#fbf CrossFit Games California Regionals.
Now that 2 weeks have passed since Regionals, I finally got some time to reflect on such an incredible weekend. People ask me how was it, am I happy with the results, or how I thought I did. I gave the same answer, “good, I had a lot of fun.” It’s a true statement, but, I didn’t feel happy like I usually do after Regionals. I had such an odd feeling and I couldn’t figure out what it was. I spent the last 2 weeks wondering what got me feeling that way.
I did everything I could to prepare for Regionals. I gave it all I had on that competition floor. I had fun while I was there. But when it was all over and done with, why wasn’t I happy? How was this year different from the previous years? I did the best I could leading up to, and during competition, just like I always do. I know I love competition; but I couldn’t figure out why the emotional result was stale this time around.
Even though I didn’t win (that’s qualifying for the Games for me), I didn’t feel like a loser. As a matter of fact, I enjoy failing for the lessons that come with it. Getting to Regionals isn’t what brings satisfaction, it’s really my personal journey, the shared experiences and compassion for failure is what drives me. If I know that, then what restrained me from feeling content?
These were my thoughts during the 8 days I took off training. In those 8 days, I caught up with friends and family, I ate and drank with little restriction, I slept better than ever, I gave more attention to my business and the people involved in it, and I felt great! This led to a moment where I thought maybe I needed a break from competition, skip a year and then go back to it. Of course I said “fuck that” because it wasn’t the answer either. I knew I wanted to continue to pursue my athletic career. But I still hated feeling the way I did, and the best way I could describe it was that I was feeling “in between.” I didn’t want to train, but I also wanted to. Doesn’t make sense, does it? Well, I didn’t get it either and it was pissing me off.
Moving on to my 9th day of zero training, I decided to do what I naturally do…go back to training. It was a great reminder that it’s in my blood. I was born with the drive to challenge my mind and body. 4 days into training I realized how much I sacrifice so I can put my efforts into the sport. It made me look back on not only this past year, but all 6 years of my obsession (yes, I’ll admit, it’s really excessive, but you have to be if you want to succeed). I’ve missed numerous family gatherings, declined nights out with friends, obsessed about finding a gym to train at during vacation, and the list goes on. Finally, the answer hit me.
The MENTAL INTENSITY of being a competitive athlete had just crashed and burned after all these years. I was emotionally and mentally exhausted from keeping my shit together. Day in and day out is a mental battle with internal and intangible stressors. What am I going to eat, what time can I go to sleep, when do I have to wake up, where am I going to squeeze in training, what time do I train my clients, when can I take a nap, when do I have time to grab lunch, what am I going to do for training, where are my thoughts during training, when do I have to go back to work, when do I get off work, should I have dinner or just go to bed, and what will be done on rest days. Those are only a few questions I ask myself daily as an athlete. Now add the the things you tell yourself as a gym owner and coach: I have to program for my 10 clients, program for the group class, program for barbell club, program for the kids class, send out follow ups for these nutrition clients, reply to these emails, return these voicemails, order more supplies, clean that cobweb, tighten the screws on the air bike, deposit these checks, pay the rent, and again, it goes on. The combination of taking care of my own needs and the needs of others can be like the stupid jack-in-the-box toy. While spinning your song, Jack is going to pop up out of nowhere to ruin your jam. Then you’re going to take that box and throw it across the room because that little piece of shit interrupted your flow. Well, having all these priorities compile over the course of 6 years, Jack popped out of his box. All the stress surfaced, and I crumbled.
I’ve been competing in CrossFit since 2011, and over the years I’ve pushed my body to the extremes. It takes a lot energy when you’re fighting for your dreams. This energy is intensified over a weekend. You’re out there relying on yourself to make the right moves. You have to ignore everything negative, from your nagging shoulder, your cramping foot, to the no rep the judge dramatically expressed, and immediately saying positive thoughts in your head so you can keep on slaying bitches. The pressure is on because you spent the entire year training for a spot to the final stage and it comes down to these three days. I have never felt as emotionally and mentally drained as I did this year. I finally understood why I felt the way I did. It wasn’t just this Regionals that did me in. It was everything I’ve done from the beginning of my athletic career up to this point. The lifestyle required to be an elite athlete is not normal, and believe it or not, it is also unhealthy. But, it’s necessary to strive for greatness. I just have to remember that I’m human, and that I can have a mental breakdown and be confident that I will come out stronger. Now I have to learn to manage myself more efficiently so these breakdowns won’t take me two weeks to come out of, and that I don’t hit a wall (as hard). It’s all part of my ongoing goal to become the best version of myself.
My message here is that everyone lives with Jack (negative emotions/thoughts), and you can’t rip Jack out of the box because it’s part of being human. Your song will play, but there will be a time when that stupid clown (why is it a clown?) is going to smash the vibe. You may crumble, and that’s okay. Because you’ll learn to pick up the box again, and the next time Jack is an asshole, instead of throwing him across the room, we learn to deal with him better and better each time. You will handle his dick moves more efficiently, and the sooner you will get back to playing your song. Over time interruptions become shorter, and less frequent, and by the end of it all, you’ll have a beautiful song that everyone can hear. Finding one’s place in life is entirely an internal and personal process. It doesn’t matter how you do it, you just need to execute.
All in all, I fucking broke down and questioned my purpose, but I figured that shit out. My mind is more clear than ever and I’m going to charge through like I always will to achieve my goals. I’m happy, I’m back to training, and I’m ready for 2017!