
    Bless you

  48. mepex says:

    You sir, are a bada$$. And don’t let anyone tell you different.

  49. bwst says:

    Amazing! This story is the true reason why I CrossFit! Love love love! ‘Keep on Keeping on!”

  50. Greg, all of us at CrossFit Hell’s Kitchen are so proud of you. Your blog was posted in our Facebook group today and I’m just one of many who got a little choked up reading. You embody the spirit of CrossFit. Thank you for sharing your story with our community.

    Much love,

    Allie

  51. dkeithhayes says:

    What an inspiration!!!! We have very similar stories/lives and it makes me so happy to hear others taking these steps towards fitness and health!!! Hang in there. it gets better, I promise! Keep posting your progress so we all can watch.

  52. AntBeck says:

    What an inspiring story. You are a strong person – with the courage many could only wish for. The strength and power of crossfit is its mission to show people that they are far more capable than they might have ever believed. And the community is made of people who “cheer where you are going more than where you are at today.”

    Thank you for sharing your story and not quitting. I’m going to push myself a little further today.

  53. jmbunner says:

    THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about! Way to go, Greg! A truly great story of courage, inspiration, and community! This is the side of CrossFit most people do not see/understand. And you are right. It’s not about where you are; it’s about where you’re going. Keep up the amazing work, sir!

  54. Walter Akana says:

    Wow!! BIG Congratulations, Greg!! Awesome and inspiring story!! Keep up the great work and enjoy the community!!

  55. Walter Akana says:

    P.S., I’m the old guy in my box!! I get last place pretty often myself!!

  56. Dan Windler says:

    Awesome read. Hearing the words from someone else who’s in my shape and at my level is always inspiring. I had a dead last workout just last night myself, youngest guy in the box finished the burpees with me. Community is what got me hooked, and it’s why I stay. Thannks for sharing your story sir.
    dw

  57. Caryn says:

    Sitting here with tears in my eyes. You rock! I am dead last most of the time (and especially if there is a run), but showing up and doing it is what counts. Stronger every day! Thanks so much for sharing your story!

  58. Mary says:

    Hey I come from a box in New Jersey called Crossfit Sayreville and I just wanted to tell you you’re awesome!

  59. Mary says:

    And your story is incredible! Congratulations!

  60. ShelbyH says:

    To be able to walk that journey with you is something I will forever carry in my heart. Each week I so looked forward to watching you attack the tasks at hand. I can only hope your determination and fight has rubbed off on me. Your successes were OUR successes. Congrats Greg.

    Your forever friend, coach and fellow athlete,
    Shelby

  61. smartcookie says:

    This is one of the most moving things i have ever read and definitely so in terms of crossfit. I have often had the worst score at the box for a workout, and been the last to finish. It is a very difficult place to be mentally. So I truly commend you and am cheering you on whenever you are in a WOD and get down on yourself. Keep trucking…I love the sign over the door at my box: I will do what you won’t today so I can do what you can’t tomorrow.

  62. Hands down you rock!!!! Awesome job for stepping into the box and out of your comfort zone

  63. Vonnie003 says:

    Way to go Greg!! You are an ATHLETE and that will NEVER go away!!! Strong will and a knack to silence the quit in you!! You are a true inspiration!!
    All the best!!!
    Your fan,
    Yvonne

  64. Stu says:

    Mate last, first does not make one bit of difference with crossfit, it’s all about becoming a better you and you are coming first in that department, Well done

  65. Kirstin says:

    Greg, I want to quit EVERY day. I started with a friend three and a half months ago. I am 11 years older than her and in far worse shape. I have to force myself to go and I consider myself successful if I make it three times a week and do half of the prescribed reps. I’ve never hated something so much and yet stuck with it.
    I can tell very negligible results, but still I go. Thanks to you, I will keep going, even if I do keep hatin’. Thank you so very much.

  66. Norway says:

    Awesome! This is what CrossFit is all about! Love it.

  67. Kara says:

    This post could have been written by me…I just didn’t get to do that well in The Open. I love my CrossFit community and I know I couldn’t get through the daily WOD without them cheering me on. Great job!

