(Written in the middle of the 2013 Open)
Every day it seems, there is a new article about someone who, against all odds, registered for the Open.
This year, I did not register for the Open. And while there may be a million reasons I “should have”, for someone who hasn’t done anything ever, it seems without an announcement on Facebook, allowing this scary experience to be personal and kind of private (for my standards) was the right choice. Until now.
I am really hard on myself. I set up standards I often can’t meet. I think most of us reading this are like that.
It’s much easier to beat myself up, feel bad about my performance and compare myself to the person who did a little better, than it is to be HAPPY with what I have accomplished.
And this year, I have accomplished the impossible. I finally listened to my injured body, stopped beating myself up with constant rounds for time on an inherently unstable platform – me – and worked on strength and Oly. I stopped pushing for the clock and instead worked on skills, technique and heavy lifts in small doses with lots of rest in between. I got healthy. I got strong. I got stable.
And coincidentally, I was ready to come back to CrossFit at the exact time of the Open.
When it was time to register, the internal pressure to click on the screen and send in my $20 was tremendous. EVERYONE was doing it. Pregnant women, people with missing limbs, people who have overcome the impossible and Goddammit, registered for the Open. What, you will not be on the Leaderboard? You will be absent from the public eye? You will not participate in this thing you love for the world to see?
The new, healthy voice inside spoke loudly. ” Do not make your scores part of the public conversation” it implored! Not because I care what you think. Because I am my worst enemy and would be tempted to compare myself again, or still, to others by unreasonable standards. My default position would be, “Hey self, you haven’t trained for CrossFit in 8 months, but why did you suck so bad at that WOD? What is WRONG with you”?
I needed to force myself out of the leaderboard and grow up. The challenge at this time of intense, shared, public celebration of performance is to understand what it feels like to be healthy, and know when to stop, regardless of the clock or the rabbit I am chasing.
The good news is that in week four I have completed each Open WOD and No pain! Anywhere! No problems! It is the first time in almost four years I feel this great!
So if you are one or ten people out there who didn’t “register for the Open against all odds”, and you are quietly celebrating a personal success, or feeling awful because you are injured and cannot – It’s Ok. Sometimes, our most important goals are emotional, have to do with personal growth, and simply cannot be measured by a score on the board.