Sometimes a pair of fresh eyes can make you see yourself differently.
We had a new coach at my CrossFit gym.
First of all, I got to class late. I’m ashamed to admit this has become my norm over the past few months. I haven’t stopped to unpack why yet, but it was still embarrassing to make a first impression that way.
Next, he had already explained the workout by the time I got there. Every coach does things a little differently, but I wasn’t expecting to miss the whole description with my lateness. Yikes! And as a teacher myself, I knew better than to ask him to repeat it.
I kinda got the hang of what was happening, and launched into my usual scales. One of the movements was pullups. For some reason, the modifications I have become some comfortable with suddenly felt “less than.” I’ve been doing CrossFit for several years now and I am no closer to a pullup than I was two years ago. In fact, I’ve stopped trying to progress in that area. I just don’t really care…but in that moment, I felt a little bit lazy for giving up on it. Should I be content to just be a beginner in certain things for the foreseeable future? Does it matter? Why should I give up on it? Should I really be doing CrossFit if I don’t care about making progress and don’t even bother to get to class on time?
All these thoughts from a pair of fresh eyes on me. My usual coaches have gotten used to my actions, and maybe they just don’t try to argue with me anymore. They joke about my tardiness. They don’t tell me to pick up more weight or try something that will help me move forward. I’ve kind of stalled out.
Not sure why it left me rattled and thinking hard. No conclusions yet, but something I need to think about moving forward. What direction am I heading?
I was adamant I wasn’t officially participating in the CrossFit Open this year. The main reason for this decision is: I wasn’t feeling like I was in the same shape I was a few years back. Making me think I wouldn’t be happy with my results. I thought about it a good bit. I answered NO, when asked if I was participating many times.
Then I decided to log into my Open app. It showed my participation history and I had already invested five years in tracking my performance. Why not make it six years? Why not see how many years I can physically participate vs focusing on what number I am on the leaderboard?
This year I am 50. I hit a new age band. I had competed in RX the past few years but I have shifted to scaled workouts in most of my recent events. I also focus on going the distance or continuing to move through a grueling wod vs pausing. Slow and steady is my pace these days. It has taken me some time to adjust, but I have come to terms with being a scaled athlete. However, I strive to be the best version of scaled I can be. Thus I will see how I fare as a masters athlete in year six of my CrossFit Open history.
Another fitness benchmark. A couple of weeks of focus and self-motivation. A snapshot of my abilities at that point in time. A worldwide leaderboard allowing me to compare my peers worldwide. Why pass up the opportunity to get better?
Once my decision was solidified I decided to write this post. At the same time I glanced back at what I wrote last year about my Open participation. To my surprise I was on the fence about signing up but I did it. Just as I am doing again this year. Funny how my blog posts serve me purpose time and time again when I want to reflect on a subject.
My vault is online. Cataloged for many to read. It is by no means all-inclusive memoirs however, the content is genuine. I write with feelings and undoubtedly express emotions to others in a very public way. I’m sure some will read this and the feelings are relatable. Others may lose interest and click away. It’s okay either way.
As I want to end my evening with a dessert, I instead wrote this blog. In good conscience I will attempt to eat better for the coming days to prepare a tiny bit. Wish me luck. That translates to no dessert. Even if it was my favorite Kind bar frozen treat.
Last week was Veteran’s Day. It’s become a recent tradition for some in the CrossFit and fitness communities to complete the hero workout Chad. I have done this one once before, right as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting. That seems like a decade ago in so many ways…work, family, fitness, friendship, life in general.
I skipped it last year but this year it pulled on me over and over again. I finally chimed in to my fitness group to see if anyone wanted to complete it the weekend after Veteran’s Day. I can’t decide if I was surprised or not that some of my friends said yes. In many ways this workout feels like a “one and done” but my friends are also crazy like that. We couldn’t all be there, but we had some cheering for us in spirit.
This time was different, doing at a gym. This time was different, doing it with a vest…a little lighter than last time, but a weight I would not take off (no matter how much I wanted a break!)
This time was different, though, since I had friends to do it with.
Friends made the experience a bit less challenging. Was it still long and tedious? Absolutely. In fact, it may have taken me 45 minutes longer this time around. Some of that I attribute to a lower level of fitness. But some is just because we chatted between the rounds. I lost count a bunch of times. But I kept going. We were going to finish this.
Friends make hard things a little easier. This was the main lesson I learned this time around. Hard things don’t stop being hard. But the hard path isn’t as lonely. It makes me think about VFWs and other social organizations. Sometimes we need a place where we are truly and deeply understood.
Life has been challenging, lifey, whatever you want to call it lately. Things feel heavy. In some ways, time is moving very slowly. I’m not at all comparing my challenges to veterans, but I knew I had to complete this workout for myself as well. Getting something done is hard these days for me. My mental soundtrack has been less positive.
These and other friends inspire me to just keep going. Keep showing up. Keep moving. Every day won’t feel great or be the best. Some of the challenges will seem unending. But if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, I will eventually reach the goals I have. Days will get brighter. Get up, show up, never give up.
Not too long ago I wrote about my upcoming CrossFit competition and my lack of preparedness. Today is the follow up which will summarize the experience because that’s what I decided it was. An experience that I will cherish for many years to come.
Let’s start with being fortunate. I am fortunate that at just shy of 50 I can compete at a high level and put myself out there in front of many. I am also happy that I get to share that experience with not only my friends but my youngest daughter. That in itself makes the experience more powerful and memorable. We did the same moves. We struggled together. We cheered together. We were a team although not on a team together. Just a day with my mini.
Although this isn’t our first time competing together, it is always an adventure. New location. New moves. New competitors. New everything. I get to see her work through fears. I get to see her reach new heights. Sometimes I even see her coaching others who could be older than her. It’s a fun sight to see. I can truly say she grows with each event.
