I drag my ass into “the box” (which is the cute vernacular used to identify the CrossFit Springfield gym) this morning after work. I’m late, and that’s nothing new in the least. The workout lined out for the day seems particularly brutal and completely out of attainable range (if you want to see it, look here. I won’t bore you with trying to describe the various gyrations). Lately, the ol’ relationship with the gym has been tenuous at best, despite several proclamations that it starts TODAY. TODAY is when I get back in the groove. TODAY is when I look the temptation that is bacon and beer in the eye and shoot it the bird. TODAY I stop being such a lazy fatass. Well, okay, maybe tomorrow.
See the dilemma? No?
It’s about self-loathing. It’s about the inflexible schedule known as “being a parent with kids out of school who demand things like your ‘attention'”. But mostly, it’s about being lazy.
So what was a daily ritual of going to “the box” has become more like a recreational hobby. And, when the time came to saunter on over to The Wife’s 20 yr. high school reunion, the tragicomic results of treating it like a hobby came into laser-beam focus. I was thankful that I only knew one other person there, since it saved me the inevitable “MY GOD, you haven’t been missing many meals, have you?” conversation that take fun and awkward to a whole new level. To those people, their poor classmate simply married another fan of the Chinese buffet; to me, it was just another excuse to drink around strangers.
But I’m getting distracted here.
Today, like most days in the gym, I planned on doing the workout “non-prescribed”. What that means is, the masochists who run the joint make up a certain weight amount or form to use that they label “prescribed”. For example, the workout may call for 60 pull-ups (rx). I am good for maybe two pull-ups and then I fake it the rest of the way, using bands to assist or just crying in a puddle of shame and sweat. The prescribed version of a workout is generally reserved for the varsity level athletes, and one of the nice things about Crossfit is that they “scale” down the workouts so that someone in just about any condition can jump in and break a nasty sweat. Having never really lifted weights and having no desire to blow out a knee and toss my cookies simultaneously, I pace myself in terms of weight and form. And the truth of the matter is, I often cheat myself.
So it comes down to do you focus on quality or quantity? The workouts are generally timed, so you can post a great time if you just mash your hips into the floor and scream out and call that a push-up. Or you can take the slow train and do it right. And right there, glaring on a white board is your name, your time and if you rx’d it. No one really cares what your time is, they care what their time is, especially as compared to the group. I like to make up obnoxious times with weights that are physically impossible, just to see if trainers like ThunderChicken notice. He always does.
For reasons unknown, I stopped caring about the time component today. Maybe it was the extra pot of coffee. Maybe my brain was short circuiting in the humidity, but somewhere along the line, I decided to do the workout with prescribed weights. And it damn well killed me.
As the rest of the class was finishing up, making pretty little sweat angels on the floor, high-5-ing and heaving in labored wheezes, I wasn’t even close to done. There was no sense of grit or sand or raw determination pushing me. No “Eye Of The Tiger” playing in the background. I just wanted to do it for real. My back was shrieking as though it’d been tasered, my knees wobbled like I was trying not to crap my shorts and I was leaking sweat in reportable quantities, but I decided to truck on through. Finally, one guy was left on the floor with me, and I was using him as motivation, unbeknownst to him. Each lift he did, I was just copying him. I actually grunted like a choking troll, but was too wiped out to be embarrassed.
Finally, sweet release came as the weights smacked the floor one last time. I did it. DEAD LAST IN CLASS.
29 minutes and 50 seconds later, and with eyeballs drowning in sweat it was over. I was more than 10 minutes behind the leader, and I couldn’t have cared less. For one, glorious, heave-free moment, doubled over in front of a fan, I felt the satisfaction of doing it right
Tomorrow? There’s no telling about then. I might slip back into a more casual relationship with this whole fitness business or maybe I push myself like a lunatic again. But that moment back there, all alone in a pile of accomplished sweat stains, that was pretty awesome. And that calls for a cocktail.