The Mental Side

This post has been a long time coming.  I have literally reflected on this topic EVERY SINGLE DAY for almost two years.

On December 7, 2012, I wrote a note in my phone about a seemingly innocuous tweet from Andrew at Canyon CrossFit, posted mid 2012 (@crossfitandrew on twitter…follow him). Andrew tweeted something to the effect of “What’s the toughest phsyical test you’ve ever faced?” That simple question has bugged me for a long time.

My note says, “The toughest physical test of my life? I’m not sure. have I done anything truly difficult? Of all the things I’m proud I accomplished, I really haven’t done any single thing worth bragging about.”

Today, I can answer that question.

When he tweeted that, my mind jumped to things that I’d never done that I figured would be major hurdles in my life–completing a Spartan Race, doing a hero WOD called “Murph”, competing in a CrossFit competition, passing the dreaded “Beep Test”.  It’s 2014 and I’m a new guy…I did a Spartan Race, had a shitload of fun, then got home and went for another workout because I felt like I just got warmed up.  I’ve done Murph now, several times. I’ve competed in the Bridge City Beat Down twice, seeing PR’s both times, as well as 2014 being my third year in the CrossFit Open.  And the beep test…not only did I pass it to get the job I dreamt of my whole life, I’ve passed it well over a dozen times now, and gone past doubling my score from the first time I ran it in 2010.  Still, none of these things really stand out to me as amazing physical feats, ANYMORE.

Talking to my friend Lane yesterday, it finally hit me, I can finally answer Andrew’s question:

The toughest physical test I’ve faced in my life wasn’t physical at all, it was mental.  I spent so much time believing that physical things were unachievable, I had put all these things onto huge pedestals thinking that my mission would be complete once I knocked them down.  It was all in my head.  I’ve done them now, I do them often, they’re just things I do now…nothing special.

I couldn’t do a pull-up, squat my bodyweight, or deadlift a motorcycle.  I wanted to run a 10 minute mile, I ran an 8 minute mile wearing a weight vest two weeks ago.

Because I can.  Because I put in the work.

Lane spent the last week attempting to convince me why he shouldn’t enter the Open, he can’t do a pull-up (yet), he can’t do *blank* yet, he’s never done *inserttoughmovementhere*…well guess what buddy…welcome to the club!  Lots of us get beaten by movements in the Open, therein lies the beauty, you come back next year and fucking destroy it!  I couldn’t do a toes-to-bar in 2012, hell, I spent 16 minutes trying and failing, scoring ZERO reps of toes to bar, 27 reps total on Workout 12.3.  In 2013 I redid that workout and scored 3 complete rounds, 135 reps including 27 toes to bar–108 reps more than the year before.  THAT is why I do the Open.  Measurable, observable, repeatable.

So, all those things that are in your head as the goal, keep them there.  Train for that sprint triathlon, that 5km run, that single pull-up, to go to the gym when you don’t feel like it.  Believe that you can do something, work for it, acccomplish it, and move on  to bigger and better things because you have it in you.  After all, it’s just physical, no big deal, that’s why we CrossFit.

One person put that hurdle there, you did, now a whole community wants to help you find a way to push it over.

Is it February 27th yet?

One thought on “The Mental Side

  1. Thank you for writing with such honesty, I just love how generous you are! Every time you share your experiences of struggles and success, I fell so encouraged. So glad to know you and be part of your community! Keep it up please!


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