Posts tagged crossfit
Posts tagged crossfit
In 2011, I found my way into an old warehouse in Arlington. Between sandbags and sit-ups… I quickly realized that I had stumbled upon some sort of Fight Club, a small underground society of fit finders. A group of people much like myself. Like with so many things in my life, it all started as an attempt at another outstanding adventure… and unknowingly, I’d stepped into something huge… what an adventure it has become. Fast forward 3 years…
It’s funny now to look at my little green notebook – yes, the one issued to me by CFSA at the end of Foundations. “Fight Gone Bad” fills the first page, a benchmarked initiation that seems like eons ago. It’s a mess – torn, and full of loose leaf wendler cycle programming. Each entry seems small in itself, but as a whole, these (now two) books worth of workouts, represent a good chunk of myself. Milestones, friendships, PR’s, plateaus… vacation gym visits… Crossfit is a never ending puzzle… it can be frustrating and exhilarating at the same time. I walked in for a hard workout, and I never… in my wildest dreams… would have expected the outcome:
I’ve faced fears..
found inner strength…
PR’d and pushed through plateaus…
I learned that “success” isn’t always about your max effort, but rather what you’ve learned, and how far you’ve come.
I forgot about mirrors, and the scale, and in turn found comfort in myself.
I built irreplaceable friendships…
and had some of the exceedingly exciting exploits.
I tag-teamed wall balls…
and met this guy…
I found fit for 366 consecutive days – and proved it in pictures.
I came to realize that fitness ebbs and flows, there are good days and bad, triumphs and heartbreak.
So many laughs!
And a good handful of tears…
In many ways, I discovered balance…
I wore a lot of costumes,
busted my shins on far too many boxes,
I was reminded over and over again how much I suck at dodgeball and tag and crab walking…
I raced, and competed, and found so many firsts…
In the beginning there was no clock or white board…
and that taught me more about self-accountability than I’ve learned from any competition.
Between rope climbs, and wall-balls…
Whitney Houston and Call Me Maybe…
I’ve not only become stronger,
But also more self-aware…
I grew into myself in a way that I never really predicted.
I didn’t anticipate that laps around an old warehouse would teach me to quell fear or that I’d stumble upon so much inspiration inside a gym. I looked forward to long Saturday grinders, I carried bricks, pushed sleds on a cement floor, and have been penalized far too many times by burpees. Coaches have come and gone, as have members, but I’ve found family amidst back squats - connections that go far beyond the four cement walls. Each page in my green book holds not only number, but also a memory, a connection to someone, something, some moment in time. If you were to total them, they’d show my growth not only as an athlete, but as a person.
In 2011, by stepping into that warehouse, I stepped out of my comfort zone… today, quite the opposite is true. I find some bizarre sense of security in watching drips of sweat drool to black matted floor or relief in seeing planes land while running laps in the cool morning air or under a night dotted with stars. It has become my routine. A second home.
I know that regardless of where I land, the door to the front of the now painted and much fancier warehouse will never close… it’ll still be there… propped open with a kettle bell, welcoming me back… reminding me of the journey, the camaraderie, and the moments of mayhem. Thank you CFSA, thank you for this most excellent escapade in building self and strength.
It’s amazing how much you can learn on a square mat in a hot room.
Finding the edge… pushing through the tough stuff… Crossfit and yoga fuel one another – similar, but different – I find power from each in their own unique ways. Both teach me strength, but force me to be humble. Through Crossfit I seek self-acceptance through numbers posted on a board, and as hard as I try not to, I judge myself harshly against the day or week or year before. Where am I now vs. then? Recently finding failure rather than anticipated gains… among a sea of PR’s that I don’t own.
2014 has brought me back to the mat. In my self-inflicted moments of mayhem yoga puts the world in perspective and teaches me gravity – grounds me in who I am. My choices. What I can and can’t change. A different set intention. A different sort of self-discovery. A hot box rather than a lukewarm warehouse. With yoga I find ease. With it comes acceptance and self-love.
In the hot sticky air, the metronome instructions force me to fall into a rhythm, make peace with my breath. Inhale, then twist, inhale, then twist… wrung out like a towel. With each wring, rinse, re-set, repeat… the world crystallizes. I soul search… find peace, clarity. Erasing the chalkboard full of stress and emotion.
