Harder

I have started to notice a weird phenomenon happening at CrossFit. I am getting comfortable. This is the opposite of what CrossFit is about, and I’m not sure how it happened. I’m not sure how the word “comfortable” can be associated with things like box jumps and wall balls, but on Sunday we did a Hero WOD called “Blake” (which included LOTS of box jumps and wall balls), and I noticed that the amount of discomfort I was in almost felt normal.

My awkwardly circular kneecap bruises from lunging down a pebbly sidewalk during “Blake”–I was very dedicated to touching my knee down every time!

At first I was kind of relieved, like hey, this is getting easier! But the more I think about it, I don’t think this is a good thing. CrossFit is supposed to be about pushing yourself and breaking through boundaries. On Sunday it felt like even though I was pushing myself, it was a comfortable amount of pushing. Does that still count? I’m not sure, but if my vague feeling of cheating myself out of my full potential is any indication, I would say no. I don’t get nervous driving to the gym anymore, and even though I went heavy and actually did a WOD fully prescribed on Friday (holy 45# kettlebell!), I am feeling more and more at the end of WODs like I could have gone a little harder.

Maybe the problem is that I am still working with the same intensity that I did when I started–which at time, was almost more than I could handle. But over the past almost 6 months (what!?), I have gotten a lot stronger, a little faster, and learned so much more about what my body is capable of, that doing 30 box jumps in sets of 5 isn’t my limit any more. Sure, it’s hard, but maybe I should be going even harder.

If you had asked me in April if I felt like I would ever get to a point where my then-maximum effort would feel like a cheat, I would have absolutely said no. At least I would have tried to say no, but it may have been tough with all the gasping for breath, trying not to vomit, and choking back tears because my body was so wrecked.

But I think that in the past week or so I may have reached my most meaningful (and unexpected) CrossFit milestone yet: I am ready to go harder.

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Day 40: Murph

It has been a looong week. Long long. Monday was a pretty intense day and that feeling spilled over into the rest of the week, leaving me with some emotional jet lag. I fell asleep at least twice literally in the middle of a sentence. It was just that kind of a week.

Today I took off work (I know, you’re thinking How could your week be so hard if you only worked 3 days?) to recertify my Wilderness First Responder certification. It’s a 3-day course that lasts the rest of the weekend – 3 totally full days of patient assessments, vital signs, trauma scenarios, and making splints out of backpacks and ski poles. It’s exhausting but kind of just what I need to occupy my mind. I’m also not sure how I am going to emerge from this weekend (which also included hanging out with the NOLS Executive Director last night at a dinner) without pledging to quit my office job and go back into the woods. It’s really only a matter of time.

So after a day full of worrying about hypovolemic shock and whether or not someone could secretly have appendicitis, I drove home with just enough time to change into some shorts and head over to the gym. TJ had warned us that the WOD tonight would be long, saying something along the lines of, “If your heart’s not in it on Friday, you probably shouldn’t come,” and also alluding to the fact that it was likely to be running-intensive. Then this morning the Boyfriend texted me: “Today: Murph. 1 mile running, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, another 1 mile running.” Want to know what my first thought actually was? Oh, that’s not as bad as I was expecting! Who am I? The option to do “Murphette” was also on the table, which was half of prescribed, but somehow after the week I’d had that just did not feel like an option for me. I was going for it – my first prescribed Hero WOD.

After getting that text, I posted on my Facebook “Tonight I meet Murph. Let’s hope I don’t also meet Jesus” and a friend of mine who does CrossFit in Vail replied, “Prepare yourself, they are one and the same…” Encouraging.

The reps were broken up into 20 sets of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 air squats. It was 85 degrees out when we started running and the BF actually lapped me (distance runners, what can you d0), but I have no idea what my time was for that first mile because when I came back in from the run I went right into pull-ups. Then right into push-ups. Then right into squats. I felt good, so I kept doing squats, and ended up having my progression actually go squats-pullups-pushups instead of the other way around. This paid off at the end since I didn’t have to go directly from my 300th squat into a mile run, but honestly I’m not sure that would have made much of a difference. I have no idea what time it was when I started on the last mile, either, but I do know that I finished the WOD in 59:23. Just under an hour. I’ll take it.

The Boyfriend finished in 39:52, but not without some serious battle wounds.

what 100 pull-ups can do to your hands

I feel super accomplished after finishing this tonight. Even though I had the 2nd slowest time (only beating the slowest time by about 20 seconds) of the entire gym, tonight I finished my first Hero WOD, prescribed except for bands on the pull-ups. After one of the most emotionally exhausting weeks of my life, and after an exceptionally tiring day, I’ll definitely take it. And I will also have no shame in going to bed at 10:30 on a Friday night. Because that is exactly what I plan on doing.