Sunday, October 4, 2009

Un-natural athlete

Haven't posted in a while, I am sure most people have stopped checking my post for updates but whatever I'm writing anyway. Something occoured, and disturbed me a few days ago... I am not a natural born athlete.

The concept of a natural born athlete is not foreign to me, my best friend John is a natural athlete. He has always been that guy who was super fit, could run the furthest, swim the fastest, surf the best, etc. He never seemed to train outside of the sports we enjoyed together. He wasn't in the gym five days a week, or at all for that matter, and he didn't have the home gym that he religiously used everyday, he wasn't the workout fanatic he appeared to be with his shirt off.I, however, was the guy trying to keep up. The strong guy with a little belly, I could lift really heavy thing once, maybe twice. I couldn't surf as long or run as far, besides I hate running. I got to thinking why this was. Did he have a faster metabolism than I did, did he have better genetics or what, what was it about John that I didn't have?

Then, like an epiphany, it occurred to me, John has the natural ability to push himself harder than he thinks he can go. John could work out on the beach alone and push himself to the point of puking. When he surfed he would paddle harder, and surf longer not because he was that much stronger but when it started to hurt, when it started to burn, he liked it, he used it to his advantage. Pushing his body to the limits and getting the results I saw whenever we surfed, swam, hiked, or whatever together. John had the knowledge. The knowledge that every time he pushed himself to the limit, every time he worked until it hurt, he could get in the water next week and be that much better. Time and time agin John would improve himself.

I on the other hand worked a little different. Whenever I felt that same pain, that same burn, I had the habit of stopping and resting. It makes sense though right? If it hurts, stop. So when I got back into the water to surf with John the next week he would be a little better and I wouldn't. I was the same as last week, or in some instances worse. I would get frustrated, why is John always getting better and I can't seem to keep up?

Then I discovered crossfit. I discovered Huff and Colin and a place where everyone pushed themselves to the absolute limits. A place where I could LEARN, that's right, learn to push my self harder and further everyday. I discovered that this is a learned skill, one that not everyone wants to learn, but a learned skill non the less. At Crossfit Ventura I found an incredible group of motivating people that seem hell bent on making me a better athlete, pushing me further than I think I can and watching me come out on the other side stronger, faster and better. Why I wondered, the answer is simple, they are going through the same thing, and when it is their turn to do the WOD everyone else is there pushing them harder and further every time.

My first Fran WOD was some specticle. It was sloppy and slow. Coming in at about 16:40ish it was a sad sight to behold, but there was Colin, pushing me and cheering me on like my own personal cheer section. Telling me I can go faster and harder, telling me I am doing great and to keep it up. Just when I was sure I had died of a heart attack and was spending eternity in hell doing Fran it was over, I hurt allover and my legs went numb, a few moments later the numbness went away and the pain ensued. Holy crap the pain. (little did I know that the pain i was feeling now would pale in comparison to the next morning) 16:40ish Colin told me, then he slapped me five and said great job Dave, "you didn't give up" and I though, yeah your right I didn't, wow I finished.

From then on I was hooked. I came to CFV as often as my coaches would let me and I started to get better. I lost weight, I lifted heavier, I ran faster and felt better. A few months later it was time to do Fran again. I was actually excited, I was about to see exactly how much better I have gotten over the last two months. 3-2-1 GO!! 11 min and some odd seconds later I was done.... over a 5 minute personal record. I was astonished, this is what I had been missing. This little gym with no sign out front and no advertising what was the thing I needed to make me better, to help me achieve the goal of being an un-natural athlete.

Now almost a year later I have gotten my Fran time down to 5:48, over 10 min faster that my first time. I feel better I look better and I am part of group of friends that cannot be found anywhere else. Every time we come to the gym we come to push ourselves and each other. We lean on each other when we don't do as good as we wanted and we celebrate together when we get PR's. It's almost as if Crosssfit has brought that athletic purpose back into my life. I am a better fireman, a better person, and hopefully a better husband. (Ask Jeannine hopefully she will agree)

So the question, why do I Crossfit? I Crossfit so I don't suck at life. And I pose the question, why do you Crossfit? Or why don't you....

3-2-1 GO!