My love of CrossFit came about purely by accident. In April last year I lost my Dad to a brain tumour. From the day he dropped the carton of milk – the day he figured something was wrong – to the day we said goodbye around his hospital bed, it was less than twelve weeks. To deal with the day to day agony of those weeks I indulged. I drank quite a few beers every night to fall asleep. I stacked back kilos I had worked so hard to strip off. I cried in front of my son – a lot. And I lost myself, the version of me that I liked. The version that Dad liked, too.
The day after his funeral I decided to stop drinking for a while.
The week after his funeral I decided I needed a new healthy hobby among people that didn’t know I had just lost my Dad, among people that didn’t feel sorry for me. I signed up for a four week program of Beginners Boot Camp classes at Complete Health Personal Training. It was perfect. I didn’t know anyone and it was bliss to be anonymous among such a positive, energetic vibe.
The coach, Bon, took us through the basics – things I thought I already knew – and taught me to like how it feels to be in my skin. I found myself lying in front of the TV at night, activating my glutes (AKA squeezing my butt cheeks.) I loved the feeling of aching muscles when I was in bed at night – aching because I had pushed myself hard.
Six weeks later I signed up for private PT sessions and entry to The Battle of The Cup. The Battle was a friendly competition between CHPT and NXT Level Fitness – a Crossfit Affiliate Gym based 40 kilometres away. It was to take place on a Sunday and consist of 4 WOD’s. I had no idea what any of it meant but I was keen to add a little competition to my training. I have an extreme competitive streak and love to win. However, win I did not! What a rude awakening! It is so thoroughly frustrating to try your absolute best and still be the slowest and least strong in the room by such a substantial margin. It was like the first time I tried to smoke a cigarette. I coughed and spluttered and almost threw up. And I said to myself, “Goddamn it, I will get better at this.” And sure enough, I was chain smoking Marlboros before I knew it – all it took was a little perseverance and commitment.
Flash forward to the beginning of February, 2018. I am a thousand times stronger than I was in July. I have stuck with the weekly Bootcamp classes, weekly PT sessions with my coach, Kate, and also added in some extra training for the rematch of Battle of the Cup. And I lost again. But this time it was different. This time I felt competitive. This time I knew to expect the unexpected and to throw my whole self in. And this time I left the building with the Coach’s award. What a rush. There was talk of the upcoming CrossFit Open. I vaguely knew that it was the qualifier to the CrossFit Games – the annual test of the elite. I Googled. And I wanted in.
CHPT were gracious enough to offer to host Friday Night Lights, I registered online as an unaffiliated athlete, and here we are.
As I write this, it is the night before the final workout of the 2018 CrossFit Open. 18.5 will be announced tomorrow morning. I will go straight to the gym after work, warm-up and give it my best. I know that in the scheme of things, when ranked against a world of CrossFit athletes, my results seem trifling. When I publish them here next week, I hope you won’t scoff. Because right here, right now – they are the sum of my efforts. They are the sum of my determination.
I wish I had better knees.
I wish I had more time to train.
I wish I had more time to spend with my son and husband.
I wish I was ten kilos lighter.
But I am proud of how far I have come. I will not give up. I will fight for every rep. When I am lying in bed tomorrow night, feeling the aches in my muscles, I will like how it feels to be in my skin. I will like this version of me. Dad would like this version of me, too.
“Goddamn it, I will get better at this.”