“When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
“I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one. . . . Humans are caught—in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too—in a net of good and evil. . . . There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well—or ill?” ― John Steinbeck
Some days are very long days at work. 10 – 11 hour days. When you wake up you know you’re in for a Chipper. You just have to chip away at your day. It helps to know there’s the 8:30pm WOD at ACF, the Dirty-Thirty as it has been nicknamed, waiting for you at the finish line.
1 x 5 @80% – completed at 130lbs.
2 x 3 @ 85% – completed at 140lbs.
3 x 1 @ 90% – completed at 145lbs.
* Rest 2 Minutes Between Sets
12 Push Press (155/105)
9 Push Press (155/105)
40 Walking Lunges
6 Push Press (155/105)
60 Walking Lunges
* 15 Minute Time Cap
Completed: in 7:27 at 65lbs. When the WOD was over it was one of those moments when I knew I went too light with 65lbs. and felt the residual effects of defeat. It was clear I chickened out. Should have gone heavier, 75lbs. Even just a couple of 2.5lbs. thrown on the end for good strength building measure.
Why is it with a Deadlift or Clean I will push myself to the absolute extreme of my strength, but anything over head I go soft? Fear of failure.
Not going to get stronger, not going to get better, if I consistently give into the fear.
“Live in the present, remember the past, and fear not the future, for it doesn’t exist and never shall. There is only now.” ― Christopher Paolini
It’s pretty special when you have a WOD date. Even more special when you have two. When you know you’re going to be meeting up with some of your favorite fellow ACF’ers for an hour of torture and good times. There’s always sure to be lots of cheering and high-fiving and just all around sharing of good will, and especially, my personal favorite: ‘You CAN do this.’
Tonight I met up with Carmen and Lynn, two beautiful tall ladies who continue to amaze me with their willingness to try, to work hard, to encourage others to do so as well, and to be well, beautifully bright from the inside out.
1X5 @ 80%, 1X3 @ 85%, 1X2 @ 90%, 2X1 @ 95%
* Rest 2 Minutes Between Sets
Completed: at 125lbs., 135lbs., 145lbs…… then ran out of time. But, the best feeling of all was knowing I could have gone heavier for the 2 sets of 1. Have a feeling my 1RM may have jumped, and that’s the best feeling ever.
* Rest 2 Minutes After Each Round.
Completed: 20 cal row for each round in just under the one minute cut-off (with Carmen rowing next to me cheering for me to reach the 20 each and every round), and a hodgepodge combination of stacked rogue blocks for lateral jumps and barely enough time to get in a couple scaled pushups at the end.
Box jumps make me nervous, like, ‘I really don’t want to hurt myself’ nervous. When I was training with Dean I jumped up to 28″ and I’ve used the 24″ during a WOD, but I dunno, there’s a fear there that’s sprouted after one Friday Night Fights in particular wherein I attempted max box jumps in three minutes.
That night I stepped up confidently for the team to complete the task but in the process of going to work the wheels of confidence came off and I was left in the middle of a competition WOD with a body that just wouldn’t go. Scary stuff.
In the days after FNF I tried to repeat the max box jumps workout in the quiet of an empty double-wide, just me and the clock, but even though my performance improved it felt as if the fear was there to stay.
So last night after max effort on the rower, it was interesting how unsteady I felt as I stepped up to face the box. I measured the risk (falling into the box and doing damage) vs. reward (pushing through the fear and using the box) and decided today was not the day to push this and used the soft stacked Rogue blocks instead.
I’m okay with this for now.
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
― Emily Dickinson
I. CrossFit Games Open WOD 12.5:
Complete as many reps as possible in 7 minutes of the following rep scheme:
Thruster, 3 reps
3 Chest to bar Pull-ups
Thruster, 6 reps
6 Chest to bar Pull-ups
Thruster, 9 reps
9 Chest to bar Pull-ups
Thruster, 12 reps
12 Chest to bar Pull-ups
Thruster, 15 reps
15 Chest to bar Pull-ups
Thruster, 18 reps
Etc. until you just can’t go anymore, or the clock runs out.
Completed: at 65lbs. Scaled to ring rows. 12 Rounds plus 7.
There’s something about Thrusters. When I see them in a WOD I immediately get crazy nervous.
