Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My Love Hate Relationship with CrossFit

I walk back inside the gym and collapse on the floor.  Some people are talking. Some listening to the blaring hard core music.  Everyone is recuperating from overcoming the challenge. I lay flat, face down, feeling my body and nothing else. After a while, I get up.
With some surprise, I realize that my legs are taking me where I want to go. My hands pick up my belongings.  My brain and mouth are cooperating at the friendly good-byes.  Now I am in the car, with silence as my companion.  I did it! I made it! And I will do it again...

This is how I generally feel after a WOD.

CrossFit is something that I cannot quite explain. 

I am obsessed with it and spend a lot of time watching CrossFit Games videos on YouTube, or just any CrossFit video in general for that matter.

There are some aspects of it that I struggle with; like working the same muscles/body parts 2 days in a row (just goes against everything I have ever been taught).  But its a different 'take' that it works both primary and secondary muscles, with a HUGE emphasis on core, so I totally get the mentality and how beneficial it can be.

Or ... when I know that I am doing my absolute best, that one of the coaches will yell at me to go heavier, go harder, go faster. 
Dude.  Seriously.  If you knew me, you know that I am going/doing it the best and fastest way I can for me at this particular moment on this particular day. 

Quit yelling.
And then there is my underlying, undying love for running and I see it taking a backseat.  Which I don't like.

But when I think about it, I realize that the reason I don't like it is because I worry that I won't be able to go out and do a 10 mile run on any given Saturday if I don't keep my running up. 

Not because I 'miss' it.  This confuses me.  Aren't I supposed to miss running?

I absolutely looooove the people that go to a CrossFit gym.  While it is a competition every single day amongst whoever shows up, every single person is cheering and encouraging someone else on.  But also like running, beating your time on a workout previously done, is usually the driving force behind your effort.
When I was doing 'Tyler', and by round 3 on the pull ups, mid-way through struggling to get my chin up and over the bar, grunting and screaming (as if that was going to somehow propel me over), I could hear Terri screaming my name along with YOU GOT THIS!!! 
I've exchanged phone numbers with more people in just 4 weeks at CrossFit than I have in 5 years at Kenyan Way.  Its not that I don't love KW, because obviously I do, its just a different animal.  A different mentality.  A different 'kind of people'.
I can tell you that in those 5 years, not even my Coach at KW has been that kind of encouraging when trying to bust out any hill workout without collapsing or any speed intervals either.  And certainly not any other runners.
And you certainly don't have runners standing around waiting for the last person to finish all the while yelling and screaming for you to do that last rep before you collapse on the floor and the entire gym erupts into cheers and applause.
That right there is pure gold.

Vulnerability is uncomfortable. Taking risks is uncomfortable. Pushing our bodies to physical extremes and being emotionally engaged is sometimes uncomfortable.

I feel all of this at CrossFit, especially when I am first walking up for the session.  I always worry that I won't be able to finish, or that I will be last...

But I also know that each experience allows us to discover something more about ourselves than we knew before.  Each encounter encourages insight, growth and a greater appreciation for those who have helped us along the way.  The more we connect with others and are open to others, the more likely we are to persevere and succeed.

This is something I do not get with running, because while even if running in a group such as Kenyan Way, you are essentially alone.  And like I said there is no pack of people pushing you, cheering you on as you finish...there might be one or two people that may 'assist' in you continuing on, but usually a runner will just fall back and send them on their way.

No one, and I mean no one leaves the box until every last person has finished.  Its just the way it is.  Or at least what I have experienced.

Today I have been having an ongoing email conversation with one of my friends from KW who is in her CrossFit on ramp classes right now at the same place I went to (we couldn't get in on the same 2 weeks) about balance with other sports etc.  She is a much faster runner than I am, in overall better shape (as she has been weight lifting for a while), and is a darn good triathlete as well.

While she is all of those things, she is also been my inspiration to get myself back into "fighting" shape and has been really helpful with my doubts, my fears, my way of eating (she likes her indulgences too!).  We have had the same struggles, while completely being 2 different types/levels of athletes, as she has been struggling with swimming as opposed to my running during CrossFit craziness.

And's just like this...
Do you want to be skinny, or do you want to be strong?

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