  68. Paul says:

    OMG! Greg you are an inspiration to me. I felt the same way entering the open workout. I thought..less than a year of crossfit, how am I going to do it. But I too had the community at my box Crossfit Los Al cheering me on. It was many firsts for me. First double under, first toes to bar, first time doing any workout RX. I was competing against myself, and I won. I’m still not the best at my box. Sometimes I still come in last. But I never give up! You inspire me to continue and are an inspiration to those who think they can’t.

  69. Melanie says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, Greg. :) People like you remind me that CrossFit is not about the Games, or the PRs – it’s about pushing boundaries, and the people who are willing to go there with you.

  70. Natalie says:

    This was so moving, I cried while reading it. You are an inspiration and you should be really proud of what you have accomplished :D <3

  71. Eric says:

    Greg, you are amazing! I can’t begin to tell you how much you inspire me – and I’ve been doing CF for 3+ years. Keep it up, and someday I’d love to compete WITH you.

  72. Kody says:

    This is the epitome of what CrossFit is. Its not always about the best athletes, or the fittest, its about pushing through and becoming a better person than you were yesterday. Not only functionally, but in your character. Greg you are an inspiration to event the fittest of athletes. There was a man in my home gym who shares a similar story, and when the open was over, I realized that I got more enjoyment watching him (as well as reading your story) beat back barriers he never thought conquerable. You both are what is greatest about the sport.

  73. jlibson says:

    You are a tower of Iron Will.

    I am amazed that you powered your way through 14.5.

    Astonished.

    Well done!

  74. […] “I Took Last Place in the CrossFit Games Open” […]

  75. Maribeth says:

    I cant wait to see you, a year from now, killing the Open. You clearly have demonstrated the mental will to meet and exceed your goals. So proud of you and I don’t even know you.

  76. Wow great inspiration !! Nice work and dedication. This was a great lesson in perserverance and never quitting – definately sharing

  77. MARIA says:

    Love your story. Sounds like a great box. And you sound like a winner my friend.

  78. Kira says:

    What an amazing story! You captured exactly what it feels like to be supported by an entire community of people. That community does a funny thing, it helps us to recognize the strength we have inside no matter what our level of fitness.

    Great job!

  79. Greg-

    This was amazing! I felt like I was with you every step of the way. I will admit I was tearing up as soon as I read “Walking those last few steps was perhaps one of the more difficult things I have done.” The fact that you put yourself out there and gave it all you had is amazing. Thank you for sharing your story and showing people what CrossFit is REALLY about; not giving up, pushing yourself and others to be better inside and out, and the community that surrounds us all.

  80. Shelby says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! What an amazing man you are, you have left me feeling inspired! Keep up the hard work an dedication!!

  81. Matt Plapp says:

    I have a tear in my eye over this story. It’s amazing to see that one person can fight through a negative and find a positive. Great job, keep up the hardwork. Pretty soon you’ll be finished with WODs and going back to cheer on others that aren’t.

  82. Jamie says:

    I love this story! You are a hero for getting the work done. Congrats!

  83. KV says:

    Gret, you touched on a common experience many of us had when we first started CrossFit when you said “Each WOD provided new challenges. As my body adjusted to pain and soreness, I became more comfortable with each movement. My mobility slowly started to improve so I could do the basic moves without too much discomfort.” I am truly inspired by you and your story. Congratulations on all your hard work!

  84. Rebecca says:

    I don’t know you, but I am so proud of you. I got a little teary-eyed reading this because I think at one point in our lives, all of us have been last or “the worst” at something. Many of us quit when this happens…you did not, and have not. That is amazing. I am so happy for you and cannot wait to see your progress, and you will kick ass next year at the Open!

    Congratulations. You fucking rock.

  85. Diogo says:

    Congratulations from Brazil Greg. You have an amazing history!

    You are a winner, this is Crossfit!!!

  86. Melody says:

    This is why I Crossfit! I admire your attitude and wish you nothing but success!! Congrats!

  87. Sandy jones says:

    I cried reading this. In part because it was written so honestly, in part because I am pregnant, on part because I own a cross fit gym with my husband and it is such a touching example of the impact achievement in the gym can have on someone’s life, in part because I remember my first open and had a similar experience with the 110# clean and jerk, and in part because I am so proud of you for all of the gains you made out of sheer determination. You rock.

  88. Robot says:

    Great work! Thanks for sharing and keep it up!

