Last week I wanted to run through a chipper WOD that’s going to be in Battle of the Barbells. I asked a member of CrossFit West Nashville if she’d like to join me. She beat me by nearly a minute. Easily. Afterwards, while I was dying in a sweaty puddle on the floor, I asked her why she didn’t compete in competitions. She has a super engine, is competent in all of the scaled movements, and is competitive as hell. At 49 years old, she gives people half her age a run for their money.
“I’m not ready yet. I’m not good enough,” she said. “I don’t think it’s fair to the women who deserve to be there.”
Hold it. She just kicked my ass. And she’s worrying about deserving to be there? I think I laughed. Out loud. It was fascinating to me that this incredibly talented woman thought she didn’t deserve to be somewhere, especially at an event that involves CrossFit – which she does six days a week.
And I, fully prepared to finish closer to the bottom of the leaderboard than the top, continue to sign up for events. And drive myself crazy with self-doubt and anxiety, then say how much fun the whole ordeal was.
Competition progression is on track. Excitement -> Regret -> Denial -> Acceptance.” — Jennifer Bisio, Competitor – Battle of the Barbells
People occasionally tell me how awesome they think it is that I’m a competitor. How they wish they could be good enough to sign up. And I always ask them, “Why don’t you try?” There really is no ‘good enough.’ I’ve entered several competitions in the 20 months I’ve been doing CrossFit, and let me tell you: If someone is better than you at CrossFit, she will do better on the leaderboard. In fact, everyone was better than me at the Easter Throwdown this year. But I walked away from that competition with new PRs on my clean, unbroken pull ups and double unders. I won’t tell you that finishing last didn’t sting a bit; however, no one else really seemed to notice…or care.
Then again, I don’t compete to win. I compete to see what I am capable of doing in an intense, high-pressure environment. Afterwards, when I’m back at CFWN, my training always takes a step up. Because I know what I can do and no longer have an excuse not to do it.
Jenny Lutkins, a coach and competitor from CrossFit Talon describes her reasons for competing: “I really feel like I can try anything, which gets me into a lot of trouble. It dawned on me how fearless I have become. I never hesitate in entering these crazy things. Did I do it to win? Hell no. I just wanted to go. That’s amazing to me, especially when four years ago, I didn’t even want to get off of the couch.”
I’ve also started using these competitions as markers of my progress. During my first competition I had to use a band for pull ups. By the time my second competition came around, I could do them unassisted. If you came to CrossFit straight from your sofa, like me, it takes a long time to get good at this stuff. For so many years I waited to do so many things. I’ll do that after I’ve lost some weight. Or I’ll do this when I look better. Once I started CrossFit, I stopped waiting. I began to do.
“I love the push it gives me. I work hard every day but when I know I’m training to compete against people better than me I work harder. Plus, on competition days I find something inside me I didn’t know I had. My last competition I hit a competition snatch PR plus a max unbroken muscle up PR,” said Stephanie Grams, coach and competitor from CrossFit Kaneohe.
It’s interesting that the very elements of a competition that attract me – the pressure, the self-doubt, the energy – are the same reasons others choose not to compete. It’s not even the element of competing – the opportunity to do better than someone else – that drives me. When I’m on the competition floor, I feel a surge of power and an unrelenting urgency to push myself as hard as possible.
The scariest thing about competing to me is being judged by everyone watching. I do well in the gym but I don’t want to let people down.” — Stephanie Grams
Jennifer from Wine to Weightlifting recalls her first local competition: “I was very hesitant to register since I consider myself one of the weakest, and slowest people in my box, but decided to give it a try anyway and despite the extreme difficulty, pressure, and stress, I do not regret it for one minute!”
The pressure leading up to a competition is intense, but the opportunities once you get there are abundant. Grinding through the events, facing myself in battle, the disappointments, the PRs – is it worth it in the end?
The scariest thing about competing? Starting. That split second before the word “go”. After that, it’s all paleo cake.” — Jenny Lutkins
Let’s eat some paleo cake! See you at Battle of the Barbells 2014! (Becky Harkins!)