Why I want to give Fran a hug.

~By Beth Hein-Seder

Maybe I’m just avoiding paperwork here, or nervous about the thought of some sort of Super-Fran showing up as 13.5, but Sam Briggs and Julie Foucher got me thinking about how CrossFit affects me, and what is it that makes people love the pain, embrace the suck, and show up early again the next day. I guess it’s obvious. We’re all looking for a way to escape the herd. You know, stop being sheep for just a few minutes and find out what we’re really made of. Sometimes it’s an outlet for anger, or stress. Sometimes we train for ego or glory or to fulfill some sort of junior high fantasy of being the popular jock. Sometimes it’s just to look good naked. It just occurred to me while skimming Julie’s blog post that the real reason I crossfit has nothing to do with that, and really only happens every once in a while.

Sure, I show up for all of those reasons I listed above at one time or another. (What’s weird is I say ‘I show up’, like it’s still just a work out, but meanwhile I just took the biggest risk of my life by opening my own box…but that’s another story.) Anyway, like I was saying…I crossfit for all of those reasons depending on the day, but that’s not the real magic. Most days, that scary tone that comes after “3..2..1” erases how tired I feel, or what I have to do tomorrow, or whatever is on the surface. Not that big of a deal, that happens to everyone, right? You get in the “zone” and you can’t hear that voice in your head anymore, you have no idea that your favorite song just came on, or that you have medusa hair, or that you shoes don’t match your shorts.

But that’s not what i’m talking about. It goes deeper. I can be in the zone and all of a sudden it starts to get more difficult and that little voice in my head comes back in and starts telling me things like “this is too much,” “shit, you forgot to call the school today,” or “you need to be better at this, pick it up, you’re too slow!” Then… “Shut up! you got this, you can get through it, in 5 minutes it will all be over….one more round after this one…” Most WOD’s go like that, and I finish, and conquer, and in my own head I’m beating my chest and being lifted above the crowd, and all that happy horse-shit. Still, that’s not what I love about crossfit. It’s even deeper than that.

For me, its the rare day when the positive voice can’t win; when I don’t believe the positive voice and ‘only 6 more rounds after this’ is not going to cut it. I’m smart. I know 6 more rounds is going to destroy me. Hell, 2 more will destroy me. Then about round 4 or 5 I spiral into everything that is wrong with my life “why did he do that to me?,” “how am I going to pay for my house?,” “I should probably be spending more time with my son….”  – ya know, the bigger stuff. It’s a complete stripping away of the facade we all show, exposing our shady little secrets and fears. We’re literally talking about a series of movements that I can voluntarily stop doing at any time that strip away all of the crap I am carrying around in the background.

So there I am. Round 5. I’m face to face with all of my personal fears and insecurities. All of the crap I stuff down under my wool and lug around with me every day. Here are my two choices: Finish the WOD, slowly back away from the ledge and go back into denial and stick it all back where it belongs, OR….every once in a while….if I’m lucky, I go off the ledge. I break through all that bullshit, drop the luggage and the wool, and finish round 6 like a fucking champion (picture Rudy sacking the quarterback, Roy Hobbs’ home run, or Mary Lou Retten landing that damn flip on one leg). It’s like superman ripping off his shirt. It’s a glimpse of the universe and how I want to live my life every day. It’s freedom, truth, peace. The veil is lifted and I can clearly see how fortunate I am, and how my luggage is keeping me from greatness.

Other people are there for the same thing, and we all want it so bad that we’ll even cheer for others to have it when we can’t. There’s no ego, or greed, because it’s a place where those things don’t exist, and to see another go there is like going there ourselves, so we’ll scream our damn heads off to help lift them to it. That’s why I come back. That’s why I work 15 hour days to have my own box. Not only because I know one day soon it will happen to me again, but because if my life’s work is to provide that opportunity to other people, then that’s the least sheepish thing I could ever do.

Or maybe I should just get my paperwork done. What do you think?