Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Weakness is the new Strength

My favourite quote is:

Over recent weeks I am starting to see that within myself.  I have a strong will to push through, particularly physical challenges.
I have had trainers say to me in the past that I have an incredible drive just to get through the work ahead of me. I might not be the fastest or the strongest but I keep going. But I have never really seen that within myself.
But I am starting to now. I’ve been put through some hard sessions  and I haven’t stopped I have kept pushing even when every ounce of me wants to stop.
On Saturday I was in QLD and went to train with the CrossFit North Lakes crew.  Their first session was their training for Stampede and involved a guest trainer, Tom Law and then the CrossFit session afterwards. The sessions were down on the beach and it was a stunning morning to be out training in the fresh air.
Big morning for me as only had about 3hrs sleep before being up and heading off to the sessions. Belinda & her crew are awesome and I love the chance to train with them. Makes it all worthwhile.
Tom’s session started with some warm up sprints on the beach, then we did some drills and activities with Medicine Balls in teams. Was fun yet challenging. Then the main part of the workout was announced ‘we would be going on a bit of a run’ – carrying a big arse rope between us all.  I thought this should be ok. I mean it’s not like we’d be running very far now is it? Wrong
The return trip for the run was pretty close to 5k and all on the sand. Tom would randomly call people out to drop to the sand and do 10 push ups. Then you would have to sprint back to rejoin the rope which continued its journey.

Before we started The run was really tough. Mentally and physically. People dropped off the rope from time to time and I so desperately wanted to drop off but I kept hanging on. The pace wasn’t fast but it wasn’t a walk either but it was relentless.  At one point I did drop off the rope as I couldn’t get my breathing rhythm and wound up with a stitch. But I was only off the rope for about 5mins and kept jogging behind it till I caught up.  It would have been easy for me to drop back and walk it out but I wanted to stay on it.
I stuck with it right to the end and the last hundred or so metres up the beach were so hard. We picked up the pace to get it done but I was struggling. But we got it done and completed the run. I was really stoked with myself that I managed to complete that run.  I know full well had I not been doing the work on my running with Tash it never would have happened.  I wouldn’t have lasted more than a few hundred metres or I would have feigned injury so as to avoid the run. Another example of the hard work paying off.
The rest of the workout involved team relays up & down the sand with logs either held overhead or crawling along on our bellies.  It was a challenging session but I did enjoy it. Short break them back onto the sand for CrossFit. 

Bel’s workouts brought their own raft of challenges including being waist deep out in the cold ocean then crawling back up the sand. A delightful experience. The WOD’s were team or partner based and I had great partners all morning. Loved the sessions and once again the chance to push myself out of my comfort zone by working with others and not allowing myself to feel self conscious about my ability.
Had a 1:1 session with my coach James and it was brutal. Lots if strength stuff mixed but gut busting intensity. Death By Clean & Jerk was a highlight and I don’t have the words to describe the feeling of joy the finisher met con of Rowing & Burpees gave me!
But some of the movements showed where I had some deficiencies. Weaknesses if you will.  James had me do some front squats and was surprised when I told him what my 1RM was in relation to back squat and why.  I tend to tilt forward in the squat and struggle to keep my elbows high enough to drive the movement. So first piece of homework to work on the mobility and also midline and core strength.
Then he had me attempt a slow controlled snatch balance position with the bar behind my head. I say attempt as I managed 2 very dodgy looking reps. He got me to do some front squats with just the poly pipe and I could do it fine but add weight and I am screwed. Lose balance and range of motion. So we did some overhead presses to build strength through my back and shoulder. These are now part of my homework to do when I get to class early.  Building strength there will help me with all movements from pull-ups to thrusters-basically anything overhead.  And it’s my overhead strength that does need work.  It has improved a lot but now’s the time to really focus on building it up.
I saw this picture yesterday and it was a quote James had said to me in our first session when I said that wall balls were a big dread of mine. 

And then last night’s session turned into working on weaknesses.  
It’s now what I intend to do. Beat my weaknesses to death. By improving what I suck at not only will I become a better all round athlete but the stuff I am good at and enjoy will also improve. 
I’ve already done it to a degree with my running. I hated it, dreaded it and if I am honest had a big degree of fear over it. But I decided I had to suck it up and do something about it, turns out it was one of the best decisions I have made as I now find it rewarding when I see the improvements.  The work is hard and it does still challenge me, it’s not easy. But I get out there and do my sessions and try as hard as I can.  I need to do this with some other movements that challenge and intimidate me or are uncomfortable. Work on them, guided by my coaches as I have with my running, do the hard ugly rehabby type stuff & when necessary strip it right back to basics before moving forward again. 
This year has had a theme of working through the hard ugly stuff and coming out with new strength and mastering a weakness. Both physically & emotionally. I’m now beginning to embrace the process rather than finding it hard work. From the hottest fires the strongest metals are formed, and that’s how I am beginning to view my life and all that has happened.  I am still in that fire but I am forging a strong resilient version of myself, building from the ground up.
Weakness is the new strength.

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