Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My CrossFit Story Part Tres: The End of the Honeymoon

We've all been in relationships before in our lives. There's the initial meeting, the butterflies when they ask for your number, the aniticipation of whether or not they'll call, and the giddiness that seems to permeate everything when they finally do. There's the first date, and the subsequent follow-ups, the time where you get comfortable and you become so and so AND so and so, but with most relationships, the honeymoon almost always ends. You realize that it drives you insane when he leaves his smelly gym shorts and socks on the floor and if he leaves the seat up for you to fall in one more time, you swear you're going to kill him. And on the other end, he realizes that if you ask him one more time if the jeans make your butt look big he's going to tell what he really thinks, and that is that if you were so concerned, you shouldn't have had your latte and donut for breakfast! Ahhhh yes, the honeymoon period has come to an end.

The end of the honeymoon period leaves you wondering if you really love this person and if anyone truly ever lives happily ever after. You wonder if after the fact Snow White had a second thought and was like, dude this guy killed my stepmom, maybe he's not so much a catch. Or you find yourself wondering if perhaps Sleeping Beauty thought to herself that marrying the first guy to wake her up wasn't such a hot idea. The end of the honeymoon signals a change in a relationship. It's either time to look at the flaws and continue, or look at the flaws and run like mad for the hills.

It was inevitable I suppose that CrossFit and I would reach the end of our honeymoon stage. It took awhile, but after 3+ years our honeymoon period came to an abrupt end. Sometime not too long after CF regionals CrossFit really began to wear on me. I felt sore all the time, really sluggish during the workouts, and the wods that had been so much fun for me in the past, I wasn't finding enjoyable anymore. Without a warning (perhaps even on a Sunday morning?) the end of the honeymooon came. After all the successes that I've had with CrossFit, after everything we've been through, I just wasn't happy.

Everyone always talks about the CF success stories, myself included, but no one ever talks about what happens after the happily ever after. No one ever stops to ask Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella if they continued in marital bliss or began to cry themselves to sleep on their royal pillows, and no one ever checks back in with the CF success stories after a few more months or years. I feel like it's important then to tackle the flip side of that coin. I feel like it's important for me to share that my honeymoon stage has ended because it has changed, and continues to change how I look at CF.

Honestly, 2 years ago I thought CF was great. I was zoning, I was as lean as I think I've EVER been, healthier for sure, my weights were increasing, my progress was easy to see, and I was in sheer fitness heaven. Everyday was a great blog day, and things were happily ever after. My life was at a point where I had the time, the energy and the focus to work on eating right and improving myself. It's why I became a CF success story so to speak. But I've hit some road blocks in the past few years that for me have been hard to overcome. Life quite frankly has just had my attention on other areas besides CF. My focus has had to be on work (all of them) and trying to sort out what is going to make me happiest in life. Everyone always assumes that CF success stories go off into happily ever afters and become these badasses who just continue to grow and thrive. That hasn't happened for me. To be frank, my fitness has sort of stalled or plateued if you will.

Largely because of my job situation, and a few other personal things, my attention has been turned away from CF, and from maintaining a strict diet. Even now just being down to 1 job from 3, I'm finding it hard to carve out a set schedule (whereas in the past I had been on one) and maintain the momentum of my training and diet. It's been a hard change for me to accept, and truth be told, the mental aspect of it has been more challenging than anything. It's hard to accept that I can't do things as fast as I did, and it's hard to accept that I don't weigh as much as I did. It got to the point for me where in August I had to walk away. CF has been so wonderful for me, and yet, I was absolutely miserable in the box, hated talking to people in the box, and just felt like screaming 90% of the time. I was extremely jealous of other people's successes, frustrated with my lack of it, and had a hard time being supportive of other people. In a box like ours where it truly is a community, that's not an attitude conducive to that environment or continuing to foster it. I had to step back. I had to look at myself and get down to the nitty gritty of things.

And the nitty gritty is this, my life is not the same as it was 2 years ago. Mentally I'm not in the same place as I was then, and employement wise, I'm not in the same type of situation I was then either. Because of that, my training is not in the same place and neither is my thinking. For me, the most focused I ever was, I was hitting the box 5 days a week and then running on a 6th day to prepare for the Baltimore Half Marathon. I leaned out considerably during that time for obvious reasons. I was eating really well, and I was training a lot. Right now, I can't do that. Because of my current situation with my work and finances, my goals right now have shifted dramatically.

After walking away in August, my mindset now is different. I don't necessarily want to be the biggest badass in the county. Sure, it'd be nice, but that's not necessarily what I want. At one point, I sort of wanted to be a badass that everyone looked at and was like damn, but that took a lot of energy and focus that I just can't afford to give to CF right now. Now, what I want is to be able to continue to enjoy my workouts and in general be healthy. I may not be the fastest or the strongest right now, but that's ok, because the bottom line is that I can still DO everything. Getting in to the box and doing something is better than saying I'm not as fast or strong as I used to be so there's no point in going at all. That's just ridiculous.

