Back in July, a new “box” (lingo for gym in Crossfit speak) opened up less than a mile from my house. At the time, I was intrigued, yet, super intimidated about this new place to exercise on my side of town. Thanks to social media, I was soon seeing offers to join up and my curiosity piqued. From those in my own circles, Crossfit seemed to have a love/hate affair – some swore by their relationship with their box and associated family; while others screamed the opposite banter: “Don’t you know you WILL get hurt doing Crossfit?” “Those people at Crossfit are just plain nuts!” “It’s a cult. Don’t do it!”
After a not so gentle push from a friend of mine, I dove in and signed up. I shared that newbie experience here: http://curvygirls2012.blogspot.com/2013/09/new-adventures-in-diarrhea-pants.html. After easing myself into the WODs (lingo for workout of the day), coupled with my hectic schedule of working, coaching soccer teams, playing taxi and mom, by November I was able to start hitting my box at least three times a week regularly, sometimes four times a week. Suddenly, I was shifting from “I cannot go today because I have……….<insert random responsibility or excuse here>.” to newfound proclaimations of “Listen, I am GOING to Crossfit today, so everything else is just going to have to wait until I am done!” (and the subsequent racing from the box to dance, or to soccer, or to a board meeting is just that, rushing from point A to point B, but damn, I have fit my WOD in and let me tell you how I feel!
How do I love thee Crossfit? Seriously, let me count the ways for you!
The team-like environment is unlike any other gym I have EVER been to (and I have been to pretty much all of them in the local area). For those of us who participated in team sports back in the day, well, after the first few times of awkwardness, the team-like environment is part of the appeal. Suddenly, there’s an underlying accountability from your regular WOD-mates. “Hey, I missed you yesterday – it was a tough one!” You begin showing up because you know so-and-so is counting on you to be there to suffer workout with them, or you want to experience the burpee sandwich with someone who is going to despise it relish it as much as you (in the accomplishment thereafter). Even if your gym mates finish their WOD before you, they will come over to cheer you on to finish yours strong; or perhaps, they may even join in and do more with you. Let me tell you, it is very hard to slack off when your gym mate is yelling at encouraging you to finish. Somehow, you dig deeper than you would have for yourself and your WOD is complete. How’s that for love?
The aforementioned sense of accomplishment, how can you not love a feeling of pulling off a workout that includes the dreaded burpees, or TTB (toes to bar), or deadlifts, or any other one of the many elements that make up Crossfit?
Fortunately, for me, I have a great sense of humor so the first million hundred thousand times I have tried to wrestle shimmy freaking move sway my large girth hanging from a pole into a kipping, gymnastic-like being who gets her toes gracefully to that same pole my hands are hanging off of…..well, it was anything but graceful, ok, it is downright hysterical (I now apologize to all of the lovely people of Crossfit978) but damn, I am going to keep trying until I hit that day where the grand choruses of the world start in unison with “Hallelujah!”
Same with C2B (chest to bars), in a few months I have gone from hanging like a lounging chimpanzee (Orangutan? Gorilla?) to……….hanging like a lounging chimpanzee with a mere 2” improvement in my attempt to bring my boobs to that godforsaken pole I am STILL hanging from! Perhaps in another four months, I will be another 2” closer and that, for me, is a sense of accomplishment!
The Opens. A couple of months ago, the same friend who pushed me to sign up for Crossfit in the first place asked me if I was going to sign up for Opens. I cackled. I did. Literally, a loud and annoying are-you-freakin-kidding me laugh (yes, Ashley is out of her mind, bhahahahahaha). Opens is a Crossfit competition! I have only been going to my box regularly for a few months; I am so NOT ready for a competition, even if it’s online. Bahahahahahahahahahahaha. Boy, maybe this friend IS drinking too much of the Crossfit Kool-Aid. She walked me through what the Opens actually are and firmly told me if I did not sign up for the Opens *THAT* night, she would take the liberty of signing me up herself. <Insert my famous eyeball roll right here.>
I signed up. 2014 is about facing my fears, remember that? So what if I end up in the bottom of the barrel because I am not ready? At least I did it and I have that aforementioned sense of accomplishment I keep chatting about, right? Yes, I think I started having explosive diarrhea at that precise moment because I feared I was in way over my head.
The Opens is an online competition, however, you are going to do the workout anyway as part of your box’s regularly scheduled WOD, you may as well be scored on your efforts! The rules of the Opens is to report your score by a deadline to see where you stand in the world, in your region, in your state and in your own Crossfit box. I figured at a minimum, I would have a baseline to compare my growth to the next time I repeated any of these workouts in the future.
Enter 14.1, which consisted of 30DUs (double unders; or your ability to jump rope but pass the rope not once, but twice under your feet in a single jump) and 15 snatches; AMRAP 10 (as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes). My sense of humor kicked in with my fellow 4 pm crossfitters as we realized that if you did NOT do 30DUs, you could NOT move on to the snatches. Wait, what?
