Yesterday's WOD, Yard Sales, and Ego
Once upon a time whilst skiing in the Poconos with my family, I fell, skis, hat, poles scattered about. A group of maybe 5 or 6 junior high aged brats professionally skied by me and yelled "yard sale" as I and my property were sprawled across the Pocono mountains, me laughing at myself. I wasn't laughing after yesterday's WOD, however, I was sprawled out in of pool of my own sweat & misery contemplating why I wasn't able to finish, hoping my heart wasn't about to explode...
The workout was the first one I haven't been able to finish in over a year. I was upset and disappointed with my performance. It was tough: "Cindy" and the 100 overhead squats (sounds like an 1980s punk band). Remember? (If you didn't do it, try it at the next open gym. This is not a request). For 3 years and a couple months I've been a consistent Crossfit Masters (40+ years young) athlete and one of the first, key lessons I learned the first several months was to leave your ego at the door (painted on the wall of the original Crossfit Berrien space), and scale the workouts while concentrating on your form. I forgot this lesson as we were preparing to begin the WOD. My good friend and neighbor finally started Crossfit and he was grabbing the RX (prescribed) weights and I advised him to go a bit lighter, as I told myself I should do the same. He consented. I, did not. My ego stepped in and said, "show him you can do the RX weight and hang with the other young-bucks who were doing the RX weight for the workout." Remember the five C's from your 1st on-ramp class? 'Competition' is one, and interested me the most when I started working out at Crossfit Berrien (Class, Coach, Clock and Community are the other Cs). My competitive demeanor and ego were the catalyst of my failure.
Halfway through yesterday's WOD I knew I was in trouble. I knew I should go down in weight (scale), so that I could finish the WOD and not murder myself. As a Level one Crossfit Trainer I should've known better and dropped weight. Ohhhhh but the ego of Teddy Weithers. Have mercy. With 23 minutes gone by and me needing 17 more reps to finish, I did my best wintry Pocono mountains ski yard sale by collapsing and conceding defeat. I was done. My form completely deteriorated and I realized I was going to hurt myself. I felt like passing out. Dizzy. I must blown a blood vessel because my eyes were bloodshot and it took me a good 30 minutes to feel better and get my carcass off the floor...
I share my humiliation because I want everyone to remember how powerful our ego is and how it can do harm and discourage us on the fitness experience we have here at Life RX. I've learned this the hard way in life, and here in the Box. We are not professional athletes so it's not necessary to push ourselves like we sometimes do. There's nothing wrong with pushing ourselves as Crossfit demands, as well as there's nothing wrong with scaling back a workout, or stopping early according to what our body is telling us - true especially for us Masters Athletes. Usually I scale my workouts and know my limits while listening to my body. Yesterday's WOD was a reminder to CONSISTENTLY do so. We more mature Crossfit athletes can't always hang with the young-bucks, but every now and then it's great to see that we can beat them at WODs or with some technique. The looks on their faces brings joy to my heart when I do. Even though we feel stronger and more confident as we move along our journey of staying fit, "out running a lifter and out lifting a runner", lets all remember to leave our ego at the door and scale our workouts as needed despite our age. Working on form and staying healthy and injury free is paramount and looks better than a Pocono yard sale.
As Coach Joyce so eloquently stated, "your ego isn't your amigo, Teddy."
Masters Athlete (50+)
Crossfit L1 Trainer
Aikido Martial Arts Instructor