Just about two years ago I was pretty sure I was having my worst day ever. I had not only stepped outside my comfort zone, I had taken a giant leap and entered my first individual CrossFit competition. It was 2 days till the big event and they had just announced the workouts. There they were. Right in front of me, in print. SQUAT SNATCH or SNATCH TO OVERHEAD SQUAT. The first words that popped into my head were “UMM, YEAH, I’M NOT GOING”. I was ready to quit and I hadn’t even started. See, I couldn’t overhead squat even an empty bar much less the designated 55lbs printed on the sheet, and there was no way that was going to change in 2 days. ABSOLUTELY NO WAY. I had been doing CrossFit for over a year and I still could not overhead squat and I had pretty much given up. I was truly convinced that it was just something I could not do and so I didn’t even try anymore. But now, it was time to decide whether I let it make me quit or whether I took another giant leap into the unknown and just see what would happen. I chose to jump. And in doing so, I did something no one wants to do EVER. I cried in front of over 300 people.
The workout consisted of 3 rounds for time of a 300m run, 15 kettlebell swings and 10 squat snatches at 55lbs. It had a time cap of 12 minutes. I was terrified. Simply snatching 55lbs was hard enough, but squatting it overhead was beyond my capabilities. I heard the 3-2-1 GO! of the announcer and I started my run. I methodically made my way through the kettlebell swings and I approached the bar. I looked at my judge and told her “I’ve never done this”. She smiled and told me it would be ok, that she would coach me through it. I gripped the bar and snatched the weight over my head. As I started to drop into the slowest squat ever, I could hear the announcer mention that “overhead squats are a skill that many masters struggle with” and I knew she was talking about me. I wanted to die. It must have taken me a full 2 minutes just to complete that first squat. I had 9 more to go before I could even start my second round. It probably took me till the 10 minute mark to complete my 10 squat snatches. By the 10th one I was crying. And now I was running and crying and then I was swinging the kettlebell and crying. Needless to say, I did not make the 12 minute time cap. I had a 36 second penalty – a second for every rep I did not complete. The judge who collected my score sheet as I left the floor asked me why I was crying – was I hurt? Did I need medical attention? I explained “No, I’m crying for two reasons – one, I am embarrassed, and two, I am so incredibly happy that I just did something 10 TIMES that I had never done even once before”. And then he gave me a big hug and told me to be proud of myself. And I was. But something else happened as well. I got angry. Angry at myself for allowing my lack of confidence to keep me from putting in the work I had needed to do. So I went home and I started to work hard. On everything I hated or was afraid of. Sometimes I failed. But I tried again and often, again. Pretty soon I started to see results.
2 years later and I am pretty sure I am having one of my best days ever. The WOD today is “Nancy”. Nancy is 5 rounds of 400m run and 15 overhead squats at 65lbs. I’ve never even attempted Nancy and I’m tired. I’ve been training hard for the very same competition I first entered 2 years ago, but I load up the RX weight at 65lbs and tell myself that I can take weight off if it’s just too much. 15:40 later, I have told that voice in my head that says to take the weight off to shut the f*ck up and I am finished, having done the last 3 rounds of overhead squats unbroken. I completed 75 overhead squats and ran 1.25 miles in a few minutes more than the 10 squats two years ago. And this time I didn’t cry, I just did the work.