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Another Sip of Crossfit Kool-Aid

An Affair to Remember

I have always loved Crossfit. I loved the community aspect. Everyone rooting for everyone else. The last guy across the finish line get the loudest cheer. The training itself was always fun for me too.

In the four years I spents doing Crossfit style strength and conditioning workouts, I was never the strongest, the fastest or the best. In truth I struggled enormously with most things! But I was hopelessly addicted. There is something so insanly satisfying about seeing how far you can push your body. It is also very cool learning new skills, and gaining a different appreciation for what your body can do.

My love affair with the sport ended a little over a year ago. The break up was not mutual.  The injuries I kept picking up were becoming hopelessly frustrating. My coaches did their best to scale workouts for me and help me to train around my issues, but it just wasn’t the same. I felt disconnected from the rest of the class. I just wanted to be able to play with the other kids.

I ultimately made the decision to walk away from Crossfit and I started working with a great physio, Noel Mallon. When he was finished mending me, I spent some time training with a local personal trainer, Ross Lynch. He was incredible. Patiently and methodically working with me to improve my movement patterns. Making sure I stayed fixed.

Ironically, our pathes crossed accidentally. I asked for a consulation in the gym I had joined and he was assigned to me.  He has definitely had way easier clients.  His misfortune turned out to be very lucky for me!

At the time I was teaching Zumba a few times a week.  I suppose I was probably too busy to miss Crossfit. That all changed a few months back when I found myself unemployed and then re-employed. Working in Dublin was going to mean scaling back my Zumba classes.  I needed to find something to else to do.

To be completely honest, the second half of 2018 was such a crazy time for me. I stopped focussing on my goals and I piled on a whole load of weight. It also made me question how I want to identify myself. For the previous few years I had enjoyed identifying as a “fit person.” Someone who loved the gym and prioritised it. Someone who made time to train and slotted the other optional things around it.

As Christmas approached and the number of items in my wardrobe that fit me continued to decrease, I did some soul searching. Something needed to be done to stop this back slide, but what? I toyed with the idea of taking up Jiu Jitsu, or boxing. I looked into joining the commercial gym across the street from the office, but nothing really appealed. None of it seemed like me. I felt as though I had completely lost sight of myself and taking up something else new, was just going to exacerbate this.

Finding My Way Back

Eventually it dawned on me. Go back to Crossfit. I contacted Alan, a coach I knew, but had never trained with.  He must have thought I was out of mind.  I tried to explain where I was coming from. “Treat me like a complete beginner,” I told him. I went on to explain that I am finally injury free and above all else I want to stay that way. I don’t want the coaches to let me get away with any shitty movement.

When the day came for the first of my Elements classes, I wondered if it was possible to die from anxiety. I was shaking like a leaf as I walked through the door. I received a warm welcome and Alan tried to put me at ease. We got to work right away and soon I was too busy huffing and puffing to worry about nerves.

My God! All I could think was “how the hell have I let myself get so out of shape AGAIN!” The simplest of exercises seemed beyond me. Over the course of our five introductory sessions together, I had that same thought a million times. Each time Alan asked if I was familiar with a certain movement I would parrot “yes, well, I used to able to do that.” I might well have added, in another life. There were times during those classes when I thought I might cry. The combination of shame and dissapointment in myself was a heady one.

Last night was my final introductory session and tonight I get to go play with the big kids. To say I am nervous would be a huge understatement. I have been completely humbled over the last couple of weeks. One thing I have going for me now, is that I don’t even have an ego to leave at the door.

I knew coming into this that I had a massive amount of work to do. I am hoping that at least some of it will be like riding a bike! 2019 for me is going to be a year of working on me. Trying to figure out how I want to feel about myself and acting accordingly. I know that Rome wasn’t built in a day.  As long as I can be patient with myself, I think good things are going to happen.

I am not sure if I am quite ready to embrace the Crossfit lifesyle again. The thought of being on a team, even just for a workout, is extremely uncomfortable. I am painfully aware of how much of a liability I would be. It is reminiscent of being picked last for PE. It will be a while I’m sure before I start talking about benchmark workouts, and thinking about entering The Open.

The only positive about being back at square one again is that I get to start over with a little bit of knowledge. I know that it gets easier. In time I will no longer be anxious before workouts and sore after them (at least not as much.) I also know that although the community aspect is nice, at the end of the day it’s down to me. Only I can close the gap between where I am, and where I want to be. Be well xxx

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Starting Over…Again!

