Yesterday at Crossfit, I was very much not in work out mode. I felt like crap, still felt tired, slept poorly and my arm still hurt from yoga the day before. My fault, I overstretched when I knew better. When we did overhead barbell squats I was relieved that Scott, our trainer, felt the need to spot me (normally I am uncomfortable being hovered over – even though I understand the necessity – as it makes me self conscious) because I was seriously worried about braining myself with the bar.
I felt out of balance and wonky.
Prior to starting the workout, I told Will I didn’t want to do it. The workout didn’t look too bad and was a fairly straightforward and fun one, really, but I just had this ball of dread. It was just one of those days where everything felt harder than usual. I was almost, almost, in tears of dread before we got to the workout itself (except there is no crying in Crossfit, much like baseball) and wanted to not do it, but couldn’t justify that decision to myself. Dread is not a reason to not do something.
I remembered my father once telling me that one of the things he learned in boot camp was his physical limits. He said that most people never know what their physical limitations are because they are never pushed past them – they give up before they actually reach their limits. He said that in boot camp he learned exactly where his limits were, which is why he always seemed to be able to do more than most people. I think about this when I want to quit. I think about my dad running in boot camp, dropping and throwing up, then having to get up and keep running. What I am doing is not that hard in comparison.
Anyway, we rowed for 20 calories (about 2-3 minutes unless you row really hard), did 20 wall ball shots, 20 med ball situps, and 20 med ball walking lunges with the ball overhead. Anyway, we did 3 rounds for time. The VERY FIRST wall ball shot went askew and I got the ball in the face. I caught most of it, but my nose and left eye caught the rest. It hurt. Like, I have taken wall balls in the face (there is a dirty joke there somewhere) before and just shook it off, but this one I actually had to stop and assess whether or not I was ok. I felt like my brain sloshed around in my head and hit my skull a bit. Which would mean I have a small brain so clearly that is not what really happened, but it is how it felt at the time. However, as there was no blood and just a mild head pain, I went ahead and continued, but I will say it slowed me down right out of the gate.
Anyway, It took me over 6 minutes to do the first round and about 6 minutes for the second round. Scott told me at the beginning of round 2 that he wanted me to get it in 18 minutes or under. I am not sure that I did not give him a look of “Are you effing kidding me?!” Will kept distracting me during round two with questions I had no breath to answer. Anyway, I was at over 12 minutes in the beginning of round 3 and tired as hell. I did the row much faster than I did the first two rounds – 1:45 instead of 2:30, and I figured I would need those extra two seconds. Anyway, I got to the wall balls and Scott is pretty much standing over me with the timer, and counting me through everything, including giving me some rests. I really thought that I would throw up during the sit ups, but managed to get it in 17:36.
When I stopped wanting to cry or throw up, I managed to stretch for a bit. Before he left I thanked him for pushing me so hard. Sometimes I really need to be pushed in order to make it. My brain will tell me that I cannot do something. I tend to believe my brain. But I also believe Scott when he says I can do something, as he is rarely wrong. I believe him over my brain because fundamentally, my brain wants to go watch a movie while eating snacks, so it cannot be trusted. I also have that need to live up to expectations and a competitive streak, so I want to win, I want to hit the time he sets for me. During the second round I felt like there was no way I would hit 18 minutes for this workout and I wanted to cry, but instead I turned that anxiety and anger into energy to put in the workout.
I hate to fail at Crossfit. Hate it. I’ve even been told that failing is sometimes the point, as when lifting weights. You lift till failure, so failure is kind of the point. Still hate it, though.
Anyway, I thanked him for pushing me today and he said no problem and that he didn’t think I was going to make it – meaning 18 minutes or under. I said that I didn’t think I would, either – although I didn’t think I was going to make it to the end of the workout the urge to quit was so strong.
A lot of my friends work out at home. Some of them do Nerd Fitness and things like that where the thing that motivates them is them. I am always really impressed by this because I need about 10 external factors to override the naysayer in my brain that wants me to quit and go home. As time goes on that naysaying voice gets quieter and further away, but on days with little sleep or some other mitigating factor, the naysayer is louder than normal.
To all of you out there motivating yourself and exercising by yourself – you have my respect and admiration. This shit is hard to do alone. You rock.
To all you Crossfit trainers out there – you rock, too. Many of us couldn’t do this without you, including me. You get attitude, you get people grumpy and short of breath, you may even get glares and sarcastic comments (I’ve called our trainer a sadist to his face many times, but luckily he knows I am joking & he chooses to take it as a compliment), but truly, you are awesome and necessary. Thank you for pushing us and inspiring us. Thank you for telling us we can do it when we think we can’t. Thank you.