Strong

NOV 1, 2018 BY 

From: Morning Chalk Up

I started CrossFit from a place of just needing something more, different.  I’m not there to lose 20 pounds or to compete in the CrossFit Games, but to care for my body, to recognize its worth.  I’m there with hopes of learning to build up instead of shrink down; not to punish but to celebrate. And a fragile wish for an hour’s rest from the anxiety that consumes me.

I hate jumping rope.  I’m terrible at it, and despite the progress I’ve made in the seven months since starting CrossFit, it still feels humiliating; a pointed reminder of all that I lack. The WOD on this day asked for sixty unbroken jumps in a minute.

I’m there with hopes of learning to build up instead of shrink down; not to punish but to celebrate.

Sixty. Unbroken. Four Rounds.

Round 1: Thirty-two and the rope hits my shins. I look at the clock. I start jumping again.  I make it to 20 and stop close to the end of the minute. I put the rope down, irritated.

Two: only 25 before tripping up.

Three: I am well and truly angry.

Four: about 50 jumps and I just stop. I’m disheartened and out of breath but now it’s time to go outside for the actual WOD. Into the pouring rain.

We gather at the starting line with kettlebells at our feet for farmer carries. Every 100 meters or so, I set the weights down, try to dry off the handles for a better grip, pick them up and walk on.

At 400 meters, I set them down again and use the towel tucked into my shirt to wipe the makeup off my daughter’s face. I ask her if she is OK. We pick up our weights and walk on. It keeps raining, and we keep walking.

Those legs I’ve hated my whole life, with those thick thighs and chunky calves and sturdy ankles, those legs have made it through this workout.

With a little more than 100m to go on the farmer’s carry, I look up to see my coach taking our picture.

I’ve lost the anger and frustration from the jumping rope somewhere in the pouring rain. I’ve only space for putting one foot in front of the other, for wiping my face and the kettlebells, for checking on my daughter, for keeping my shoulders back, for breathing.  There is no space left for embarrassment. Only enduring.

I wipe my eyes and watch a drop of rain hit the curve of my knee and roll down my leg. And it hits me.

Those legs I’ve hated my whole life, with those thick thighs and chunky calves and sturdy ankles, those legs have made it through this workout.

Through this rain, this misery, those weights, this weakness, this fatigue, this slick and unforgiving asphalt. Those legs have made it through.

I struggle through the rest of the WOD. I call time. I finished. Dead last in my class.

Dead last, but no longer embarrassed, with the full prescribed weight and distance.

Soaking wet.

Exhausted.

Dead last.

And all I feel is strong.

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