word hit us all in the gut like a 300lb Atlas Stone.After day two of the 2011 Reebok CrossFit
South East Regional Competition, my team and I found out that we were just three
points away from making it into the top ten and advancing to the third day of
competition.I was standing at the
bathroom sink rinsing the last of my recovery drink out of my water bottle when
I heard the announcement over the loud speaker.I exhaled a four-letter word and walked out of the bathroom with my head
down, avoiding eye contact with mirror on the way out.
I walked back into the Jacksonville Equestrian Center and
watched the Female Individual Competition unfold on the impressive Rogued-out stage in front of me. The same stage that I had the honor of
competing on less than an hour ago.I
watched Elite Female CrossFitters bang out pull-ups, kettlebell swings,
double-unders, and overhead squats.They
were fighting for day three just like my team and I had.I watched them move.I compared myself to them.How many consecutive pull-ups can Cheryl
Nasso do? How many breaths did Shana Alverson take before picking up her
kettlebell?Do they look tired? Are
their hands ripped? What are they thinking?
Just then one of my teammates, Kelly, came up the steps and
sat down next to me.
“Do you still feel shitty?”I asked.
This is about as sentimental as a conversation about
competition is going to get amongst CrossFit Women (at least in my
experience).I mean, we’re not exactly
painting each other’s fingernails at a slumber party here.Kelly’s response was as simple and direct as
“Not about anything in particular.I just wish we were better.”
And that was all that needed to be said.We turned back to the competition stage and
continued to watch the women we aspired to be like.The better women. We were definitely not thinking about our own missed
reps or an inability to string more chest-to-bar pull-ups together.We were done commiserating about what had
happened in the recent past and were already strategizing how we could become
better athletes for the future.We may
have been knocked out of the competition, but we have not been knocked out of
the game.Far from it.
I am very proud of my team.But I’m not going to pretend that I am satisfied with eleventh
place.I’m not going to sit here and
list all of the reasons why eleventh place is so awesome.I know we are better.At least I know that the future version of our team
is better.We can be proud but we cannot
be content.And isn’t that the exact
feeling that will drive us to victory?
I’m pretty sure I will mutter many more four-letter words
under my breath (and probably at the top of my lungs too) as I continue to
train and compete.I will likely succeed
as often as I fail and feel inspired as often as I feel discouraged.But I’m going to make a promise to
myself.The next time someone tells me
that I don’t make the cut, the next time I am figuratively or literally 11th
place, I am not going to walk past a mirror with my head down.I
promise to meet my present self eye to eye and remind her that this is just a
stop along the way.My journey does not
end here and I am not defined by this moment.Whether it is categorized as a success or failure, this experience will
be used as a catalyst for growth.
This comment was made to me by one of the other vendors as he helped me set up the Fashletics tent. To be precise, I smelled like Lemon Summer Vanillas by Bath & Body Works but that’s not the point.
The point is that I showed up at CrossFit Conquest this
morning ready to represent my company, sell some jewelry, and support our local
firefighters.My hair was
blow-dried, I was wearing knee socks strictly for fashion not for function, and
as the helpful gentleman pointed out earlier, I smelled like cotton candy.Oh what a difference a few hours makes…
As soon as I arrived, Event Coordinator/Firefighter Tom Hill
(aka Bull) asked if I would be participating today.“No I don’t think so.Think I’ll just run my booth and focus on Fashletics.”This was the plan all along and
besides, I had two dinners last night, the second being something called a
“Macho Burger” (with fries) which I purchased from a food truck at about
11pm.Not exactly how I like to
prepare for competition.
Like any truly passionate CrossFitter, Bull was relentless in
his attempts to convince me to join in the “fun” (see whiteboard below).As the hours passed it was getting more
and more difficult to say no and I realized I really didn’t have a good excuse.Things were under control at the
Fashletics booth, I needed to get a workout in today anyway, and I had a
delicious Paleo chicken wrap from SAR Events & Caterling which I am convinced
helped negate the effects of last night’s Macho Burger.Still I hesitated.I didn’t feel mentally prepared and
sometimes I still get anxiety about WOD’ing with “spectators” (which I will
admit is completely stupid).
A few things, in addition to Bull, led to my convincing:
1. I am a CrossFitter.This is what it’s all about. Being ready for any challenge any
time.Forget about what you ate
last night or how much sleep you didn’t get.Nobody cares. Rally and get it done.
