What’s the movement or exercise you absolutely dread? You know the one…when you see it listed on the upcoming WOD, you’re tempted to skip out and order pizza instead. But something deep inside reminds you that won’t get you where you need to be. Avoiding the growing pains that come along with getting better won’t help you improve. So you go to the box, knowing your workout will be brutal—more brutal than most—because your weakness is just waiting to knock you down.
But here’s the way it’s gonna go. You’re going to go toe-to-toe with whatever movement worries you, intimidates you, or wears you down. You’re going to look it in the eye. And then you’re going to kick it in the ass. Because you’re a CrossFitter. You’re tough, and rather than running from the things that are hardest for you, you’re going to face them; you’re going to do them until those movements would be afraid to meet you in a dark alley.
For me, it’s running. When running WODs come up, I’d sooner volunteer to scrub toilets with my toothbrush, but Coach Carl tells me that’s simply not as effective. Running reminds me that I’m slow, overweight, and asthmatic—quite the combination for someone working toward any sort of athleticism. And there’s nothing more humbling than realizing everyone is faster, has more air, and is more explosive on the pavement…but you know what? That also means there’s nothing more inspiring and more aspirational. I have something to look forward to if I continue to push myself.
Whatever your Achilles heel, whatever movement drags you down, just remember, there’s probably someone else that feels exactly like you. We all have different strengths, and to balance that out, we all have different weaknesses. It’s easy to get lost in the moment and feel embarrassed, angry, sad, or mad at our bodies. At the WOD. At the clock. At the whole day. Those are human feelings, and we all have them, but recognize them and use them to fuel your inner fire. Fuel yourself to move and fight and win the battle.
You Can Fight or You Can Back Down
Two choices. Two paths. They each lead somewhere different. The fight is tough. Every fight is tough. And no one is saying it will get easier. Will I ever be a great runner? Probably not. I’m not built like great runners. We’re all given the bodies we’re given, and it’s our job to work with what we have and become our very best selves. We can’t become someone else. So as much as I might like to sprint like the wind and have time to catch my breath before moving to the next station, I usually end up stumbling through the door, gasping a couple of times, and huffing and puffing toward the next exercise.
You’ll get better and your skills will improve, but the fight will be tough. But backing down? That’s worse than the pain of the fight. Backing down will leave you feeling defeated and wondering ‘what if’? “What if I had run those extra 100 meters? Could I have made it to 400 meters? Could I have made a mile?” YES!
The answer is a resounding, “YES!” When you keep going and keep moving forward, there is always more. You won’t know how much until you push. It may be a slower mile than those around you, but a mile is a mile. And when you get out there and run that bad boy—and when your toe crosses that line—the feeling of accomplishment is far greater than whatever relief you might get from backing down.
Run that mile, jog that mile, CRAWL the last few meters if you have to…but FINISH. The first one will be the worst. The next one will still be brutal. Hell, they’ll probably all suck, but in the end, you’ll get to say, “I did it.” And that’s a big deal.
I’m reading a great book right now. In Rising Strong by Brené Brown, the idea of having the courage to show up and take control of our lives is a main theme. She quotes Theodore Roosevelt and points out that we must remember that credit doesn’t go to “the man who points out that the strong man stumbles, or that the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit goes to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly;…who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
By stepping out of our comfort zones and daring to get healthy, set good examples for our families, and learn movements and exercises we’ve never attempted before, we are daring greatly! So if sometimes we fail, we’ll fail while daring greatly, and we’ll pick each other up along the way.
Lift on, CrossFitters. And pick each other up along the way.