On my six month anniversary of CrossFit, I did something I hadn’t done before. It wasn’t something I had planned on doing. It just happened. And when it was over, I knew I would never be the same again. I crossed some sort of boundary, some sort of point-of-no-return. I entered the furnace and by the baptism of fire, was forged into a CrossFitter.
The WOD was Helen. I knew Helen well, performing the WOD twice before solo and once as a double partner WOD. You know Helen too.
I remember having some stomach issues the first time I did Helen. My time was 13:35 Rx on March 22nd. This was after a little over a month and a half of CrossFit. I didn’t have kipping pull-ups then. Everything was slow.
My second bout with Helen was on June 7th. During those 2.5 months, I improved my general physical fitness, and shaved over 2 minutes off my Helen time, down to a Rx time of 11:29. I was pleased with this result.
My box CrossFit 865 sometimes programs Fridays to be a makeup day for someone that missed a WOD during the week. That was the case with Helen. I had been Monday through Thursday, so I got to do Friday’s WOD. I earned the chance to give the benchmark a try.
Helen. 3 rounds for time of: 400m run, 21 KB swings (53/35), 12 pull-ups. Basic movement. Easy rep scheme. No pacing to think about, just go.
And that’s what I did.
I just went.
I killed the first 400 meters. I don’t know what my split was, all I know is I ran it fast (well, fast for me… remember all my terms like fast or heavy is all relative to me). I was the first one back inside the box and went straight to pick up my kettlebell. I didn’t sit it down until I completed 21 swings. I walked to the pull-up bar, hopped up, got my kip on and didn’t drop off until 12 pull-ups were competed. Bang. First round unbroken, and out the door I went for run number two.
The second run got a little tiring. I hadn’t planned on going unbroken with the first round, but then again I didn’t really have a plan of attack period. I just wanted to go as hard as I could. I didn’t have anyone in front of me to pace off of, or anyone close behind me to push me… so I just ran.
Again, I don’t know what my run split was but I came back and got a little chalk on my hands and then got busy with the KB again. This time I had to drop at 11 swings. I rested for a couple seconds, then got my remaining 10 reps. I took another second to grab some more chalk and a few precious breaths and then 6 pull-ups, drop from the bar, shake out arms, back up and 6 more pull-ups, then go get after that last run.
Man, that third run sucked. It was terrible. I didn’t walk… but I’m not sure you could call what I was doing running. It probably resembled a zombie stumbling around attempting to run or perhaps an intoxicated tyrannosaurus tracking down a goat. Whatever, it counts as running in my book. I was sure I was going to redline and have to stop, or worse throw up. That didn’t happen though and I trotted into 865 for the last time.
Somehow, I willed myself straight to the kettlebell and again got 11 reps out before it thudded onto the floor. I heard coaches telling me to pick it back up and keep going… so I did. I finished the 10 remaining. Damn I was hurting. My forearms were on fire and they were about to suffer 12 more pull-ups. But, that’s all the more suffering I had to endure. I didn’t waste much time getting to the pull-up bar and I got 7 reps. I wanted to get 12, but 7 was all I got. I dropped, put my hands between my knees and bent over sucking air. I was spent. If not for Steven being right beside me telling me to finish, I probably would’ve stayed there catching my breath for a while. But no, I felt something inside me that day. I felt something that I hadn’t felt before. I felt what had been missing since my first time CrossFitting. I felt myself pushing myself to the limit.
I got back on the bar, and I got my 5 remaining pull-ups. I dropped, then dropped again down to all fours. I glanced at the clock, then rolled prone onto my back. Somehow I had a conscious thought to get out of the way of the other people who will be coming to do their pull-ups soon, so I literally crawled out the door and proceeded to waller and rock back and forth on the sidewalk.
It was then, in that moment of pain, that I felt it. The feeling was similar to what I felt on my first date with Fran, much the way feeling hungry and feeling stuffed overfull are similar. I felt the aftermath of pushing myself as hard as I could.
I gave Helen my all on my 6 month CrossFit anniversary. And I came away with a 10:52 Rx PR.
I came away with shortness of breath and heaving lungs. I also came away with forearms on fire after all that work, but I enjoyed the pain. I finally, finally, felt worthy of the pain. I went as hard as I could on that workout. That 10:52 is truly a measure of where I stand right now in my CrossFit journey. That 10:52 is me.
It’s not the fastest time ever. Hell, it may not even be a fast time but it’s the fastest I can go.
I didn’t die. I always had something holding me back in WODs, some fear or weakness or something. I don’t know what was different about Friday but I finally got comfortable with being uncomfortable. I embraced the suck. I became a CrossFitter.
Happy anniversary to me.
PS – If you want more Helen tips, check out this post.
Your turn –> When did you first learn to push yourself as hard as you could?