Four years ago I entered my first CrossFit Games Open Competition. This is what I wrote about that first day of self-torture…
Today I completed workout 13.1 for the CrossFit Open. It was hard. The workout was as many reps as possible in 12 minutes of
- 150 wall balls with a 14lb ball to 9 feet,
- 90 double unders (jumping rope with the rope passing under twice for each jump)
- 30 muscle ups on the rings.
The 14 pound ball was heavier than the 10 pound I was used to. I couldn’t get my rhythm on the double-unders and I have never successfully performed a muscle up.
But the really hard part was what was going on in my mind. You see, I had just moved back to Dallas a newly divorced mother of 3 kids and had been trying quite unsuccessfully to find a job. I was a teacher, but this is not the easiest time of year to find a teaching job. So, for now, I am just doing everything I can to find a job. I am keeping very busy working on ways to make money, but I haven’t actually made any yet and I am getting nervous! And all of this was going on in my mind while I was doing the workout.
At several points in the workout I found myself wondering, “Why?”. Why am I putting myself through this? Why does it matter if I push? Could I ever do anything with any of this? Am I too old for this?
I finally came back to the realization that I stay fit so that I can keep up the fight. I realized that this workout is just a metaphor for the rest of my life. Every day we come across obstacles, hurdles, things we have to deal with even though we really don’t want to. Sometimes it’s just cleaning a dirty house and sometimes it’s struggling to pay all of the bills or put dinner on the table. Sometimes it’s learning how to get out into the world again after a difficult part of your life and sometimes it’s deciding to get up off that couch and change your life. What ever the hurdle is, you must have the fight within to take it on. That is what a CrossFit workout is all about.
At the beginning of a workout I am always dreading what is to come. I look at it with apathy, apprehension and misery. As I start to warm up I feel the dread begin to slip away as I plan my strategy for attacking it full on. Once the real workout begins, the doubt actually increases. I wonder if I can do it, why I am doing it, how I am going to possibly finish? About one-third of the way through I start to think maybe I can handle it, after all, I have already completed so much, another small amount isn’t that much harder. That’s when I start to really push. I get faster, stronger, better. About two-thirds of the way through I am really feeling the pain of the workout and part of me really wants to quit. That’s when I tell myself again that I only have a small amount left and I am not a quitter! I give my all in that last third and finish the best I can. I am heaving, sweating, trashed. But I did it and I am proud.
And although I didn’t get a score that will take me to compete in the CrossFit games (I was number 2060 in my age group out of about 14,000 women my age who competed), I got through the obstacle… just like I will get through all of these other obstacles in life. I will find the fight within me to be the best I can be. I will persevere. I will succeed. And I will do it with passion and grace!
Now here we are three years later – my FOURTH CrossFit Open. Since then, I have opened up a CrossFit box with an elite Games competitor, John Mariotti, survived a life-threatening illness and completely changed my life. This year I am doing my best to be the best person I can be and to inspire others to do the same. And this year it’s not really about me…
This year we have twenty-one people at our gym enrolled in the Open. I have coached people through this several times, but this year feels different. This year there is an energy all through our CrossFit box that has grasped a whole new population. People who said “I could never” are conquering their fears and saying “I can, and watch me kick some a$$ while I do it!” I watch them every time they compete and I see the determination in their eyes. They know they will not win, but they do it anyway because what they are winning is a whole different struggle… the struggle of life. They are conquering the phrase “I can’t”. They are overcoming the self-doubt and the insecurities that abound with each and every day.
They often start their workouts scared and timid. They warm up and their doubts begin to shed. You can visibly see their shoulders relax and their posture straighten. As they begin their workout they get that look of surprise on their faces that shows they can’t believe what they got themselves into. As they dig in they start feeling strong again and they grind away and I see looks of determination and perseverance set in. Every now and then they stop for a second and wonder if they can do it all. They stand in front of the barbell or other equipment and stare for a moment while they catch their breath. And then you see the doubt melt away as they give everything they have left and conquer the workout and conquer their fears and doubt. When it’s over they lie down and catch their breath… and then they smile….
That smile tells it all. they can’t believe they just accomplished something so amazing. They can’t believe their own strength and determination. And they know in that moment that they are going to be okay. Life throws us all kinds of obstacles, but it is our job to overcome them. It is our job to persevere. And we can persevere, and we will.
Congratulations to all of you for being your best YOU!!!