Injuries have been a part of my entire life. From broken collar bones, to separated rotator cuffs, to strained ligaments, to boxer’s fractures. I’d love to sit here moaning and complaining about how they’re the worst experience in the world, but the truth is some of life’s most valuable lessons are learnt from injuries. At least that’s what I’m telling myself at this current time.
Several days before 15.1 was announced during warm-up, I strained a muscle in my lower back. I thought it was nothing and trained through it. It had been bothering me the weeks prior but with the Open nearing I wanted to push through it. Shortly after the workout I knew it was a mistake. My back tightened up and with it my patience ran out.
I was immediately frustrated. At myself, at the timing, especially at the fact that I had been injury-free for only 6 weeks. I continued asking myself, “why does this always happen to me”? Then when I failed to provide myself an answer, I’d ask my close friends. Their response was something like, “JT, you’re fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants crazy, you love to go fast and push hard”. The words of my friends were true and I couldn’t deny the fact that I live a radical lifestyle and can’t sit still more than half a day.
I visited my Registered Massage Therapist, saw my physiotherapist and spent any chance I had lying on my lacrosse ball and foam rolling, trying to gain some relief. I was overwhelmed with thoughts of what Thursday’s workout would bring. Wondering if it’d be something I’d be able to push through and still do well...like a marathon row; yeah right, dream on pal!
The Day of the CrossFit Open 15.1 Arrives
Finally the day had come. The clock hit 5PM, my social media blew up and as I drove home from work listening to my phone streaming through my speakers my heart sank; 15.1 had been announced and everything about it made me want to stomp my feet like a child who was denied dessert.
The first workout of the Open was one that was sure to put strain on a weak lower back. Even worse, it was one I knew I could crush if I was 100%. The inevitable truth was bitter and hard to accept. This year’s open would be a write-off. At best, I could put up a low score something like last year’s.
After spending my Friday sulking and beating myself up for putting so much emphasis on something then blowing it before it started I decided I had some rationing to do. I began asking myself “Was everything I worked for really over? Did I expect to make it to regionals? Would I be this upset if my numbers or my results were seen by no one but myself?” My answer to all these questions was No. So I asked myself one last question that helped me over the hump, “am I still doing this for me, or have I been caught in trying to reach and fulfill the expectations of others?
Why DO You CrossFit?
I know, DEEP, right? You thought you were going to be reading about CrossFit, The Open, how to kick-ass and whether or not to touch and go your snatches, or do them in singles. Truth of the matter is this is completely relevant to CrossFit. If you asked “how” or “why” then you, my friend, are lost. I can safely say that many of those I train with are CrossFitters for self-satisfaction and do it to feed the constant hunger for growth and becoming better than you are today. However on the flip-side I’ve met people in this CrossFit game who are only worried about where they stack up against the next person.
The minute we worry about what he’s doing or what she’s lifting, we’ve lost the beauty in why we strive for constant improvement.
CrossFit offers an incredible community, a community that is built on consistent growth. This community is made up of people that are just as happy when their training partner hit’s a PR then if they did themselves. This comradery and team spirit is what I love; the feeling of being with family when you train and the mental support when you feel so beaten down.
Moving Past 15.1
By this point if you’re competing in the Open, you’ve done 15.1. Whatever your score, whatever your outcome, remember why you did it. Remember why you are even involved in this crazy lifestyle called CrossFit. If you did it for other people, that’s cool, I hope you one day realize that their opinion matters about as much as yours does for them or someone else. It’s not changing who they are right? So why should their opinion change you?
If you did it for the sake of increase in physical capacity and growth in confidence, then I assure you, no matter how many reps, no matter how many rounds, you are successful.
For me, at three rounds I wanted to call it. My back was tight, and even though it wasn’t bugging me at the time, I knew it’d make me pay later. I decided to muscle out an extra round. It wasn’t pretty as I’m pretty sure my butt grew from compensating for my lower back. After 4 rounds, I took my time with the Clean and Jerk. I knew I wasn’t hitting a PR, nor was I going to even attempt my 1RM.
When I left the gym, I was happy with the outcome. No, I didn’t do what I could’ve if I was feeling 100% but in life, we’re not always 100%. We have to make do with what we have. We must know when to fight the good fight, and when to throw in the towel. Above all, we mustn’t forget why we do that we do and who we do it for. Go with confidence, in the direction of constant improvement. As long as you are happy with your output, nothing else matters.
15.2 is here. Get some active rest, brush up on some skills and go in ambitious no matter the task. Love yourself and love your team.
See you next week, JT.