Saturday, January 11, 2020

My Inner Athlete Peeks Around the Corner -- Shy She Is

[Sept 18, 2018]

I am beginning to feel a sense of flow in this CrossFit journey, which is a gift to me and those who are close to me! I no longer feel as much fear when I enter the gym, unsure what the Workout of the Day (WOD) is, though it is written up on the white-board. A usual experience has been to read the acronyms, the listed exercises with reps or time slated, and feel a pit of fear. What is the accommodation for 40’ of arm-stand walking? What is the difference again between Strict Press and Bench Press and Front Squats and…? So much I simply could not know, yet it was going to shape an hour of my life and my body’s movement into it. By now, however, I’m beginning to trust more and fear less. I may not know what I will be doing, but space is being made for me—by coaches, fellow CrossFitters, and most importantly, myself—to move in ways that make my body feel good. Fear less, trust more. A good motto for me right now.

Saturday was the first time I felt most seen, welcomed in. We did a community workout—8 or 10 of us that showed up for the morning. I felt at ease from the start, seeing one of the things I know: wall-ball sit-ups. I love those, for whatever reason. It was a partner workout, with wall balls, wall-ball sit-ups, and rowing. Partners would rotate between rounds, a total of three rounds. It was a good community mixer, actually. I got to workout and push/be-pushed by three different people, and they me. The intensity was what I had hoped, and simply, I enjoyed myself.

The middle round was what amused me, however, brought me out of myself in a new way. The drawn-straws paired me with a bear-of-a-guy I will name Tom, whose wall-ball was 20 lbs to my 8 lbs wall ball. He went first, 5 wall balls, then moved to the mat for the wall-ball sit-ups. This meant he would throw his 20 lb ball to me 5 times. The first time, I was not quite prepared for the momentum of the 20 lbs airborne. It knocked me back a bit with an umph of air out of me. But I learned, placed my feet more wisely, told him to have at it. My hips could finally be put to good use, receiving the momentum and getting it back to him in timely fashion. It felt good to meet up at that place of challenge.

Then it was my turn, 5 wall balls with my 8 lb ball, then down to the mat for the sit-ups and thrown wall-ball. He received the first throw with a clear ease. Though there were no words, I could almost hear him think, “Oh! 8 lbs. Easy.” Having a clear sense of where he was, however, the 2nd to 5th wall-ball sit-up throws could be ‘for real.’ I have long arms, with good momentum from strong hips. He was not expecting the momentum of long-arm throws, nor the accurate placement of the wall-ball comin’ his way. When I threw the second wall-ball to him, it was satisfying to hear him lose the air in his lungs, with an unsolicited belch. The look of surprise, and admiration even, was a hoot. I could hear him think, “RESPECT.” We were starting to have fun in our round.

It was good to push and be pushed for the rest of the workout. Though I didn’t necessarily want the CrossFit math question, I acquiesced anyway, since I knew what it was and it wasn’t all just my own. The community gathered around in a post-workout circle, where "Tom" relayed his own experience of the round with me. It was delightful to be seen as a respected athlete player in the bunch. It was the first time I felt like I was welcomed in like that. It's been quite a while since college soccer days and that feeling of camraderie.

A good image to carry with me, as I continue to journey deeper into this CrossFit flow: Tom's surprised face, and the unexpected belch which allowed us to laugh. Together.

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