You may recall in Right On Hereford, Left on Boylston, I completed the 2014 Boston Marathon; a lifetime dream of mine came true on April 21st. Despite my months of training, particularly through New England’s Artic Vortex and miles upon miles logged; I somehow experienced a hip labral tear just past mile seven. Because I am incredibly stubborn and _______________ (reader’s choice, you pick: crazy, tough as nails, resilient, stupid, mental, stubborn again…..), I did finish; albeit nearly an hour and a half after I expected to.
After a very painful (mental, not physical) six week, doctor-ordered mandated break from working out, I returned to Crossfit. For those of you who have deemed Crossfit a cult, that “cult” welcomed me with open arms and had me feeling as if I were not only genuinely missed but everyone was proud of me for coming back in. My workout “family” was non-judgmental and gently nursed my bruised ego as I crossed the gym floor to resume my vacant spot.
A gentle manner and easing into something is not a regular habit of mine; so I was even a bit worried about how my still healing hip would feel as I resumed throwing weight around – both that on my body and that on my barbell. The pain was virtually non-existent in my hip, but there was a good instability and a random clicking to remind me to be safe. My coach was excellent about providing modifications to me that did not further add insult to injury. On top of that, my “box-mates” were constantly asking me if I felt good, if I was okay, and so forth on making sure I respected my bodily boundaries as I regained my pre-marathon weights and workouts.
Surrounding yourself with caring people in an environment where each person is out for his or her own, but he or she pushes you to hit new personal bests or simply get through a bad day is most rewarding. I know I can rely upon myself to push myself harder than most, which is a hard-wired trait of mine. However, I cannot always stop the Gremlin – the voice that enters my head and tells me that I should have pushed harder, faster, stronger or better.
Last week was a perfect example of how my Gremlin started to take over when she had NO business being anywhere near my sweatiness. Our strength portion of our workout was a 1RM (one round max) of a bench press; or in other words, the heaviest we could go for one rep. I had not done a bench press for a max in a very long time, so I had no recollection of what weight I should be at. Instantly, I asked a strong Crossfitter friend of mine to work with her, as I am typically 10-20 lbs behind her and she’s an inspiration for me to work with. This fellow Crossfitter is always encouraging me in the kindest of ways and making me strive to find my peak strength without losing my femininity (yes, I joke about my growing man-muscles).
We added weights and benched pressed our way up and down the rack. Once I hit 125 pounds, I lost my mojo and simply could not get the bar up over a certain sticking point. My box-mate rallied and pushed her way through to 137.5 pounds. As we put the weights away to prepare for the next phase of our workout, I started to allow myself some disappointment that I did not hit the 130 pounds I deemed as the appropriate number for myself. The funny thing is I have no manual on what numbers I should be hitting. Crossfit, itself, has no manuals on what numbers I should be racking up. My body told me last week that 125 pounds was the max it was going to afford that day. Enough said.
We finished the rest of the workout, which included things such as toes-to-bar, handstand holds and double unders. Yes, toes-to-bar. Anyone who is overweight and has had 3 kids has something of a pooch (not a dog, but a hanging flabalanche that starts just below the boobs and ends somewhere in the southern nethers) that is a clear obstacle to your toes meeting the bar. Ah, yes, there’s a thing called a modification: knees to chest. Let us just say that my knees get parallel and I have to be happy with that (for now). However, I swing and I sway so that my movements sort of blend in with the rest of the monkeys who make getting their toes to a bar over their head second nature; as if they have been practicing since they were in utero. Maybe I should stick to running…….Fatty McFatty Pants can cover the distance.
Handstands. Publicly, I will admit it: I am TERRIFIED to try a real handstand in the vicinity of other people, regardless of how much they love me and how they would NEVER <ahem, publicly> judge me or laugh at me. I reluctantly did the modified version and I felt strong despite leaning the opposite way of my box-mates. Take your weight and invert it upside down using the strength of your upper-body to hold it versus your legs?!?! Who ARE these people?
Recently, another WOD (workout of the day) had me doing thrusters and pull-ups. Thrusters are a barbell exercise that require you to clean the bar to your collarbone from the ground, squat and then press the weight up over your head. While I manage to be fairly strong in any barbell required exercises like thrusters, I still carry a tremendous amount of extra weight for body weight movements – making things like pull-ups all but nearly impossible (did I not just outline the pretty picture with toes-to-bar above?!). However, instead of just jumping up trying to reach the bar as I have for months on end, I am noticing lately that I can actually get my chinny chin-chin up there to the bar. With more work and practice, I know someday I will be able to do a pull-up without using the force of my jumping legs up to get there. I may actually complete a handstand as well. (Insert eyeball roll as I wonder if I will EVERRRRRR get a toes-to-bar).
Every single day has become a routine: I look at the posted workout on my CrossFit page and a part of me gets giddy. I anxiously await the time of day later that belongs to ME. I *strut* into my box knowing full well I am about to get my big ass handed to me in some terrible manner, courtesy of no one but myself and my enormous girth.
During the workout, I will curse myself a million times over, and then a few times over again – for being crazy and out of my mind. I will actually question my sanity. I will tear myself down for being so overweight and for allowing myself to get there (chemo weight or not…it still feels like an excuse).
I will complete the workout to the best of my ability on that given day. Most days are given a good effort, but there is a random day where the energy cannot be mustered from any source. However, nine times out of ten, I will walk out of the vast gym feeling like a million dollars and high on an ever-growing addiction to endorphins.
CrossFit is hard; that is why it is not for everyone. CrossFit is not the latest fitness craze that anyone can just jump into. The workouts take hours practice for proper form, the weights take time to build up to, the endurance adds with each push or pull given by you. CrossFit is commitment. CrossFit is determination. CrossFit is a lifestyle change.
One would not expect their life savings to grow overnight, much as one should not expect their health to grow overnight as well. With each deposit into my health bank (i.e. a completed WOD), my health is vastly expanding. I am chipping away at my future health by giving my body the strength it needs to be strong, whether it is in my muscles, my cardiac system or my mental health (including kicking that ugly Gremlin to the corner once and for all). Each day I complete a workout, I am one day closer to changing my name from Fatty McFattyPants to something more appealing…….(i.e. The Beccinator; Beastly Rebec; Sweaty Bec; Bodacious Becca…….) but until then……..
Yes, I am stronger, I am leaner, and I am a better person than I was the day before.
Should that not be the goal for each of us?
P.S. What do you do with YOUR Gremlin?