I’ve talked about Hero WOD’s before, what they are, and more importantly what they represent.  I’ve also talked a lot of community and how that one single aspect makes CrossFit different from every other workout regime I’ve ever tried. Yesterday saw this community come through in spades to support a member, a member whom most of us have never met.

At CrossFit 403 we often refer to CrossFit Ramsay as our sister box–they were the crew I traveled with to Regionals in Vancouver, a few of our coaches train there themselves and all around they’re just an amazing group of people.  Ramsay has been around for a long time and has grown to almost 350 members so I’m sure there are even many Ramsay members who have never met each other.  Here’s where social media steps into the fray, proving that when used properly it can bring communities closer together.

I joined Twitter in early 2012 simply to promote this blog and get it out there, self promotion basically.  I had never used Twitter before and frankly had zero interest in doing so but a few friends talked me into it.  Through that Twitter account I started seeing regular names pop up and I started tracking down other CrossFit 403 members and a few CrossFit Ramsay members–one of these guys is Dan Hibbert (@danhibbert).

I’ve never met Dan; really I know nothing about him that isn’t in his single sentence Twitter profile but all that matters is that he supports me and the blog, always has something positive to say, and he does CrossFit.

Early this past week Dan posted up regarding a workout called “Susan”.

That lovely lady is Dan’s wife Susan and she has cancer.  She was/is the inspiration for this WOD and when we all looked at it we said to ourselves “it’s the least we can do to show our support for her fight”.  Every single person I know has been touched by cancer in some way and within the last year I lost an Uncle and a close friend (Michele) to cancer.  Cancer fucking sucks, period.

My friend Ryan and I took to Twitter (along with many others) and plastered this workout everywhere we could, going so far as mentioning it to Lisbeth Darsh (the Director of Social Media for CrossFit), Rich Froning and Annie Thorisdottir.  It blew me away when from halfway around the world, Annie sent a tweet to Dan to show her support–it’s just damn cool that the #1 female CrossFit athlete on the planet took the time to check it out and lend support.  I love CrossFit.

So along with several other boxes, the crew at CrossFit 403 stepped up and took this WOD head on.  All told, we had 38 people record times from CrossFit 403 and I count 58 on the board from CrossFit Ramsay (who actually had more than 70 people participate). Impressive.

CrossFit 403’s Whiteboard
CrossFit Ramsay’s Whiteboard

This was one of those workouts that didn’t look too bad on paper, but once I realized how far 118m actually is, I got a bit scared.  I’m not going to lie, by Friday afternoon (after knowing what the WOD was for a few days) I had gone from excitement to nervousness to sickness and back to excitement within a 4 hour span from the time I woke up!  I pulled in for the 630pm group and made the mental note that I wanted to finish in under 45 minutes and on a good day I believe wholeheartedly that this is an attainable achievement.  There was just Kelly and I for the WOD, with Coach Steve egging us on and Coach Regan there at the start so just a small group.  We did a quick warmup and got underway.

I also made the decision to do this at RX (not counting pull-ups which I used one green and one purple band for)…I would use a 24″ box, jump to my feet on every burpee, and do the deadlifts at 185lbs.

As for my personal performance it was both good and bad.
Physically, I didn’t feel very good by about the 15 minute mark.  I kept getting dizzy and nauseous, forcing unwanted breaks which annoyed me and on any other WOD I probably would have sat down or quit, but that just wasn’t an option…cancer patients don’t get to choose when they feel good or not, they just have to fight, all the time.  I only had to do a workout.  I did use the 24″ box but I did every single rep as step-ups.  With the nausea and such going on, jumping onto the box would have added an unneeded risk of injury and frankly would have just been a stupid decision.  I finished my 5th set of box jumps/deadlifts/pull-ups and got back to the burpees.

Riding my invisible bicycle…but really doing a broad jump.

Please note–burpees still suck!  It took almost 10 minutes to get the first 118m out of the way, much slower than I wanted but the second set was brutal.  Every 3 or 4 burpees I would have to pop a squat and take a breather, trying not to throw up.  I took large steps (even tried some lunges) instead of broad jumps and tried to do the burpee reps as quick as possible, Steve kept encouraging “rest at the top, GET UP!”.  Kelly finished way ahead of me and she stuck around to cheer me on too, greatly appreciated.  I did my best to keep jumping to my feet, and made the point of doing the last 4 with jumps, but I had to walk my feet to my hands 4 or 5 times–I was spent.  I finally finished with the clock at 50:01 and while Kelly and Steve walked back inside, I went around the side of the building to deposit the contents of my stomach.  On one hand this is embarrassing, I’ve never understood why people brag about throwing up after a workout…on the other hand it gives me the chance to say to Dan and Susan that I honestly gave it all I had and as I told Dan last night, “I have never worked harder and if its all I can offer, it’s all yours.”  I really had nothing left in the tank, I went home and crashed, falling asleep on the couch.

I’ll say again, I wasn’t happy with this time but this WOD wasn’t/isn’t about me, it’s about a bigger picture.  I took a picture with my Livestrong bracelet too, though I had to force a smile…that took some effort but Susan earned it.

I want to throw out some mentions too…there may be more but I know for sure that the following boxes lent their support by doing the WOD as well, you all deserve a round of applause–
CrossFit AI (Calgary)
CrossFit Calgary
Natural High CrossFit (Okotoks)
CrossFit Lethbridge (led by 2012 CrossFit Games Qualifier Heather Gillespie)

Live strong Susan.  Best of luck in your fight.

One thought on “Susan

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