“I think you can do it. You totally should do it,” said Alexys, my friend and co-worker, as I pondered out loud whether I had what it takes to do a CrossFit competition.
T-Lex embodies CrossFit: tough training, incredible strength, exceptional kindness, and uplifting encouragement. If someone as insanely fit as she thought I could do it, then I believed that I could do it too.
At the time, I worked a job I hated, living in a place we didn’t like. While there may not have been anything inherently wrong with the workplace or our location, neither was a right fit, and we were miserable.
It was exhausting.
CrossFit and church were the top two things that kept my eyes above the waves.
So I mentioned to T-Lex that I was considering doing a CrossFit competition. She spoke life over that passing thought, and that made all the difference.
I cherish those people in my life – the ones that speak life over me and my goals, however insane they may seem to me at the time, and I strive to be one of those people in the lives of others.
In March 2016, I competed in my first-ever CrossFit competition. I almost died like three times, and apparently, I can’t do anything hard without ripping my skin open. For my first half-ironman triathlon, I finished the race with a bloody right heel. For my first CrossFit comp, I completed the finals with a bloody left hand.
I also loved it.
I spent a day CCR-style “stuck in Lodi.” An appropriately named event, “The Hazing,” was known in the region as the most challenging scaled competition and a great place to start.
T-Lex and our friend Jess came with me to the event for coaching and moral support. Having never done a competition, Alexys’ guidance and recommendations were indescribably valuable, in part for the event logistics, but mainly for pacing and WOD-strategizing. I appreciated enormously them because the workouts were absolutely brutal.
And, of course, I had to pee the whole time. A recurring theme in my athletic life.
WOD 1 – A Painful Variation of Fight Gone Bad
3 minutes of Wall Ball shots 14#
3 minutes of Sumo Deadlift High Pulls 55#
3 minutes of Box Jumps 20”
3 minutes of Push Press 55#
3-minute calorie Row
Score: total number of reps completed across all five movements.
If you’ve never done three straight minutes of wall-ball shots, I recommend it. It’s illuminating.
WOD 2 – Mother Thruster
(I’m pretty sure that’s not what it was named. But it’s how it felt.)
EMOM x 10
Minute 1 – max Thrusters 35#
Minute 2 – max Thrusters 45#
Minute 3 – max Thrusters 55#
4 – 65#
5 – 75#
6 – 85#
7 – 95#
8 – 105#
9 – 115#
10 – 125#
Score: total weight thrusted = (# reps * weight) + (# reps * weight) + (# reps * weight)….
I mean really. Who doesn’t love ten straight minutes of thrusters at increasing levels of difficulty?! At least the judges did the math!
After this second WOD, I was in the first place. Holy sh*t!! First place!!
Granted, it was a scaled comp, but those workouts were no joke, and I was floored. I just wanted to show up and pour out. I just wanted to experience it and learn something. I just wanted an exercise (see what I did there?!) in pushing myself in the life process of continuously striving to achieve my potential. I just wanted to build spiritual muscle. I never expected to do well.
I can’t specifically remember WOD 3. It was a blur of pain and American Kettlebell Swings. That movement was, at the time, a relative weakness, and I felt like I was moving in slow motion. It’s also possible that three tough WODs in four hours had caught up to my 38-year-old-Mom-body that had never done three WODs in four hours before that day. I can hear my West Point Classmate and Army Ranger Lisa Jaster calling me out on how much that sounds like an excuse.
My performance in WOD 3 put me at third place going into the finals.
But I made it to the finals. Holy sh*t! I’m the FINALS at my first-ever CF Comp!! I couldn’t believe it and was excited about it. …until I saw my kryptonite lift in the last WOD.
5 rounds for time:
50 Double Unders
10 Deadlifts at 95#, then 125#, then 155#, then 185#, then 215#
The deadlift is a staple, but it is also (and strangely) my weakest lift. At the time, my one-rep-maximum deadlift was only 205#. So yeah, this WOD hurt my feelings. I ripped my hand open, and I may have also cried. #judgmentfreezone
I came in second in the finals and second overall for the comp. Whaaaaatttt?!?!
I did what I set out to do: I showed up. I did my best. I poured my guts out.
When my body and mind were screaming “stop!!” my heart chose to keep going.
That’s my word: choose.
In many situations and every workout, there comes a point where I have to choose between staying comfortable and pushing through. There are times when the smart and better choice is to back off, to say ‘no,’ to rest, to coast, and even to stop. The first rule of CrossFit is to not be stupid.
But I’m not talking about listening to my body or honoring my boundaries. I’m talking about when conditions are perfect and I have to choose between comfort and discomfort, between personal mediocrity and perseverance, between fear and courage.
On that day, when my body said, “this isn’t awesome,” my heart was like, “Shush. We’ve got more in us.”
This is a spiritual muscle, which, like any other muscle, has to be built, worked, and tested. Spiritual muscle is discipline, mental toughness, and grit. It is also surrendering, gratitude, and trusting God’s strength more than my own.
I was overflowing with joy and felt so incredibly blessed. So grateful for my health and the ability to compete in the first place. For my friends Alexys and Jessica for being there to coach and support me. For my husband, Dan, who saw a CrossFit athlete in me long before I did and is the most supportive, most amazing husband a girl could ask for. For my coach, Peter, and all the awesome people at my home box in San Jose, CrossFit Diligence, for training, coaching, and believing in me. For my chiropractor, Jeff, for keeping my old-lady body healthy and ready for that event.
That’s why I competed in that event: to learn what I’m made of and to feel gratitude for my accomplishment and all the people who helped me to get there.
It’s why I have competed again since then. It’s why I participate in the Open. And it’s why I’m looking for more CrossFit competitions, both scaled and Rx level, even though I am nowhere near the level of a “real” competitor.
I will never stop testing my mettle and striving to achieve my potential. I will never stop working to build spiritual muscle.
Neither should you.
In a race, all the runners run, but only one gets the prize. Run in such a way as to get the prize.
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a medal that will not last, but we do it to get a medal that will last forever. 1 Cor 9:24-25
Build spiritual muscle. Run your race in such a way as to get the prize that will last forever.
My friends, you have greatness in you. Go get it.
Run to win. #NationalFinishersMedalDay
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