My goal now is not to continue to try to be a badass. I think those days are gone for awhile, but I want to try to continue to get to the box 4 days a week, 5 if I am able, so that I can at least MAINTAIN a level of fitness. I also have had to realize that with the shift in my employment, now serving full time, I have to take it easy on my body. I need to be able to move to work. There are time constraints at work for our tables. We have certain time limitations to return with drinks, checks, appetizers etc. I need to be able to move to hit those time tables, especially when we start slammin'. If I'm too sore to hustle my ass at work, that's an issue. I want to push myself but be aware that if I'm working a double, or have just pulled three doubles in a row, this takes a toll on my body. I need to be smarter about working out and I'm learning that now. It's taking awhile but I'm learning how to adjust to all of this. I realize that it's not a perfect situation, but life doesn't always allow for perfection, and sometimes as CrossFitters, I think we need to realize that. I think that CrossFit attracts a certain type of person; a driven, competitive, and somewhat perfection oriented individual. Sometimes in our lives, life has other plans besides CF, and you know what, it's ok.

As for the eating, I'm not going to lie. It's good some days, and other days, it's horrible. Sometimes I'm worried about money, so I eat things that are less expensive, which tends to also mean less healthy. However, I look at this situation this way. I'm doing what I need to do to take care of me. This is a temporary situation. CrossFit has taught me how to eat right, and when I'm able, I will. Until I can get myself back on a schedule and manage to get that back in line, I'll make the best choices that I can within my budget constraints. I will admit that the coffee and soda have continued to be a problem, and for me it's largely a crime of opportunity. The soda machine staring me in the face 6 days a week is very different from when it was only 3-4 days when I was serving as a side job. So, again, I'm going to have to begin to make adjustments for this. I'm going to have to figure out how to walk by it and just ignore it. For me, it is my next big challenge.

Really though, the bottom line is that just because the honeymoon has ended, that doesn't mean I've fallen out of love with CF. It just means that CF and I have had to change our relationship. My focuses in the box are different but I feel ok with that. It's not going to be perfect right now. Maybe one day I can get back to being a badass, but for now, I'm trying to find ways to keep this fun and stay healthy. If you're in a place in your life where the honeymoon has ended, I hope you can find a way to push through because CF is truly a wonderful thing. But remember it's not about being the best. It's about being the best version of YOURSELF at any given moment. Your best version of you may not always be the same, but it's still important for you to be the best you can be at that time and in that moment. Just do you.

5 comments:

Mark said...

Katie, You looked like you were getting after it today.

I am pretty sure my PRs will be few and far between going forward, which is less fun than hitting a new PR all the time. I was a little burned out recently too, but I found that I was very happy to be back after a short break. I just felt better being there than not being there. Simple as that.

Erin said...

Katie--Very wise and thoughtful post. I'm glad you and CF are still in love. Just as in a marriage, the relationship has its ups and downs and detours and that's ok. The point is to never give up.

Germany was a maintenance year for me, but that was ok, now to get after it again with a schedule and a plan feels amazing! You'll get back there when you're ready!!

Splint Chesthair said...

Katie,
I was just checking in and thought I’d share my similar experience with Crossfit. I had that period where I couldn’t wait to tell people about the workout I did and couldn’t wait to get after it as hard as I could pushing to get those better results. At some point, I realized that I was sore and tired all the time nothing major, just dull aches in the joints and muscles. I had little energy to do anything other than my WODs. I was too tired to do any of the fun stuff I enjoy. No matter how much I slept or how well/much I ate, I could only muster the energy for my WODs, after that I was spent. Like it or not, I just don’t recover as fast as I did when I was 18. I simply can’t do 3 pull-up centric workouts or blast my shoulders three days in a row without requiring more recovery time than I can muster while also having a life.
All that being said, I love Crossfit and it taught me so much about fitness and eating right. Today I do three normal strength training days with the big lifts, squats, bench, weighted chins, rows, overhead press, power cleans, and alternating front squats/dead lifts every week. Crossfit taught me that I can forget targeting the biceps/triceps/calves, etc. If you’re lifting heavy, they’ll get their workout. I also have two sprint days where I often use Crossfit WODs like Fran, Cindy, Helen, etc., or just run sprints using tabata methods (again, learned from getting into Crossfit) and one yoga day and one rest day. My squat max increased 30 pounds from my Crossfit days and just last week I went 10 pounds over my max dead lift.
It’s not all better. I’m not as lean as I was, but I have more muscle and best of all, I am rarely tired. I have enough energy to do whatever I want when I’m not in the gym. I often think maybe I pushed too hard too fast, or wasn’t eating properly, and maybe didn’t do it “right”, and maybe that’s true, I don’t know, but I definitely had a epiphany similar to yours where I realized I just wasn’t having fun anymore and my workouts were getting to be something I didn’t enjoy.
I guess I just wanted to let you know you’re not alone and I have gotten back into Crossfit here and there for a month or two at a time just to shake things up but it’s just not something I can do long term if I want to do anything else other than eat or sleep.

Good Luck,
Splint

Splint Chesthair said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christine said...

Hang in there Katie, I know you are in the relationship for the long haul. The changeup isn't necessarily a bad thing - it will keep boredom at bay. Can't wait to be back there with you... and I am pretty sure it is going to have to be a new version of myself as well!