I’d like to say I loved Crossfit from the second I started, but I would be lying – it was so hard and I wasn’t used to the immense pain post-training; my body was in shock! I attended dance classes for a number of years as a teenager, but in latter years my only exercise would have been dancing around Glastonbury for 5 days every summer (Great fun, by the way) Back in 2010 I was not what you would call a fit person in the slightest, and when some friends set up “Operation Sandbag” in the local park, my thoughts were “How hard can this be??” OMG was it hard; I had never been in so much pain in my life! I probably would have given up straight away, but at this time I wasn’t in a good headspace, and training gave me the chance to switch off and vent for an hour.
Let’s fast forward a few years, and while I have been Crossfit training with my coaches Jody and Elmo since they started their awesome venture, I didn’t take it seriously. I loved keeping fit but only trained 2-3 days per week, went travelling, and took a few breaks over the years. I’m not sure exactly what happened last year, but probably around February I put my foot on the accelerator and got stuck into training. I had always liked the idea of doing a competition, but it seemed like a fantasy. I upped my training to 5 days a week with some double classes and noticed that my weights got heavier and my skills generally got better; not perfect but definitely better. In November, when the qualifiers opened for “The Battle of London” I decided I would give it a bash. However these were WODs made for machines, and unfortunately I wasn’t robust enough for them and ended up with a bad shoulder injury.
Needless to say, this was frustrating and pretty upsetting. After 9 months of solid training I now felt I was back at square one, but rather than give up I did what I could, which meant squatting for 6 months straight. My front and back squat jumped by a significant amount of weight so it wasn’t all bad! I’d say my shoulder felt better around April of this year, and I can’t even explain how great it was to be back on the bar and doing overhead movements – in fact I nearly burst into tears when I got my first jerk! It might sound dramatic, but If you have ever suffered injury before you’ll know what I mean.
Shortly after, registration came out for the “Waterford Throwdown” an individual competition, and while I did hesitate for a moment, I decided to go for it. I knew my gymnastics skills would be weak due to the time lost with my injury healing but I felt this competition would highlight my true weaknesses. I was going there to learn, plus I knew it would be fun aswell and that’s the attitude I went into the competition with. What I love so much about theses competitions is the sense of community, everyone cheering each other on or helping those who are still powering through the WODs. Egos are definitely left at the start line.
I soaked up every detail like a sponge; the parts I failed, the parts I succeeded. I gained so much new knowledge to take back to the gym and help me grow. So what did I learn? Crossfit is damn hard ha ha!! Am I a natural athlete? I’m not so sure, but one thing I know for certain is that I will work my ass off to get as good as I can be. As fit as you need to be to succeed in Crossfit you also need to have a strong mind, and this can take time. There will always be that voice in your head telling you to stop, telling you that you can’t keep going, and the biggest challenge is overcoming that as your head will give up before your body.
This is something I’ve really had to work on as I used to party a LOT. I abused my body in the past, and like most people didn’t think of the side effects at the time. When I started training Operation Sandbag/Crossfit I really started to listen to my body, and as a result I started to worry about the damage I may have done, which stopped me pushing myself as hard as I could because I feared something bad would happen. It’s taken me almost until now to fix this problem. I think that’s why I really started to push myself last year – I got stronger, I overcame these fears and because of this I am so grateful for this journey and everyone who shares it with me.
Next week I will compete in The Filthy 150 as part of a team. I feel I have already come so far from the Throwdown in July, so I am more excited about this one. It will be so nice to have three friends by my side, each of us helping the others to push through the pain. I am excited to see what I can learn, and just enjoy the explosive atmosphere that comes with these competitions. I have to thank the coaches at Ronin Crossfit for their never-ending patience and help in pushing all of the athletes forward. Somehow even the hardest classes still feel like play time! I hope we do the Ronin name proud next weekend ☺