The day didn’t always go as planned. I started out workout one with strength but ripped my hands pretty good about 4 minutes into the 10-minute workout. I’m never good at working on the bar with my grip but when my hands ripped everything moved in slow motion except the pain. That was front and center. The suffering was over quick enough but how would the rest of the day go since I needed my hands. Luckily I pushed through. Of course I was the only one who ripped. Just my luck.
The day was long but so many giggles and milestones. My partner and I killed our box over and snatch workout. It’s the one I’d say we were most prepared for. This little bit of success helped us push through the afternoon. This workout was also the one my daughter and her partner did amazing at. Maybe even the fastest time of the day. Two little teens moving like they had fire on their feet. It was so exciting to witness. Team bonding. Team unity. True partnership. I was right there front and center to experience all of it.
Lunch break was fun, too. Chairs in the parking lot. Food trucks. Snacks galore. Chats with friends. Wardrobe changes. Selfie time for many. Just good clean fun. About this time a few non-participants showed up to cheer everyone on. That was just very cool. People took a long drive on a Saturday to cheer on friends and gym pals. This was amazing but this is CrossFit. Community. Like minded people coming together to unite around fitness. I will remember this because it was as a connection of people that went beyond the walls of a home base or gym.
The next workout was harsh. 12 minutes of repetitive moves requiring teamwork, communication and true grit. No real rest time. Pure adrenaline pumping in the body. Fatigue like you didn’t think was possible. You glance at the clock. It’s five minutes into 12 minutes. Will the workout ever end? Can I continue? So much runs through your mind. Are you contributing equal work as a partner? Is this a test? I survived my 12 minutes that felt like they would never end, but now it’s my daughter’s turn. I led by example. I gave hints for success. Will she listen? I mean she is a bullheaded teen. Will her age and inexperience hinder her? The day after post online noted below shows the confirmation of others thinking that 12 minutes was brutal!
The clock began. The battle with self ensued. Her partner was showing signs of weakness early on. She saw it. She didn’t want to accommodate her needs but she had no choice. Both were competing. They battled hard. They leaned on each other when they wanted to scream at each other. What a sight to see. In the end they persevered. It was such a sight to see. The after math was not so fun. The fatigue and anger showed their nasty side. This is part of the process.
The competition was nearing an end. A five minute workout remained. A simple one but so hard at the end of the day after all the athletes had endured. The power went out. The struggle with self continued on many levels for many athletes. You can’t quit now. The roar of the crowd gets you over the finish line. We did it. We came. We battled. We conquered ourselves. We left a little stronger. We gained a little respect for others. We enjoyed the experience from a-z.
This is CrossFit. Many say why do you do it? I do it for the fitness first and foremost. I do it for the friendships and community. I do it for the experiences. Competing takes all of that to a whole different level. It teaches you how to adapt. How to overcome. How to face adversity. How to smile. How to push through. These lessons crossover in life daily.
Our collective group of athletes hit the jackpot today. We all medaled. Not because of a low turnout but because we worked hard and did the best we could that day. There was a soon to be married couple in the mix. The doctor and the mid-twenties guy. Two sets of aged athletes in the masters category. Two teens. A wife and young adult combo. Such a diverse group.
This was a great experience. One to be shared. It is my hope that somebody reading this feels inspired to to try something new. Maybe it’s a new fitness routine. Maybe it’s just stepping outside their comfort zone to see what life can offer.
Enjoy today. I know I will. For tomorrow I will be sore. A sore like no other.
I am less than ten days from my next CrossFit competition and I may be the least prepared of any comps, even my very first Comp years ago. Surprise!
Why? I have been battling a nagging foot injury for weeks limiting my movements. I have missed a few days of training due to life being lifey. And finally my eating hasn’t been fine tuned for a few months meaning I have extra fluff I’m toting around each day. Big sigh.
Not enough time to fix a, b and c. However, I can put my best “good” foot forward and perform as best I can in the shape I’m in today. Good thing I’m in the Masters division this time around. “Old” or Masters Division means lighter weights and scaled movements which equates to easier in some aspects. Thank goodness for that positive note.
I’ll be working on my endurance the next several days to condition my body for the shock of the competition day stress it will endure. What’s fun about this competition is a the diverse group of workout buddies who will huddle up at this event. Many of us have changed up training locations, partners and coaches over the past few months and this will be a reunion of sorts.
Although we will compete, we will also be cheering for each and every one of our workout buddies despite where or how they train. That’s what I love about CrossFit. The bonds you build with people live outside the box. The strong bonds continue beyond the four walls of the CrossFit box.
Coffee meet ups. Dinner dates. Text updates. Phone calls. Porch drops. Note cards. Group hikes. Long weekend getaways. Competitions. There isn’t much a group of crazy CrossFitters won’t do together if it might even remotely sound fun or adventurous.
Some may even say it’s a bad idea, but follow up with when do we leave?! I have the best group of fitness pals out there. From teens to 20 somethings to maturing in their 30’s all the way up there to the 50’s and 60’s. That’s some range of age but we all get along. We all sweat the same. In a competition we all do the same movements in each division. We all have our own crazy gym attire as well. And we all love to take pictures to document our crazy life.
Some fall into the bougie category. Some fall into the fancy sock category. Some are shoe fanatics. Some like revealing booty shorts. Other prefer to be topless. The list goes on. All different but all sync together because of fitness. Everyone needs a fit family like mine.
What a beautiful life I live. What a great group of people I am lucky enough to engage with. Surround yourself with greatness. You will rise to your own level of greatness.
Wish me luck in the coming days. I’m sure I’ll write about my event day at some point.