Day 23: Limits

Just for your entertainment, I would suggest listening to this while reading:

If there is one absolute statement I can make about Crossfit, it is that it pushes you to your limits.

It has been an interesting experience to learn what that feels like. I have definitely had experiences before that have pushed me, but I am, for the first time, experiencing the feeling of pushing my own limits. Does that make sense?

Last night our workout was an 800m (1/2 mile) run, followed by 8 sets of 8 kettlebell swings and 8 burpee-pullups (or, since I can’t do a pull-up, I was doing knees-to-elbows while dangling from the bar… by the end of the workout it just looked a lot like a burpee-dangle) and then capped off with another 800 m run. This was after a 400m run, some stretching, and 40 push-ups, sit-ups, and squats for the warm-up.

About 2/3 of the way through my 8 sets of kettlebell swings and burpee-dangles, I found myself face-down on the floor, gasping for air mid-burpee, with a massive Viking (everyone literally calls him Thor. I’m not sure that’s his real name, but I wouldn’t be surprised) to my right, sputtering through his own burpees 2 sets ahead of me. The Boyfriend was shirtless a few feet in front of me (this would have probably been distracting if I hadn’t been in so much anguish), miraculously pacing Thor, red-faced and trying to find a sweaty grip on the pull-up bar.

Lying in a growing puddle of my own sweat (and probably just a little bit of Thor’s, too), wondering how I am ever going to get up again let alone get up and do it 15 more times, is about the time where I would traditionally decide to quit. Thinking: Not worth it, who’s idea was this, I am not this type of person who needs to workout so hard that I am brought to the point of near-tears and sudden intense self-examination mid-workout. Who does this to themselves.

Last night was not the first time I felt pushed to my limits by Crossfit. And I don’t think it’s the first time in my 3 short weeks of this sport that I have plowed through those limits only to keep lifting and running while working so hard I can’t tell if I’m crying or just sweating out of my eyeballs. But it was the first time where I really stopped and thought to myself, THIS is my limit. I am at my limit. I do not want to get up, and I do not HAVE to get up. But I got back up anyway. This happened again in the next set, where I reached a place where I thought, there is no way I can do this anymore. And yet, I finished the entire WOD, and I didn’t even finish last. This is what I mean by pushing my own limits. Consciously challenging myself to reconsider what my limits actually are, and finding that I have a lot more in me than I expected.

Limits are a funny thing. How often in the past have I come up to a challenge and thought, Nope, can’t do it, and then just walked away? How did I know that I couldn’t do it? I think the quote at the top of this post is a pretty good way of putting it. I might also add, “And then keep going past them.”

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7 Responses to Day 23: Limits

  1. Thomas Cox says:

    great post. good detail
    love crossfit. makes you a better person and competitor.

  2. Kara says:

    Can you post an updated picture?! I’m starting Crossfit tomorrow and I’m interested to see if there is a change in just 3 weeks!

  3. Jodi says:

    I think I need to take a picture as well… Im going on 4 weeks and I really don’t SEE a change yet. But I do feel a change in my works outs. I’ve heard month two is when you start to see the change! 🙂

    • I agree – I don’t really SEE a change, either, but I feel stronger on things like push-ups and squats. The Boyfriend, however, is already gaining muscle like nobody’s business… men. Psh.

  4. Coco says:

    Limits are funny little things aren’t they? Last year my limits were pushed so hard for 10 days straight.. (For a Yogaslackers Teacher Training- which was more like an adventure race- and that was on top of the actual 6 hour adventure race we did) I swear I spent so much of the time having that same inner dialog, swearing at my teachers, and ultimately being a crying sobbing mess.. But what came out of that was that survivor mindset.. Sure I do some crazy shit sometimes thats pretty terrifying- and I might be kicking and screaming as I drag myself through it.. but I know that it isn’t going to kill me… or at least I’d die trying 🙂 Who you are becomes clear when you find that little person inside of you that says your not allowing yourself to quit.. no matter what.. Your doing awesome! Rock on Lady 🙂

    • Thanks so much for the encouragement Coco! It really does mean a lot. Also, I didn’t realize you could teach Yogaslackers… that sounds like a lot of fun! I can’t imagine what training would be like for that, though. I am super bad at yoga… really limited flexibility (literally can’t touch my toes… ha!). But I’m looking forward to trying yoga out again once I’ve built my strength up a little more!

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