  89. Wang says:

    Amazing post. No matter what the level of fitness or number of years doing crossfit, we can all do with even a fraction of your determination and will power, Greg.

  90. Username* says:

    Very inspired by your courage! Thanks for sharing

  91. laxidasical says:

    You, my friend, are a badass. I look forward to seeing your games recap next year.

  92. Sony Lu says:

    Such a wonderful and amazing experience!!! Go ahead!!! Never give up!
    You were brave to sign up to the Open and u did ur best! others may not even tried, so I’m proud of guys like you!!! and i’m agree with the last comment (Rebecca) “Kick ass next year at the Open!” YOU CAN DO IT FOR SURE! :)

  93. […] you do, consider the story of a guy who took last place in an athletic competition. Horribly overweight and out of shape, Greg was skeptical about trying […]

  94. Calvin says:

    Wow. Kudos for finishing. I signed up and didn’t even score anything since I can’t do DU, T2B and chickened out the rest.

  95. berexi says:

    Tout simplement bravo

  96. This was an amazing piece of writing, as I read it, I felt like I was there, experiencing every up and down with you.
    I’m not going to lie, I did shed a few tears along the way…not from sadness but from feeling the pride and achievement throw themselves off the screen.
    You are an inspiring gentleman, and anytime I feel like I can’t do it anymore or I want to quit…I will think back to this article, and I’ll dig a little deeper and keep going, because of YOU, I WILL be entering in the Open in 2015..
    Keep going and please keep writing :)
    Love from Dublin, Ireland.

  97. Tara B, says:

    You told this story beautifully. Congratulations on all your well-earned success!

  98. Keiron says:

    You rock Greg! Thank you for sharing your story with us! I am so very proud of you! I love crossfit because we are unique, people don’t want to do what we do at the box! Keep on rocking!

  99. Kathleen says:

    I am not a member of your box but someone forwarded this link to me. To say that I was moved by this – is an understatement. I am proud of your efforts and your willingness to overcome despite the emotional pain you face each time you stepped up to the WOD/Open WOD.

    While you found what community is all about (and bravo to a wonderful culture your coaches/CF owners have created), I hope you are able to find that part of yourself that is always a winner and know that last is definitely something to be proud of – but knowing that you are not a quitter makes you a winner…every time.

  100. This is why we keep coming back for more!

  101. Christine says:

    Amazing story! That’s how I felt when I stepped in the real of arkour – but I know Cross Fit training is much more intensive in terms of the physical output an individual place. I’m going to share this with my friends and family

  102. JAcadia says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post. You rock and I felt inspired just reading it. I would have enjoyed being at your box while you were completeing the open and meeting your goals. Congrats.

  103. Kim N says:

    You perfectly embody the spirit of Crossfit. Thank you for sharing your story. It brought tears to my eyes.

  104. Brienna says:

    Thank you for sharing your amazing story! I found this post on facebook through one of the girls at my box and you are an inspiration! Keep being awesome!

  105. Cheryl says:

    I was sitting here, surfing FB and talking myself out of going to the box today. We are doing bear crawls and I hate them (almost as much as I hate burpees). I am telling you this so I can say – I’m getting off my butt and going.

    Thank you.

  106. kellijensen says:

    I am moved to tears reading your story. You are an absolute inspiration and the very definition of courage. Congratulations and I can’t wait to see how far you come in the Open 2015!

  107. Big Rig Mike says:

    Thanks for posting this. I needed to read it. If I joined your gym, You’d be strong second to last. This is inspiring me to take on the challenge of changing myself. From the bottom of my heart- thank you for sharing.

  108. MVM0630 says:

    YOU ARE AWESOME!!!! And I’m so proud of you, and also so inspired and even a little jealous of your determination.

    Keep up the fight, you’ll always be a winner!!!!

  109. rilaford says:

    You may have placed in last, but you placed before me. You placed in front of every other person who didn’t participate, who is still sitting on the couch, who isn’t moving. So kudos to you!

  110. Troy says:

    All I can say is Awesome! Keep going!

  111. Mark says:

    And in addition to all the other praise for your athletic work, you’re a damned fine writer, too.

  112. I wasn’t last place in the 2012 open, but I was in the bottom 1% of participants, so this story resonates with me. Your courage is awesome. You’ll do better next year, and better the year after that. Keep at it.

