Sometimes we don't realize the amazing things we are capable of. We play it safe or worse, assume that we can't. We come up with excuses like we are not qualified or that we are too old, too out-of-shape or too busy. We stay within our comfort zone - scared to try lest we fail. But marvelous things can happen when we try.
Today marks my one year CrossFit-aversary - a form of exercise I never thought I try, let alone become addicted to because I was a "Runner". It was all the exercise I thought I needed...until that strong, steady pace I managed for years started to slip, and my need for walk breaks increased exponentially.
I also noticed that when I stretched, I could no longer touch my toes, and that I was having a much harder time lifting and carrying boxes at the store. I blamed my increasing weakness on being 45 years old - completely ignoring the fact that my 70 year old dad was still running nearly every day and had 6-pack abs.
Around the same time, a favorite FF peep achieved an awesome 19 minute PR in the half marathon. When I asked her what she did differently to train, she said "CrossFit". I was intrigued especially because this mother of two looked so fit and strong.
Could it work for me? Maybe my slowdown and weaknesses weren't due to "old age". Maybe all those years of running, especially at a comfortable pace, were limiting my fitness. I decided to give this CrossFit thing a try.
On my first day of "Fundamentals Training", I was challenged to do as many rounds as I could in 3 minutes of 7 wall balls, 7 burpees and 7 kettle bell swings. I remembered being completely smoked at 90 seconds as I lay on the floor mid-burpee trying to will myself to get back up.
After intensely analyzing the colored speckles in the black floor mats for about 30 seconds, I was able to get up and managed to finish the second round. Two measly rounds in three minutes?!! I was so disheartened with my performance. My brain told me to give up this nonsense and not come back. But deep in my soul, an ember reignited - the ember that has given me the courage to not quit when things get tough. The ember that embraces failure and spits it back out as success months/years later.
Failing is not a bad thing. It's a part of life. As Alfred tells a young Bruce Wayne in the movie Batman Begins, we fall so "we can learn to pick ourselves up again". Even the most successful people will tell you that they stumbled many times along the way. In fact, much of their success is because they learned from their mistakes and got stronger. If everything in life was easy, you would never get to feel that incredible sense of accomplishment and pride that your hard work paid off. Life would be pretty boring.
So I returned to CrossFit the next day and the next day after that. Two weeks later, burpees were programmed into the workout again. I commented in my workout log "So hard. Still can't do a burpee to save my life". As I leafed through my logbook, I find similar comments about other movements my body hasn't done in years - or at all.
But there are also entries like "Got my first pull-up", "Did a handstand", "Cleaned triple digits", and my favorite: "100-burpees - still freakin' hard, but I didn't give up." These successes land me on Cloud 9 for days and fuel me to keep chipping away at my failures. As another birthday looms, I find joy in touching my toes, being able to run a mile in the 8's again and feeling fit and strong.
This same ember is in you. Don't let the fear of failure prevent you from giving it a try. I can't promise you that the road to success will be smooth and easy, but I can promise you that it will be oh so worth it!
Dare to Be!