You know the phrase “The Odd Couple.” People who just don’t seem to fit together. On paper, they make no sense.
If you had to match pairs of friends, predicting who might get along, you might think of people with similar personalities, political views, walks of life. One of the great things about CrossFit is it brings wildly different people together into communities. Each box has it’s own culture, but ultimately we are all united by a commitment to our fitness, our health, our crazy workouts, and even the health, wellness, and happiness of our crazy CrossFit friends.
That being said, we do have some odd pairings in our box. Some would say the 2 Chicks make an unlikely pairing. We are opposites in many ways. But, many of those opposites are why we work. Puzzle pieces that fit together somehow. Another “Odd Couple” is Caitlyn and Milagros. Just two very different people united by a mutual affection, support of, and giggles with one another.
Fitness can bring us together to meet people we might never have befriended otherwise. We can all feel connected after enduring a marathon workout like Murph, after encouraging each other’s best efforts. It’s a funny thing how that suffering and triumph (or even missed attempts) can break down the apparent differences that keep us apart from each other. In CrossFit, we are all basically the same once we set aside our scrubs or heels or suits, and get into our tank tops and metcons for the day’s sweat-and-suffer-fest.
As Chick 1 mentioned in her recap, Milagros and I ended up as partners through a series of unlikely suggestions. It won’t surprise those of you who know Chick 1 personally to hear that it was her idea for Milagros and I to partner up. Chick 1 has a knack for connecting people and figuring out who needs who. She’s just gifted in that. I hardly knew Milagros at all before this matchup happened. We don’t workout at the same time for the most part, and our paths hardly ever crossed. I only really knew of Milagros because she was taking the photos for the CrossFit Open, so I met her on the Sunday of WOD 19.1. I knew she had an amazing gift for artistic and evocative photos from her instagram, but that was about it.
It may have been that very Sunday we met when this partnership was first set in motion. Next thing you know we were registered, a couple of weeks later we had our team name, our shirts, and even scheduled short strategy sessions. (I am not very competitive outwardly, but inside I am a perfectionist and do want to win. I hide it because I hate losing!)
In some ways Milagros and I are opposites, an odd couple. Milagros favors long, incredible socks. Mine are short and white. Milagros goes hard hard hard into a workout from the start. I will start at a pace that ensures I always have energy in the tank at the end. (Sometimes this means I am slower at the beginning than I should be. My latter rounds are usually faster than the first.) Milagros is so positive about the workouts leading up to the competition. She was so confident we would finish and dominate. Me, not so much. I manage expectations and approach things analytically. As I told her, I don’t expect we will finish, but I’ll be darned if I won’t fight as hard as I can.
We had a loose plan. We had practiced to some extent. But we had decided to just communicate through all of it and trust each other to be there when the other was faltering. Over time, we learned that we were both afraid of letting each other down. We both wanted to give our best efforts for each other. And that’s the way we walked in Saturday morning, shirts on, ready to lay it all out for each other.
The first WOD would be simple enough. 30 snatches, 30 clean and jerks. Split it up. We had decided I was more comfortable with snatches and Milagros was better on the clean and jerks, so we split it up by 10s. I took Coach Stefan’s advice and talked to the judge before hand to be sure I knew what he would be looking for, etc. And even though I was shaking scared, as soon as the countdown started it was a lot like Coach Alex said, everything just kind of fell away and we just did it. In the zone. Go go go. Didn’t take much longer than 2:30. Took turns, cheering each other on, it was all good. And just like that, WOD 1 was over.
And in that moment, we turned from an odd couple to the awed couple. We were just both like, heck yeah, we just did that! In awe of each other and probably ourselves. And we hugged for like 30 seconds and laughed and it was just a great feeling to have done that thing with someone who wanted to do their best for me as much as I wanted to do my best for them. Pretty profound moment, really. Who knew?
I will spare you the details of Milagros rocking the heck out of jump ropes and thrusters and me managing to throw the wall ball not just to but *above* the target height over and over (huge surprise!) I won’t give you the blow-by-blow of how we worked together to endure a workout featuring a long grueling row and seemingly endless thrusters and burpees. All you need to know is that, even though I didn’t think we would finish, we finished all the workouts well under the time limit. And we used most of the rest of the time to just hug it out and laugh and have our awed couple moments right there on the gym mats.
Thinking back I am pretty sure no one else was hugging it out the way our team did. Most people either fist bumped or fell on the floor or just walked away. Not us. We were freaking ecstatic for each other after every. single. workout. We may not have won or even made the podium, but we did some pretty special stuff for two women who have overcome a lot and plan to keep on doing that for a long time.
It was also incredible to be surrounded by a community that supports you. Our box friends came and watched, cheered, and encouraged us through each event. To hear your coach’s voice pushing you harder, faster, lights a fire when you’re just about to flame out. Then to watch them compete, push themselves, work a plan, it’s all pretty amazing for a first-time competitor like me.
When’s the next competition? We are already on the lookout. How can I resist the chance to get better alongside these athletes?
Milagros will always be my first CrossFit competition partner. Pretty cool title if you ask me.
Thinking of our team name, WOD we get into? Yeah, I’m pretty sure neither of us knew what we were getting into with all of this. And I don’t know about her, but I do know what I got out of it: Confidence, an amazingly accomplished I-didn’t-even-know-I-had-muscles-there soreness, giggles, and a heartfelt awe for my very special partner, Milagros.