  113. Greg! You are crazy awesome and I <3 this article more than you will ever know! THANK YOU!

  114. dave says:

    You illustrate coach John Wooden’s (famous basketball coach) definition of success perfectly, “peace of mind attained through knowing you made the effort to do the best that you are capable.” Based on that definition you had a very successful games. What seems to bond crossfitters, is that we know it’s not win or lose, its the effort we put out for every rep, every movement, every step. As you point out, its the journey. We like to celebrate and root for anybody delivering full effort. Cheers to you for the courageous effort you display. Your story is inspiring and I appreciate you sharing it.

  115. ashy says:

    This is all I needed to push me! you are incredible I feel so proud of your accomplishments. You are a true inspiration

  116. Kevin says:

    Last place my ass – you were ahead of everyone who did not have the will or courage to even try.

    Great story and well done.

  117. Nuey7 says:

    Greg, this brought tears to my eyes! Your story is amazing! Keep pushing!

  118. Sam says:

    My best friend works out at your gym and he forwarded this to me. I really could not describe the “community” better myself. Keep up the work, your progress is motivating and I look forward to doing a burpee beside you someday.

    -Sam (San Diego)

  119. William says:

    As someone who also was “always last on the whiteboard” when I first started Crossfit (and some days I’m still last), I truly related and was moved by your story. You did NOT finish LAST in the Open this year as there are plenty of names of athletes who finished behind you when they did not post a score or quit early. Keep up the good work!!

  120. everett says:

    Fuck yeah. Awesome writing – remarkable story.

  121. Scott W says:

    It’s not how fast you finish… it’s that you FINISH!

    KEEP GOING!

  122. Muzza says:

    Thank you for that push! I needed being an X rugby player that played here in Australia and England. I just kept started to get bored and was looking at taking up cross fit now you just helped me make up my mind thank you Muzza Gold Coast Queenslandm

  123. Futomakiman says:

    Thank you for sharing your story…truly inspiring.

  124. […] I Took Last Place in the CrossFit Games Open […]

  125. Jim says:

    Beautiful – thank you for sharing! I really enjoyed reading the article. You better write another one after the 2015 open so we can hear about the awesome progress you’re going to make over the next year!

  126. Username* says:

    Greg reading your story is inspiring I went through a lot of what you’ve gone through learning about the Crossfit community not knowing what they ment people telling me I inspired them not knowing why than the open came along I signed up reluctantly at the encouragement of my coaches best thing I did my first double unders, toes to bars but I just wanted you to know you didn’t come in last in everything, I don’t know what division your in me I’m was in 55 to 59 masters devision and in the overhead squats I got 5 great job

  127. Joe says:

    This is awesome great job bro

  128. Matt C. says:

    Greg, this article is badass! Thank you for sharing. I got choked up reading it!

  129. DJ says:

    I loved your story! I’m 220lbs, lean and strong, but I have never competed – out of fear of not being #1. Thanks for the inspiration, encouragement and especially the tears in recognition of your valor!

  130. Taiza says:

    So Inspiring! I am on my tears… today as I was working out alone in a far place, far from my box and the people that makes you go further, I understood the importance of community, things like “why am I still doing this?” came to my mind, I almost quit today, thanks for reminding me why I started. Tomorrow will be easier because I read this, Thank you. Keep that Mental toughness!

  131. Amy says:

    You are AMAZING!!!

  132. Claire says:

    This absolutely made my day. My week even. Thank you for sharing your story. You truly are inspiring, and I have much admiration for your strong will, persistence, and positive attitude.

  133. climbking says:

    YOU are winning. You are doing something OTHERS are choosing NOT to do. YOU are taking steps to improve your life. KEEP your chin up, and keep killing it, and you will get to where you want to be. Nuff said.

  134. Mike says:

    Greg, Not even close to last place because you posted a valid score on all the WODs. I did not, even though I was capable of placing in the top 50% in my age group. Awesome to read your story and best of luck in your journey.

  135. Be it crossfit, your local gym or small group training peers … it’s about you, doing it for just you and being part of a group (aka community) who wish the best for you and your goals, not their, yours!!! Well done Greg.

  136. AK says:

    As a Finn I must say You are a perfect example of what it means to have ‘”sisu”.

