Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I Choose The Diamond

I have a confession. I did not want to do the CrossFit Open 17.3 WOD. Hang with me--there's a point to this.

The more I watched the reports online and noticed what other CrossFit boxes were doing, the closer I came to ditching the effort.

Mind you, I'm an old guy, so I was already thinking of how to scale (modify) the session so something could be done with it. I decided (almost last minute) that I was not going to do 17.3. Then I got an e-mail from a guy who trains with me (you know who you are) who was very excited about doing 17.3 with whatever modification I found.

Permit me first to tell you a little about 17.3: it begins with 8 minutes of work and if the athlete completes all the work within the 8 minutes, he or she is awarded with 4 minutes of more work. If the athlete completes the additional work before time elapses, he or she receives 4 additional minutes to do (you guess it) more work. This goes on for 24 minutes, total.



Here's what happened: we got to the gym and I had a very difficult time mentally getting out of the warm-up stage (I was that excited). But like jumping off the high-dive, I started the music (Foo Fighters!), hit the clock and we all started the pull-ups.

Fast-forward to the end: I did not beat the 8 minute clock, so I did not earn the coveted addition of 4 minutes. But one guy did, so we cheered him on through his next four minutes of work. He was three reps short away from earning an additional 4 minutes when the buzzer sounded. Disappointment rained down (not really. More like, "relief").

Here's what I got out of 17.3--my buddy Brad over at SEALGrinderPT had to remind me (restated in my own words): pressure does one of two things--it either crushes or it creates diamonds. I choose the diamond.

Pressure is not fun. But what would we have without pressure? In a sense, one has a pile of untried resources that, if you think about it, aren't worth anything. Is it trash or not? To find out what it's worth, you gotta crush it.

Suffering sucks. But you gotta embrace the suck to be the diamond in the end.

Strange things happen under pressure. For one thing, there's a kind of loneliness--even if you are struggling right beside someone. It's lonely because the pain and the work is all your own. Ain't nobody going to do it for you and ain't nobody gonna hurt the way you do when it's all over.

On the other hand, the person suffering next to you--now that person understands. So you "feed" off of each other, encouraging each other along. Still doing your own work, experiencing your own pain, but together you work some, cheer some, suffer some. This is how you get through it-- together. The team who suffers together, the team who does the hard things together, comes out different in the end than when it all began.

But if the athlete never starts, he never knows.

I did 17.3 and hated it. I still do.
Do you know how long 8 minutes is? It's a like week in CrossFit time.
But I did it.

"There's no crying in CrossFit," someone reminded me before we began.
Yes, there is. It's just that everyone's too exhausted to do it.

I did it. I did 17.3, thanks to "you know who you are." And by the way, I thanked him for pushing me over my red-line.

And I am stronger.
Just a little bit more than the day before.

I choose the diamond.

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