There’s No Crying in CrossFit

I’m quite certain most people’s opinion of CrossFit is that it’s a cult form of exercise filled with terrible form, injuries, and under-qualified coaches. If you were anything like me a year ago, that is the opinion you’ll form after watching CrossFit Fail posts on YouTube and Facebook. My opinion since has changed after I got bored at LA Fitness doing the same, isolated, and predicable routines.

These last eight months at TwinTown Fitness has been about physical and mental growth.  Three days a week, you’ll find me at my box at 0530.  I dress myself in my gym clothes the night before and go into each WOD (workout of the day) being prepared to learn and more importantly, feel accomplished after intense metabolic conditioning.

One simple pre-workout last Tuesday was enough to cripple my ego.  The workout consisted of plank drags.  This movement consists of placing your feet on a small plastic slider whist using your arms to propel yourself across the floor.  It requires intense core muscle recruitment–more specifically, the abdominal muscles.

Though I was was required to form lines adjacent to other members of the class, internally I was at war with myself.

The physiologic changes of pregnancy with my son years ago caused not only my anterior abdomen and anterior pelvic ligament to separate (I still have diastasis rectii), but I also agreed to an urgent c section due to my son’s distressed heart rate during labor.

39 weeks pregnant, the last workout completed a week before the arrival of my son
39 weeks pregnant, the last workout completed a week before the arrival of my son
March 2014 (left) and March 2015 (right)
March 2014 (left) and March 2015 (right)

The past three years have been an attempt to reconstruct myself, in both a literal and figurative sense.  A simple plank drag was enough to make my current self feel humiliated with the lack of progress.  I’m positive no one was watching, or cared that I was the slowest person to complete the task, but I envied the athlete I was five years prior.  I stepped aside into the bathroom, wiping away the tears that luckily mixed in with my sweat.

Onto the next task.

The following main workout was a benchmark WOD nicknamed Nicole.  In 20 minutes, one is to perform as many reps as possible of the following:  maximum effort pull ups (or ring rows for modification) and 400 meter dash.  Cool.  Shouldn’t be as hard as the day before.  However, my last 400 meter dash was interrupted by a crevice in the cement that would have me roll onto my knee.  The pain hadn’t quite settled in due to my circulating adrenaline…give it three to five minutes.  Defeated, I shooed my classmates as they sacrificed a personal record inquiring if I was okay.  They cannot see me break down. 

This sentiment was later replicated by Coach Kayser inquiring about injury.  “I’m just having a bad day”, I say as my eyes well up with tears.  I’ve been competing with my former self for years, and today she has defeated me once more.

Kayser approached me after class offering reassurance and a hug.  He’s the same age as my older brother and in many ways reminds me of him.  Hours following, Coach Peter e-mailed me offering comforting words of encouragement.

Luckily the coaches never made me feel like this.

Jimmy Dugan from A League of Their Own said it best.

This is most certainly a First World problem of mine.  I remind myself there’s a soccer team in Haiti with a team of persons with amputated limbs.  I have cared for some incredibly sick, impoverished yet resilient patients.  Despite not having a full functional recovery, I am incredibly fortunate and blessed with my overall health.

The thing that stands out to me is the sense of community here.  And that’s why I have chosen not to leave although there are two other boxes that are closer.

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