A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be visiting Charlotte for work and decided to stay through the weekend. While I was there, I participated in CrossFit for Hope, which is a charity fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
In 2013, I went to CrossFit For Hope to cheer on one of my friends, but was sidelined as an observer because of a shoulder injury. I remember feeling somewhat relieved that I didn’t actually have to participate. It’s a fundraiser, not a competition, and there were scaled and Rx versions of the workout, but the thought of having to do a WOD in front of so many strangers when I had only been doing CrossFit for a couple of months was kind of terrifying. I had originally signed up to do the scaled version of the workout (ring rows instead of pullups; snatches and thrusters at 35 lbs) before I decided to back out. I volunteered to count reps for one of the women from my CrossFit gym at the time, and she did the workout Rx. I remember watching her do pull-ups and snatches and being so impressed. I wished so badly I was where she was. In my mind, she was legit, and I was still just a CrossFit impostor.
Fast forward to 2014. My friend Amber and I were both doing CrossFit For Hope together in back to back heats so that we could count reps for each other. I was in the first heat and was super nervous. I was having one of those, “Why did I sign up for this?” moments. I was mostly nervous about the power snatches at 55. Snatch is by far my weakest lift, and I always dread any workout with them in it. My max snatch was only 70 lbs at the time, so having to do 3 rounds of max snatches in one minute at 55 lbs on top of 4 other exercises made me incredibly uneasy.
The CrossFit For Hope workout was 3 rounds of:
1 min max box jumps
1 min max thrusters (55)
1 min max pull-ups
1 min max burpees
1 min max snatches (55)
1 min rest
When my time came, we got to choose which exercise to start with, and I chose box jumps. In hindsight, probably not the best idea to make snatches my finisher for every round. The workout was rough. One minute feels like an eternity when you’re trying to do as many reps as possible of pretty much anything, unless it is the one minute of rest between rounds, and then it feels like it goes by in an instant. But I had an awesome 360 degree epiphany during round 2 – I was, exactly one year later, where I had dreamed of being as a newbie CrossFitter. I was completing the workout Rx. I was doing pull-ups and able to link 5 or 6 together before dropping off the bar to regrip or rest. I was power snatching at 55. I didn’t fail a single rep when it came to the snatches, and although I didn’t get as many reps for snatch as I did for the other exercises, I was totally happy with the effort I put in.
In that moment, I felt so proud. I had reached a point I had dreamed of being a year earlier. But aren’t goals and aspirations always a moving target? I’ve improved and I should be proud of that, but now I’m chasing even bigger goals. Muscle-ups. A bodyweight clean and jerk (only 10 lbs away). A 95 lb snatch. It’s so easy to forget to celebrate how far I’ve come when it feels like wherever I am is never good enough. I will never reach a point where I am strong enough. Fast enough. Skilled enough. There is always room for improvement. But I have to take the time to occasionally reflect back on where I started and celebrate how far I’ve come.
I think the same applies to life in general – people are always chasing something, and usually when they find it, it doesn’t bring them the satisfaction they thought it would, so they think they need more. They finally start making six figures a year, and then realize that the money doesn’t go as far as they thought they did. They finally get that promotion and realize it doesn’t come with as much power and authority as they expected. They get married only to realize that they’ve traded in their single person problems for a whole new set of married person problems. Sometimes, we have to take our eyes off of the next big thing, whatever it may be, and look around and appreciate exactly where we are.