Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Last Place...........

I hate coming last.  No matter what I do I hate coming last.  This has been an issue that I have struggled with my entire life.  Something that confronts and challenges me every single day.  I know most of the issue I have with it is stuff within myself and my own inner voices.  If I am honest no one else pays any attention to what or where I finish, just simply the fact I did something hard.
Last June I competed in an event called the King & Queen of the Mountain in Toowoomba.  The event was basically an 8.5k run from the base of a mountain range to a lookout at the top.  The course was basically following the highway up to the top of the range.  Now for this event the highway was not completely closed.  There were traffic control vehicles following the runners and also Police driving along to slow traffic.
Long story short after about 100m from the start I fell to the back of the running pack (there were about 70 runners) and eventually fell some distance behind.  That meant I was making the trip solo up that mountain. Idling along behind me was the traffic control vehicle.  I was not loving anything about this event at that time.  I was ashamed and embarrassed to be last and someone had to sit in a car behind me whilst I made my way slowly along.  The range is very steep so for the most part I was walking.  Shortly into the climb my groin muscle started to be unhappy which made it a painful trek. 
So many times I wanted to just stop and get in the traffic control car or the police car and just quit. I was in tears for a majority of it and hated that once again I was coming last.  I wondered what the cars going past me were thinking.  It was such a hard day.  I did make it to the top and completed the entire run.  I managed to catch some of the walkers who were still ambling along. That event really knocked about my confidence and brought back a lot of childhood stuff about coming last all the time and being teased.
I was going to withdraw from all the other runs I had entered for the year after the way I felt.  There was no worse feeling to me than the feeling of that traffic control truck driving slowly behind me.  In every other event I did last year I was always watchful to ensure I wasn’t anywhere near that truck again and I wasn’t.
It took me a long time to accept when people would congratulate me on getting up that mountain.  All I could see is that I finished dead last and the circumstances around it, how it made me feel about me.  Now after some time I do see it as an achievement. Something that not many other people could say they have done, including all the kids who teased me at school.
I was sent this picture at the time and I still have to consciously remind myself of this.

Last night’s Crossfit WOD initially gave me similar feelings to that run.  It was a hard WOD.
For time
2 rounds
12 Snatch Grip Deadlift – 25kg
9 Hanging Power Cleans – 25kg
6 Push Press – 25kg
500m Hill Run
1 Round
12 Snatch Grip Deadlift – 25kg
9 Hanging Power Cleans – 25kg
6 Push Press – 25kg

I didn’t foresee any issues with the weight movements as I am pretty comfortable with that.  The weight of 25kg was going to be a challenge in the Cleans and Push Press.  The bit that concerned me was the run.  This 500m is 250m downhill along a trail and then turn around and come back up the hill.  This hill is one of the steepest I have ever attempted.  Last time I did it I was carrying 2x7.5kg sandbags in light rain. 
I haven’t been able to do any running due to an inflammatory condition in my right knee. So each time a WOD called for a run or in the warm up I would jump on the rower.  Needless to say my rowing has improved out of sight.  However Sam informed me last night I would be doing the run as most people were pretty much power walking up the hill.
Great.  The class was just I and 2 other guys.  I got through the 2 rounds of the weight movements in not bad time and headed out for the run ahead of one of the guys.
I was just taking the run down easy with a medium paced jog, but it wasn’t long before I was passed by the guys and I knew I was on my own.  The slog back up the hill was intense, burnt into glutes & hammy’s massively and just gasping for air.  I was doing a fast shuffle as opposed to walking.  That 250m seems insanely long.
I eventually made it to the top of the hill and headed as fast as I could back into the box to finish off the last set of weights.  As I hit the doorway I could see both boys had long finished and were packing away their bars.  My heart sank. I really didn’t want to be that far behind everyone else.  I still had to finish the workout. 
And here’s where Crossfit is different.  No one was standing around annoyed I hadn’t finished or waiting to close the doors.  The people who were left were encouraging me to keep going. From my coach Sam to the rest of the crew who were still there.  All the feelings I had felt when I arrived back in the box after the run disappeared.  I focused on getting through each movement as best I could.  It took me 18m31s for that workout and at the end I had absolutely nothing left.  The guys broke down my bar for me and got it squared away which I really appreciated.
I have never found an environment anywhere else where everyone is completely supported and encouraged.  Respected for their efforts and giving all they have.  No one is trying to make anyone feel less or inadequate.  It’s a great thing to see and experience it.
So each day I need to remind myself that whilst I may have challenges and things are hard, I’m not the fastest or strongest, I am still miles ahead of the person sitting on their couch at home.


  1. abso-bloody-lutely!!

    And not long ago, you were one of those people on the couch. You've achieved so much in 18 months, and the options ahead of you and many, varied and worthwhile.

    #legend xx

  2. What great support Lisa. And well done you! Xx