2014: No Turning Back
2014. You were my third as an athlete. You were the test. The supreme high from that initial plunge into Crossfit had worn off, the PRs long since tapered. You were either the year when I really was going to do this athletic thing or quietly retreat to the couch, with pizza and a Gilmore Girls marathon. (I may still fit that in. 2014 isn't over yet.) 2014. Shit got real. Now I had to ask myself, can I do this?
Winter of Setbacks
January started with a bang. The bang being my shin meeting a box. This was the first time I'd injured myself at the gym, and I handled it poorly. Doing shin-scraping deadlifts way too soon, denial leading to an aggravated injury. It was months before that leg was all right and I could throw myself back into every WOD with no hint of hesitation.
I lost some confidence and technique during that time (box jumps in the WOD? NO THANKS.) Living in Chicago didn't help, with its so-called Polar Vortex - a motivation-shattering winter of historic cold and snow. But hey, we made the best of it.
Spring of Fears & Failures
When I started Crossfit in 2013, I thought if I put the time in, showed up and listened, I'd be squatting my weight and busting out C2B pull ups in no time. Well, Crossfit isn't like that for me. It's wonderful and exciting but it doesn't involve me being an insta-beast at the gym. Reality is it can take years to RX, especially if you're starting from fitness ground zero like I am. My dismal foray into the 2014 Crossfit Open was the first real eye opener. Then there were the dashed expectations of my first Olympic Lifting meet, and again during my first actual Crossfit competition, where a terrible wall ball situation brought tears to my eyes.
I can't lie. There were many, many moments during those events and the WODs in between when I questioned why I was doing this. Always sucking kinda... sucks.
Summer of Strength and Adventure
But I kept throwing myself in there. I swallowed my fears and started working up to box jumps again, and accepted the fact that I'm a slow learner in the fitness world. And you know what? I started to enjoy the process more. My amazing girls helped, supporting me through my second, more successful Crossfit competition where I met wall balls again and this time destroyed them. My confidence was growing again, so I decided to solo Murph - let's just overlook the fact that during this Hero WOD I totally fell and re-injured my leg again, WHILE RUNNING.
I found different ways to challenge myself, that weren't purely physical. My pal and I started instructing occasional Indoor Rowing 101 classes. I joined the ladies at my gym in an "Ef Running Club" to help us run better, together. And then due to my interest in rowing and small stature, I was coaxed into being a coxswain. Suddenly I found myself coxing boats of eight rowers on the Chicago River. It was a whole new family that greeted me with open arms and had all the patience in the world as I learned how to steer 53 feet of fiberglass— and not get us drowned.
Fall of Change
We introduced several lovely new teammates to Team Athletish, including spin instructor Emily and our adventure correspondent E. Peabody. But with the hellos came some significant goodbyes. First to Bethany, our dearest fitness buddy/partner in crime who is off to New York City. And then Nell, the owner of my gym and why I got into the crazy sport of indoor rowing in the first place, who is pursuing her dream of creating FOMO, a kick ass activewear company.
I'm lousy at goodbyes, like most people. But the fall was spiked with accomplishments and new experiences, like rowing a half marathon, crushing my 8k running time and rowing (and placing second) as underdogs in our first regatta.
Onto New Horizons
As I look back on the year, I see so many more ups than downs. Things were harder and scarier but the support I had was overwhelming. Fitness friends don't pick you up, they never let you sit down in the first place.