It seems like forever ago now, but just 4+ years ago I walked through the doors of CrossFit for the very first time. When I first walked through those doors I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I knew that CrossFit was hard and was a lot of work and sweat, but aside from that, I really didn't know a whole lot. It took me awhile but I gradually began to figure things out and become a more experienced athlete. As I grew as an athlete, CrossFit also grew. What used to be some small, underground workout routine, suddenly blossomed into an almost mainstream addiction. The climate and culture within CrossFit changed, and I've been vocal (at times) about certain things in CrossFit that just sort of annoyed me.
As CrossFit grew, I noticed that certain things became more prevalent, and it seemed like you couldn't walk into a box or look at a CrossFit page without seeing certain things. It seemed more and more that CrossFit was about having the right gear and the right equipment and the right LOOK if you wanted to be considered a CrossFitter. I had a hard time with that because I have always sort of been my own person. My thoughts were, if you are going to lift heavy, you should be able to do it with, or without, the O shoes. I understood the reasoning of wanting to be flat, which is why I spent money on Chucks, but didn't understand the need to spend $200 on O shoes. My chucks were decked out with multi-colored glitter, because, well, who doesn't like glitter and they also cost considerably LESS, and in my opinion, did the same thing. I didn't understand why all of a sudden everyone had to have the O shoes. I sort of snubbed my nose at the expensive gear because it felt fake to me. I never wore knee high socks with booty shorts on metcon days because it looked cool, but rather I wore them to protect my shins on heavy lifting days. I wear them in a variety of patterns and colors because I figure, if I'm going to lift heavy and protect my shins, well then, I should certainly match while doing it! I've always just sort of prided myself on not going with the pack and sort of doing my own thing. When all of a sudden it wasn't cool to wod WITHOUT Lulu clothes, I again sort of did a WTF? I just didn't get it, and it sort of annoyed me when every newcomer seemed to walk into the box wearing Lulu because they were "supposed to". I actually overheard someone say once that it was the official uniform of CrossFit. It just made me shake my head.
I've talked about it, I've blogged about it, and shared my annoyances about it. But over the course of past few weeks though, I did some things that made me feel.... not like my own person. I sort of feel like I sold out. After all of the things that I said, and after all of the things I've written about being my own person, I have to confess that I purchased a pair of O shoes. I did so primarily because I wanted to see if there was a difference in lifting in O shoes and lifting in the chucks, and without a doubt, I can see that there is. So, I have to admit to all of those people who were wearing them before me that, they were right. Perhaps had I not been so determined (fine READ stubborn) I would have realized their benefits a long time ago, but, as I have realized about myself, I need to do everyting in my own time. Now, it was the time. My chucks were well worn, and were honestly starting to pinch my feet because they have a more pointed, as opposed to rounded, toe. The switch to the Pendalay shoes was a good one, and I'm pleased with the choice. I think for a first time lifting shoe, the price was reasonable, and the results that I've had with them thus far have been encouraging.
I also have to confess as well that I purchased some clothes from Lulu. Now, again, I will admit that I was very curious. As someone who is almost STUCK on being her own person, I didn't understand all of the hype surrounding the clothes, and I couldn't understand why everyone just HAD to have them. Again, over the course of the past few weeks, I've become a little disenchanted with some of my workout wear. I have lots of Nike stuff that is either too hot, or is just not holding shape well. It's frustrating to complete lifts where the bar needs to remain close to your body, but the clothes have loosened so much that the bar path drags them. It just sort of made me wonder. NOt to mention, it's beyond disgustingly hot in Virgina right now and although Nike claims to have clothes that keep you dry and cool, some of the capris, which is what I prefer to lift in,don't dry very quickly, and they're not very cool sometimes. I just began to wonder if there was something better out there. So I decided to venture in, and I have to admit, everyone was right. I wore my Lulu clothes to two workouts and I was hooked. They are so lightweight and so unbelievably perfect for metcons and lifting that I was kicking myself for not investing sooner.
But, while I was busy enjoying the new clothes and having great wods, I couldn't help but think about all the things I had written about being my own person and not buying things just because everyone else did. I did really feel like I had just sort of sold out. I had gone against all the things I said I would NEVER do. Now, here again, I'm going to have to admit that all those people who wore it before I did, were right. They knew a little bit more than I did. But, again, I guess I just had to accept it in my own time. But it kind of got me to thinking.... why did it take me so long? Why didn't I come to my senses sooner? And it really did bother me that I sort of had sold out in a sense. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that more or less, it has to do with the serious factor.
The serious factor you ask? The serious factor.... When I was 12-14 years old, I had been a swimmer for awhile. I was a decent swimmer but to me, I did what I did, I didn't do anything special and it was what it was. But it was somewhere right around that age, that I began to get more serious about things. My times became important, the trophies, the number of ribbons, whether or not I was on the A or B relay. When I got serious about swimming, I began to go to practice more regularly and I started thinking about things like getting "racing" suits, which were vastly different from practice suits. The racing suits were designed to channel water differently and help you shave those critical tenths and hundredths of a second. I know it may sound humerous to say, but I've seen more than one race be determined by increments of time that small. And if the difference can be made by wearing a different suits, why not? If it was going to make me better, I needed it. I got SERIOUS. As I grew older, suits progressed. They became more technical and eventually developed into the more advanced pieces you see now like the jammers, legs, and the ladies suits that have the suit plus legs. It literally is a BILLION dollar industry. (Thank you Michael Phelps). But the bottom line was, as I got older and as I got more serious, I got more serious about the gear I was putting on my body. If I was going to do the BEST that I could do, then I should put myself in the best possible position to do well, even if it meant changing my gear. I experimented with different suits, caps, and goggles (No, Swedish goggles are NOT fun) because I wanted to be as good as I could be.
Now, is CrossFit won or lost by increments of one tenth or one hundredth of a second? No. Not really. But the idea sort of remains the same. The more serious you are about something, the more you want to put yourself in the best possible position to do well, and if you're gear is going to affect your ability to perform and do well I can now sort of make that connection with why people started buying it to begin with. I guess it's no different really than the swim suits. When I started CrossFit, I wore cotton t-shirts and old soccer shorts. I quickly realized the more I went to CrossFit that that just wasn't going to fly. It was too hot for that crap. I was getting more serious about things, and I wanted to put myself into a position to be the best I could be. Drowning in a pile of your own sweat really doesn't allow for you to be the best you can be. I've become a lot more serious over the past 2 years or so about CrossFit, so I guess it sort of makes sense that it's time to start thinking about those things. I still feel bad about "selling out" but I really can see their value. The serious factor has kicked in and I have officially become a convert. As I slowly work my way through the new gear and as I purchase other things, I'll be sure to pass along any thoughts I have.... we all know how good I am at sharing thoughts! :) But in the meantime, please try your best not to crucify me....