Saturday, April 12, 2014

What I Want out of CrossFit

So I've been doing CrossFit for a year and a half now. The honeymoon is over. I've had the week when I was too sick to go in and WOD and had to fight to get back into the groove. I have had bouts of insane jealousy and have wigged out from comparing myself to others to the point that I felt like quitting altogether. I have come to terms with my hips and with the reality that I will always have them. I have strained my back (not doing CrossFit, ironically) and have had to work back up to strength and still haven't reached my PRs again. I have competed and finished at the bottom or near-bottom 9 times and concluded that I am better for the experience because I gave it my all.

Then the other day I PR'ed my 5 RM dead lift at 195 lbs. and that was my goal going in. I would have liked to get 200, but it was a PR and I was happy with that. I did not miss on my form and did not strain my back, however, after that lift and the WOD that followed, my lower back muscles, glutes, and hamstrings were so tight that I could hardly get up off the floor or get in and out of my car. No fun. Yes, I stretched. Yes, I rolled out. Still...that night I couldn't turn over without waking and groaning. I tried to stand up the next morning as I was getting out of bed and promptly fell over. It was pretty hilarious, so don't try not to laugh. I laughed out loud at my poor self, and didn't feel bad about doing it. I wasn't even insulted.

Even so, I had to ask myself, "Is this really worth it? What am I, a 44 year old woman, trying to accomplish here? Is it worth all this pain and suffering?"

Today my husband and I really pondered that question, as we have undertaken this journey together. He asked me what I really want out of CrossFit, and surprisingly the answer was so easy to give:

1. After not being athletic or even using my body properly for most of my adult life, I am retraining it to move well.

2. I want to have the stamina and strength to take a 5 mile hike, go kayaking, or ski with my family and not be sore and exhausted.

3. I want to be able to play, run and enjoy life with my kids.

4. I do not want osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, or any other manner of degenerative disease that comes from an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle. I want to keep active both mentally and physically until my dying day.

5. I want to be strong enough to be able to pick up my grandchildren. I didn't have kids until my 30s so I won't be a grandma until my late 50's or early 60s. I want to be fit enough to be able to hold my grandbabies for as long as I want and not be exhausted from chasing them when they are toddlers. I want to be the best grandmother ever, so you'd better believe I'm training for it now.

As I read over this, I realize that none of these goals had anything to do with achieving a certain dress size or keeping up with any person at the gym. None of them had to do with what I see in front of a mirror but what I see from behind my eyes, from within my heart. If I never looked in the mirror, or stepped on the scale, if I never looked at Facebook, if I never measured anything, would I think that I wasn't doing enough? If I only go based on how I feel physically and mentally, would I know that I was improving?

(Of course it is a rhetorical question. Insert "duh" here)

So, is it worth it? Without a doubt. My greatest competition is the race against time, and every improvement I make is a milestone in that race. I don't need to PR my dead lift every time. I don't need to do 30 strict pull-ups this year, or maybe even ever. It's just not that important to me. As long as I am lifting as heavy as I can, moving as fast as I can, building skills and improving myself in mind, body and spirit, I am winning that game...

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