  137. hlh says:

    inspiring – thank you

  138. AK says:

    Had to ad this from wikipedia in case you don’t know what I am talking about “Sisu is a Finnish word generally meaning determination, bravery, and resilience. However, the word is widely considered to lack a proper translation into any other language. Sisu is about taking action against the odds and displaying courage and resoluteness in the face of adversity. Deciding on a course of action and then sticking to that decision against repeated failures is Sisu. “

  139. Saturday | says:

    […] “I Took Last Place in the CrossFit Games Open”  […]

  140. DaveV says:

    Greg, sadly , for me , I don’t know you. Your story however I know all to well. Just about everyone at my gym post numbers that crush mine. Yet when they are all done the words of encouragement start. More often than not this is what helps me finish the WOD. Just like you I’m not the fastest, or the strongest, but just like you I keep trying my hardest. For me this is what crossfit is all about. Please keep it up. Stories like yours are so truly inspiring

  141. Hi,

    I really know how you feel…. Every work out i looked up to to do it. I did the open als after 7 months of crossfit and set also many records… Dit my first toes to bar in 12 minutes and even told the judge one rep wasn’t counting.
    I hope you keep up the good work and next years open we can compete again in the open against eachother.

    You are what crossfit all is About. Leave no man behind and everybody is the same.
    It helps me to fight against my burn-out and give me new lookes over sitiations.

    Hope to here something from you and succes!!

    Greetings jens

  142. Quinn says:

    Fuckin’ Get Em Greg!! Can’t wait to see how much more you can accomplish in another 10 months time!
    Going to have you in my mind every workout I do now, true inspiration mate.

  143. ChrisB says:

    Mate straight up you probably just changed someone’s life other than yours. There WILL be someone else reading this in either the same or a worse position as you were and this will be the thing that gets them either across the line to start Crossfit or remotivated to stay on course.

    Thank You!

  144. Greg, congratulations and thank you for sharing your story. I was in tears from start to finish – so proud of your accomplishment! I have been refusing to sign up to The Open out of fear. All the fears you listed above. You have inspired me to take part and sign up in 2015, “Feel the fear and do it anyway”, thank you!

  145. Fit4life says:

    Greg, where’s your EGO man, oh yeah you left it at the door of the box
    before you walked in. Killing the ego is worst than doing 150 walls.
    Great work and you truly are an inspiration.

  146. Username* says:

    what a legend!!!

  147. Chakkerz says:

    Crossfit is about being the best you, you can be.

    Who cares you are last! Think of all those (crossfitters) too scared to be on the board! You beat all of those by at least a year.

  148. Sblanks says:

    Keep it up bro! It gets harder, but it’s all because you want it to be harder. Throw that weight like a caveman!

  149. Mike Outram says:

    Fantastic piece, Greg! Inspiring.

  150. A truly inspiring story that seems to have gone viral globally. I feel your pain, I admire your determination not to quit and ultimately I am so happy for your success. Fitness is a journey and we all have to start somewhere. Small steps lead to great things. Proud of you Greg, well done!! :-)

  151. Tears of understanding, Greg. Crossfit is a community of people who care. In this competitive world, it’s hard to accept “last” as being our best…but sometimes it is, and it feels warm and fuzzy when we know we have done our best. At “almost 63 years old”, it hurts to see my times and PRs slipping, but your inspiring article helps put it all back into the right perspective. Thanks for this very well-written, heart felt article.

  152. bill says:

    attaboy! Way to go after it man, wish you the best on your fitness journey!

  153. Gdw says:

    Greg. I almost never post comments on blogs but I feel compelled to post one here. Your story is incredibly inspiring and your honesty with your situation is to be applauded. I lost 50 pounds 4 years ago – almost 25% of my body weight at the time – and have kept it off for over four years now. I have been doing crossfit for 18 months. I know where you are coming from. I also did my first open this year. I just want my post to encourage you to NEVER QUIT!! It took me two years to loose the 50 bc I did it properly with clean eating and exercise. No diets. No fads. No pills etc. you can do this !! It might take a while to get there but if you will be patient, take pride in your small gains, work hard -both at the dining table and in the gym – there is no substitute for hard work at those places – YOU WILL GET THERE !! Be proud of yourself and your accomplishments, celebrate each step and milestone and above all work hard and be patient. The results WILL come if you do those things. You can be an unbelievable inspiration to many men who have been in your position if you succeed in getting into a healthy weight and lifestyle. I wish you all the best and keep the world posted on your progress because they need to hear it and I think you need to tell it. Peace fellow crossfitter.

