Monday, October 12, 2015

Fearing Grace

I'm crying and having a mild anxiety attack. I'm begging to not do this.  I'm delaying and stalling as much as possible.

What is "this"?

It's Grace.

A CrossFit workout that puts fear in my heart.

No, that's not hyperbole above. I'm not exaggerating for theatrical effect. That is truly how I react when I am supposed to complete the wod Grace.

Get a 95# bar loaded up.
Pick it up.
Put it overhead.
Put it down.
Repeat 29 more times.

No big deal, right? I can clean and jerk a lot more than that. I've been CrossFitting for 7-8 years now. I own a box for goodness sake! J can do men's RX in 2:01. Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, 2014 CrossFit Games champ, can do it in 1:40.

Me, I don't wanna do it.

Everybody knows I hate wall balls and hate Karen (150 wall balls for time). I bitch about Karen every time I have to do that wod. I generally cry a lot during Karen (I'm a crier, it's a fault).

But Grace is different. I don't hate Grace, I fear Grace.

I've acknowledged this fear for a long time and even made a plan to conquer it once before. When I was setting my 2014 goals, "Grace sub-3" was one of them, meaning I would complete all 30 clean and jerks in under three minutes. And you know how many times I completed Grace in 2014? Maybe twice. Maybe.

I know I did it at the Super City CrossFit Competition in September of that year as part of a team wod. And I'm pretty sure my time was sub-4. But no one really looked at the clock so I'm not 100% sure. All I remember was crying and cursing as it happened.

Then in or around November, J suggested I should try it again since it was a 2014 goal....and 2014 was almost over. I whined. I cried. I stalled. I finally started it.

I did 3 reps and had a melt down. I quit.

Why?! Why?! Why is that wod so hard for me?

I can power clean 95# easy.

I can jerk 95# easy.

And 30 really isn't that many if you break it into sets.

But for whatever reason, that wod is my Achilles Heel. Want me to freak out? Program Grace. Want to watch me cry and hyperventilate? Program Grace.

Do you want to know how many times I've completed Grace since September of 2014? Zero.

Flash forward to last week. I sat down on Sunday and wrote out my weekly goals. Accumulate 50 minutes of stretching. Drink a gallon of water every day. Etc.

Then (for some dumb reason) I decided it was time to get over this ridiculous fear. One of my goals for last week was to do Grace. No pressure for time, just do it. And maybe, just maybe, finish off that 2014 goal by the end of 2015.

And guess what?!




I didn't do it.

Yup. I wimped out.

I am a HUGE believer in weekly goals and meet 90-95% of my weekly goals. If it goes on the goal sheet, it happens.

Except Grace.

But karma has a way of biting you on the ass and Grace showed up in today's programming. I really thought about not doing it and of coming up with an excuse that would keep me from having to face my fear. I am an excellent cherry picker when it comes to Grace.

When it came time to wod, I loaded up my barbell. And then I pouted. I played with the radio. I got my gum. I teared up. I went to the bathroom. I put on my lifting belt. I tied my shoe. I changed the song on the radio. And then I finally turned on the clock. And I completed Grace.

I finished and looked at the clock and I HAD COMPLETED A SUB-3 GRACE!!!

Bwahahahahah! Yeah, right! This is my real life, not Miracle on Ice!

I actually teared up (again) when I looked at the clock, because I was much slower than I should have been. I pouted and felt sorry for myself for a long time this afternoon. A few hours removed though, I'm gaining some perspective and am happy I did it. I now have a recent baseline score and I didn't die. So some fear conquered there. No promises on if I'll do it again in 2015 though.

Every time you or I face a fear in CrossFit or life, we can hide or we can stand up to the challenge. Sometimes our fears are irrational (A silly workout) and sometimes they are founded in a very real and logical place (a cancer diagnosis in a family member). It takes courage to acknowledge our fear and walk toward it and through it. That's the beauty of CrossFit. Every thing in the gym translates to real life. Not just the movements like the squat and deadlift, but the mental part of the workouts as well.

When you are in the middle of a brutal workout and want to quit, but don't, that mental toughness will translate to any number of situations at work and home. When you finish a workout that you honestly didn't think you could, you will look back on it in tough times and think, "If I can make it through that wod, I can make it through this."

 As for me, I'm going to take some artistic license and change the capitalization in the Hemingway quote to

Courage is Grace under pressure.

What workout or movement do you fear and avoid?

Stay strong y'all!

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  1. Congratulations, you killed it! I've never done Crossfit - it seems to be physically and mentally SO intense! It always feels great to conquer your fears.

  2. Great job getting it done! I am not a huge fan of handstands. I actually loathe them and usually refuse to even try!

  3. Awesome job conquering your fear!
    I've always wanted to try crossfit, but it is a fear of mine to even go and try!
    Maybe one day I'll give it a go!