Q: How is a dyslexic, insomniac CrossFitter like an insomniac NY stock trader?
A: They both lie awake at night worrying about the DOW.
Most people are familiar with the term “dyslexia,” – a term describing a person’s difficulty in learning to read. Those of us in the Ed Biz are also aware of the less common terms ”dyscalculia” and “dysgraphia,” descriptors of conditions making learning math and writing problematic.
I have recently discovered invented a new “dys” term which I shall call “dyscrossfitia.” It describes a condition in which mastering surviving CrossFit, always a challenging and demanding proposition to begin with, leads to a decided uptick in a person’s (i.e. – me) anxiety level prior to and sometimes during a session.
I have been CrossFitting for nearly a year now, and know the ropes pretty well. Mind you, this is very far from meaning that I can actually do what “knowing the ropes” entails. The more aware I get of what goes on at CrossFit, the more aware I am of my own deficiencies (as of now – yeah, yeah, I know I will improve, up to a point.) So my drives to my thrice weekly CrossFit classes at CrossFit Ulster are now filled with lots of self talk “Slow and steady”, “You’ll be fine,” “It will all be over at 7:30” along with a multitude of deep, cleansing breaths.
Once I have arrived on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, my dyscrossfitia begins to abate. First, my coaches and fellow CrossFitters are without exception friendly, encouraging, helpful and just plain fun to be around. I’m experienced enough now to be able to look at the whiteboard and immediately gauge which parts I will be able to take on as written and which parts I will have to scale back to be more in line with my advanced age and encroaching decrepitude.
I’ve learned how to use the giant rubber bands to push me closer to being able to do an unassisted pull-up. I’m using a smaller wallball so I can focus of improving my form rather than maintaining the grip with my not-quite-back-to-normal left hand. Anything involving weights is easily adaptable to make the movement challenging but not impossible and possibly injury producing. And they are really fun, because I can really see the improvement!
7:30 arrives sooner that I would have thought possible; I am alive – sweating, gasping, sore, but alive and feeling pretty darn good.
And then Saturday rolls around, and my dyscrossfitia rears its ugly head with a vengeance. Saturdays are team or partner workout days at CrossFit Ulster, and all my lack of confidence in my CrossFit “abilities” and my worries about being an uncoordinated and clunky stone about some infinitely fitter person’s hypothetical neck cause me to have a bad case of the vapors as I drive to Kingston.
This is utterly irrational, and I know it. The Saturday crew is made up mostly of the same terrific group of people I have come to know from other days, and they are no less supportive and encouraging. But the workout of the day will be a team effort, and, try as I might, I will not be able to pull my own weight. Shades of elementary school dodge-ball games where I was the last one picked skitter by, only now I am really slower, etc. than everyone else.
And I am also the only one who cares. My last three Saturday partners have been Peg, Erin, and Katie – all three are decades younger and much, much fitter. And all three were great partners – inspiring me to give 110% of what I could do, even though it was way less than their own capabilities.
It was the little things that meant a lot to me. Peg not keeping track of time, saying she hadn’t noticed when she was asked for our final time. It was slow, and it didn’t matter. Erin quietly taking on more of the Airdyne for calories shift (and a few other things, too) even though the Airdyne was new for her, too. Of course, I was doing it backwards for a while, but still……
And Katie, this past Saturday, – half cheerleader and half coach, and doing a bang up job at both. Today involved, among other things, four 200m runs, and we had to do them together. I am having more trouble with running than anything else at CrossFit that I can “sort of” do. A well trained tortoise could run faster than me, and wouldn’t get winded as fast.
We have to run HOW far? FOUR times?
I don’t know how Katie managed to keep (negative) pace with me, even taking the lion’s share of wallball holding duties, while still being positive and encouraging me to keep going. And as we came back from the last run, there were many others cheering us (mainly me, visibly dying) on. What a feeling.
So I shall have to work much harder on my dyscrossfitia, because it clearly is my problem only. I will learn new things and improve at my own pokey pace (though I don’t know about that pesky running) – and a huge portion of any of my achievements I will lay gratefully at the feet of everyone at CrossFit Ulster. And I will keep going, because, in spite of everything, I love CrossFit and how I feel because of it.