Challenges Part 7: Competition

Crossfit seemed like the natural next step in my fitness journey. Competing was not even a thought, much less a goal. But any time you can combine something I love doing with a good cause, I’m in.
I’ve had my own struggles with mental health, and training is one of the main things that helped me overcome those struggles. It seemed almost poetic that my maiden competition would be the Cents 4 Sense Repathon. Crossfit for a Cause, if you will. It was also supposed to be less intense than usual crossfit competitions (but I was in for quite the reality check on that 😂).

In any sphere of my life, the one thing that kills me is disappointing the people I have any sort of responsibility towards, so the anxiety was very real this past week. Somehow (and I still don’t know how or why it happened) I ended up on a comically matched team – the box machine and an ASICS front runner (both experienced and successful athletes) with two competition novices. I wasn’t afraid of the work. I was deathly afraid of letting my team down… To the point where I had considered pulling out of this competition right up until this morning.

The last piece of advice I was given is that nerves are good – it’s what you do with them that matters. A competition setting being completely new to me, I didn’t know whether I would channel the nervous energy effectively and there were so many things that I felt might put us at a disadvantage: I’m not the strongest when it comes to lifts. I only train at crossfit twice a week. We didn’t train together as a team, or work out much of a strategy beforehand.

But everything happens for a reason and everything happens exactly as they are meant to. It was like a switch flipped in my head once we started. I was told that there would be many people cheering and shouting instructions at me, but I found it strangely easy to silence the rest and listen to my team. We communicated well, and focused on getting through the work, instead of the competition.

Aside from the somewhat anti-climactic (but hilarious) surprise WOD, there isn’t a single bad thing I can link to this experience. I got through a lot of work without injury, and got a personal best in one of my weaker lifts. We qualified for the final workout in our division and placed higher than I expected. I CHOSE to do burpees! I got to see some incredible WEAPONS go to work on these WODS. I had more laughs today than I’ve had for the past two months.

But the best thing of all is the incredible atmosphere and sense of community I got to experience, from the crossfit community in general, and in truckloads from the R8d team specifically (Crossfit is the one sport where it is entirely possible to be someone’s competition and fiercest supporter at the same time). I’ve always been a spectator, but today I got to experience the power of the crowd from the other side as a competitor.

To my teammates, Ruf-qah, Quaniet and Sulaiman: a massive, massive THANK YOU. We fell into a rhythm a lot quicker than I expected. I felt supported and encouraged at every moment of today, and in the days leading up to it. I could not have asked for a better first competition experience. You guys were amazing, in every way.

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