I suck. Really. I can tell how bad I suck by the number of people telling me that I don’t suck. I can tell because someone took pity on me and put away my barbell and bumper plates. I can tell because as I lie on my back, panting and sweating, I’m trying to hold back tears. Why, after nearly a year of CrossFit, do I suck so damn bad?
The WOD was 5RFT. 20 front-racked lunges @ 75#, 20 hollow rocks. The weight was good – challenging but manageable – and the hollow rocks seemed innocent enough. Everything went wrong during that WOD: I was off balance throughout the lunges. I couldn’t catch my breath – it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I had to break up the hollow rocks into sets of five. As the clock kept ticking and everyone else was already done and starting to cheer me on, I completed round 4. Coach started to write my time on the board. “Nope,” I panted. “One more round.”
The truth is that I knew everyone thought I was on my last round, and I was very tempted to let them believe it. When I finally completed that last hollow rock and was able to sink into my puddle of sweat and self-pity, I could feel the tears threatening to spill. It was official: I sucked. It wasn’t fair.
Up until that WOD, I rationalized my slow times.
I’m using heavier weight than other people.
I’m stronger than I am fast.
I’ll get faster with time.
And the desperate: At least I showed up.
All true statements, but after that WOD they no longer helped me feel better about my progress. What I wanted out of CrossFit and what I was getting out of CrossFit were no longer matching up, and the problem was that I didn’t know what I wanted anymore. When I first walked in to CrossFit West Nashville in March 2013, my goals were clear. Lose weight. Get in shape. And although there was still a bit of weight to lose, the intensity with which I pursued those early goals had lessened. As I drove home that night, I asked myself, “What do I want out of this? Why isn’t showing up enough any more?” Instead of feeling good about what I had accomplished, I was starting to feel bad about what I couldn’t accomplish.
Other than standing on the podium at the CrossFit Games, what other goal could I set? I had 2014 goal weights for my squats and clean. I had a goal for unbroken pull ups and double unders. But to what end? Personal accomplishment and all that…but why? I needed an overall destination. This question plagued me for over a week. When the answer hit me, I was standing next to my coach and I told him, “My goal is to become a Rx competitor.” And there it is. The Goal.
With the Goal in place, I can look at myself honestly without disappointment. My main weakness is speed. I need to get faster. Is it a mental weakness? When I fail to get one more wall ball before time is up, is that because I physically cannot do one more rep, or because mentally I refuse to fight for it? When I take a break during a set of kettle bell swings, do I truly need a break or am I shying away from the next level of intensity? What do I need to do to get faster?
I have been doing a long distance run once a week and a tabata-style workout DVD by Amy Dixon called Breathless Body. During WODs I am focusing on that last evasive rep – and starting to nail it. And following the advice of my coach, I am trying to limit my breaks to only 3-5 breaths. I am not (yet) a speed demon, but I like to think I’m seeing improvements.
I am no longer trying to exceed a goal I’ve met – I am now rising to the new goal I’ve set.