My close friends ask me why I haven’t shared a single thing about CrossFit on my blog. I’ve debated writing about CrossFit before but for some reason I have this naked-in-front-of-the-audience feeling about it because I am certainly no expert on the matter, I don’t want to be judged on my passion, my physical strength or lack thereof, and also because I feel like I have so much growing and learning to do. What do I have to share that can help people? I know this oxymoronical (and yes, I made that word up) statement I just made contradicts how I feel about most things in life; the real heart of a product lies in the path it takes to get there. So here I am taking a sip and passing the cup, quivering at the fingertips, writing about the second most consuming relationship I am in: CrossFit.
I was first introduced to CrossFit a couple years ago. An old friend of mine started going and swore it was God’s gift to fitness and insisted I tried. I played sports in high school, went to the gym, was a runner and practiced yoga. I considered myself an athletically inclined person so I figured I’d give it a go. The WOD (workout of the day) was Fight Gone Bad: a brutal 15 minute circuit workout with one minute rest in between each five minutes. Is it fun? At the time I would have almost rather drink out of a toilet bowl. I had never experienced the type of pain I felt from Fight Gone Bad and wondered why the hell people would sign up for this type of torture, nonetheless so much money. I say this, but deep down I secretly loved the torture I had just been put through. Still, I decided my watered down version of CrossFit at 24 Hour Fitness would suffice.
It was not long before my routine at the gym became lack lustre and I found my mind going back to my love/hate week I had at CrossFit. I craved that type of pain staking challenge again. I wanted more.
Just over one year ago I signed up with South Tahoe CrossFit. I wanted to feel re-motivated and be pushed to new limits that my ten plus year stretch at the gym was lacking to fulfill. I don’t think there wasn’t a day in my first month that I was not sore to the bone. Every day I questioned if I had the capacity to finish the WOD and each day I collapsed on the ground amongst those around me hoping that air would secrete from the floor into my blazing lungs. The feeling of pain was agonizing but yet, I found myself coming back day after day after day. Why?
It wasn’t long before I started to feel connected to the people I frequently saw at the gym. There is a camaraderie about CrossFit that treads somewhere along the lines of being in a group of likeminded people who want to better themselves and who want you to be your absolute best. Every day I feel encouraged by the driven and positive attitudes of those around me. I found comfort in realizing that the pain I was feeling from my workout was shared by every person that was working out; no less, no more, just relative. It became clear to me that in some small way my fellow CrossFitters were an extension of myself; feeling their victory of becoming stronger in strength and mind, and feeling their pain in struggle and fatigue. It’s a connection that I believe is often in part referred to as the “community” of CrossFit and it exists deep down at any box, amongst all CrossFitters.
And then their is a path, to each his own. In the last few months, CrossFit has become something more substantial for me than just a great workout. It has become something greater than the healthy dose of competition it’s group setting merits, but rather, demanding more of myself when I am by myself and my mind is telling me no. A competition of mind and body may be the greatest competition of all. As a good friend of mine so thoughtfully put,” Alone but not alone at all. I feel that at some level in ones training path, all warriors hit a point where they are just a warrior. Whether it be with a group or solo, one is just always a warrior and small factors don’t completely suggest different results. Nervous but not nervous, knowing your ability to crush but unsure of how you feel during. Pure exercise bliss. This is where you are.” Choosing pain and being ok with it, knowing you only have to give it your all for (x) more minutes, but that you did, indeed, give it your all. Why would you not? At the end of the day the reward is second to none and is something the thoughts between breaths that beg you to stop stand no chance against.
A year ago I did not fathom that this experience would come upon me from working out. I’m excited to say I think it’s just getting started. Learning how to strategize and using the strength of my mind to better my physical self, finding humility in days that are not at strong as others. Knowing that there will always be someone bigger, better, faster, stronger but to use that muse as a tool of inspiration instead of discouragement. I find my gain in getting the best workout I can get, the rest of the dividends follow.
This year I am excited to compete in Fittest of the Sierras. It’s the third annual charity competition that South Tahoe CrossFit is hosting and what better way to experience my first CrossFit competition than at home. STCF certainly wears its heart on it’s box, and boy is it a lot of heart; I’m proud to be a part of it.
It’s hard to deny that something is good for you when you laugh a little, feel connected and leave a little bit better of a person. This is what I love. This is my CrossFit.
A special thank you to Jaime Emery at Rose Street Studio and Mike Wischmeyer for the photography.
Thank you so much for reading.