New Name (disclaimer: Crossfit post)
I've never been an athlete.
In school, when most people were going out for a team I was in some related activity (taking stats for the soccer team, dancing on the drill team for fall football games, so help me) that didn't require me to have any real athletic skill. I was always in awe of people who could run without wheezing, who were graceful in their bodies, who could catch balls with their hands or gloves (instead of faces, as I tended to).
I flirted with dance in a big way in college, due to my degree program. And afterwards, I got into running a little bit.
Tried yoga for a few years. Went to Gold's gym for a few years. Went to posh Equinox for a few more. I kept trying things, for a number of reasons: I'm married to an athlete who is incredibly disciplined (case in point -he's worked out on every vacation we've ever been on); my dad was obese and had gastric bypass, and I'd like to avoid that cause and effect and; I have a strong, lengthy relationship with cheese and wine.
One day I found myself in my 40s, without a consistent way of blowing off steam, and with our steamroller of a summer work season staring me down. I wasn't interested in putting makeup to go to the gym, or trying to run until my knees ached. And I knew that I wasn't able to really challenge myself consistently.
Hubby had started a Foundations class at Rubicon, a Crossfit gym about a mile and a half away from the house. And in June 2016 I took the Foundations class, thinking that, at least, it'd be something new.
Fast-forward a year.
- I'm on my second box (RIP Rubicon - I miss you!). (Mill Street - I love you!)
- I (mostly) know the difference between a power clean, a clean and jerk, a snatch (teehee) and a deadlift.
- I can string 15 double-unders together and jump onto a 20" box more times than I could a year ago. (Also, I have a scar from a failed attempt last fall, to remind me of how far I've come.)
- I can deadlift more than I weigh, and I can clean 100 pounds.
- I weigh more than I ever have, and I feel better about my body than I have since I was dancing every day.
The most important parts of this new routine, however are only tangentially related to the statistics.
- I'm much more confident about what my body is capable of...and maybe more important, I've decided to keep challenging it. I may never be a contendah, but I can keep getting better/stronger/faster in tiny increments for a while longer.
- I remember how fun (and sometimes frustrating) it is to learn new things, and appreciate the coaching that keeps me engaged and safe. (Also very happy for the modifications they make when I'm not 100% that allow me to participate.)
- I appreciate the consistency of a gym habit (and I miss it when I can't be consistent).
- I can talk about something that's not opera or music! Wheeeee!
- Most importantly, I have found a group of pals who I look forward to seeing, knowing that we're going to spend one of the most challenging parts of our day together, and that we're all going to be better for that time. They support me both in and out of the gym, and they make my life so much richer for their personalities and stories. I'm super grateful for them.
I've told myself a number of stories for years about the things I'm good at and the things that I find difficult, using the stories to reinforce who I am. I'm Polish, I'm chubby, I'm old, I'm childless: I'm good at creative things and terrible at organization, I love to cook, I can eat a whole loaf of toasted bread in one sitting. (Well, I haven't actually tried that last one, but I'm pretty sure it'd be NBD... as well as delicious.)
But this year I've turned a few of those old tropes on their heads, and while I will never be an Olympian? I am growing more comfortable calling myself an athlete.