Last week I started a new series of guest blogs with some of my friends from CrossFit South Kingstown to explore the biggest lessons they’ve learned in their time at CrossFit. Today’s guest post is from my friend (more about that later in her post) Kerin. Here’s what I can tell you about Kerin…CrossFit is hard, and when I’m in the middle of a WOD, I usually can’t focus on anything else except not dying. But when Kerin is in class, she has a way of making snarky, funny comments that can make me laugh even when I feel like I’m about to die. So I’m happy to present her guest post, and I’m pretty sure you might get a laugh out of it like I did!
CrossFit: Good Grief
When I was first asked to write about what CrossFit has taught me I had recently finished a WOD that I believe, no I know, was torture. I realized something about myself during that workout. I was following an emotional pattern that most, if not all human beings do when faced with impending death. This pattern is known as the Kebler-Ross 5 Stages of Grief. For my fellow Box-mates, I thought I would apply these emotions to a Crossfit workout. You may find this information helpful during a future WOD.
The first emotion within the 5 stages of Grief is Denial, or attempting to shut out the reality of the situation. A perfect example of this is someone thinking they can complete 160 thrusters (more on that later). The second emotion, and my personal favorite, is Anger. You know you are in the anger phase when you keep repeating to yourself, over and over, “Why me? This isn’t fair!” while asking the Coach, out loud, “Sweet niblets am I going to die?!?!?” Third on the list is Bargaining, easily identified as “I will do anything, anything to stop this (insert tortuous WOD or single movement here). Fourth, sadly, is Depression. You know you have reached this point when you softly chant to yourself “What’s the point? Why bother? I don’t even know how many reps I’ve done”. And lastly, Acceptance: “I can’t fight it, so I might as well prepare for it. I can do anything for 8 minutes; at least I am not going to die”.
Now lest you think I am making up the application of the 5 stages of CrossFit Grief, I share a recent example of said application. True story.
As with most torturous WODs, I found the closest person in the box to complain to. On this particular morning the target of my angry affections was Keith. I was about to begin my 160 thrusters. Yes, I said One. Hundred. And. Sixty. Thrusters. I recall telling Keith, in a snarky tone, that he should have warned me about this WOD and how there was no way I could pull this one off (Denial). Clearly he had set me up to fail by not warning me ahead of time. As usual, Keith was full of encouragement and support and may have even thrown a “you got this” at me. I thought to myself, “well he must think I can do it or he wouldn’t have said that, so maybe I can do it?”(A little more Denial here). And so off I went.
At around my 8th thruster….yes, my 8th out of One. Hundred. And. Sixty Thrusters. I turned to Keith and said, “You and I are no longer friends” (Anger). Confused, Keith put down the 3754lbs that he was currently hang cleaning and compassionately said “you got this” (Denial on Keith’s part….see you can apply it to everyone at the box). I continued with my thrusters. I may have been on number 10….yes 10 out of One. Hundred. And. Sixty Thrusters. I started to tell myself that if I could just get to 20, I could, and would, stop. I remember thinking maybe Keith would do a few of these for me and donate the rep my way. I would pay him to do so – cash money (Bargaining). But I didn’t ask because I was either too afraid to ask, or too tired to open my mouth. Probably both. A few more thrusters and I became sad (Depression). Just sad. I remember thinking that thrusters are for CrossFitters, and I wish some CrossFitters would show up and help me out. I am basically a nice person. I even clearly remember wondering how I ever got myself into this? What was I thinking? Just drop the bar and run. But I don’t run. So I stayed.
At thruster number 12, yes 12 out of….you get the point….I remember hearing, faintly, a voice in the distance “You got this Kerin”. It was from my old friend Keith. My friend who I had completely disowned during the anger phase of my WOD. When I heard that voice, that light in the darkness, I recall saying to myself, ”Well I’m already here, and I already did 12 of these soul crushing lifts…what’s 148 more?” (Acceptance). I stood there and finished my thrusters next to my new/old friend Keith, who it should be noted, I forgave. Because that’s what you do in the acceptance phase. You forgive.
So what has Crossfit taught me? It has taught me I can improve myself and push through my limits. It has taught me that not only will I survive the workout, I will be better for it and I will never regret having done it. But most importantly, it has taught me that Grief is temporary and that there is nothing better than beginning your day finishing something you were afraid to start.