The post below was originally published in 2011, and it's been updated each year to reflect where I am in my life and the new...Read More
On Never Underestimating Oneself
I simultaneously had a great workout and a lame workout this morning.
I sort of underestimated myself and cheated myself, albeit unintentionally. But like a cast-iron skillet to the back of the head, it caught my attention and makes me wonder: how often am I doing that? And how can I make sure I don’t do it again?
So let me tell you all about it…
This was our workout today:
:20 unbroken thrusters – rest:30
(Start at last Fran weight, try to increase each round but maintain unbroken sets.)
200m sprint – rest :90
5 3-position snatch-grip DLs – rest :30
6-8 powell raises/arm – rest 2:00
Astute readers will see the name of my arch nemesis in the WOD: thrusters. Oh, thrusters! How I
hate love hate love am challenged by thee. Plus, it was raining, and it was really dark – the kind of morning that begs for a lazy roll-out and a mug of steaming coffee.
But remembering my post about being the best version of myself, instead of complaining about the rain and the thrusters, I said out loud, laughing, “This is going to be a special experience.” And I meant it! I made myself be excited for the workout. For that, I give myself one point in the ‘positive’ column.
Our starting weight for the thrusters was supposed to be our last Fran weight. For me, that was 50#. I somehow wasn’t totally paying attention to the part of the WOD that dictated increasing the weight on every round; I kinda heard it as optional. And then Tristy said, “If you can’t do 20 seconds of unbroken thrusters, you’ll need to drop the weight down.”
So right then, I decided that 50 was probably going to be my weight for the whole workout.
Before I’d even started, I’d decided my ending weight.
Pause and sigh.
So I started with 50# and stayed there for three rounds. Right about then, I noticed that everyone else was adding weight to their bars. On every round. I felt very lame.
So I threw another 5# on the bar. And you know what? It wasn’t THAT much harder than the 50#. And I got the same number of reps. I was four rounds in and I’d finished 8 reps on every round.
Round 5. 55#. And a sinking feeling that I should have been trying to lift more, even if it meant fewer reps.
Round 6. I upped the ante to 60#. I squeaked out 7 reps. My rain-soaked “sprints” had devolved into flippy-floppy, madcap dashes of varying speed and skill. Basically, I was trying to not slip, to avoid the puddles, and to not crash into my classmates in the dark.
Round 7. 60#. 8 reps. Final run.
My total reps were 55, which was not a bad showing. And I’m not at all saying that 60# thrusters are light or easy. But I can’t help feeling that it would have been better – that I would have been the best me – if I’d tried to increase the weight by 5# every round just to see if I could do it.
See? There’s that whole, experimental, “just to see” thing again!
I stopped myself from trying because I assumed I couldn’t. Maybe I was right and 60# was my max today. Or maybe I underestimated myself. But because I didn’t try, I don’t know.
It can be very easy to think, I lifted X last time, so that’s the best I can do. … or Thrusters make me feel like I’m going to die, and I’m scared to get to my max. … or It’s enough that I’m here. Not many people are up this early, running in the RAIN, lifting barbells over their heads.
But other people don’t matter. Previous weights don’t matter. Being scared doesn’t matter.
All that matters is the moment in the gym when the clock is ticking down 3-2-1, and we’re going to see what we can do. With that WOD. At that time. On that day.