It’s not us, it’s you!

In two weeks time I will be starting a new job.  Yes, that’s right folks, another one.  In fact, this will be the fourth job I have had this year.  When I look back on 2018, I am sure the archives will be full of memories of being interviewed.

The last few weeks have been strange and strained.  I have felt unable to get into it here on the blog.  Without knowing what was next, it seemed like self-indulgent whining.  Since the summer, I have started, and finished, two new roles.  For the record, neither of these positions were supposed to be temporary.

I have tried to reassure myself that these things happen.  Everyone is allowed to have a run of bad luck sometimes.  However, I couldn’t prevent my confidence from being severely dented.  The last job ended after only 8 week.  My boss told me he didn’t think I was the right person for the job.  He wasn’t firing me, as such, but there was a clear invitation to resign.

As I sat across from him at that board room table, I tried to remain composed.  All I could think was “he is right.”  All these years I have been playing a part.  Now, finally, I am being exposed as the fraud I always knew I was.  At least that is what I thought on that fateful Wednesday.

In the weeks since then, there has been a lot of soul searching and no small amount of tears.  I honestly did not know if I had what it would take to dust off the CV.  To try to sell myself again.  My shame and my sadness were so raw.  I felt sure that it would be obvious to anyone who met me.

Luckily, there’s no better decision making tool than not having a choice.  I wasn’t in immediate danger of ending up on the bread line.  However, I knew I needed to get back to work in short order.  A month or two of unemployment was realistically all I could afford.

Of course, I fantasized about walking away from corporate life.  Immersing myself instead in my writing, Zumba and the Podcast.  As appealing as that sounds, it isn’t a viable option right now.  I am not ruling it out completely.  It’s just more of a long term proposition.

Getting back on the horse

I realised that I needed to build myself back up again.  Hearing “no” is an inevitable part of job seeking.  I needed to restore my resilience and my energy to be able to withstand it.  I had given myself the deadline of the New Year to try to get something in place.  As many of you who know me will understand, I am not good as sitting still.  I am prone to depression.  Lounging around in a dressing gown will surely set me on that course.  It was important for me to stay busy.

I needed a new project.  Something exciting to take my mind off my current situation and keep my brain engaged.  Just then, something amazing happened.  A Facebook friend (to this day I am still unsure how we are even connected) put up a post looking for someone to help him.  He needed a writer for his MMA blog.  I answered his call.  I admitted knowing very little about MMA or any sport for that matter.  In spite of my lack of expertise, he decided to let me try out.

This project turned out to be exactly what I needed.  It is a challenge for sure.  I am learning a lot, which I always love and getting to meet so many interesting people.  Under my editor’s guidance I am producing work that I am incredibly proud of.  Doing things like driving 220km to attend MMA fights on my own, which I never would have imagined myself doing.

All of this started to have an affect on me.  My confidence began to return.  I started to feel less useless.  Furthermore, I figured out that as humans, our capability to reinvent ourselves is infinite.  If I can step into the role of MMA reporter, what else can I do?  We are only limited by our imagination.  It made me feel a lot better about having to sell myself in the job market, that’s for sure.

It is a cliché, but I do believe that sometimes when it feels like everything is falling apart, it is actually falling into place.  Had I not had such a bad run of employment luck this year, I never would have had these few weeks off to rest and reevaluate.  I experienced what was probably my greatest professional fear coming to pass, and I lived to tell the tale.  That fear won’t have as great a hold over me in the future.

I also would not have had the opportunity to try something new and the pick up some new skills.  I have interviewed some people for the site.  This has lead me to consider interviewing people for the Podcast.  I don’t know if I would have felt equipped to do before.  It has shown me that even at the ripe old age of 37, I can still learn.  Adventure is still out there for me.  I am still able to surprise myself.

I am proud of myself for walking away from a bad situation.  The Arwen of old would have gritted her teeth and tried to make it work.  I am no longer prepared to sacrifice my self-worth for a pay cheque.  That is huge.

I am going into this new role full of excitement and hopeful that it will be a good fit.  If it doesn’t work out I might have to try lion taming!  At the risk of sounding ambivalent, if it isn’t a good fit, it won’t be the end of the world.  I now know I am capable of dusting myself off and trying again.  I will keep you posted.  Be well xxx