No judgments. No numbers. No winning. Amongst triangles and warriors I let life fall out on the mat… the buckets of me that I need to learn from and then let go. Move on. Build. Tear down, and then re-build again. Fear can be consuming and self-construction can be difficult, but the outcome is always positive.
The meditation in the movement pulses power through externally rotated legs and fired up Lats.
I’m forced to slow down.
It disrupts the rat race. Instead of focusing on the outcome, I enjoy the journey… Be okay with who I am today, now, at this very moment. One breath at a time, one rise and fall of the chest, then the next… Small steps to building strength, heat… forcing focus.
A river of doubt runs down my forehead and splatters into small beads on floor. It’s a sort of communion - soul saving. I stop thinking and do - an exercise of the self, but also one built from group will. Trust.
Bundled up in mis-matched sweats, the icy night air kisses my face as I step onto the sidewalk. Refreshed. Sort of re-born. Re-invigorated. Eased… I take in slow deep sips of darkness. Tired but full. My confidence glows like a small ember. Grounded again, rather than intertwined in expectations and judgments.
Under the skull cap and melty mascara, is a more self-aware reflection… An hour of stitching myself together, stringing pose-into-pose…
One moment at a time.
What I find on my little green square translates. It reminds to appreciate the road… rather than resting happiness on the goal itself.
Studies show that sleep can improve strength, speed, agility and reaction time… it also helps with muscle memory and can make people less prone to developing diabetes, obesity, hypertension… the list goes on and on… even the Huffington Post has an entire online section dedicated to Sleep.
Between books, the boardroom, box jumps and buying a house, as you can likely tell from my lack of blogging, I’ve had a hard time fitting everything in. My past few months of adventures have put an exclamation point on what I learned about myself during the nutrition challenge earlier this year. While strapped for time my diet and exercise might ebb and flow, but I cannot skimp on sleep. Mo sleep, Mo better Sarah… perhaps this has become clearer with age. My nights of all-nighters are over, with a good nights rest I am a high-functioning energetic superwoman, but without it, I’m a sluggish bump-on-a-log crabby pants. So, while attempting to catnap after my workout this morning, I jotted down a few sleep suggestions that seemed fitting given my recent adult-group house escapades. Yup, I’m a 30-something who lives in a group house right now… I’m attempting to reclaim my 9 hours of nightly shut-eye:
I may have been covered in hives, but along the way… I soaked up a whole bunch of inspiration at Aspen Crossfit… inspiration sometimes comes in the form of high-altitude double unders, a 1K row and bear complex.
"We cannot become what we need to be remaining what we are." - M. Dupree
For some reason my red lulu leggings make me feel invincible – like a shank-style super girl. I’m not really sure why… but they exude some air of confidence, an unexplainable energy. Wearing them for the past two days worth of workouts (yes, two days)… seems to have offered some sort of clarity among my moments of crazy.
It’s been a rough few weeks. Loads of life updates: I’ve moved. I’ve started graduate school. I’m trying to buy a house. And… all the while, I’m still attempting to balance work and workouts. As 32 draws closer, I find myself questioning where I fit in the world, reviewing and re-evaluating. DC is expensive. Time is a hot commodity. How do you balance everything and still remember to breath?
Going back to school has been stressful. Fear can be consuming. I feel like a ticking time bomb. Turning in my first assignment earlier this week was much harder than walking into any gym, running Murph alone, or battling through a Cold War. The sense of self-doubt was draining, suffocating, stifling… then it erupted into every other aspect of my world. Making me question my choices… life path… is this a good idea? what will it get me? will I succeed? Change is uncomfortable and daunting and awkward. It’s hard and scary. It pushes you into new places, but it also makes you want to retreat.
Carrying around bricks has proven to be much easier than books. I’d rather have sore abs or quads! The gym is my comfort zone. I’ve come to grips with my only hour-long sweat sessions, but I already feel lonely on the path less traveled – reading, writing, scratching my brain. I miss my 6:30 “happy hour.” Between battling Annie yesterday (with my best time yet) and standing in a deep warrior two this afternoon, something clicked. I am strong. I can find comfort in the current. My perspective will dictate my performance. I have the opportunity to choose my own outlook and outcome.
