Everything we do is really about the journey. The destination is always anticlimactic. Always.
We have a tendency to build up these situations and ideas as being absolute. That they will be amazing, dream-like places and situations where pain, despair, fear, and every single other negative emotion fade into nothing. We are delusional in these thoughts. We are delusional to think that these things come without a great deal of sacrifice, we are delusional to think that we will achieve complete fulfillment from the attainment of one thing.
It is about the journey. Every goal that we set is really a journey of self-discovery. It unravels layers of ourselves that we did not know existed. What do you need to do to become an elite level CrossFit Games athlete?
In 2017, you need a lot. You need a significant sports background, years of training experience, and very good body awareness and control. Then you need about 30-40 hours a week to dedicate to CrossFit. This 30 hours a week includes but is not limited to food preparation, two a days (not every day but multiple days a week), access to multiple facilities in order to train all aspects of a Games athletes fitness, food preparation, recovery that includes but is not limited to chiropractic appointments, massage, Stim units, Normatec, cryotherapy, sauna, whirlpool, amongst other items.
Sleep, you will need more of it than the average person. You will need to say no, a lot, to going out on late nights, to partying, to being “fun.”
To be an elite level Games athlete, your life becomes dedicated to this goal.
Everyone sees the pictures and podiums. The pictures of success, the feelings of joy, the excitement of the Open.
You miss the tears, the failures, the fears, the doubts. You miss the athlete second-guessing and wondering. You miss the days all by yourself waking up and everything hurts. The days where you do not want to do it because everything is stiff and you haven’t felt good in days, where you feel broken.
You miss the many failures and attempts to be faster.
However, it’s about the journey. It really is about what you learn about yourself. No one can do this forever at the highest level. This should not be something that defines who you are but instead should be an expression of who you are!
CrossFit is an outlet. CrossFit is therapy. CrossFit is fitness. CrossFit is community. CrossFit is all of those and none of those. I love CrossFit, I have seen many amazing things occur in part because of CrossFit. However, CrossFit is not everything. No one thing can be everything. If you feel that is the case then you may not have as much balance in your life and if you are trying to be an elite level Games athlete you will not have balance.
What I like about CrossFit is this. You can lose or win every single day. The more you win, the better your ego feels. The more you lose the more you learn about yourself. When we joke around about the workouts, people say to me, “Well you love the workouts because you program them.” My response is always the same. I am just as afraid of the workouts as you, I get that never feeling when the 10-second countdown starts, I get a little tingly when the clock beeps for the three-second countdown, every time.
I never program workouts that I like. If I am programming what I like and what I like only I will not get better.
I heard a great quote this weekend. “Hard decisions, easy life. Easy decisions, hard life.”
We all, myself included, like to make the easy decisions. However, making those easy decisions make life harder.
It is easy to skip the gym, or late cancel, or come up with the excuses as to why. However, when life wants to get tough those easy decisions WILL NOT help you.
I have said this a thousand times, CrossFit is a microcosm of life.
You look at the workout, “Hmm doesn’t seem that bad.” You get there and the workout is explained, all the minutia, the little plot twists, “Okay, I can do this, not too bad..”
Thirty seconds into the workout, “WTF is going on, this is hard..”
Halfway through the workout,“I’m not going to make it, I think I’m dying. I need to fake an injury..”
By some miracle of God it ends, “Holy crap, I made it. I didn’t die. I’m alive!”
A couple hours later, “I can’t believe I did that, wow. I am stronger than I realize!”
This is also exactly what life is like. There are so many situations where if you think back at them you may be like I don’t know how I did that or how I made it through, but I did!
It is the journeys through that make us better, tougher, more resilient. It is much harder to get up earlier than you want to, get your butt handed to you in the gym, and then go to work but it is rewarding. You are making yourself strong. You are making yourself a better version of what you were. You teach yourself how to handle adversity, to deal with the struggle.
This is the key. The destination is the punchline of the joke. However, a joke that is only a punchline is nothing. t doesn’t stick with you. What makes a punchline stick or makes it memorable is the journey. It is the how, it is the whole lead up to the punchline that makes it work. I have watched the Bert Kreischer story on the Russian Mafia more times than I care to admit over the past two weeks but I love the story. I think it is very well told and hilarious. However, the punchline alone falls. It is the journey that makes it.
Enjoy your journey. Enjoy every single step, every twist, every turn, and every tumble. The tumbles will be what you really remember. Those falls build you up. Ask a professional poker player to discuss some of their big wins, some of them may remember a hand or two but, if you ask them about their biggest losses they will know all of them.
As this open draws to a close, what did you learn? What did you learn about yourself? Are you as strong as you thought, mentally? Are you as fit as you thought, mentally? Did you win? Did you lose? What would you have done differently? Should you have done 17.1 that many times? Regardless of how you finished, first or last, I truly hope you enjoyed it, I hope you learned from it, and most importantly, I hope you do it again next year.