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One Year Anniversary
I got an email this morning to inform me today is my one-year anniversary with CrossFit Austin. Fun! It’s time for a Very Special Episode of The Clothes Make The Girl in which we’ll do a quick retrospective on the last year of WODs, heavy things, and sweat angels. Let’s go!
When I think of CrossFit Austin now, it’s usually something like the photo below of Tall D, Ray, and I riding Satan’s Bicycle last week. We’re working our asses off, but we’re laughing while we do it.
But it wasn’t like that in the beginning.
I joined CFA in the midst of a giant upheaval in my life. Personally, things were not going very well, and I was at the start of my on-going thyroid roller coaster. I’d been on a “little break” from my previous CrossFit box while I tried to sort out my life and decided that if everything else was changing, maybe my workout routine should adapt, too.
From that very first workout, CrossFit Austin – thanks, in particular, to my coach Tristy and the 6:30 a.m. class – became a place where I could relax. I know that sounds crazytown given that the WODs make me gasp for air and ensure my CrossFit muscle will be sore, but routinely running the warm-up 400m and stepping onto the black mats on the floor gave me structure and a reason to keep striving for the best version of me when everything else seemed uncertain.
Staring Down The Nemeses
I’m a vanilla CrossFitter, not a firebreather, so I have a handy list of CrossFit crap that scares me. It’s getting smaller, but when I joined CFA last year, cleans and handstands topped the list. It took exactly one workout for Tristy to relieve me of my clean phobia. Read about it right here.
And then, because she’s kind of a show-off, she worked with me on my tear-inducing and totally paralyzing fear of kicking up into a handstand against the wall. On December 6, 2010, for the first time in my life, I became a person who can kick up into a handstand, after 43 years of NOT being a person who can kick up into a handstand. That was a very good day.
Also good? The day I was able to string together a series of unbroken double-unders. First I managed 10, then I got a dirty dozen. My most recent DU PR is 22. But I hope that record won’t stand for long!
One of my favorite things about CrossFit Austin is that we spend a lot of time communing with the barbells, and in the last year, I’ve reached a new comfort-level with lifting heavy stuff. Instead of feeling like the barbell is a foreign object, I now like to think that the barbell is an extension of me, and that we are an unstoppable team. We might even be demon hunters.
That new confidence with the bar has resulted in PRs in front squat, clean, and press. If you read the posts at those links you’ll see my workouts are a mixed bag of success (Woot! A new PR!) and struggles (monthly hormones, thyroid lethargy, popcorn hangovers). Even in the face of triumph, the striving continues. I heard this F. Scott Fitzgerald quote recently and it sounded a lot like the people I’ve met through CrossFit: “Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy.” Right on to that.
Even Better Than That
But more than the new skills and the PRs, I’m grateful for my coaches and friends at CrossFit Austin. We laugh a lot. We sing along to 80s hair metal and shake our fannies to bad hip hop. When I cry those annoying and inexplicable mid-workout, thyroid-induced tears, my workout buddies kindly pretend not to notice, and Tristy quietly coaches me through the WOD. I feel inspired to try harder and comforted when I fall short, and except for days when my body just won’t cooperate, I’m always glad to see “CFA” on my schedule.
From that first morning when I walked into a gym full of 20-something boys, I’ve felt welcome and like I totally belonged there, even if I am old enough to be mom to at least half of them. I usually work out with my pal Jenny (Hi, Jenny!), sometimes Coach Walker (Yay, Walker!), and the boys. It can be disconcerting to realize I will never be able to keep up with those boys, but simply trying to hang (and, frankly, not embarrass myself) makes me better, faster, stronger. I won’t catch them, but that is totally OK with me. As long as I keep showing up.