Sometimes it is difficult for me to wrap my brain around the entity that is CrossFit. It is definitely not your typical gym, where you pay some kind of monthly fee, and get access to group exercise courses, weight rooms, and the like. My primary exposure to CrossFit is living on the same block as an affiliate gym. Nearly every morning, when I would be walking my dog, I would encounter large groups of people running along the sidewalk. Sometimes they would have something in their hands, like a tire, a medicine ball, or something that just looked like a giant jug. I would always think to myself about how these people woke up sometime around 5:30 A.M. to come in and do an intense workout, while I was just walking my dog after eating a bagel with creme cheese.
CrossFit is a also completely different philosophy, on exercise, and on life. Unlike at a typical gym, CrossFit-ters (is that the right way to refer to them, I do not know) do not work out at their own pace. In fact, the workouts appear intense and competitive, and so does the lifestyle.
It was a mere ten minutes after arriving that I realized that I may have inadvertently brought a contraband item into the gym. With a bottle of Coca-Cola in front of a sign strongly advocating against the consumption of sugar, I felt quite ridiculous.
For several reasons, I was a little bit hesitant to come to the CrossFit Regional Competition. The intensity of the workout regiment does not really match my personality. I have also all but lost interest in “working out”. This is primarily due to the fact that I now live in Colorado. I just find it hard to motivate myself to go run on a treadmill and lift weights when there are mountains with trails, ski resorts, rivers with rapids, and endless adventure possibilities so close to home!
Also, Saturday morning was COLD! Upon arrival, at about 8:20 A.M., the temperature was in the mid-teens. This was after Denver International Airport (where the official observations taken) recorded an overnight low of 5 degrees. Before that morning, the last time the temperature in Denver had dropped lower than 20 was the 6th of March, over 8 months ago. So, not only was it cold, but we were not accustomed to it.
Despite the cold, and despite the activity being outside the realm of what I would typically attend, I started having fun as soon as I got there.
The first competition I watched was a close race between several competitors. The competition involved a series of rows, weight lifting, and some series of jumps that I did not really understand. It was quite exciting! As the competitors passed through the series of events, some would take leads, some would stage comebacks. It was like watching another type of race, such as hurdles or horse racing, only with more craziness and variety.
I had came to the CrossFit Regional Competition to support a friend of mine who was competing. He ended up pulling out a victory in a really close “race”. In fact, there was an entire group of us that had made the trip up to Broomfield to see him compete. Towards the end of this close race, we were all yelling, jumping up and down, and cheering him on! In fact, part of the reason the event was so enjoyable was the group comradery. I genuinely believe that all events are better when shared with others, even in the cases where solitude is major part of the event (like backpacking).
There were also a lot of other fun events at the CrossFit games. In particular, I enjoyed watching the relay races, as they had a crazy arrangement of obstacles that each team of competitors had to overcome.
I saw people who were in crazy good shape. They all looked quite strong, and they all were capable of quite a lot. All I could think to myself was that despite my strong lack of desire to spend multiple mornings a week lifting weights and running and such, while also making it into a competition, this program works! It works for the people involved. Nearly every CrossFit-ter that I have seen, whether it be here, or on my block, is in ridiculously good shape, exactly the result they set out to get.
I am also glad that once again I personally decided to say yes to life. Had I chosen to stay home, whether it be because I was deterred by the frigid temperatures, or whether it be out of lack of a strong personal connection to the CrossFit way of life, I would have missed out on something truly beautiful. In the end, what I appreciated most about this event wasn’t the yelling and jingling my keys for the last 15 seconds of the event, or any of the other excitement one gets when watching a close race and having their preferred participant win. This event was special because I saw something that represents one of the greatest things we, as a human race, ever experience in life. It is that moment when you see the positive results of hard work in another human being. It is knowing that a genuinely decent person has taken part in something to better themselves.
Life is full of tough choices. One definitely involves how one can best spend their time. We will all receive a series of invitations (or solicitations), and must chose to say yes to some and no to others. We all know what we like. One will nearly always willingly accept invitations to activities they know they enjoy, and approach them with a positive and joyous attitude. Conversely, one will nearly always turn down invitations to activities they know they are not fond of.
What about those activities that fall somewhere in the middle? Maybe you are not too familiar with them, or have some kind of mixed emotions. Ultimately, we all must make a judgement call. Saturday’s event provided a clear reminder to me that accepting more of these invitations, and approaching them with an open mind and a positive attitude will lead to more positive experiences in life.