One recent afternoon, I went on a hike with a good friend. The trail had very few signs or markings (which drives this librarian crazy), but thankfully she had an app to help us stay on track. Even still, a number of times we went down what we thought was the right path, only to find ourselves backtracking and winding our way back to the real path that led us to our goal. Thankfully, I was with a friend and we weren’t too pressed for time, so the detours weren’t too worrisome.
But detours aren’t always like that in life.
As I wrote about a while ago, learning how to do toes-to-bar was one of my most exciting moments as a CrossFitter. I have to say, putting on my hand grips and kicking up to that bar made me feel like a rock star. I could do 20, 40, even 70 during a workout. Sure, it was one. at. a. time. But I would just keep setting, jumping to the bar, kicking up, and *bing* hitting the bar. So satisfying!
I almost couldn’t wait for last fall’s CrossFit Open to come around, just because I could do this new Rx-level movement that would likely be in one of the workouts.
So, you can imagine my disappointment to learn that for my toes-to-bar to count in the Open, I had to start from a hang instead of my usual jump. When the movement came up, I spent over 15 minutes trying to put one together, but I didn’t get it. I was close to crying, my hands ripped to shreds. I didn’t give up but I sure did feel defeated.
After the Open, I kept doing toes-to-bar my way during our every day workouts. Then, I talked to the coaches and they gave me some movements to do that would get me closer to doing them the standard way. Of course, these movements don’t involve actually getting your toes up to the bar. They are more about engaging the back muscles and swinging properly to eventually swing to the bar over and over again the right way.
I do these swinging knee raises, trying to get the rhythm, but it always feels like a step backward. I don’t like practicing them because I miss the satisfaction of watching my toes hit the bar. Sometimes I just want to go back to doing it my way, the wrong way, just because I want that accomplishment I felt back again.
This is not the only skill I’m having to circle back, undo, and redo to get on the right path. Jumping rope, skiing, snatches, so many things. Heck, I don’t even breathe correctly. That’s right, I’m even having to relearn breathing. I’ve been working harder instead of smarter for a long time.
Still, it is mentally challenging to take the long way around to a goal, especially when you think you’ve made progress, even arrived. It’s hard to unlearn habits. It’s hard to be patient. It’s hard to backtrack even if it means you eventually end up on the right path. What to do?
Maybe, like the time this past weekend on a hike, I need to let go of the pressure of a deadline. I can pass the detour time with friends. I can just be patient as I make my way toward the goal, no matter how many or how long the detours may be.
In the mean time, I keep practicing and embracing the suck, er, the process as best I can.