Struggle is the food from which change is made, and the best time to make the most of a struggle is when it’s right in front of your face. Now, I know that might sound a bit simplistic. But, too often we’re led to believe that struggling is a bad thing, or that we struggle because we’re doing something wrong.
I disagree. I look at struggle as an opportunity to grow. True struggle happens when you can sense what is not working for you and you’re willing to take the appropriate action to correct the situation. Those who accomplish change are willing to engage the struggle. –Danny Dreyer
The past week has been an incredible struggle for me. In fact, I don’t even think struggle adequately describes what I experienced. I felt broken…literally in pieces to a degree that becoming whole again felt at times impossible.
I failed epically at Olympic weightlifting class last week. Over and over and over again for 90 minutes. The more fervently I wanted to get the technique right, the worse I seemed to perform the clean. And every failed attempt just added to my frustration. I can’t even count the number of times I heard the coach yell at me “GET UNDER THE BAR!” The overwhelming majority of my fellow Crossfitters were adding weight, executing lifts, and making new PR’s, while I actually had to take weight off the bar and go back to basics. When class was over, the coach told me to stick around. However, Crossfit has a culture where no one leaves until everyone has finished the workout. So, basically everyone else in the class put away their bars and plates, which just left me trying to max out on cleans while everyone else was watching. I had maxed at 95 lbs and was attempting 105 lbs. So I had an audience as I repeatedly failed to get even close to cleaning 105. Finally, almost in tears, I decided I was done and put my equipment away.
The coach had me go back to an empty bar (35 lbs) and drill technique for about another 25 minutes after everyone else left. Even with one-on-one instruction and no weight on the bar, I kept messing up. I would try to correct the part of the technique I messed up on the last lift only to mess up another part of the technique on my next attempt. I could tell I was frustrating the coach too. He told me how strong I am and how much more I am capable of if I could just get the technique right. I cried the whole way home.
On top of my Oly lift problems, I was traveling for work a lot of this week. After getting back on track from my Charleston vacay the weekend before, I was in Atlanta on Sunday and Monday and then Hartford on Wednesday and Thursday. I only made it to Crossfit once (on Tuesday) and basically threw my meal plan out the window. Another week of non-compliance. Another week of making no progress on my physique goals. Another week of seeing my coach post awesome results from her clients on Facebook and me knowing that I would have another disappointing check in with her at the end of this week. Not to mention how exhausting traveling so much is and how intrusive it is to the routine I like to have in my life.
There are more personal issues driving my bad week as well. I don’t feel that they are relevant to this blog, but I also don’t want people to think I had a nervous breakdown over not being able to clean 105 lbs. It amounts to three primary things. First, I have been heartsick for months over the feelings I have for a person I can’t be with, which seems to be a recurring pattern with me. Second, despite dating a lot and trying everything from fix-ups by friends to speed dating, I have not been in a relationship for more than 5 years. Third, I had a falling out with someone I consider(ed?) a close friend, and I’m not really sure what the status of that friendship is even as I write this.
What I realized is that all of these events/issues had me asking the same question – “What’s wrong with me?”
That’s a shitty place to be mentally, and my self talk has been atrocious this week. I can’t do Oly lifts and everyone else can. I can’t do a lot of the things other people in my Crossfit class can do. I can’t stick to my meal plan while all of my coach’s other clients are getting awesome results. I can’t get over so-and-so even though I know I have no chance with him. I can’t find a guy I want to date for longer than a couple of months while all of my friends are engaged/married/in long term relationships. You get the picture…
I didn’t know what to do. Thinking my way out of it certainly wasn’t working. But then Saturday came, and I got what I needed without really doing anything at all. My trainer has the stomach flu, so I ended up going to my first Saturday morning Crossfit WOD (there was no Oly lifts class this week). Even though training was the last thing I wanted to do in my crappy mood, I showed up. Saturday morning is always a pretty big class, so we do team WOD’s. The workout and the people really did a lot to cheer me up. Then, I ended up going to the pool with some of my new friends from Crossfit afterward. Getting some sun/vitamin D, being around great people, and relaxing felt amazing. I drove home that afternoon feeling happy with only a trace of the melancholy I had been drowning in all week. I got home, read some more of World War Z, and then went to place called Cajun Canvas with one of the first friends I made when I moved here. We drank wine, talked, and painted for two hours, then went to Tilted Kilt for some food and a drink (yes, another example of meal plan non-compliance, but I digress). To end the night, a stranger came over to where we were sitting and told me repeatedly how beautiful I was. I wasn’t interested, but it was exceptionally flattering.
So, I feel like someone hit the reset button. Things aren’t perfect, but I feel so much better now than I did before. I also got some great advice from another friend who told me that I need to look at my goals individually, ask myself why I haven’t met them yet (mostly time), and focus on what I can do to work toward those goals. So that’s what I did today. I decided that my two big goals are related to Crossfit and to my physique (I don’t really have control over the other issues, so I am just going to do my best to not let them worry me).
For each WOD: 1) Show up. 2) Finish. That’s it, don’t worry about anything else!
Set aside at least one day each week to focus on weaknesses: Go to Oly lift class on Saturdays. Do one day of running, pull-ups, and double unders.
Performance goals: 125 lb clean, 100 lb snatch, 10 strict pull-ups in a row.
Workout 5 days per week (any combination of Crossfit, Oly lifts, or with my trainer at my regular gym)
Eat 100% primal
Be 95% meal plan compliant (with 49 meals in a week, that allows for 2 primal meals that don’t necessarily conform to my meal plan)
Keep eating out to an absolute minimum
It’s the start of a new week and I have no travel for work this week, so I’m ready to kick some ass!