Pain is a tool. It measures what you’ve done and is scaled so that you understand when you’ve done enough or that you’ve done too much. It is your ultimate measure of progression or regression. Know your pain, as it is an invaluable tool. The right amount of pain cries, “SUCCESS!” Like the pain in the morning after a good workout, the dull ache that proclaims I’m not hurt, I’m sore but getting stronger. This pain helps to not only measure success but is a guide to what you can do next or more importantly what you shouldn’t do yet. Let it guide you but not own you. Know your pain. There is the screaming pain that alerts you that you’ve gone far enough and that anymore is too far and too dangerous. Then there is the nagging sometimes acute pain that indicates a flaw in the system, that kink in your neck or that pain in your wrist reminding you, you’ve overdone some movement or your posture is compromised. Finally there is the agonizing pain that indicates you’ve gone too far, you have finally done it and now you are injured.
Jen and I joined Crossfit in March and started fundamentals at Crossfit Habitat in the Strip District here in Pittsburgh. It has since been re-branded Crossfit Iron City: The Strip. Enough of that. So we begin fundamentals with a great coach and the movements are challenging, split jerk, snatch and clean; what the hell are these and the workouts themselves are seemingly impossible but somehow I muddle through each workout. Then after about a month they are everyday movements and the beginners WOD’s (workout of the day) are manageable.
Having been a kung fu student for over 10 years and an instructor for nearly 5 years with an 8 year break, I thought how out of shape could I really be I have a solid foundation from my twenties, well I am WAY out of shape. One month of Crossfit however and I was able to do more than I could imagine at the beginning.
I remember in the beginning that the challenge of the classes seemed a little overwhelming and we weren’t even sure we would continue after fundamentals but I was determined to not quit the fundamentals I need to at least prove to myself I can make it that far. That mentality soon seeped into everything, “I need to master this technique to prove to myself that I can do it. I need to finish this WOD to prove to myself that I can do it. I need one more rep to prove to myself that I can do it.” I think we get the picture here. It reminded me of my kung fu days when I busted my ass everyday for no other reason than to challenge myself. I was back, the me I remember from my twenties the guy that was ready for everything, was excited to be outside and off the couch and only had to prove anything to himself. I like that guy!
I now wake up that in the mornings before my alarm most days. I fall asleep again at night when I should, I am conscious of what I am going to eat, drink and do that day. All because I wonder how it will affect my workout tonight, tomorrow or the next day. I wake up with that not quite but slightly sore feeling that lets me I’m alive and I’m moving every day.
There is also a sense of community I get from Crossfit that I have been missing since I departed from kung fu. The people are encouraging, engaging, thoughtful and very motivated. That definitely pushes me to embrace more of those qualities in myself. Being primarily an introvert it was a little difficult at first but wht everyone so friendly and engaging its easier day by day. I remember it taking years in kung fu to simply be comfortable in a group setting but I remember it being a contagious feeling that pushes me to be less of an introvert and I can see that happening again with Crossfit and I like it, I need it.
I would also like to say that the coaches have been amazing, each with their own distinct personalities and methods of communication but all accurate and concise with key phrases and technique training and advice. Their knowledge pushes me to strive for more knowledge and experience of my own.
I am so glad to have Jen by my side as we climb into this new arena of our lives. It is exciting and challenging and rewarding and to have some to share that with is simply a blessing.
The beginning of this journey has been promising and exciting and I can’t wait for more.