Crossfit Mayhem

18 Jun

In running and biking, I have learned to love the hard days – the days when things don’t go as planned and runs don’t feel easy and my legs can’t sustain high watts on the bike. I accept these days because I know that not every day can be a good day, not every day can be a record-breaking day, that I build mental strength and endurance on the hard days and eventually, there will be a payoff.

Until now, I had managed to avoid this line of thinking when it comes to Crossfit. Sure, there was the Fran workout 2 hours after I beat myself up running stadium steps and I didn’t particularly feel like pushing myself…but I managed to see it through. One of the coaches said the other week “remember when she (pointing to another gym-goer) beat you at the workout?” I’m not sure why he said it…an attempt to get me annoyed or mad or competitive? Yes, of course I remember that day. But I don’t remember being upset someone else was faster…I just remember being proud that I pushed through the workout.

Then today happened.

I did not make my bed in the morning. I forgot to bring lunch to work. I always make my bed and I always bring lunch.

At the gym, I prepared for the workout, focused on myself, until my friend motioned towards the guy setting up behind me…he was new. It was his first day. The guys had been told to lift 95 lbs for the prescribed workout…this guy was setting up 135 lbs. Never a good sign. We glared at the coach silently for a long time (somehow expecting him to know what we were worried about) but the problem solved itself – the newbie tried to hoist the bar. Failed. Lowered the weight. Failed. He ended up doing the workout with a 45 lb bar, no weight.

The problem with no weight is that when you drop the bar, there are no rubber weights on it to allow the bar to bounce. If you drop a 45 lb bar, it doesn’t stop until it hits something. Unfortunately, in my case, it wasn’t the floor. It was my ankle. Multiple times. When you are working against the clock and lifting heavy weights and being cautious of the person in front of you and the person to your side, its frustrating when the person behind you is causing you pain.

The coach tried to help him. Then the coach tried to help me. He said “Listen, Liz. The only way you’re going to finish this workout without the guy behind you snapping your ankle in half is if you speed up…finish this next set while he’s doing pull-ups, then speed through the last set and finish fast.”

So I did.

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This is me. This is me speeding up, losing my grip on the pull-up bar, falling to the ground, getting my arm stuck in a band which snaps violently and gives me a welt. This is the entire class (and the next class waiting around) looking at me with horror as I fall. This is me, literally, on speed. In the words of one classmate “my life is a cautionary tale.”

Luckily, I managed to land okay. So only the welt and my pride were smarting after the incident. And I managed to escape without further abuse by the wayward barbell behind me.

But biking home…in the thunder and lightning and rain-laced streets, it was hard to not feel depressed at how clumsy and slow I can be. How much energy I devoted to worries about the newbie behind me, how fearful I felt every time he dropped his bar. I worked out hard enough that this morning my arms are nicely sore and my welt is turning into a simple very black bruise.

And by the time I got home, soaked and starving, I had come to grips with the fact that not every workout is a good one. I tried to do 15 unbroken pull-ups and paid the price by falling. I worried too much about the guy behind me and slowed myself down in my attempt to beat the clock. And sure, falling from a 10 feet pull-up bar isn’t fun but at least I was there, doing pull-ups, trying to do them unbroken and unbanded. Sometimes failing just means you tried. And its only after trying that you will succeed.

So I had to laugh when I got home and there was a package waiting for me. Return Label: Crossfit Mayhem. I met a guy at a church a few years ago who did Crossfit. We got along well and had some decent conversations. We stayed in touch. Fast forward a few years: he’s the best Crossfitter in the world. No, that’s not just my opinion. He is. And I’m 2 months into enjoying my own CF journey. After a quick chat with him the other week, and rattling off a couple of my silly little breakthroughs, he had put some stuff in the mail to me:

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“Keep going, keep growing, keep experimenting. So proud of you. – RF” was the note on the package.

Tomorrow I will write a thank you note. I will mail it to Crossfit Mayhem, and describe my personal mayhem, including how I managed to fall off the pull-up bar. But I will also let him know that I got right back up, welt and all, and finished the workout under the cutoff. And maybe that’s how I will label success today. No yelling at the barbell bumbler behind me. No cursing my sweaty hands for losing their grip.

Today I made my bed. And I packed my lunch. And I don’t plan on falling/tripping at the gym. But I still believe that hard days are necessary, imperative, required in order to enjoy the easy days, the sweet days where things align, the fun days where speed and endurance blend. One hard day down….more mayhem to follow.

 

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2 Responses to “Crossfit Mayhem”

  1. nicolemkurz June 18, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    For the record, I’m “liking” because that was insanely inspiring… not because you fell. 🙂 Great job keeping your attitude and mind exactly where it needs to be. I’m sure your care package from Rich was helpful… which by the way is totally awesome.

    • ezelie July 1, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

      Thanks, Nicole! I’m fine with you liking that I fell…it makes us stronger, right? 🙂 Also, helps us remember to not take things too seriously….

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