Thankfully these days I’m somehow long past not showing up for a WOD that scares me. No matter what’s prescribed if it’s my day to go, it’s my day to go.
Before it was 3, 2, 1 … Go! for today’s WOD as I was setting up my bar and my rings, my stomach turned in on itself and my heart started to pound. It was that old familiar dreadful fear. I didn’t want to do what I was about to do. And the thoughts began to creep in; ‘You don’t have to do this, go lighter on the bar, skip today and come back tomorrow..’
Thrusters in particular have this effect.
I didn’t leave. I stayed and completed the WOD. And just like all those days before chronicled here, I was so happy I stayed and fought through the fear.
There’s a lesson that needs to be learned although I’m not quite sure it ever will be: it never gets any easier. The fear never goes away. It simply does not. The fear revisits with all its intensity and indifference and sometimes feels even worse than the time before and you still have to find that certain something within yourself that says, I’m ready. Let’s go.
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
For me on this day, the one thing that scared me was a WOD named Kal Su. It haunted me throughout the day, from checking it in the morning and watching the demos, till the afternoon whereby I would check again to make sure by some stroke things might have changed in my favor. No such luck. Kal Su is a combination of all things that not only take me a long time to complete, but take me a long time to complete. It is a medley of all my absolute sucks wrapped up in a bow.
I fretted over this WOD all day. Trying to think of any excuse not to go. But yesterday was my rest day and no rationalization seemed strong enough. The truth is, you have to face these things and I knew if I didn’t show up and at least try I would only regret it.
15 Overhead Squats with Barbell
25 AbMat Situps
Establish a 1RM Thruster in 10 minutes
Completed: 65lbs, 85lbs., 95lbs., 105lbs. Then onto Kal Su. My stomach was in my throat. Kevin very nicely shared a story about how when he performed this WOD for the very first time many years ago it about ruined him to Crossfit for good. That’s how much it leveled him. Kevin is one of the top coaches at ACF. Strong, very knowledgeable. Don’t get stuck in burpee hell, he said. And I knew then my best approach was to scale as best possible, and just get through it.
On the minute:
*25 minute cap
Completed: scaled to 3 burpees per round and Thrusters at 55lbs. Completed 72 Thrusters total in the 25 minute time cap. Was not looking for any personal record setting here. Just glad I showed up and did it. For me that is the grand achievement for today.
“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.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.” ― Mark Twain
There’s an annual workout in the Crossfit world called the Memorial Day Murph. It is named in memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005. In boxes around the US, athletes gather and perform this WOD in honor of Lt. Murphy and those who serve. It’s not an easy workout. It’s a beast. If you’ve got a twenty pound vest or body armor, you’re encouraged to wear it. And people do.
All day yesterday and even this morning, leading right up to the actual workout, I was, well, scared. Full of anxiety as I drove into the parking lot. How am I going to do this?
And then I thought about what a soldier might feel; When leaving his family behind, his first steps into battle. The incredible fear he must find the courage to swallow. The absolute unknown of what lies ahead and the total and utter certainty of it. Whatever it may be. It was almost too much to imagine.
Would I ever possess such courage? Here I sit afraid to do some squats and run for an hour? By comparison, its ridiculous really. But fear is a very personal thing. And it comes in all shapes. Whether physically standing in front of you, or creeping through your thoughts when least expected. It’s there. And it can take hold of you.
This morning the sun was shining brightly in upstate NY. And as I watched the parking lot begin to fill, and other athletes get out of their cars and walk towards the gym, I knew I could too.
1 mile Run
1 mile Run
Completed: In 61:52.
I’ve been talking about Crossfit to friends and family for some time now. In fact if you ask them they might actually tell you I won’t stop talking about it. My brother brought his daughter today and very graciously watched and cheered. He called me later in the day to talk about it and see how I was feeling. ‘I’m really sore,’ I said. And I am. Really sore. But never before CF have I thought I would be capable of such things as were done today. I used to have a tendency to quit. To lag in the middle of large endeavors, and then just let it all fall a part. But somehow not any more. No matter how fearful or full of doubt I become. Over the last seven months I’ve learned that I’m quite capable, actually.
For me it just comes down to putting one foot in front of the other, and then across the triple wide, and then through door.
What we face is never, ever, bigger than what we are capable of doing.
No matter what might be creeping through your head; show it the door and get right back to the work at hand in front of you.