Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Crossfit Is Hard

By Kate Yoak

The crossfit culture is growing like mad. If you google crossfit near your home in any major city, you are likely to find a half a dozen gyms to choose from within a twenty minute drive. I have encountered so many wonderful articles and resources about Crossfit experiences: Crossift is fun for all personality types. You are never too old to do crossfit; crossfit pregnancy and more.

Hear, hear! I love it too. But today I'd like tell a story. It is a dedicated to a friend who told me why she liked my blog when I was feeling down. She said, "I just like to hear about how real people are making their lifestyle work. Paleo is not simple. Cooking is tough and takes a lot of time. Crossfit is hard." So it is. It is one of the greatest joys in my life and a singular challenge.

It is 6 am. I open my eyes and it hurts. My ears too. Oh! I recognize the trumpet sound behind enemy lines to be a custom ring tone on my iphone. I know, if I press snooze, it'll be the end of me. I snatch the phone, slide the bar and fall out of bed. Several minutes later, I am stumbling around the kitchen trying to make a cup of coffee. I know, I should pay attention. Yesterday, I had made hot water failing to put any coffee in the coffee maker. A couple days before, I almost burnt the pot by doing the opposite - baking the grounds with no water... This time, I know I will prevail... Two splenda... Enough cream to drown a tiny gerbil. Mmmmm! I think I can face my day...

Then a familiar anxiety comes over me. In a half an hour, I will have arrived at Crossfit 310, my new beloved crossfit gym. It'll be hard. Really hard. There are days when I collapse at the end of a WOD. (What's a WOD? The thing crossfit trainers call a series of exercises intended to give you a near-death experience without doing any permanent damage. It stands for Workout Of the Day. Doesn't sound nearly as scary as WOD though, does it?) I become slightly afraid. Excited too, but definitely scared. My old trainer Max used to say, "You should always be a little afraid of the workout." Thanks, Max! I am.

On the way I listen to Cultivating the Virtues, a parenting podcast that causes me to think about that, which I do best and I relax. Walking into the gym, I feel confident. I've done it before - and I can do it again!

5 pullups
10 pushups
15 box jumps
20 squats

3 times... And that's just the wam-up. I try the box jump to make sure I know what I am doing. This is a new gym for me and the equipment is slightly different. The big box looks...well... big! I take a deep breath - and my feet stay on the ground. I am terrified! Nah, with all my might I take off and land - right on top of the box! Victory!!!

After the WOD we do strength training with bench presses. At the end I run. I am not a big runner. Cardio is actually my limiting factor. As I start running, I realize I am too exhausted to think about it. I just run. I don't pout, don't even wonder whether I can make it. After 300 meters, I realize that I am running neither slowly, conserving strength, nor fast, decreasing the time... I am just running. And it's not hard any more. It just is. I experience some kind of an elation as I realize, I could run for a long time now: it's just a way of existence...

I am vaguely aware as Kris, the trainer, gives me a high five. I walk back inside the gym and collapse on the floor. Some people are talking. Some listening to 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 belonging. 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...

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