  154. kittee says:

    Thank you for posting!! I love this!

  155. krista says:

    I just started crossfit this week and am feeling those same feelings. Thank you for sharing. This brought tears to my eyes and put hope into my heart that I can be as brave as you.

  156. Elle says:

    Dammit, Greg. You made me cry and now I have this pesky feeling of wanting to work out. Thank you.

  157. Alexandra says:

    Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to start CrossFit but I feel like everybody there is super fit and i dont, but now i have not excuses! Good for you, congratulations.

  158. Sara says:

    I just want you to know that it was a very inspiring story and judging from the remarks, your struggles and success has inspired people from all over the world, including me, all the way from Sarawak, Malaysia!

  159. Jimmy says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are an inspiration! Keep up the good work!

  160. adam says:

    Amazing and inspirational. We’ve all started amd know your struggles. It took ke 2 years to get the courage to do the open, so kudos to you.

    Its all about personal gains, forget the leaderboard, if you’re pr’ing every wod, that in itself is an unbelievable feat!

    Keep upthe great work.

    Great white North crossfitter.

  161. Numbers are only one measure. Last place. I think not if we measure by heart. Thank you for sharing your story.

  162. Reed Kotake says:

    This is the first comment I have ever posted on a CF blog. I have read many. Thank you for inspiring me. I’m a “last-fitter” in my Box but it seems that it never matters to the amazing athletes that pick me up and push me along. Your blog helps! thanks! Crossfit Memorial Hill

  163. Tpellew says:

    You are my hero. I am so proud of you,

  164. Allison says:

    This was truly one of the most moving, and inspiring things I’ve ever read. I cried while reading this, because The way you described the community is so true. You are amazing, and inspiring. Keep up the Great work!!

  165. Jeremy says:

    You’re a champion my friend! Inspired by your humility and work ethic. Looking forward to seeing your continued success.

  166. joebabi says:

    Unbelievably inspiring ! Thank you

  167. What an absolute hero. This is what CrossFit is all about and I am so proud to read a blog post like this as it makes me appreciate what we all have in this community. If you are ever in the UK please get in touch as would love to have you to my box to Rx some more WODs, big inspiration.

    Keep up the good work

  168. Greg, Thank You for taking the time to share your inspiring story!! With a heart like yours, all things are possible! Keep it up! You rock!!

  169. Tim Burridge says:

    Greg,
    That was a wonderful and inspiring story. I too struggled with the open and saw it through to the end, did not care where I finished but glad to compete.
    The things I really like about Crossfit is the community and friendships,as well as the workouts. It isn’t always easy, but never stop trying.I have been doing this for 9 months and would not do anything else, I love it.My wife and daughters are involved as well.It gets to be an addiction, you take a rest day and you miss it.
    Keep up the good work,
    Tim

  170. Kendra says:

    I just shared your story with my 10 year old daughter and her younger brothers as an example of why we do hard things.

    Thanks for your willingness to share your journey — continue to fight the good fight!

  171. Mary Pat says:

    This story left me in tears. This is truly the story of a great man!

  172. Congratulations for taking control and doing something about your fitness. And well done on the open – you smashed me in the OHS! I had a goal of getting 1 – just like you with DU, and I got 2!

  173. Joseph says:

    You, sir, are a fine example of overcoming adversity and facing life’s challenges head on! Thank you for the “lessons along the way!”

  174. You my friend are what we in Australia would call a ‘bloody legend’.

  175. Heidi says:

    I cried a little at reading this. Not out of pity or sadness for your scores, but because that kind of courageous a rare find in a person. I’m in awe, of your drive and persistence! Imagine what each of us could do if we only used your positive outllook for EVERY REP! For every workout! I wish we could WOD together!

  176. […] I TOOK LAST IN THE OPEN […]

  177. daleo79 says:

    Congratulations on breaking free from the traps. Its a great feeling to show your mind through your body that the impossible is just an illusion. Thanks for sharing the inspiration.

