Friday, December 3, 2010

Return of the pithy rant

Yesterday's WOD:

1-2-3-4-5-5-4-3-2-1

pull-ups (the first 10 and the last 3 were C2B)
ring dips (green band assist)

then

5 rounds for time of:
15 push jerks 55#
20 walking lunge steps

My time: 9:30. Holy moly, I was the first one done in my class. I think that is the first time that has ever happened. Probably only cause Mike burned himself out first on a gazillion muscle-ups, otherwise he would have beat me. :) But he sure looked good doing those muscle-ups.

Rant!

Tim gifted us with a rant today - go read it if you haven't already: Help I Can't Quit Smoking!

There's a lot of eloquent stuff in those three paragraphs, including a rather grim thought experiment about smoking. (Tim probably doesn't think of himself as a writer, but he is a good one - it's hard to get so much substance in so few words and most academics I know have not mastered the art.) But the part that caught my attention was this:
The things we do in here have now become representations of being able to do whatever you want in your daily life.
This is going to sound like heresy, but at times, the whole CrossFit shtick seems a little overkill, a little contrived. I mean, on your 45th ring dip or your 60th wall ball or your 10th heavy front squat, you start asking yourself, "Why am I doing this? It is insane. I really don't need to do things that are this difficult in real life. Maybe I should take the advice of that guy at work who says all you have to do to be in shape is go for long walks." But as I go through my day, that feeling disappears because I realize that I can do whatever I want, and it's because of how I train. The movements we learn, the strength we build, and the overall athletic ability and confidence that we get for all our hard work, those things translate into more options in life.

When I started CrossFit, I couldn't squat to parallel, I couldn't pull myself up, I was terrified to invert into a handstand, I couldn't jump on something high, I couldn't balance well or manage heavy weights. So guess what else I couldn't do? I couldn't ski or snowboard, I couldn't rock climb, I couldn't do steep descents while hiking. I couldn't move heavy things by myself or carry all my groceries from the car to the door in one trip. And given that I wasn't obese or sick and still did things like go for hikes, by today's standards, I was in pretty good shape!

The same kinds of thoughts struck me after we did the obstacle course with CrossFit Vallejo. How many people simply do not have the mobility and health to get around in their daily lives? How many people's biggest physical challenge is walking from the car to the store or standing up from the couch, when my biggest physical challenge is jumping and catching myself on a slippery bar high up in the air on an obstacle course on an abandoned naval base? I'm LUCKY. The sky is the limit.

Training is definitely fun, but it's not so fun that it doesn't take discipline to stick with it. There are highs and lows, and some days you just have to slog through it. I like the idea of that work REPRESENTING something, representing the freedom to try new things and move around like people are meant to move around. To live life fully. Next time you're stuck in the bottom of a squat or rubbing your forearms from one too many pull-ups or toes-to-bar, think about that. Forget "training not to suck at life", we're training to LIVE life.

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