Saturday, October 30, 2021

Festivus Feelings

 A week ago today, I was gearing up (with EricW) to participate in the Festivus Games, “CrossFit for the rest of us.” Four workouts of rowing, thrusters, knee-tucks from the rig, lunges, cleans, shoulder to overhead, synchro-DB-snatches, box-stepovers, fronts squats and burpees. We had rehearsed, practiced the synchronized the snatches, sorted out our probable progressions through the four different workouts, and prepared via nutrition and recovery rhythms. I had recovered, mostly, from a painful hip-impingement “extreme puzzling” injury, but was anxious that I was not going to be able to do the thrusters or front squats the workouts required. We arrived at AKP CrossFit in Huber Heights a little before 8 a.m., registered, and began to stretch, warm-up a bit. I rolled out my quads and did the hip bridges I now do every morning, but also put some bio-freeze onto my hip and upper left quad muscles, which relaxed me. Sample thrusters for the judge before the first workout, and I realized it was all gonna happen. We were off to the races by 8:40 a.m.!

I’ve not written about any of this yet, much to my surprise. I knew I wanted a little bit of distance from the experience before I would know what I was feeling, thinking. Had I been able to focus enough to write directly after the competition, that Saturday afternoon, I would have said vastly different things than arise for me in this moment. Writing about it before the competition would have offered vastly different words as well. What am I most aware of now, one week out from the experience?

I’m stunned and delighted that I/we dove in, faced into all the dynamics of it, and succeeded by just about any measurement you could suggest. I’m SO GLAD I volunteered when the option arose. I loved the focus necessary to be responsible in the journey there--practice, awareness of the extent of the energy-output that would be required, regular tending to a body injury that would have/could have prevented me from participating, courage to spend all I had. I loved learning the partnership of it all--synchronizing, but also sorting out our strengths and maximizing those in each of us. I enjoyed the strategizing, and was impressed with Eric’s foresight into weaving the fewest transitions possible. We didn’t come in last, which had been the mantra offered by a friend. We actually placed in second, for our masters M/F division! So I take great pleasure in the successes of the whole thing, whether internally conceived or externally demonstrated.

Me being me, of course there were internal weather-storms that are just as much a part of this journey as the easy obvious things. I didn’t show it much, nor name it aloud, but I was afraid more often than not during the 6 weeks of preparations.

There was a steady hum of fearfulness diffused through just about everything--being in another Box during an epidemic, failing my partner in some fashion, being unable in body to do the squat movements, bringing shame upon me or those I love in some fashion. After the competition, I felt heavy and embarrassed, critical of my performance and how I looked, how I moved. I couldn’t wait to get off the podium realizing I don’t like having my body in the spotlight in any fashion.
That’s an old story, for sure. I was afraid after the competition, that I had seriously injured my hip somehow, so for the rest of my life, I would be limping. Re-entering the week’s rhythms, I wanted both to be seen and celebrated for facing into this challenge, and I didn’t want anyone to say anything at all. Impossibly and beautifully ME, all this. We laughed as Melissa asked the day-after, “What is possibly the worst that could have happened?” to which I responded, “Excruciating pain, shame and failure in the face of those counting on me! Welcome to the family of origin of Lisa M Hess!” She shook her head, giving up her attempts at logical positivity. Impossibly and beautifully ME.

All that said, however… I’m pleased with my performance, and so very proud of US. I want to remember my body’s emphatic sensibility on the day after: we don’t need to do this again. I smile at the question from Eric that morning: Wanna do this again in April? to which I responded, “Don’t ask me that today, for heaven’s sake! Ask me in January…” I sit here one week out from the whole experience, feeling pleased, proud, fond of the experience as a whole. I see more clearly the arc of the whole, which allows me to relax and be less afraid. I love the movement, the learning, the partnership. So...we’ll see.

We’ll just have to see.