Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Finding my Inner Athlete

The day finally arrived where I was to compete in my first Crossfit Games day.  It is a long held goal and one I thought would still be a while away before I felt competent enough to give it a go.
The day was a charity fundraiser at Crossfit Never Quit down at Prestons in NSW.  I was encouraged to enter as there was just one WOD to be done & was a good way to get an experience of what they are like.
I was pretty nervous and apprehensive in the days leading up to the event. A lot of unknowns. Saturday morning they published the WOD:
15min AMRAP
3 Front Squat (40kg)
6 pull ups
9 kettlebell swings (16kg)
12 box jumps (20in)

Also it was announced that all movements were scalable. That made me feel a little bit better about participating.  I knew I could do the front squat & kb’s Rx and would just need to scale the pull ups and box jumps.  Mind you in saying that I knew I could Rx the weighted movements, I have never done a high number of reps at those weights.
Travelled down with 3 of the CFP girls, Mei, Theresa & Kim.  These guys are awesome to be around.  They train with such intensity and give it everything, they support and encourage me endlessly and we also have a good laugh as well.   Once there we met up with fellow CFPer Henry & caught up with Nicole & Matt. We set up our little area and started warming up. Mei was first up at 9am and I was next at 920am for my heat.  I was really nervous.
We went in to watch Mei do her WOD and she was smashing it. About halfway through I went back outside to finish my warm up.  I ran some laps up the driveway and went through the stretches and mobility work, letting out a bit of nervous energy.
Soon enough my heat was being called. Time to go pick an area to workout and get it set up.  I had a spot about halfway down the row.  Made sure I had the right weight on the bar & met my judge.  Explained to her I would be scaling the pull ups and the box jumps.  She was cool to help me get into my bands for the pull ups, which is something I have yet to master.

Before I knew it the clock was counting down and it was 3….2…..1….GO
Automatic pilot kicked in & I stepped up to the bar & got started.  I wasn’t aware of much as was just trying to pump through the movements.  I could hear the CFP girls encouraging me and they stood around my area pushing me on.  Adrenaline had kicked in and I smashed through 2 rounds quite quickly, I was however dying badly. But it’s amazing how you can keep pushing in this environment. 

Even the judge is cheering you on and pushing you to keep going. Such a unique experience. The CFP girls were amazing with their encouragement & support, especially ‘Coach’ Mei who really keeps me going.  Reminding me to keep my head up and switch legs in the step ups.  When you’ve got that kind of support you don’t want to stop even when everything in your body is begging for a break.
Soon enough, although it felt like an eternity at the time, the 15mins was up.  I was completely spent & shattered. But I was really proud of what I had done.  It was a big thing for me to put myself out there in a competitive environment.  I felt awesome after the exhaustion had passed.  I felt like it was one of my biggest achievements to date.

The one thing about me is that I am extremely self critical of everything I do.  I pick all my results to pieces pointing out all the areas I could improve. I am pretty brutal on myself.  When I turned up to running events last year I always felt like a bit of a fraud, that I wasn’t a runner or I didn’t belong there. I was too slow or heavy.  I compared myself endlessly to other people. And once the event was completed I would have spent a large portion of it having a go at myself and then looking at how ‘poorly’ I had performed by my standards.  All my friends and supporters would be proud of me and whilst I would have a small sense of achievement, I never really got why.  Compared to them what I had done was nothing in distance or time.  I never understood why they could be so excited for my results.
I have the medals from all my running events last year hanging up in my lounge room. But to be honest when I look at them I don't feel a sense of achievement. I feel like a fraud, like I did nothing to deserve them. And yes I know they were achievements for me to complete them but I have never embraced them. Even turning up for the events I felt like a pretender standing there.
But something totally different happened on Sunday after the games day.  When I looked back on the event I was completely happy with my effort. Yes I wasn’t the fastest or most proficient, but I did give it everything I had.  I didn’t hold back.  When I rested it wasn’t for more than a second or two.  I believe for the first time in as long as I can remember I was truly & honestly proud of what I had done.  When I arrived at the venue I didn’t feel self conscious about my size or ability, I felt like I belonged.  I didn’t feel the need to justify my result by saying ‘oh I scaled’ or downplaying it.  I walked around the box getting familiar with the set up and it felt good to be there.  I chatted to other people participating, watched other heats & cheered on people I don’t even know.
Last week in Melbourne I had a tattoo done on my forearm.  It simply says: I Am Enough.  However those simple words are a powerful statement and reminder to me.  It’s taken a long time but I am coming to the realisation that I Am Enough & I don’t need to be defined by anyone else. I define myself by my efforts & commitment.

I wandered around all day and not once did I question what the hell was I doing. There were some incredibly fit people rocking around but there were also people like me. Not elite athletes, just people trying to do the best they can.  We were all accepted and respected equally on the basis of our efforts.  Awesome. 
I loved standing there giving back to the CFP crew the support they had given me. Pushing them through their heats, cheering and yelling support.  Seeing them give it everything was inspiring and as always watching them gives me goals to chase and aspire to be like that.  They have such an amazing work ethic, striving to acquire new and better skills all the time. Yet always having time to support & encourage everyone around them.  Fantastic & I am lucky to count them as friends.
The change in my mental approach and focus has been huge.  Normally when I train I am visualising fat cells burning off or kilos disappearing. However last night as I tuned into my thoughts during the WOD they were totally different.  I was thinking this is how athletes train, you’re an athlete now, you need to train harder for your events.  I was thinking of the next 2 games days I have since entered, one in QLD in May and one in June at Newcastle.
I am now also wondering if this new found acceptance of myself will flow over to others areas where I have previously struggled.  Maybe I could go back to running and might find I do it with a kinder and quieter mind.  My goal in the next couple of months is to work with a PT who specialises in running and see how it goes.  It’s still something I want to conquer and if my brain is on my side for a change it might be possible.  I might even be a calmer golfer once I get back into that!! Miracles do happen
Later I thought about my shift in thought patterns. I have been a little concerned about what I will use to push myself when I am not trying to lose weight. I am a goal driven person and need something to push for otherwise I will fall into a heap & do nothing. This shift in mindset could be a very good tool for switching my focus to something else for me to strive towards.  To get better at events I need to get fitter and improve all aspects of my movements.  This will be the focus that will stop me going backwards.  Giving me something to work towards.  It’s come at a very good time.
I am entering the last couple of weeks now for the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation so my focus is squarely on doing all I can to reach my weight loss goals.  I am close to my goal weight and it’s a number I want to hit. Although I know when I hit it, based on physical size will probably reassess. I have my final DEXA scan next week and am massively excited to see the improvement from 12 weeks ago and also 6 weeks ago.  I can see and feel the changes in my body but nothing like a bit of cold hard science to back it up!
People have been very generous in their recognition & praise for my achievements so far.  Sometimes it is hard to see yourself as others do and it’s something I struggle with.  I have had some awesome comments on  FB and the 12WBT forums about how others are inspired by what I do to go try new things themselves.  For me it’s seeing people stretch themselves and achieve things they never thought possible that inspire me.
The circle continues………….

1 comment:

  1. Well done Lisa! I know that feeling of being a fraud all to well.
    Need to stop comparing and just be happy to improve myself