“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.” ― Mark Twain
Friday was Friday Night Fights. ACF vs. CFCP. ACF in red. CFCP in blue. I registered confidently for this friendly competition. Wanting to work hard with my fellow athletes and test the competition water in a supportive friendly environment. The stakes were low, other than to be sure to work hard and have a good time.
The expected outcome: for my body to do what I was asking it to do. Just like any other WOD, when I concentrate, when I’m warm, when I want to push, my body says, Okay, let’s do this. And it does.
What actually happened: it started with the warmup of a simple round of 6-10 burpees. My legs began to ache. Not the traditional ache like, well this sucks, it’s going to be hard but we’re just warming up, we can take it. Carry on.
No, it was more like, we refuse to move anymore. We refuse to bend as you ask, to support your body weight as you ask, to react quickly like you ask. The round of burpees ended, I could feel the hesitation in my legs to do work but brushed it off: Just warming up, nothing like a little pre-game fear, all is well, let’s get onto the workout.
Flash forward to my segment of the team WOD: as many 20″ box jumps as possible in 3 minutes. I can do this, I thought, and stepped up to tackle the movement. I’ve just come off a PR of 28″ box jumps while training with Dean, I said. I can do box jumps all day.
Cut to: 3, 2, 1… Go. And the box jumps begin. Keep your pace strong and steady, I tell myself. And I do, for almost the first minute. But then the ache in the legs begins to reappear. The thighs start to throb with fatigue. Keep going I tell myself. 1:13 on the clock, just under two minutes to go.
And then the fear set in. And it never left.
I transitioned to a couple step ups just to slow down the pace, and the racing heart, thinking it would be all that I would need to get back to the box jumps. But as soon as I tried to jump up again, total fail. Barely made the lip of the box to steady myself, before falling back off, failing to extend legs or hips fully at the top. The jump was so wobbly, so unsteady, what ever shred of confidence remained soon evaporated.
My mind disappeared down the rabbit hole of fear.
The clock read 1:33 to go. My legs were screaming, unsteady, aching. My mind was swimming in the idea that soon I would fall and hurt myself. Whatever happens don’t you dare stop, I told myself. You can not, you will not stop. The step ups continued in their slow wobbly pace and it was all I could do but to pray for the clock to run out. And it eventually did. How I was physically able to push to finish I’m not certain. Technically the step ups did not count. But I ended with 76 total. It may seem like a lot, but, it’s not. Not even close. Most importantly, the ache; where did it come from, what was it, and how was it so powerfully paralyzing? It is very scary when you ask your body to do something, and it does not respond.
To test the scenario, I plan to hit another 3 minute AMRAP of 20″ box jumps sometime this week. Through a process of elimination, I plan to understand what exactly happened. And do everything I can to prevent it from happening again.