Photo by: Carmine Sarazen  Pictured: Rob Labar / CrossFit Boynton Beach

14.5... the last WOD of the 2014 CrossFit Games Open will be announced tonight in San Francisco, CA.  The Live Announcement, as it has come to be known, will no doubt be a spectacular event full of the Who's Who of the CrossFit community.  After Dave Castro announces the last tortuous WOD of The Open, five of the most notable current / former CrossFit Champions on earth will take to competition floor and set the standard for the rest of the world.... or will they??

While the Fittest of the Fit are slamming bars and flying through the air, most of the 210,000 registered Open competitors will be watching from their computers at home, the office, the Box or on their smartphone while on the go.  Whether you are pulling over in your car to see what kind of evil Dave Castro has cooked up for you or you are online ordering your next case of KILL CLIFF which you will no doubt need after the past 5 weeks of abuse that you as an athlete have put your body through, we all are competing against the same person.  No it is not Rich Froning or Sam Briggs.. but the face in the mirror. That's right... YOU are competing against yourself! 

While those 5 former / current Champions will set the bar for what will gain entry to the next evolution of The CrossFit Games, they are still out there competing against themselves.  Sure it doesn't hurt to have someone of equal or greater ability competing next to you, but at the end of the day there is nothing that the person next to them can do to make them go faster or lift heavier.  The only bar that they will set tonight will be for themselves.  Each of those athletes will be attacking 14.5 the same way as the rest of world will, one rep at a time.  The end goal doesn't change from Carson, CA to the local garage gym, take your mind and body to the point where you feel you can not go any further.. and then get one more rep.  The objective is to give it your best, not the best of the person next to you.  

The spirit of competition and desire for self improvement lives in everyone of us.  Some are given an edge athletically while others are able to do Physics.  Everyone of us has something that we excel at, a hidden talent or unique ability that the next person can't seem to do.  While CrossFit on the surface seems to be a very physical sport where only the Strongest and most Athletic seem to rise to the top, it is quite the opposite.  CrossFit, like many other sports and things in life is extremely mental.  Fortitude is a direct side effect of CrossFit.  Now that isn't to say that if you train real hard and try your best, you will one day edge out Rich Froning or Annie Thorisdottir and stand atop the podium.. that just ain't happening, but you will gain the confidence in your own abilities to push beyond what you once thought were your limits.  

As you approach the last WOD of the 2014 Open, think back how far you have come... were you scared to sign up, did you PR during this Open, have you found that you CAN do what just 5 weeks ago seemed impossible.  We all have our own podiums to stand on and The Open gives each and every one of us the ability to realize that we are capable of more than we ever thought.  It is times like these that come in handy in our everyday lives.  Although functional fitness is great, not too often will you find the need to flip a tire or shoulder a stone, but these once seemingly impossible tasks will translate into your daily life in the form of confidence, mental toughness, not backing down from a challenge and knowing the incredible feeling of achieving a goal.  The Podium in Carson, CA is reserved for those who rise to the top of competitive CrossFit, however, the Podium of LIFE is reserved for each and every one of YOU who have learned that competition and self improvement in the form of a Clean & Jerk or Snatch just might propel you to get that one more rep in Life!