You see, in prior workouts, if you could not complete a double under you were allowed to single jump rope with attempts to double under every five jumps or so. NOT IN THE OPENS. Since I have only ever gotten four double unders, by some miraculous coming of God freak chance, prior to 14.1 – I figured my 10 minute workout would consist solely of jump roping and I would do something else thereafter.
How do I love Crossfit? Well, let me tell you something – that day, trying to complete 14.1, I was able to get double unders. My score was an 88 (30 double unders, 15 snatches, 30 double unders, 13 snatches). That is the beauty of the Opens – and I now saw it! Focus, determination, drive – these all led me to get 60 double unders in ONE workout when I had never before gotten more than four! Sure, I may have had to get them single double under by single double under, maybe stringing together a few sets of doubles, but damn, man, I got 60! Many of my fellow athletes nailed *their* first double unders that day! I walked out of my box that day with a Cheshire Cat worthy grin.
The beauty of the Opens is you have until Monday night after the workout is released (on the prior Thursday night) to submit your score. You may *re-do* your workout to get a higher score. Yes, that is when the *sickness* kicks in. Who would want to *re-do* a workout? A box full of crossfitters, that’s who (sick bunch of freaks!). I re-did the workout the following Monday and scored a 128. Having the top woman athlete in our gym judging me was certainly motivational and I was determined to improve my score.
Moving on to WOD 14.2, we can avoid talking about that one if you would like. Do you recall the C2Bs I described above? Well, I was able to get my OHS (overhead squats) without any issue but I was unable to chimpanzee myself enough to get my chest to that bar. Meh. 10 points baby. No matter how much gorilla punching I did on my own chest, I could not garner any acrobatic strength enough to match boobies to bar height. (Can we stop talking about this now?)
14.3 is where I want to be. I missed the Friday performance of the WOD because we were away for the weekend and my family overruled my innate desire to leave AFTER my performance of week three of the Opens. I was anxious about 14.3 ALL WEEKEND LONG and I could not wait to get in to my box to undertake it. This third workout consisted of deadlifts and box jumps, with the deadlifts increasing in weight (i.e. 95#, 135#, 155#, 185#, 205#, etc.) and repetitions (10, 15, 20, 25, 30, etc) while doing 15 box jumps in between each set of deadlifts. Strength is my forte and after a pathetic attempt at 14.2, I was ready to redeem myself in 14.3. My coach freakishly demonstrated a perception that I would not reach a certain weight in this particular workout and I was not happy. How DARE he place limitations on me that were not about keeping myself safe or injury-free, but perceived by me to be his doubts about my ability to perform. I would show him he was WRONG. (Okay, so he was right….but just by a mere margin). My performance in 14.3 was exactly where I had set my goal and I walked out of the building as if I were just newly crowned a super hero (and silently whispering that said coach could kiss my ass because *boo-yeah*, I just about nearly nailed what you said I couldn’t).
14.4 was similar to 14.2 in that I handled the 60 seconds of rowing in a fair time, but my repeated attempts to get my toes to the @#(*&$^% bar were silly and not happening. My pride was a bit crushed, but my beloved new friends at my box were quick to remind me that NEXT year at this time, I will be crushing the toes to bar and I was complacent in cursing and moving on accepting that.
14.5 is today. I will admit I am scared and anxious because the workout consists of movements that I am capable of doing. Rumor on the street has it that this WOD is mentally tough. I am mentally tough, should be a good match, right? Burpees, people. A million infinite amount of burpees await me this afternoon. Thrusters and burpees in a descending repetitious manner……..and I am worried. Thrusters are not sexual, although, I almost wish they were……using a #65 pound barbell on my collarbone as I do a deep squat followed by my thrusting of the bar up overhead and back down again and again and again and again is not quite a *pleasurable* experience.
I want to do my best! I know I will do my best, but the pattern of 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 keeps surging through my ears and I am replaying over and over again how I *think* this WOD is going to go down. In my mental head, I am strong, I am fast and I will finish the WOD in XX:XX. Again, I feel the need to redeem myself after a poor showing in 14.4 – but will this be my opportunity? That bitchy gremlin that lives in my brain keeps trying to show up and offer poor excuses, namely, that I ran 16+ miles on Saturday and that my joints are not ready for this showcase; or perhaps that I just need to work on my burpees. However, my rational side of me tells her to literally STFU quiet herself and I am positively confident that I will do *my* best.
After five weeks, my first Opens experience is nearly over. I cannot wait to get myself re-focused and start working on new PRs, new firsts (like a @#@*#!@#&@* TTB), and to continue walking into my box strong, but walking out stronger. My muscles continue to earn more definition and contour, my inches are finally starting to drop, my innate ability to be hard on myself continues to wean and my love for myself is growing.
THAT is how I love thee Crossfit. Are you ready to join me?
(*Ask me about their On Ramp program for newbies!)