Life is a Series of Comebacks

cf 2-12-16I’m starting up this blog again.

There’s certain things I’ve missed:

1. Writing this blog, and

2. Writing about CrossFit.

The first time I ever tried CrossFit was in October, 2011. I remember the feel of that first workout in boot camp. I do not remember what we had to physically do in that first workout, but I do remember how it felt. Boot camp is engineered for beginners and designed to challenge you but to not kill you; to push you just enough that you want to come back. As the workout began I remember thinking, Hey, I’m in shape, I ride my bike, I’ll show these guys what I’m made of. Although, by the end, not so much. As that 8 minute workout ticked to a close I found myself lying on the floor and staring at the ceiling and wondering where my next breath would come from. That was almost five years ago.

Back then everything was so new, and scary. Every workout (Annie, Filthy Fifty, Jeremy…), every movement (squat snatch, hang power clean…), even every acronym (HSPU, WB, DU…) felt foreign and overwhelming. There was always something new to learn. I loved the feeling of learning a strange new movement, and saying hello to the stranger next to me. I kept showing up and mimicking what I saw and attempting my own versions. I listened to the coaches and agreed to push myself most of the time. And then the changes started to come. My strength and endurance grew and the PRs, oh the PRs, they were bountiful and seeming to be in endless supply.

Being new to CF is a sweet spot. You’ve never performed a deadlift before? Step up to the bar and hang on. And just like that, every time you do it you just seem to get better and stronger in astounding feats of power. You get to keep adding plates! 10, 15, 25lbs… Especially with deadlifts.

And then, one day,  you don’t.

About a year or so into it you start to level off, and then the PRs are hard won if at all and that’s when you begin to stall. There’s a few different things you can do at this point; stop, or keep going. Either dial it in and work harder—because the better at CrossFit you become, well, the harder it gets—Or you can quit.

I kept going. And then I got injured. Sprinkle in some major-life-events, and then a few more, some of which I can’t even remember now (but let me tell you they were epic, at least they seemed that way at the time–they always do), and it all seemed to start tumbling down hill in a frenzy.

I lost a job. I got another one. I moved. I broke a bone. Then I broke that same bone again. Top it off with a couple of surgeries, a few pizzas, and well, you’ve got yourself a stalemate. I found myself stopping and starting and stopping and starting and stopping and starting CrossFit again, and then again.

Today, things are a lot different then they were back then, all of three years ago. For one, I’m at a new box, having moved to a new town to follow a job. Also, my body is different. It’s older.

Scanning through the old posts on this blog it’s clear I had a lot of goals back then: CF competitions and Strongman and marathons. But now my biggest goal is to just show up to the WOD. Dr Wayne Dyer talked about how our bodies are always changing, never the same from one minute to the next, as we are constantly shedding old cells and growing new ones. My body feels different from what it was. Oddly, I feel weaker in some areas I never thought I’d lose ground (deadlift) and stronger in other movements I had resigned to sleep with the fishes in terms of gainz (overhead squat). Somebody probably knows why, but I sure do not.

In the end, the whole point of this post is to say the one thing that has never changed–the center axis on which all those old workouts and PRs and acronyms and reflective blog posts spin out from–life is a series of stops and starts. It’s a series of comebacks. Doesn’t matter the scenario; you lose your job, your beloved pet, your home, your parent, your cell phone. At some point you are faced with two choices; give up, or begin again. It’s simple but not always easy. In fact, the higher the stakes–the more shredded the heart or the body or the soul–the harder it is to put one foot in front of the other, again. There were so many times when I wanted to give up, especially this summer when I told myself I was done with CrossFit for good. Work was too busy, I felt too far gone, left behind, what’s the point.

But then I got a good night’s sleep and said I’d give it one more go. Okay, that sucked. Maybe try again on Thursday. I don’t know why but I kept walking through the door. And now it’s winter and I still find myself standing in front of the whiteboard day after day. I’m weaker in some areas, yes, stronger in others (not really), but there’s still some magic in there for me. I’m thankful for it. Part of the challenge is to accept where you are and start from there. Part of the accepting-part is to stop thinking about where you were, or where you’d like to be in some far off universe sprinkled with pixy dust. The trick is to just be there on the floor with your fellow athletes and say, ‘Ready!’ Even if there’s thrusters.

So here I am. Rebooting the blog. Rebooting one of my first true loves, CrossFit. The writing part, well it’s always been there, but for some reason I find it therapeutic to write about CF. The words come easy. Unlike thrusters, which, by the way, were in the WOD today and I let the pansy-portion of my brain get the best of me and went into it light, at 35#. I knew at the end of the first round I was being a weenie. Did I put more weight on the bar? No. Not today, but I’ll get there.

As my neighbor on the rig next to me said, “The hardest part is just showing up.” Knuckle bump.

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