I totally chickened out.
It’s funny because I assumed I would sign up for the Talon Easter Throwdown as soon as registration opened. But I didn’t. Ever. At all.
I had a million reasons. The Open just ended. My life is in limbo. I needed a pedicure. The refrigerator was empty. I suck at running. I gained weight and would look fat in the pictures. I gained weight and burpees would be murder. I was tired. I haven’t been CrossFit-obsessed enough to compete. I came in last at last year’s Easter Throwdown and I wasn’t in the mood for last again.
So, registration ended. I signed up to judge. I felt okay.
Kind of not okay. Then I re-read this article I wrote that Tabata Times coincidentally published the day after registration for the Throwdown ended. Which led to a high-maintenance-panicky-CrossFit-member-email to my coach asking if I could still register. Puhlease.
But it was too late. They were sorely in need of judges. Fair enough.
Then, on Friday, the day before the Throwdown (after consuming a large, and very tasty cheeseburger), I received a text message:
And I was in.
The Easter Throwdown was my fifth competition. And by far the best.
Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a chance to totally freak out. Maybe it’s because I’ve become more accepting with who I am as an athlete. Maybe it’s because I wore my comfy Talon hoodie. But the day was a blast from start to finish.
In my first event I had five attempts to achieve a heavy thruster. I know you’re supposed to have a plan and set goals, but honestly, I don’t often do that. For me, just getting through a WOD is usually the goal. I knew I could hit 125 lbs. I wanted 130. For the first time in my competition history, I got what I wanted and finished top 3 in the event.
Out of four events, I was only concerned about one.
Here’s the WOD (12 min cap)
60 doubles unders
30 kettlebell swings
Then run 400m
I knew I wouldn’t complete this in twelve minutes. And that didn’t really concern me. What scared me (and what was probably the biggest reason I didn’t sign up for the competition) was that first 400m run. I actually enjoy running. I do. But I’m really bad at it. In fact, I tend to stomp instead of run. I huff. I puff. I think I even whine and wheeze. It’s gruesome. Or inspiring. Whatever.
The rest? Double unders? Kettlebell swings? I have developed positive and healthy relationships with both and I was pretty confident I could get through the three rounds.
Nothing went as expected.
Although I came in last on the run, I did it in under 2 minutes (I had figured 2:15ish). So I was very pleased with myself as I picked up my jump rope. And only got two double unders. I shook it off. Refocused. And only got one double under. With a look of disbelief at my judge, I tried again. Three. Seriously. I can do 15 unbroken on a bad day. What the hell. I took a good 15 seconds to explain this to my judge…because that’s important. And tried again.
The whole WOD went like that. The most I did unbroken was 12. And I only got through two rounds.
Here’s the worst part:
I finished the swings in the second round with ten seconds left on the clock. Ten seconds. Considering the day’s DU performance, I probably could have scored two more reps in that ten seconds. But did I pick up the rope and get those two reps? Nope. I kicked the damn rope and watched the seconds tick down on the clock.
At the end of the day I finished 14th out of 27. Right dab in the middle of the pack. It felt good. I was really proud and really excited.
But as I walked to my car to go home, I thought about how I hadn’t tried for the extra reps in that event. What did it mean? That I’m a quitter? That I give up right at the moment I need to keep going? That I’m weak? That I’m unable to do what it takes to succeed?
As the feeling of triumph began to evaporate under the threat of self-doubt, I asked myself: Are you a quitter? Do you give up easily? Are you weak? Are you a failure?
And the answer is: No.
It’s uncanny how often CrossFit is an analogy for life. How progress with lifting and moving translates so well to all things outside the gym.
But sometimes CrossFit is not an analogy. Sometimes it means nothing past the twelve minutes. Sometimes I have to remember that I’m better at life than I am at CrossFit.
I’ll grab the two extra reps next time.