My First Competition

 

 

In which: many hurdles were successfully hurdled, screams were screamed, pain was felt, and delicious recovery carbs and proteins were consumed following the event.

 

So, over the weekend I accomplished one of my long time goals: I competed in a Crossfit competiton!!!!

 

Yay! Go me!

 

Let me tell you about it.

 

First off, there were five workouts. For those of you who don’t know, one Crossfit workout at regular intensity is enough to send anyone, regardless of fitness level, into fits of “hack-and-groan” breathing on their knees. So you’ve got these five workouts, designed to test the might and speed of the competitors (I’m refraining from calling them athletes because I have mixed feelings on the subject even though I know I competed), each one grueling in it’s own way. I’ll describe them as I get to them as best I can.

 

The competition was hosted by Crossfit Clarksville which happens to be in my hometown. I got to see my best friends while I was there and overall I had a blast. But I digress. Back to the competition!!!

 

It was a team competition and I teamed up with a friend of mine from my box. His name is Bill Borgens. Bill’s a strong dude. I’ve seen him tote a 700 lb yoke around like a backpack. I felt like we had a reasonable chance to podium on our first outing. More on that later, too.

 

WOD 1

12 min AMRAP

800 M run

*then*

25 Deadlifts @ 185 lbs

25 Burpee Box Overs

25 Dumbell Snatches @ 35 lbs

25 Single Under Jump Ropes

(in between movements, the partners must exchange a high-five to trade movements)

 

The judges were announced, our lanes were pointed out, and the workout was explained. This workout didn’t really play to either of our strengths so we decided we’d do what we could, which would put us in good standings because we’re both workhorses.

 

The countdown began. 3 … 2 … 1 … GO! Everyone took off on the half mile run. Before the event took place, even before our training for the competition began in earnest, I had been talking to someone about the smartest way to compete. I remember being told that it isn’t important to start as fast as possible out of the gate. It’s much smarter to find a pace that taxes you, but doesn’t absolutely run you into the ground 5 minutes into a 15 minute workout. That’s what the best do.

 

I wrote that motto on my heart that day.

 

I may not be the strongest, the most athletically gifted, or the most coordinated person, but I am intelligent. Where others may muscle their way through, I have been gifted the ability to strategize and step back and think things through. This is my advantage. This is what will build my strength, feed my athleticism, and help me develop coordination.

 

This attribute I began to apply that week. Pacing myself, thinking my way through every minute of every workout beforehand, finding places to rest or knowing I couldn’t rest if I wanted a good score. My scores improved. I now knew my weaknesses and I could train them harder in order to make them strengths. Slowly I began to improve physically.

 

Apply that to training and now I had a solid strategy for the workouts. I would watch Bill. Whatever he struggled on, I would step it up and muscle through, and if I needed help I would turn to him.

 

Back to the run.

 

I was firmly in last as we started.

 

Bill took off quickly staying firmly in the middle.

 

I watched as the fastest group rounded the bend much sooner than the group in second. I knew if I wanted a chance to place I had to go faster. So I pushed it a little. Not too much. Just enough. I began to overtake Bill and a couple of other runners. I didn’t pass everyone, and that was okay. I passed enough people. ON my way inside to start the rest of the workout, I checked the time. 3:31. I was floored! My fastest time in training was 4:36! I had just shaved a minute off of my half mile time!

 

There was no time to celebrate because not ten seconds later, Bill came running up the ramp. We exchanged high fives and I began repping out deadlifts.

 

I won’t keep play-by-playing this workout because in all honesty, who cares? It’s enough to know that my burpees improved and I had a new PR.

 

We finished the workout and we were firmly in last place.

 

 

WOD 2

My favorite

“HANGTIME”

4 minutes to establish a One Rep Max Hang Clean and Jerk.

 

This workout was the highlight of the event for me. I love Olympic weightlifting. I think it’s a marvelous sport and I get a lot out of the principles and the mechanics. I feel like a weightlifter becomes a magician of sorts. Tricking gravity into doing his/her bidding by throwing one’s body under a loaded barbell containing 2 or 3 times the lifter’s bodyweight safely. Magic.

 

Needless to say, I’m passionate about it.

 

I knew I wanted to hit a new PR here as well.

 

I wanted to put 225 lbs on that bar and clean and jerk it. I wanted to put that bar overhead as easily as lifting a child.

 

The workout begins. Bill and I change our strategy on the fly (A recurring theme during these workouts). Instead of trying to establish two different max efforts, we would each try the same weight until one of us failed. Our opening weight was 165 lbs.

 

Both succeed.

 

185 lbs.

 

Both succeed.

 

205 lbs.

 

Both succeed, but this weight felt the heaviest. This felt dangerous. My form suffered a little bit and I felt a little rattled.

