Daring Greatly - My First CrossFit Competition

A few weeks ago, I did something previously unthinkable: I participated in a CrossFit competition at my gym.  Before anyone freaks out, this was a "just for fun" deal - and there's no Rhabdomyolysis in my future or anything like that.  But it was a big deal for me, because I was pretty dang terrified of the whole concept.

I don't love being looked at and judged, especially when I'm getting down to the sweaty business of working hard.  I do CrossFit for me, as a challenge for myself alone.  I like beating my own PRs and times, but I'm not really about competing against others.  My perfectionism often gets in the way of enjoying such pursuits, because if I don't do as well as everyone else I beat myself up about it for days.

You have to understand, sometimes even the "fun" things are hard for me because of this fear -- fear of failing, of looking stupid, of being embarrassed.  Even within the context of our gym, with people I know, I was feeling the fear intensely.

But my training partner really wanted to do it, and my coaches talked me into it.  For one thing, we would be signing up for the "Scaled" version, not the "Rx" version, meaning the movements and weights were well within my reach.  And if my Plantaris kicked up, I could figure it out along the way. 

Mostly though, my partner reminded me, the victory was in showing up, in facing my fear to try something new, to compete, to see how we stacked up. 

In mentally preparing for this challenge, I was reminded of this quote:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
— Theodore Roosevelt

This quote really hit my gut.  It moved my hand on the board to sign up.  Ultimately, I figured, even if I look stupid, even if everyone thinks I'm weak or fat or ungainly, even if I can't do any of the movements and the competition is a wash, I'm still showing up.  I'm daring greatly.  And there's honor in that.  Showing up engenders respect. 

So how did it go, you might wonder?

Well, actually, we came in 2nd.

Team Finish, on the podium.  From "Daring Greatly - My First CrossFit Competition"

Team Finish, on the podium.  From "Daring Greatly - My First CrossFit Competition"

I totally didn't think that would happen.  But, we both busted ass on the Thrusters, the first movement, positioning ourselves in 1st place.  Then we came in 2nd place on the second movement, a MetCon with jumping pull-ups, box jumps, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, rowing, and wall balls.  It was the last movement, a relay with sandbag cleans as a buy-in, that we fell behind, but you know what?  I can live with that.  Running and jumping are the movements that take longest to come back after a calf injury -- the fact that I was running at all during a competition is magic.

I'm so glad I showed up.  It's changed the way I think about CrossFit.  I realized that I let fear guide me a lot of the time, and that it's a waste of energy.  I need to try new things, and try hard, and keep moving even when it's really difficult. 

I noticed this week too that I've stopped fronting in a lot of ways -- I don't complain, I don't go light on weights, I've stopped apologizing for myself.  I show up and do my work.  And that feels really damn good.