“Finishing Last” is an editorial series by Christina Crumpecker, MD. Check out Christi’s Featured Athlete profile here.
Finishing Last: Reasons Why I Can’t Go to CrossFit Today
I’m the girl who spent months stuck in Fundamentals classes. I’m the one who took week-long “breaks” from the gym.
I had every excuse in the book for not making it to CrossFit Memorial Hill for regular classes. And it’s not that I didn’t want to go or didn’t like the place; there just always seemed to be something getting in the way. So I wrote a list of that stuff and made plans for how to address it. That has helped me turn the corner and get myself in to the gym. Maybe you’ll see something familiar here. Maybe you have something to add. Maybe you’ve never been affected by any of these reasons for not making it to CrossFit, and if so, good for you!
But I think most of us have at least one reason in common for not walking in the door today…
10. Finishing Last
This. Is. The. Worst. It happens to me a lot. A LOT. It used to really bother me. Not just because I was suddenly, very obviously the slowest one, the one keeping the class from moving on, but because everyone would be cheering for me to finish. If you are a shy person, this is like your worst nightmare come true. It used be enough to make me scale workouts so they were a little too easy just so I wouldn’t end up in this dreaded position.
Then I had an experience that completely and totally changed my mind.
I traveled to another state and dropped in at a CrossFit affiliate, full of military members. Already nerve-wracking enough, but they had programmed an extraordinarily difficult WOD with a time cap of 40 minutes. I gamely joined in, scaling appropriately. At 25 minutes, the class was cheering in the last finishers. Oh, except me. I was only at the halfway mark. I was tempted to quit right then and call it a day. I’d already gotten in a pretty intense work out, right? No one knew me there and I would likely never see any of them again. But then this happened: several members of the class, including the coach, fell in beside me and starting finishing the WOD with me. At my own slow pace. Those that didn’t participate encouraged me and cheered for me to keep going and not to quit.
And then I got it.
All that attention and focus was truly because they wanted me to be successful, they considered me finishing the WOD part of their success because I was part of their team, even it is was just for one hour. It was an act of solidarity. And I did finish, even under the time cap. I carried that memory with me back to CFMH. It made me realize that nobody cared that I was last, just that they had a team member still fighting their way through a WOD and want to help in any way they could. As one very fit member pointed out to me during a particularly taxing finish, “You are working harder right now than I ever have.” Probably not entirely true, but it gave me the little extra motivation I needed to push a little bit harder. You’ll be the last to finish sometimes. Maybe a lot of times. Then one day, something wonderful happens. You are not the slowest, newest one. Or you appropriately scale a workout and end up finishing before the Rx athletes do. And you find out what a privilege it is to watch your fellow teammates strive and struggle and not give up. And you find that you can’t help but cheer.
And the thought of finishing last will never keep you out of the gym again.
So, I get it. I get why you didn’t make it to CrossFit today. I understand all of the potentially stifling, confusing, mortifying reasons you just couldn’t get to the gym. But I’ll keep looking for you there.
If I can battle through all my reasons for not going, so can you.
I’ve never regretted a single WOD. Every time I go, I build momentum that makes it easier to show up the next day, and the one after that. If you are looking for me, I might be off to the side, sweating my ass off, practicing for that big box jump. Come over and say hello. Share the reasons you have for avoiding the gym—or better yet, what motivated you to make it in today. That’s the good stuff.