So this year is the first year I took part in the CrossFit Open.
I started CrossFit a long time ago because I was fully aware of all of the weaknesses in my body & wanted to make them stronger for Roller Derby. I immediately loved it & was in the box working out 4-5 times a week, it was addictive because I could see & feel the changes that were taking place.
Fast forward I guess 3 or 4 years & a lot of stuff had changed. First I lived in a place where my nearest box was almost an hour away boooo 🙁 Then a box opened in my village yayyyyyy 🙂 Followed by the news a month or so later that I was to be be made redundant, thus making CrossFit a luxury I couldn’t afford. It was a tough year generally with one thing & another culminating in my return home to Leicester & making it into the box there maybe once a week on a good week, but honestly I kinda lost my way. I will call it life limbo. I was in life limbo trying to find a job, working on my own little business, wondering what would happen next & CrossFit just didn’t really fit with that picture, all my time was spent on these other projects.
Then completely out of the blue I was offered a job in Vietnam, relocated to HCMC (Saigon) joined a box there & started to very gradually get back into CrossFit. Obviously the bunch of people there are massively enthusiastic & supportive so when they started to talk about the Open it didn’t take too much to convince me to take part. I mean why not? Well I am not sure exactly what has happened to me since I have been here because actually the cons far outweigh the pros, maybe it was a moment of weakness, the promise of success, achievement – I have no idea, but I said yes, paid my $10 & my only goal was to complete 1 WOD RX.
Let me set the scene a little bit. My job here is full on. I love it, but there are elements that are extremely demanding that are completely out of my control, & because of this I am often in at work very early, out of work very late, working weekends etc. So I am often (mostly) very tired. In addition I have a steady stream of visitors – which is lovely, & my visitors have all been completely and utterly perfect, but it is tiring. So in case you didn’t get that & to summarise I am always tired & I often can’t make the gym/box.
In addition I knew full well I was not at my physical peak, it would be a miracle if I could do any of them RX & as soon as I had signed up I started to regret it. I wanted to be able to commit enough time to feel like I gave it my best shot, & knew in my heart of hearts I wouldn’t be able to. Frustrated before I even set off.
So anyway the WOD’s were of course horrific. I RX’d all of them except 1 which I had to scale – the 3rd I think. I did well in the first one, in the 2nd I ripped my hands so badly on the first round that I spent the entire rest of the time cap trying desperately to get in some more toes to bar with everyone running around finding tape, lending me their gloves, & just generally being amazing about my abysmal failure whilst I bled all over the place. 3rd one was average.
4th one I knew I would do ok as it was deadlifts, I like deadlifts, 70kg for someone that is sub 60kg is a heavy weight yeah? But did I mention I like deadlifts… This was my strongest WOD. Then came the final one & as soon as I saw it I knew. The time cap was 40minutes & I knew it was going to take me that 40minutes if I was to do it RX. Thrusters & double unders. My double unders are probably what enabled me to finish it as they are very fast. The thrusters at 30kg were absolutely hideous. I picked the bar up for the first round & braced myself for the 40 minutes.
Yep. 39:48 they all stayed and cheered me on & screamed at me right until the bitter end. I wanted to give up, & I wanted them to stop shouting as I couldn’t concentrate, but I know full well if they hadn’t had been there, I would have put the bar down on round 6 & gone home.
Here we are all finished.
I have to admit I was thrilled about getting one done RX, I never imagined I could have done that & perhaps without the camaraderie I wouldn’t.
It made me go away & think about a lot of stuff. Why didn’t I care more? Why didn’t I want to beat other people? It really made me think about why I was going & what I was trying to get out of it now there is no roller derby.
There is something about CrossFit that instils a gritty determination in everyone & their pears that I haven’t come across in anything else I have done. It doesn’t matter who you are once you are in the zone you are in the zone, it’s kind of raw I guess, you see people at their absolute best & absolute worst & no-one cares because you are all in it together. I think that’s another reason I fell so in love with it. It’s not about beating other people, or being better than them. It’s about doing & being the best that you can & encouraging others to do & find the same in themselves. It’s something that I struggled with sometimes in Roller Derby because peoples expectations often far exceeded their commitment. It’s so simple – you get back what you put in. Ok sometimes it’s not instantaneous, it doesn’t happen overnight, but I have seen it. I have seen it time & time again, the ones with the commitment & the dedication, they get good, no matter what, because they wont stop until they have got to where they want to be. I applaud that, & I applaud the people that have this pragmatic dedicated approach that they will get there because they are putting in the effort.
I guess that’s why I didn’t care so much about the Open. I didn’t deserve to do well & I knew I didn’t. I was just going through the motions as I had signed up. I am not sure if I will ever care enough to be exceptional, & that is not a bad thing or a shocking thing, it’s an honest thing. I think CrossFit will always be a part of my life because I love it, the people, the atmosphere, the coaches – all of it. But… & here’s the but. I only ever took up CrossFit to get stronger for Roller Derby. I now live in a country where there is no Roller Derby. So now I am doing CrossFit just to do CrossFit & to me that feels weird.
I miss Roller Derby a lot yes, I just put my outdoor wheels on my skates & am going to have a skate around my beautifully smooth neighbourhood, maybe I’ll brave a skatepark, but set up a league? No thanks. Been there done that, ran it for 6 years, & I know how much time, energy & dedication that takes. I am on a group which promised to be Saigon Roller Derby & so far there has been a lot of chatter, & not much else. There is no-one to lead, & I don’t want that responsibility because I know if I was to take that on as a project then I would miss out on so many other things that Vietnam has to offer & so many other things that I have not been able to do for the past 6 years.
The weather here has been great lately, we are out of rainy season, the only way to explain the way it feels is like being on holiday but having to work. It is glorious, I want to be outside all of the time. I have been paddleboarding, riding my bike all over the place, doing my garden, sewing things, planning little trips & adventures. To be frank the last place I want to be when the weather is like this is stuck in a sweaty gym. I remember all those summers we missed, whilst we were in sports halls longing to be outside & now here I am here in this amazing country with so much to see & do, so many things passed us by whilst we were at Roller Derby, or training for Roller Derby & at that time that was 100% the right thing to do, I wouldn’t change that. I have also found out that Roller Derby has given me a really good foundation for other sports. Same principals apply to so many things, so it’s been a very useful tool!!
It is actually really odd when you take such a huge part of your life away because you are so used to all these schedules & trying to fit everything around it all. I find myself writing lists & plans, then realise I don’t need to. I can do whatever I want when I want, like before the days of Roller Derby & that is so nice. Life has no attendance policy, there is noone upping their life game to bump me off the team.
So what started off with me reluctantly signing up for the open has ended up with me realising that this is yet another thing I am having to relearn. Life.
Start from Zero right 😀