What I work through now, will ultimately lead to something bigger and better and brighter. Self-construction is positive, be it in the classroom or in a gym. Life works out as planned. It pieces itself together. Instead of staring down the next three years, I have to take a step back, breathe, and then fight through one day at a time. Like pushing through a plateau – the mindset is the same – it’s about self-awareness and mental fortitude. Turn of the brain. Believe in yourself. Trust. Do. I’m tougher than I think I am and I have to recognize that.
As I kicked up into my first hand-stand during a lunch time power-hour with the yoga mat, the instructor taped me on the back and whispered, “nice work.” Perhaps it was the validation I needed to regain my super-powers.
Or maybe it was the fact that today is my Friday.
Or maybe it’s last night’s liquid sangria courage still talking.
Or maybe, it really does have something to do with the red pants.
Success is the sum of small efforts… repeated day in and day out… I’ve learned that…
I did my first pistol!! Okay, well technically two pistols. I didn’t have on lifting shoes and they sure weren’t pretty… but they happened. At 6AM. After a brutal 20min AMRAP practicing some much needed skillz!
It’s sometimes hard to remember that the deeper you delve into the well of CrossFit, the further apart the big wins become. Trust me. There are many days, as I see the people around me PRing, when I need that reminder. It isn’t always about giant jumps in weight or topping the leader board - it’s the day in and the day out, adopting the mantra that this is where I am now, but if I keep pushing, eventually, the next piece will fall into place. I have more than a book of evidence - descriptors of the daily grind - pages of tiny celebrations. Sometimes that mental happy place isn’t as easy to find as it sounds.
It’s the small successes that mean the most. Regardless of the size of the accomplishment, today I am better than I was yesterday. I have to take a step back and remember that it isn’t about the person next to me or the people in the afternoon class - it isn’t about judging myself against them or putting pressure on myself for an imagined image of what I should accomplish or where I should be - it’s my own journey and today, I did something that I never thought I’d ever do.
A 1:36 400m run. Light bulbs about HSPUs. Friday. Pistols!!!
What more can a girl ask for? Hells yeah!
There are days when I am an eat-o-saurus. Today is one of those days. Thank you back squats.
The faded sharpie-written number 2003 peeks out from my sweater sleeve along my forearm and an outline from the dark black stripe of K-tape is barely noticeable through the bright orange on my back. My turfed arena playground isn’t understood by most of my colleagues – so I’d have a hard time explaining my weekend of competitive combat… a Cold War team-reunited, battling against our own gym frienemies.
The 2 days involved everything from yolk carries and sled pulls, to Husafell stone holds and long lasting inversions. Our cars made a mini fortress surrounding an indoor battle ground… we looked like a sort of super strong homeless contingent; rolling out on folded refrigerator boxes and catching cat naps under stolen spots of shade. We woke up way to early. We laughed. We strategized. We nearly won one. This time we may have known more of what to expect, but the butterflies were just the same. Here is a short list of some newly discovered lessons learned:
Maybe it was the return of the neon wrist band… or what we’d like to call the “dreamcatcher…” but consistent finishes landed us in second place on the podium in the scaled division. We didn’t cheat range of motion. We didn’t yell at judges. We inducted a competition newbie. And, our tradition of celebration post-comp pizza continued.
The weekend moved to fast. It feels slow in the moment – 30 seconds of thrusters feel like eternity, but the 6 WODs disappeared into thin air and you want to go back and do it again - but perhaps that’s just my post-comp energy and glow working. In a blink, it’s back to business black. As I made my way to CrossFit this week, I worked out the kinks, pulled off the K-tape… The weekend wasn’t just about a win, it was a kick-start to my motivation, another reason to keep pushing forward. Inspiration in observing others – watching friends struggle - digging within myself. The quest continues. Pull-ups… watch out, I’m coming for you.
Team Too Tall takes second in the scaled division at the Mid-Atlantic Affiliate Challenge this past weekend.
Boom! March 26, 2012: Rope climbs = impossible. December 10, 2012: Two assents to the top. April 25, 2013: 8 to the top, mixed in with snatches. Boom! Progress. Thank you 366 days of fit finding for that reminder. I needed it.