I am absolutely filthy. Covered in dirt. No hugs. ;}
This was my fourth week doing five CrossFit classes a week—Monday through Friday—so I decided to celebrate by doing one more day, and making this week six. There was a free boot camp this morning, under the bridge downtown near Town Lake, so Marty and I hustled down there around 8. Push-ups on the ground meant we all ended up covered in dust and dirt and little leaves, and all the sweat meant it stuck. It was awesome.
I should mention, too, that I’m still the last one back from the run (apologies to my teammates at the end there), but unlike my starting situation in May, I can now do real squats, like a person with… muscles. In their legs. Holy cow. It seems like a little thing until I remember exactly how weak I felt when I started doing this. What I’m experiencing is progress.
So I’m sitting here writing this entry, covered in dirt (at least it’s not mud, right?), and the only clean thing on me is my hands. Because I washed them. And while I wait for my breakfast to be ready, I figure, I have to say something about these people. Because these folks really watch out for me, and it means a lot, and furthermore it says something—about Crossfit Central in Austin, about the kind of people who work there, about the folks coaching their classes.
Zachary Thiel taught us CrossFit Elements when we started out—it was fantastic. Now, I have Chris Hartwell Mondays and Wednesdays and Lance Cantu Tuesdays and Thursdays. I drop in on Carey Kepler’s Monday-Wednesday-Friday women’s class on Fridays (which Jen Cardella helps coach), and it’s the only class I have that isn’t a beginners’ class. All of these classes kick my ass, and I don’t know how I lived without them before.
This isn’t like grade school gym where the teacher is frustrated with the slow kids, and mostly ignores them. This is something else entirely. This is a whole different motivational ethic, and I love it. There’s tons of encouragement to go around. No one gets forgotten. That’s something I was really sure would happen, the more behind I was—I was worried I’d get forgotten.
These coaches all go out of their way to be helpful and share advice as needed. They’re friendly and they know their shit. They have senses of humor, good hearts—and high standards. I walk out of these classes feeling so proud of myself, feeling this enormous respect for what I’m doing even though I can’t really do it any better than anyone else (and, uh, far from it). But I still leave feeling amazing. Competent. Adult, not just because I’m 28 years old and “legal”, but in a true sense of what it means to be responsible for yourself and your own well being.
In my conversation with Marty this morning, we decided that it wasn’t the exercise we liked, specifically. It wasn’t even that we were doing something that would be good for us, result in better health and flexibility and longevity—though those are all great effects. It’s that we like the way we feel when we do these things that are hard. It raises your self-esteem to know that you did the thing when most people wouldn’t have bothered. It feels good to have made the extra effort. It feels good to know you can do it, no matter how far you still have to go.
It makes it all even better that Chris always has a warm smile and Lance always has a word of encouragement and Zach has a friendly hey when we walk in, and Carey cheers us on and Jen cackles when I lose count (Jen is awesome, and yes, I probably should have been using the 20lb dumbbells. Next time!!) and that they all adamantly push us to do our best, every minute. I love seeing these people every morning. Man, I can only imagine what a hardcore gym workout every day could have been. What I got was so much better than I imagined. Jesus, if I can do this, who couldn’t?
And crap! Exercise isn’t my thing—it’s never really been my thing. It’s not that I was born to do this stuff or that I’ve gravitated towards it all my life. I’m a freaking couch potato. So it has to be something else. It has to be the challenge and the play of it, and the environment, and the people.
It’s probably just CrossFit Central.
Thanks, guys. :}