This is how I felt on Saturday last week. That moment when you realize you aren’t getting what you wanted. The moment you just want to curl up in a ball and cry, because things didn’t go your way.
It’s not often that I feel like this whenever I compete at athletic events. Normally, I just cruise in to the finish, and no matter how poorly I perform, I still can come up smelling like roses. That’s what hard work and talent can do for you. Even on the worst days you can still pull something out of your ass, and walk away with a prize. And then I decided to focus on something new, something I had NO skill at, something that short women rule….CrossFit.
I came out of this years CrossFit Open sitting at 52 in the world in my age group. Actually higher than I had hoped to be this year, and I should have known that it was too good to last. Because after all…..this is CrossFit. Where new and exciting workouts that ARE NOT IN YOUR WHEELHOUSE are going to be thrown at you for the Games Qualifier Competition.
For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about it’s a fairly simple process. The OPEN: You have to do 5 workouts (1 a week) that everyone in the world has to do in your age group. How you score in all those workouts gives you your final Open score. Then you go on to the Games Qualifier round, where you have to do 4 workouts in 4 days. The top 20 in each age group wins a slot to go to the CrossFit Games. It’s sort of like the Olympics of CrossFit, but without all the commercialization and the spending of millions of dollars to create new stadiums, etc.
To be top 20 in the world in anything is pretty awesome. To go to the Games? It’s harder to get here than to get to the World Triathlon Ironman Championships in Hawaii. At least in Triathlon you only have to do three skills, but in CrossFit they throw in all sorts of fun stuff.
Back to my pouty face, and how this relates to everyone.
Short story is that I had to do a workout that included 40 hand stand pushups from the ground. Before this weekend I had ZERO handstand pushups from the ground. In fact, last year at this time I had a hard time even getting my freaking feet on the wall. So when I got three of them done I was excited. Then I spent over 20 more minutes beating my head on the ground, until I decided that the other 37 weren’t going to happen. This meant that I had to put a big fat ZERO on the score card. Basically sinking my chances of moving up the food chain in the world of CrossFit. Either way I had to pull up my big girl panties and finish the other three workouts. To add insult to injury the last workout I was scheduled to do involved 100 dumbell snatches, 80 calorie row, and 60 bar facing burpees (where you have to jump over the weight bar), and then 40 muscle ups. There are no muscle ups in my repertoire (yet) so this means I had to do the first three movements as fast as possible to at least save some grace for this part of the competition.
I have an engine, and I was pretty happy with how I did here and the two other workouts, but I still finished in 71st for the year.
It’s not often when I have had to DNF a race (let alone a workout). When it happens that little six year old inside of you wants to throw a tantrum. You get all dark, you crawl into your own head like it was a closet, and hope that no one sees you cry. And then you have to slap yourself because you know that things are NOT always going to go your way. Something is always there to trip you up, and take you down a notch. You have to celebrate what you HAVE accomplished.
You have to walk away from it knowing that you gave it your best at that given time…..and the best wasn’t good enough.
I’ve worked with athletes who have flown to far away places, only to have to drop out of a race due to uncontrollable issues. Nothing that they could have done to change what was handed to them on that given day. I can sit there in my quarterback chair and contemplate how things MIGHT have gone differently, but let’s face it…..until you are THERE living in that person’s shoes at that given time? You have no idea. It’s a decision that we all have to face, not just in our sporting lives, but also in our daily lives.
We don’t always get what we want. The best thing we can do though is to OWN our decisions, and to know that we made the correct choice in those given circumstances.
I am really happy with how I approached my season (from a position of strength versus feeling like I didn’t do enough), and how I stayed focused and stayed strong. I’ve learned so many things these past three years in terms of skills and coaching that even with my big fat zero this year, I know that I’m a better athlete than I have ever been before.
Basically it comes down to learning from all the ZERO’s in your life.