Friday, October 15, 2010

Failing can be fun

My apologies to those of you who used to come here for my Raiders posts, But the thing is, I only have time for one or two posts a week. Nothing seems to have changed with the Raiders (Offense is only as good as the line, which sucks; Defense is too undisciplined to be consistent). Sure getting the win vs. San Diego was huge, and I even started a post on it Monday. But it wasn’t up to my low standards, so it sits on my desktop unfinished.

So the majority of my writing is focusing on what is getting the majority of my free time focus. And that happens to be my struggle to get myself back in shape, and what I am learning about myself.

The great thing about CrossFit, is that I am already applying lessons from my workouts into my daily life.

One thing about me, I hate looking foolish. I joke about it when something does happen to me that makes me the butt of a joke. But god damn, it burns me inside. If I were to play armature psychologist, I’d say it comes from being a “Husky” kid. Who was teased constantly about his weight throughout my formative years, and learned to cope through a self depreciating sense of humor.

So how does this relate to CrossFit? Well if you have read any of the posts, you will find the constant refrain of me being put into situations where I know I will fail, know I will look foolish and being forced to push through despite my insecurities.

A month ago, when I started this journey, I used my anger at how far gone I was as my motivation to get into the gym. I knew I wasn’t ready, but I didn’t care. But, truth be told, there was still an internal battle every day on the way to the gym.

Everyone there runs better than me, I hope we aren’t running
Everyone there can do unassisted pull ups, I hope we aren’t doing those
Everyone there has better endurance; I hope it is a short workout
I’m going to look dumb because my form on (insert exercise here) sucks

By the time I had finished my 45 minute drive home, I had almost talked myself out of going. I was going to go make a fool out of myself, and these people were quickly becoming “non-strangers”, and if they know me and I look like an idiot, that is even worse. But that driving anger at myself pushed me to get off my couch and to the box.

That’s not to say that my inner fear of embarrassment hasn’t gotten the better of me at times.

Fight Gone Bad was the Saturday after my 1st workout. It also happened to be my wife’s birthday. I would have had to significantly mod the workout to get through it, and hence look foolish. So I was more than happy to use the excuse of my wife’s birthday to wimp out.

Tuesday’s handstands against the wall may very well have gone better, had I not had the underlying fear of looking uncoordinated as I collapsed to the ground following a failed attempt, or even worse, had put a portion of my body through the wall (have I mentioned I am fat).

But I am finding more and more that I am no longer letting this drive me.

Since I can’t do a handstand push-up yet, I found myself with my knees on a box, ass in the air, hands on the ground working those lacking muscles last night. The thought of how foolish I must look the furthest thing from my mind (pain and exhaustion were there instead, which is fine by me).

When I see a workout with multiple runs in it, I no longer swear under my breath. I look forward to seeing how much further I can go, before my stumbling jog turns into a gasping walk.

I may still joke with Will to go get a cot, since we will be here all night waiting for me to finish. But it isn’t so much a self defense to hide my shame, because I feel no shame in pushing myself to get better.

And that is the thing I am finding about CrossFit, there doesn’t seem to be anyone who doesn’t look foolish, or if they don’t they didn’t push themselves hard enough that day.

Just last night I noticed that I wasn’t the only one struggling through the WOD. A couple of the people who seem to make everything look easy to me, were getting their asses kicked, and the one who didn’t get her ass kicked sheepishly admitted that she should have scaled the workout up some.

Following the WOD, while I was doing some stretching and work on my shoulder, those same people who make everything look easy. They were working on an advanced movement, and struggling and maybe looking a little foolish.

As Danielle told me just three workouts in, this isn’t just hard for me; it is hard for everyone. We all look foolish, we all fail. That is part of pushing yourself. And, well to be honest, failing can be fun.

Anyway, this is getting long and I should wrap this up, and point out how this is changing things for me outside the gym. Today I was invited to take part in a golf tournament. I think I have played once in the last two years, and I wasn’t very good to begin with. There will be plenty of people I know there many of them who hold positions well above me.

Instead of declining so as to avoid embarrassment, I let the inviter know that I’m not very good, so if he is looking to field a competitive team, he might want to look elsewhere, but otherwise I’m in. Hell, I always liked getting out to golf, so if they don’t care if I suck, why should I. I’m going to fail, and I’m going to have fun doing it.

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