Competiton: Awakening the slumbering beasts – by Rachel Dutton-Leyda
Last Sunday was my first time competing in anything in a long time. There’s really no other experience like it. I love it. It didn’t feel like this when I was younger. It’s fun and feels like nothing I’ve ever really experienced. When I was younger, it felt like a chore, like something my mom and dad expected of me. Their expectation took all the fun of the game away from me. Now it’s different. I do athletic things for me, and I’m empowered. Fitness feels great, but fitness isn’t competition. Competition is different. It did something to me. I know it was my first competition and that it was really just a “Sunday fun day,” but the experience changed me. It empowered me. It helped me see where I’m weak and how I need to train to improve. In my opinion, competition brings out the parts of us that lie dormant, which had previously died off from years of ignoring them or being taught that it’s wrong to feel competitive. During the competition this past Sunday, something changed in me. It had been stirring in me for a while, but the competition literally mutated the little seeds that had been planted in my head and turned them into one big idea that hasn’t let me go since.
You know that feeling that almost engulfs you in its grips when you’re giving your all during a killer WOD? It feels kind of like you’re going to die and you literally have nothing left in you to get the work done. It’s the feeling that often works in sync with that little voice in the back of your head that tells you to give up because you will LITERALLY die if you don’t stop… well, I think I’ve really started to like feeling that way. I had started to ignore that little voice awhile before the competition. I was using heavier weights and really pushing myself hard. I even talked to Tait about it because I was so psyched about being able to separate myself from it and not let it govern me. I’ve never been able to see it so clearly before, and as I continue to do CrossFit, it seems to be getting easier to hear and separate from myself.
There was something different about the voice at the competition though. I forgot about it before I started (which, inevitably had me using lighter weights for my snatches… more on that later). When I heard it during the course however, so much went through my head. It was tiny compared to my absolute NEED to get the course finished. I couldn’t stop. I didn’t want to. I felt the endurance in my body, the sweat coming down my forehead and could feel my lungs burning, and I wanted more. It was exciting and exhilarating, and so much more than when I WOD at our box. I loved it, and I still want more.
I have a trophy from this weekend. I won the women’s scaled division, but I feel like it’s an honor I didn’t achieve. I feel like if I had gone with 20 pounds heavier for the snatch, I’d be a lot more proud of my trophy. I feel like if I had used the kettle bells, I’d be a lot more worthy of it… but, I have the trophy, and ever since I’ve put it up on my bookshelf I feel like I have some type of direction to go in with CrossFit. I have a reason to use heavier weights at the gym and I know that using heavier weights will help me in the long run with my ultimate fitness and with my ability to compete with heavier weights in the future.
Ultimately, I think the experience was good for me. Some experiences in our lives change us for the better. This experience was a wakeup call. I need to step my game up. I need to use heavier weights at the gym and get used to feeling like I’m going to die because it’s empowering – yes, empowering… and, it feels good. That sounds so masochistic, but it is what is… and, it’s true. WODs wouldn’t be what they are if I gave up on them. I mean, I know the coaches have been saying it and my thinking wouldn’t be what it today without their encouragement… but, the obstacle course really made things click. The course wouldn’t have been what it was for me if I had stopped for a few seconds to catch my breath. I don’t want that “I’m going to die” feeling governing me any longer. I’m no longer going to let it and the voice in the back of my head tell me how to work out… or, I’m going to try to not let them take control. We all know how powerful the two can be, so I can say “no more” only to an extent. Though, conquering the voice is the only way to reach my goals. The competition on Sunday really helped that idea set into my mind. I’m going to take that “I’m going to die” feeling and befriend it, that way that little voice in the back of my head no longer has an ally. Without its ally, it won’t be as strong… then I kill it and eat it.
Rachel Dutton Leyda
100 Meter farmer carry (1/2 body weight)
10 Strict Toes to Bar
15 Burpee Box jumps