• Jennifer

Showing up before you’re ready, the CrossFit Open, and my #yearofgratitude

Two weeks ago, we completed the CrossFit Open. We saw some truly inspirational performances, both at our gym and around the world. This was my first year to compete and i’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the experience and I thought it was worth sharing.

It’s almost laughable for me to type that I “competed.” Cuz really, I never feel like anyone’s competition. It also took me a long time to accept that I was a CrossFit “athlete.” I was never an athlete growing up and it took CrossFit to transform into someone who is comfortable with that much discomfort during a workout. I have long considered (especially during Sadie’s treatments) my workouts to be my mental health breaks. They literally get me out of my head and act as a giant reset button. I really couldn’t value them more for that reason alone.

The CrossFit Open, however, was a whole different story. I don’t love competition (I’m not wired that way) and I don’t feel “competitive” as an athlete (see above). So why did I do it? My first clue that I should was that I didn’t want to. Sure, I’ve imagined in the past that it would be awesome to show up and crush these workouts. To show myself how far I can go with the right motivation and training (cuz Open workouts really are quite moving and energizing). Guess what? I’m physically not there right now.

However, over the last year and a half, I’ve come to realize that I can’t wait for the timing to be “perfect” to show up for my life. I think that is something we all practice at some point (women especially). We wait until we love our bodies to wear that sexy dress. We wait until we have more time to focus on our health. We wait until we feel more qualified to go for that exciting job.

For me, I kept thinking that once we were past this cancer thing, I could go back to pursuing my own goals and desires. At this point, I really don’t know when this journey will end. If I wait until timing is “perfect,” my life could actually pass me by. I don’t want that. I don’t think anyone does. In order for me to show up for my life right now, I need to be okay with less than perfect.

The CrossFit Open actually falls into this category for me. To be honest, I don’t feel especially strong this year. Although I’ve made it to my workouts pretty consistently over the last year and a half, I still struggle during many workouts (in a way that I didn't when this journey began). Because of the effects of chronic stress and increased cortisol on my body, this isn’t really a surprise, but no less frustrating. When the time came for this year’s Open again, my first reaction was to recoil like “no way I’m doing that.” I knew it would be HARD. Hard in a way that would leave me comparing myself to others (which happened) and in a way that would leave me feeling sorry for myself (which also happened). That first reaction to not do it...was the first clue that I really needed to.

If i’m going to show up for my life everyday, I have to be willing to show up before I’m ready. For me, this was a MAJOR opportunity. It was uncomfortable and I was disappointed with nearly every performance (I actually felt strong in 17.5, which was a nice way to end). I think, however, that I would have been more disappointed in myself had I not participated.

This also blends seamlessly into my #yearofgratitude. I started my #yearofgratitude to stop the cycle of self-pity, fear, and sadness that I often found myself on. I can think of plenty of things to be grateful for from the Open. They include:

  1. Even though I can’t perform as well as I’d like in the gym, this body still shows up and gets the job done. I’m still quite capable of some awesome things.

  2. We worked out as a family (during a spotlight performance of all the families in the gym) and it was awesome!

  3. I have some truly loving CFB friends.

  4. It’s over. :)

I will continue to practice showing up for my life before I feel ready. I hope you’ll do the same.