Life-changing experiences don’t happen or affect you in the way you’d expect. When my daughter was born, I was expecting a flood of emotion when the doctor pulled her out from from between my wife’s exposed entrails. I felt something, but not the epiphany I imagined would follow such a momentous occasion. It’s like wedding night sex: all the enthusiasm, but none of the necessary accompanying energy.
You may find it strange that these kind of thoughts were going through my mind amidst my mental and physical breakdown nine minutes into Open workout 13.3, but that is the burden of being a writer. When my coach spake the soul-crushing words “no rep” for the fifth straight time, and the 9kg medicine ball came crashing down from the heavens, and my aching limbs seized in petrifying fury, I realised that this would make a great story.
As I stood there in disbelief, knowing that I hoisted the ball well over the prescribed 11-foot target, but was no-repped because it didn’t touch the wall.
Attempting one-hundred-and-fifty wallballs (from a squat, shooting a medicine ball up to a target) may not have been as significant as the birth of my spawn, but it had a similarly humbling effect. Coming to within six reps of my 100 personal target left me vulnerable, confused and emotionally broken.
Gone was the cocksure comfort of the Olympic lifts, broken was the spirit of competition, and all that was left was the feeling of absolute mortality. CrossFit made me stronger, but not strong enough for this challenge. I needed something extra.
Maybe it was doing it at sparrow’s fart on a Friday morning, far from the madding crowds that would fill the place with sweat and chalk dust on the Saturday. Maybe it was seeing a 16-year-old girl blitz all Karen’s 150 reps in 10 minutes – before rushing off to play two hockey matches. Maybe it was a case of overconfidence and severe psyched-outness. All I know is that something was off and I need to switch it back on.
Maybe I need to make Karen breakfast in bed and have a morning-after romp later this week. Or maybe I need to accept that the last eight weeks is just the start of a long journey to a better life. The tidal wave of emotion hit me a couple days after my daughter was born, maybe I need to give this fitness thing some more time.