2. “You will always regret not working out. You will never
regret working out.”This is
something I often tell the athletes that I coach.To be honest I think I heard it on an infomercial for a Kim
Kardashian workout video (which would explain the awkward grammar).Let’s be
clear, I was not doing the Kim
Kardashian workout, I was just watching her talk about it.Not
sure if that’s any better but still, don’t judge me. You can’t deny it’s sound
3. No man shall WOD alone. Pretty sure that's in the Constitution. There was only one guy in the last heat.If no one signed up he’d be WOD’ing
alone.I couldn’t let that happen.
4. Amy, one of the women I train with, is 4 month’s pregnant
with her second baby.Amy is a
total bad a@$ and (when not pregnant) a total beast in the gym.She was standing on the sidelines and I
heard her say “Uhhhh I wish I could compete SO BAD!!”I immediately thought about all of the people in this world
who would love to do something like this and actually can’t for a myriad of
reasons.First of all, I am alive
and that is a gift in itself.I
can walk, I can lift, I can breathe, and my heart beats steady and strong.This is a luxury in life and not a
guarantee.I don’t ever want to
take my life or my health for granted.I know it’s just a WOD but as soon as I heard Amy express her desire to
compete coupled with her inability to do so… let’s just say I felt like an
idiot for hesitating in the first place.
troops!Misery loves company!Four more of my friends/training
buddies were also at the event either working or supporting in some way and had
not planned on competing.I only
had to ask once or twice before flip flops were traded for running shoes and
the ladies rallied. If I make a commitment to a friend there is no way I will
back down.This is sort of a way I
have learned to trick myself into committing to things that I might otherwise
shy away from. I remember days where I’d roll out of bed at 5am and my husband
would ask; “How are you getting up right now???”“I have to meet Ann!” I’d reply as I sprang out of bed.“I told her I’d be there!”I am committed to my own training but I am probably more
committed to my friends.The
phrase “I’ll do it if you do it” has been key to my athletic development.
3…2…1… GO! The rest of the story plays out just as you would
expect.It was excruciating, I
felt like I was going to throw up half the time, I couldn’t walk when I was
done…. and I loved it.The best
part was competing beside these amazing ladies that I have come to know and
love through CrossFit.I will be
competing with Shondelle, Clancey, and Kelly at the
CrossFit Southeast Regional on our Affiliate team in just a couple weeks.I can’t freaking wait.Today we technically competed against
each other but when it was all said and done we were there because of each
other and for each other.Even
when we are individuals we are a team.
I got home later that afternoon and as my husband leaned in
for a hug he lovingly said; “Uhhh! You stink!!”Oh yes, the cotton candy scent had faded long ago, my hair
was piled in a sweaty mess on top or my head... and I was smiling ear to ear.
A few months ago I had a Vision Board party for a group of women that I
train with. Simply put, a vision board is a collage of words and images
that represent the things you want to bring into your life. It is a way
to pinpoint goals and maintain focus on achieving those goals, a road map to
success and happiness. Sounds nice right?
Exhibit A: My sad Vision Board. As my guests cut and pasted to
their hearts content I set out appetizers, filled drinks, and made sure no one
ran out of glue. Basically, I did everything I could to avoid my own
produced a video featuring Chris Spealler and the words and voice of Michael
Jordan (included it at the end of the blog). You must watch it. I am reminded of it now. The words haunt me.
"I'm scared of what I won't become."
I look at this empty board and I realize that I am staring right at my own
fear. Have you ever wanted something so badly that the fear of not
achieving it almost becomes paralyzing? By acknowledging what I want out
of life I could also potentially be setting myself up for failure. Scared.
That's definitely not what I want to be but currently this board is telling me
that's what I am.
BUT... all hope is not lost. While I admit there is fear (and
that's a hard thing to admit) it is not all encompassing. Not even close.
In the midst of all that empty space is a female warrior and the words REBEL
ELEGANCE. I AM that woman and so much more.
"I know what is within me... I will become what I know I am."
Exhibit B: (See below.) These are some of the words that I quietly stashed away as
my guest boldly filled their boards with visual affirmations. Mine have
been sitting in a drawer for about three months. So now that I have
confessed I am making a pledge to myself and to you (all three of you
reading... hi mom) to finish my Vision Board.
These words will start to fill that white space and help support my inner
REBEL ELEGANCE Warrior Woman. She has not drown in that white pool of
fear yet but I'd rather not test her any longer.