  178. […] …Read the whole Story and be inspired […]

  179. […] matter if you’re a critic or a fan of CrossFit, this post shows the power of community and […]

  180. Sharon Sokol says:

    Greg, my son sent your awesome story to me because, at 70, I’ve just started Crossfit. He knows I need encouragement, and your story certainly did the trick. My fellow Crossfitters come up to me after a WOD and encourage me – even though the WOD was really scaled down for me. I want to continue to show up and improve – I’ll have a better chance now that I’ve cried through your story.

  181. […] I would really appreciate you all reading this CrossFit article tonight.  It reflects well on what CrossFit is and how the community is growing in a positive way.  It says a lot about the CrossFit Open that we all took a part of during March and April.   The original article can be found here […]

  182. […] without a Significant Other – Grownups should have good knives 3. LOVE this story about the community at a CrossFit Gym 4. Another CrossFit Story — CrossFit Women – The Truth 5. Another post from […]

  183. Skarnes says:

    This was an awesome story. Thanks for sharing it. It’s really inspiring to hear that you are willing to fight. Not needing to be the best but to do the work and become better. Take that step and do what you do is just awesome. Not many people will actually do this. Many say that they want to get in shape and want to stark work out, but stay home. You did it and it is most inspiring to read about someone like you that took that step and are willing to fight no matter what! Do it for your self and yourself only.

  184. On our box wall is the words, “Learn To Never Quit.”
    Your story truly exemplifies what those words really mean! I love this story!! Keep fighting the good fight!

  185. bdonovan6 says:

    Greg, that is a great, inspirational story. I just want to mention that you kept saying that you kept coming in last place. Not once did you mention that you came in first place in your heat. What a metaphor and you probably don’t even realize it. You competed against yourself the entire time…and won. Great job! Keep it up!

  186. E says:

    I started CrossFit about a month ago and totally relate to your story. I’m completely out of shape, need to lose at least 50 pounds, am extremely unflexible, and have never been coordinated. I’m still terrified of some of the movements (i.e. handstands), flat out can’t do many others (e.g. burpees, pull-ups), and struggle to lift more than just an unweighted bar. It was definitely a challenge getting through the first month because I was so embarrassed at being so far behind everyone. I am so inspired by your willingness to a) compete in the open and b) chronicle your journey for everyone. I hope someday to be brave enough to do the same.

  187. Eric Crane says:

    Whenever I come in last I reminded myself I am still lapping everyone who is on the couch. We are Grinders. We will never be Rich Froning. That is fine. But we will be better off tomorrow because of our work today.

  188. Ravster says:

    We have never met, but Greg, what an amazing story! Congrats on the most important victory…the one inside yourself. I work in the diabetes field, and what your are doing is the best prescription ever ! Here’s to your courage, your leadership, and your health. Cheers from Canada.

  189. […] “I Took Last Place in the CrossFit Games Open” By Greg L […]

  190. […] and coaches!  Thanks to everyone who make RARE such a special place to train!  Checkout  “I Took Last Place in the CrossFit Games Open” By Industrious Athlete Greg L and share your favorite Crossfit moments under […]

  191. Username* says:

    Sir, you inspire me to press on. While I am about 30lbs over my goal weight, I have a hard time with jumps and squats because of my knees. I ran way to much when younger, and destroyed them. I rude a Bike now and can ride for miles, however really want to do more Olympic / crossfit type work and your story has inspired me to do so. Thank you and may God give you strength and endurance in your Fitness quest!.

  192. JoeS says:

    Congrats Greg
    You are truly the story behind why we do what we do. I just finished week 11. I am 53 and lost my wife to cancer this past March. I promised her before she died that I would get back in shape. I am now over 60lbs lighter, addicted to cross fit and love my new found family at my box. I too know that I am far from the fastest or strongest but I see improvement every day. Your attitude and desire to push on is CrossFit. Congrats on your accomplishments. Rock on.

    Joe

  193. […] wait to share it with you guys. This was originally written by athlete Greg L. and was posted HERE on the CrossFit Industrious site. Enjoy […]

  194. […] Check out this inspiring article! […]

  195. […] you can take part even if you’ve only been with CrossFit for a few weeks, or even just a few days! Even coming in last can be an incredibly rewarding experience for someone who’s just getting into exercise and most CrossFit gyms […]





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