Suck it, Kelly

exhaustion

This was me after I finished. Minus the six pack abs and no shirt.

It all started innocently enough. I thought the morning workout would not be too bad. At this point in my CrossFit journey I should have known better; however, I thought this workout played to my strengths. Lots of running (by CrossFit standards at least), no weights, box jumps, and wall balls.

The workout was simple, a little thing called “Kelly”: 5 rounds consisting of a 400m run, 30 box jumps, 30 wall balls. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. I started out blazing fast. I sprinted by 400m run, blew through my box jumps, went all out on my wall balls and died by round 2. There was 45 minute time cap and I finished with 3 seconds to spare. I collapsed on the floor, exhausted, nauseated, and wondering what went wrong?

Fast forward several months and the workout comes up again. As soon as I see it, I remember the pain, the confusion, and the frustration. Still, I wake up at 5:30am on Monday morning and trudge to the gym, praying I’m not the only one. At the gym, I’m getting nervous. I start to doubt myself and I’m honestly getting nervous before the start. Will I be able to finish? Will I throw up? What if I embarrass myself (again)?

The first 400m run and the box jumps are fine, as I knew they would be, but the first round of wall balls and I can already feel it. This is where I fell apart before. I don’t particularly like wall balls for exactly all the reasons they’re good for you: they’re hard and they work almost every muscle in your body. Self doubt creeps in and I wonder if I can last 5 rounds. I remembered what I tell my soccer girls all the time, Just keep moving. Turn your mind off and let your body do the work. Your body will go farther than your mind will let it.

I remembered watching my girls fight to cross the finish line with seconds to spare for the sake of their teammates during preseason. I remembered my own soccer team fighting from behind a 3-0 deficit to tie the game in regulation then win in overtime. I turn my mind off. I let my body work. Just keep moving. I take a break when I need it, careful to keep my heart rate low – especially on the run and box jumps.

Much like life, sometimes the best we can do is keep moving. One foot in front of the other. The future is unknown, but the present is here now.

By round 3 I knew I would make it. Yes, this was hard, but I could do it. On my fourth round, my coach yelled “SUCK IT, KELLY!” I couldn’t help, but smile.

I maintained a nearly identical pace through all 5 rounds, a feat for which I was very proud, and finished with a 9 minute PR using a heavier wall ball than before. Yes, I still collapsed in exhaustion afterwards. Yes, it was still hard, but I proved to myself that Kelly is not my nemesis and yes, my body will go farther than my mind will let it.

As a coach and former athlete, it’s easy to forget the pain and mental fortitude it takes to finish a workout. It’s easy to look on the outside and view with rose colored glasses my own glory days while lamenting the lack of effort in my current team. Surely, these sprints were easier for me. I never doubted my own ability to finish. I always saw the big picture. When push comes to shove I struggle with the same temptation to quit as I did when I played sports and the same temptation my girls face every day. The question we all must answer is: Is it worth it?

Training without a purpose won’t get you through Kelly or any other workout when it gets tough. Without a purpose or guiding post in life, we won’t make it through the hard times either.

Sometimes the best we can do is gut it out and call it a day. Sometimes we surprise ourselves and PR on a day we thought would be a bust. Those are the days that make it worth it and remind us why our goal is so sweet to begin with. Yesterday was one of those days.

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On Moving (Again…and Again)

CrossFit

Squat deep, life heavy – especially on moving day.

4 girls. 3 houses. 9 round trips. For someone who has moved a lot…more than 15 times in the last 7 years I’ve sure accumulated a LOT of stuff. Like most people, before I moved, I would have said I don’t have too much stuff. After all, this last house was a record home stay for me – 12 months!!!

I tend to be a purger – if it does not have an immediate purpose then it’s gone. In this way, my lack of sentimentality is helpful come moving time, but detrimental when it comes to creating memories. I dislike clutter and with moving so much, I have been hesitant to put down too many roots.

Still, moving day came and there was a LOT of stuff. Between the 4 of us we made 9 round trips (that is, as a group, that number does not include the little trips we took individually to our houses) with 1 suburban, several sedans, 1 U-haul, and 2 trailers loaded with our stuff. It’s days like these I am blown away by the generosity of my friends – many of whom have helped me move 2 or 3 times! They give their time, energy, and most helpfully – their brute strength – to make the pain of moving (again) a little less painful.

By the end of the day on Saturday after moving for 2 days straight, I was immensely thankful for great friends and Crossfit – let’s hear it for functional movements!

The Spirituality of CrossFit

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That’s me in the middle (kicking tail, I might add)

Call me crazy, but I love working out. I love pushing my body beyond its perceived breaking point and conquering another obstacle. Perhaps this is why I love CrossFit, whose slogan is forging elite fitness.

Tonight was my first night returning to CrossFit Redeemed in a month. Part of me dreaded the beating I knew I would take, the feeling of weakness as something that was once easy is now difficult again, but I had to go back. I crave the endorphin rush and the feeling of bending my body to my own will.

It is tempting to dismiss the physical from the spiritual. Ironically, it makes the spiritual seem more spiritual. However, if you listen to any elite athlete you will hear an almost religious tone to their voice. Words like passion, discipline, and journey are commonplace. We cannot separate our bodies from our souls. This is why women will kill themselves to be thin, why men strive to bulk up and “get big,” why my mind is distracted if I feel fat.

Our bodies will exist into eternity with us, scars and all (John 20:19-29). What we do on earth to and with our bodies matters. Perhaps this is why my spiritual health and my physical health are inextricably tied; when I work out physically, I am also working out my soul. As I train my body with rigor, I am preparing my mind, body, and soul for the rigors of my spiritual life.

“…Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8)