From day one at Crossfit, my biggest competition has been with myself. Could I do a few more reps, run a little farther, lift a little heavier? There were hundreds of things I couldn’t do on the the day I started. Many of them were things that normal sized people never have to consider.
For instance, the first time we did floor presses, the coach explained that you just roll the bar with its weights up over your legs, hips and chest to get it into position. My legs were too big. The bar stopped mid-thigh. I had to lift it onto my lap and squirm down to the floor. Then there was the rower. I was too fat to reach the foot straps, let alone the handle or the controls. I had to be strapped in by the coach and handed the handle.
There was never thought of competing with the outstanding athletes I was working out next to. I measured my progress by how far behind I was. I did one rep for every 10 they did. Then I could do 2, then 4. I was still part of the team. In fact, there’s not a moment that cements the camaraderie more than the one captured in this photo of me completing 16.5 at the Crossfit open.
This workout consisted of 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
Burpees over bar
Thrusters are a full front squat holding 45# which (in theory) explodes into a press with your arms fully extended. So you had to do 21 to start, and then move onto the burpees.
After each burpee, you had to jump over the barbell that was holding the weights.
I was 285 lbs when I completed this workout and it took me just under 40 minutes. I usually opted out of anything that involved jumping, but I wanted to complete all the Open workouts, as a point of pride. The coach on the far side is counting down my reps for me. Hugh, as always, was there cheer me on. In the lower part of the photo, you see a woman watching me. She is one of the top athletes at Fixx. She had completed 16.5, using heavier weight than I was, in about 15 minutes. Yet, she stayed there encouraging me over and over as the minutes dragged on. I didn’t know her that well at the time, but I was awestruck by her physical prowess. It was humbling and motivating to have her there, urging me to keep going.
I still work out with her. I’m now about 140# lighter than I was in this photo. This morning, during Fight Gone Bad , we started our box jumps at the same moment. For several reps, I kept up with her. One day, I hope to be able to keep up with her all the way through. Even when that happens, I will still be trying to beat MY last score, as that is the biggest victory I can hope for.
A few weeks back, I was out on my Sunday run and I came upon an older woman walking her dog. She glanced up and me and stated:
“Well, you look like quite the warrior.”
I’m not sure if she was talking about all the gear I was wearing; I had a hydration pack and running belt on. I hoped she was talking about my physical appearance. I’ll never know for sure. I thanked her, realizing she may not have even meant it as a compliment. As I continued past her, my eyes welled up with tears. A warrior. The word evoked a strong image. There was nothing about that word that would have described me a few short years ago. I had been sickly, fatigued, slow and depressed. But now a stranger saw me and THAT was the word that came to mind.
I still have so much to accomplish, and many skills to master and improve. But I’m so excited to have found a warrior inside of the person I used to be.