Monday, January 30, 2012

You Can Cry - Just Don't Be a Baby

I had a moment on Friday.  I hit that proverbial wall.  It was the first time since joining CrossFit that I really felt like I could throw in the towel.  And I almost did.

We all know I'm not a runner by nature.  My grand qualities of awkwardness and clumsiness don't lend themselves well to coordination and running.  In fact, if you've known me long you have probably heard me say (at least once) that if you ever see me out running you should call the police (most people laugh when I say this... I'm not kidding guys).  So, naturally, when I arrived at CrossFit on Friday morning, I was annoyed and irritated to see that the WOD (workout of the day) was so heavy on the running.  The workout consisted of 5 rounds (for time, of course) of a 400 meter run (this is a quarter of a mile, America) and 5 front squats (with heavy weights).  If you are not a math genius... that means a total of 2000m (or 1.25 miles) and 25 front squats.
Math genius.
I had already struggled through a quarter of a mile warm-up run, and was feeling 'off' through the rest of the warm-up (by the way, when you see CrossFit shirts that say "Your workout is my warm-up" ... this is a true statement).  Usually I am nervous before the WODs, but that day I was actually dreading it.  My mind was playing tricks on me, telling me that I wouldn't be able to accomplish the workout, that I might as well quit.  I stepped on the dreadmill and started out at a decent pace, although I felt sluggish.  Then, the letters D N F flashed through my brain (that means 'did not finish').  I felt my eyes well up with tears and told our coach, Chad, that I was done.  "I quit.  I can't do it.  I don't have it today.  I can't do it."  "Sure you can," he told me.  "No.  I'm done," I said.  I imagine he was annoyed as I walked away in tears.  I spent a few minutes sobbing on the floor of the women's restroom.  I sat there feeling sorry for myself.  The culmination of a really crappy (with a capital C) week came pouring out through my tear ducts.

When I stood up, I wasn't sure what was going to happen next.  I knew I would cheer on my teammates, but I felt embarrassed for having quit.  Chad said "You don't have to do nothing.  You can walk it.  You can just do the squats."  I started crying, again (seriously I think I hold the record for the most times cried at McPherson YMCA CrossFit).  He asked if I was okay and I said "I don't know why I'm crying, it's just been a really sh!*$y week and I just don't have it today."  He turned around (probably wishing he could tell me to shut up and get to work), and I was irritated that no one would feel sorry for me.  As I lazily walked toward the weight bar I mumbled, "You really should serve wine here."  He said "I hear a lot of whining."

Do you know what that comment was?  It was a metaphorical slap in the face (in a good way).  It was exactly what I needed to hear to shut up and get busy.  I went from feeling sorry for myself to being infuriated.  Something inside of me screamed "I AM NOT A WHINER."  I did the squats and jumped back on the treadmill.  I kept telling myself, "one more round, and then you can quit if you want to -- you can do this."  Each time I got through my 'one more round', I had the courage and the intensity to keep going.  On my fourth set, I grunted "I'm finishing this b!#$&" (I wasn't kidding when I told you that CrossFit gives me a potty mouth).  "There you go!" encouraged Chad.

So, with my CrossFit sisters cheering me on, I finished the WOD in 25 minutes 30 seconds.  Not a great time by any means, but it was a finish.  It was not a DNF.  And a finish feels much better than a pity party (crying in the bathroom alone is really sucky by comparison).  I even apologized for being a whiner.

Looking back, I think think I was temporarily a bit like this 'lady' in the video: 'Sh!t women say to personal trainers'.

I suppose the moral of this particular post is that negative self-talk can stop productivity in an instant.  When you tell yourself you can't do it, you won't be able to do it.  If your attitude sucks, so will your performance.  I received a really encouraging email from one of my CrossFit sisters about her experiences with negative self-talk and about how she confronted her nay-sayers.  After I wiped my tears and the goosebumps subsided, I dug a little deeper inside myself.  I asked myself who the voice belong to (just so you don't try to send me away, I don't actually 'hear' voices).  As it turns out, the voice is my own.  I think that for so long in my life I was afraid to fail, afraid to look like a fool, afraid to be last, afraid to be the worst, the list goes on and on.  Those fears eventually turned into me telling myself that I couldn't do the task at hand, so that (if I even gave myself the chance to try) I wouldn't have to hurt in the event of a failure.  I always prepared myself to suck.  Unfortunately the part where I tear myself down has followed me into adulthood.  But I'm working on it.  The 'hitting the wall' experience I had on Friday was powerful enough that I had night mares about it that night.  I think it was because I am the reason, I allowed myself to melt down.

Today's WOD was a good one; a real lung burner.  All those burpees and wall ball shots made me nervous.  But I told myself I could do it.  I smiled when the burpees began to really get ugly (who am I kidding, burpees are always ugly).  I laughed when the ball hit me in the face.  And I made it to the finish line.  Did I do the workout as prescribed?  No.  Could I have?  Probably not.  Will I?  Someday, yes.  I refuse to feel defeated today.  I refuse to allow myself to be defeated before I even start.  I will keep reminding myself how far I have come, and how far I will continue to go.

Work hard.  Love yourself.  And thank you for keeping me... In Good Company.


  1. You are awesome! You are doing great work! I try not to compare myself to anyone else. My goal is always to finish knowing that I gave it my all! We both did that today!

  2. The mind is a powerful thing. Greg Amundsen (one of the first CrossFitters) has said that one of the things that Greg Glassman taught him about CrossFit is that it will change your mind even more than it changes your body. Overcoming the daily challenges that CrossFit brings makes you mentally and physically tough!


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