 

225 goes on the bar. My goal. A mental block now sits on the bar. I ignore it. I rub chalk on my hands. I address the bar the EXACT. SAME. WAY that I had addressed the rest and I raise the bar to mid height (the hang position, hence “hang clean and jerk”). I pause. I don’t let the weight get to me. I dip slightly, knees forward, chest up, eyes up, and I pull …

 

What seems like an eternity only lasts 2 seconds, and before I know it, I’ve caught this barbell in the bottom of a front squat and I stand up. I’m so happy, but I can’t allow myself to rest yet. I’ve still got one more movement to go. I reset my hands to allow them to sit comfortably under the bar. I pause, take a breath in, dip, drive annnnndddd …

 

IT’S A SUCCESSFUL LIFT!!!

 

I slammed the bar down.

Honestly, everything else could have gone terribly and I would have been over the moon.

 

I beat my mind. My old adversary.

 

I can’t tell you how I feel when these things happen, but it’s sort of like an affirmation that all of the work I’m doing is worth it. That these promises given to me by who I think is God, and his words to me, were true and worthy of following which sounds insane but if you have any anxiety at all I’m sure that makes some sense.

 

The third and final of the five workouts that I want to talk about was:

 

WOD 3

24-21-18-15-12

Calories on the rower

Thrusters at 95 lbs

Pull-ups

 

This workout was our biggest hurdle because Bill and I can’t do pull-ups.

 

Oh, not for lack of trying! We’ve both been working really hard to be able to do them, but

we were both over 300 lbs at one point in our lives (both of us pushing 400) and I guess it’s victory enough that both of us are now under the 300 lb mark … but man we really wanted to do pull-ups.

 

We agonized over this workout. We knew if we didn’t do it as prescribed we couldn’t podium, or rather, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to podium. Bill was more upset about that than I was. He argues for days with the owner of the gym until we finally settled on a solution. We’d bust out the calories and the thrusters as fast as we could, and in the remaining time we would work on pull-ups. Who knew? Maybe we’d get one.

 

We followed the game plan and then we got to the pull-ups. I was determined to at least try. I didn’t care if I got one, I just wanted to try.

 

I did a strict chin-up. I did a strict over-underhand pull-up. I tried to do a strict pull-up and I struggled. I couldn’t get it. I dropped, heaving from the bar and looked back up at it. If I couldn’t do strict, I would try kipping.

 

Kipping is a gymnastics term and it basically means that you use the momentum in your legs and hips to thrust your body upwards. It’s meant to accomplish more reps in a shorter amount of time.

 

I’ve never even attempted to kip.

 

So i did. I swung as hard as I could and the Judge said “that’s good”. I dropped off the bar elated! I just did my first pull-up!!

I proceeded to do 24 more during the workout.

 

That was the biggest win of the day.

 

 

The rest of the day was eventful and exhausting and I was happy when it ended. Happy because I achieved some long sought after goals, happy because I could stop exercising, and happy because my family and loved ones were there supporting me.

 

I hope you feel encouraged when you read this. I hope you know that hard work does pay off and while you may not win championships every time, you can at least accomplish your personal goals and make yourself content in the meantime.

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What to Do, What to Do

I don’t know what I want to do with my days on this earth.

 

I really don’t.

 

I’m 25 and I want to do something but I don’t know what I want to do.

 

I know I want to help people.

 

So … now what?

 

What do I do?

 

There’s tons of options for me, right?

 

I could be a volunteer, serve regularly at my church, or go back to school and get a master’s degree in something I want to pursue further. Maybe I could open a restaurant or really go for it and start pursuing comedy full time … but what if I don’t want to do those things yet? Or what if I don’t want to do them at all?

 

This is the dilemma I find myself in.

 

I really like acting. It’s so fulfilling and I think I’m decent at it and I like the idea of traveling around like some kind of carnival worker and telling stories. I really like improv. It’s a wonderful way to dig into the dirt of human emotion in hopes of finding diamonds in your imagination but even if you don’t it was still fun to play in the mud.

 

I love inspiring people and talking to people about their goals and dreams. Even if I haven’t accomplished my own yet.

 

I really like working out. I love warming up and preparing to sweat and the feel of a barbell or dumbells. I like stretching and I like the drive to push my body to new limits and discover new reserves of strength. I wouldn’t mind training to become some kind of fitness athlete (trying really hard to avoid the “C” word.). To be on the stage and prove myself against any and all comers. I know I could do it.

 

Well, okay, maybe I’ve got a few ideas … but still …

 

I’m directionless. I feel rudderless. Or not rudderless, but stuck at this branching waterway and each path is filled with roaring water and bright sunshine and shade.  And it sucks. The one thing they don’t tell you when you graduate college is that there’s nothing once you finish. No syllabus, no clubs, no productions, nothing. There’s a big long stretch of road labelled “YOUR LIFE”, and you’ve just left the on ramp, and your phone just died, you don’t have gps, and there’s no gas station for 20 miles, and there’s a thick fog, and everyone you meet is deaf and dumb and blind and—

 

Scared yet?

I am.

 

Too many analogies?

 

Don’t make me laugh.

 

I’m terrified. I am terrified and I feel secluded in my brain and I don’t really know what to do.

 

And believe me, I have heard the cliches. I have heard the platitudes and the uncomfortable pauses in conversation.

