Saturday, January 11, 2020

My CrossFit Journey Begins...

[Sept 2, 2018]

When I first heard of CrossFit years ago, I knew at some point I was going to want to try it. I was well into circle-way things by then—Red Tent, Women Writing for (a) Change, Conscious Feminine Leadership Academy—and watched my own trainer, Natalie, get involved with a CrossFit community in Centerville. I benefited from her enthusiasm, her own formation in that community’s ethos and practice. Our workouts became tinged with CrossFit learnings, paced for me in my one or two workouts a week with her. At some point, I said to myself, I want to try that. A loosely organized circle-way, athletic community, aiming for a collaborative ethos that challenges into competition...? Sounded like a balanced feminine-masculine kind of thing, in my ears.

About 18 months ago, I’d guess, I visited a CrossFit in Beavercreek. A morning workout that included burpees and squats, among other things. The warm-up was with a jump-rope, which did not go well for me. I hadn’t jumped with a rope in over thirty years, perhaps forty, and my body did not remember this rhythm. It was frustrating and I felt foolish for not knowing something so elementary. I remember trying to pace myself, slow myself down, but the energies of the group did push me in a way I liked then. My body cried out for probably four days afterward, however, so… Good for me in the end? Not sure. I did realize that there was little chance of me driving that direction several times a week, alongside my work 40 minutes in the other direction, and circle two evenings a week. The coach I spoke to there was nice enough, but I never went back.

Come more into the present, and I’m finishing up a coaching call, August 1st, maybe. A Wednesday. In conversation with her, I awoke once again to how I’d become motionless, stuck in the energy flows of those around me, unable to choose what might be for me, for me alone. This is an ancient pattern for me, unclear origins, but one I’ve redressed again and again in my nearly fifty years. I felt foolish to have been swept up into it again, though I know the pattern always serves its purpose in the end. I hung up the phone, got out a Julia Cameron book, did morning pages, and made a list of things I’d wanted to try but hadn’t started yet. I researched a number of CrossFit communities in the Dayton area and chose one close to my work on campus. I scheduled myself to come to the Community Open Workout that Saturday, and dove in. Amidst two intensive commitments that month—teaching a week on campus and a retreat with 17 other women—I scheduled the intro sessions with Matt, one of the coaches, and last week, my first week of ‘regular workout classes’ began.

The timing of this feels significant to me somehow. I turn fifty this next March, which doesn’t feel a big deal to me but is to many human beings around me. I’ve loved every birthday these last 10-15 years, enjoying the climb up the numbers without a sense of forboding many women feel. My anam cara soul-sister, Lisa, is facing double-hip surgery this fall, a journey of hers that has yet impacted me greatly. I began to go a little tharn, truth be told, as this journey unfolded for her. I grew still inside, not wanting to startle the wildlife in her, facing down something that feels (and is) a pretty big deal. I began to know a deep gratitude for my morning walks with Nala, aware of my body’s capabilities as distinctive, unique, my own. I began to know a deep sadness too, a belly fear, about what needed to happen for her own health to be restored. I wanted her body journey to be easy, relieved…and it’s been painful and limiting. I probably felt a little guilty too, being able to move in my body in ways unavailable to her. Illogical, I know, but plausible in how I feel connected, my body to hers.

Unsure and incapable of easing her own body’s journey, of connecting in like we often have, I turned my full attentions to CrossFit and the invitations there. Might as well, I figured. Fear I could face. Fear that was my own. And greater movement, greater intensity workouts, greater energy output…all felt invited and welcome.

CrossFit Dedication, the community I’ve now joined, is a family-friendly place that’s been around for five years now. They just celebrated their Five Year Anniversary with a party August 25th. I was on retreat with my circle of women, so could not join in. They seem to offer challenges for those seeking to enter competition-level CrossFit and create a space for folks like me who simply want to workout more, with like-minded folks, creating support and structures for more healthy living.  Matt handles more of the intake and business responsibilities, so I have worked with him the most, just to join. I attended the 8 a.m. class that his wife, Melissa, coaches this past week. It’s a smaller class, so the coaching is more personalized. I really appreciated her style and attentiveness to my own form and process.

For now, I think my invitation is to try different classes, to get a whiff of what each feels like—time of day, number of people, walks of life, etc.—and tend to my own body’s language as I deepen my capacities. The first fruit, just from the month so far, is that movement is fun again. And fear is less present, as I move in the flow of a circuit workout or a slated set of exercises in rounds of repetition. I look forward to going, and I’m tickled to be diving into something that called to me years ago.

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