 

“You’ve just got to trust God.”

 

“You’ll figure it out.”

 

“You’re 25. You’ve got time.”

 

Well, that’s cool and all, but it does not help. Not in the long run.

It’s nice to hear, and comforting every now and then, but it does nothing solid.

 

I think people give those bits of advice because they honestly don’t know what to say, but they’re afraid if they stay quiet, they’ll explode, or I’ll explode, or the world will explode because they really do want to help.

 

Or maybe they’re afraid of silence.

 

Or maybe they’re afraid of not being heard.

 

Whatever the problem is, it’s okay.

 

I’ll figure something out.

 

I’ve got options.

 

The options scare the conservative people I love, and sometimes they even scare me, but they’re there. Maybe I’ll be a successful performer who meets tons of people and makes the world feel better and smile a bit more, or maybe I’ll teach and inspire others to go out there and fill their cups with passion and contentment and fulfillment. Maybe I’ll preach the Word from a pulpit, or in a wet, rainy, dirt-floored church filled with happy people just wanting to hear an inspiring word. Maybe I’ll finally be super fit and get a training license and help other people reach their personal fitness goals and in so doing find some of my own self-worth along the way. Maybe I’ll compete in more fitness competitions and find my platform there. Idk. Maybe I’m too modern for my own good.

 

Maybe I’ll try and fail at all of those things time and time again.

 

Maybe I should just take it one day at a time and not stress myself out.

 

Maybe I should stop asking everyone else “What do you think?” and make a decision for myself and actually pursue something wholeheartedly like I did when I was in school.

 

I don’t know.

 

Until I do, I’ll keep driving with my fog-lights on.

“Not Yet.”

I hate being told no.

 

I don’t like being told to wait.

 

I definitely don’t like having to trust someone else that everything’s going to work out for the best.

 

So, I must be really good at that part of being a Christian, right?

 

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH

 

*Gut busting laughter continues for additional thirty minutes. Like seriously, too long. How it’s managed to with continue without killing me, no one knows.*

 

*Sighing* Oh, that was good. Was it good for you? Man, I don’t get to laugh like that much.

 

Seriously though, I’m terrible when I’m told no. I’m infuriated when I’m told to wait, and I behave positively childish when you pair the two together. So you can imagine that it’s been a rough couple of years for me.

 

There have been two dominating passions steering my life for four or five years now and they’ve been so frustrating that I almost gave up on many occasions.

 

Boy, am I glad I didn’t

 

First Passion: A New Vehicle.

 

I think I’ve written before about my experiences with homelessness and depression/anxiety. If not, leave a comment and I’ll make sure to write that story down someday for you. Part of those experiences caused me to lose my car and it’s been 4 years since that day. 4 years I prayed and pleaded with God to give me a vehicle. He didn’t do it the way I wanted. He said no. He gave me a 1999 Buick Lesabre with over 200, 000 miles on it. He gave me a vehicle that caused me to wince every time I tried to turn it over. I had to trust him every single time I sat in that car and I wasn’t grateful for it as much as I should’ve been. I knew I had to get a new car, but I kept hearing God say “not yet”. I hated hearing that. I didn’t want to hear “not yet”, I wanted to hear “Sure! What model would you like?” I was so impatient. I was so worried. I couldn’t drive to see my family or friends, it was six months to a year in between visits. It was so hard on me, and I kept hearing God say “no”.

 

I wish I could tell you that I accepted the “no” and waited patiently.

 

I’d laugh like I did earlier but my throat hurts.

 

I whined every day of those four years, and I was genuinely angry at God. Why me, Lord? What did I do? Still I heard the whisper “Not yet.”

 

I tried to save money. I just wanted a thousand dollars. I tried to save in small increments, large increments, silly increments, etc. Without fail, every month, after depositing some sum of money into a savings account, I would pull that money that was supposed to be meant for a car, and shoved it into the leaking hole in the ship of my life. Bills, emergencies, behind on the rent, you name it. And it frustrated me everytime. WHY NOT YET????

 

Haven’t I suffered enough?

 

(My privilege is showing)

 

Finally, after four years, I was given, not able to save, not earned, but given, enough money for a down payment on a vehicle. After a long wait and being turned down once (That is also a story for another time) I left a car dealership with a 2016 Jeep Patriot.

 

I’m still not sure it’s mine. I still look at it and feel like I’m going to have to return it … but the truth is, after being told “no” and “not yet” by God over and over, and feeling like a failure and complaining and straining against a system that seems deadset against working with me or for me, God came through.

 

God came through. Not me. Not my efforts (and I exerted a lot of effort). God did it. Not for me, but for the story. For His glory and purposes, and maybe that’s enough of a reason for now. IF anything, I’ve learned some of the secret of contentment. Philipians 4:12-13 (NIV) “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.I have learned the secret to being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”
Note: I know I said two passions. The other is losing weight and being shredded. That’s another thing I feel like I’m being told “not yet” on. It’s frustrating too but I talk about it so much and I just felt like I needed to make a shorter post. It’s been a while. How y’all doin?