Yesterday Coach Mike posted a photo of Kelly Kapowski on CrossFit Jai’s Facebook page, with the caption “Hint hint,” and my immediate reaction was “Ooh! A 90′s theme WOD!” Y’know, cuz it’s almost Halloween, and I have been waiting for an excuse to wear a giant scrunchie and high tops to a WOD that hopefully involves using a Skip-It and listening to Jock Jams (really, how amazing would that be!). Sadly after about two seconds of fantasizing about my dream 90′s WOD, I had to face the harsh reality that this post had nothing to do with themes and everything to do with the first WOD that made me puke and the only WOD that has ever made me break down and cry: Kelly.
The last time we did Kelly was in early July (you can read about that here). I like to think I have come a long way since then, but this is a WOD full of my greatest nemesis: Wall Balls. I hate wall balls, I am terrible at them, and whenever I see them programmed I cringe. I would rather do burpees, or thrusters, or pretty much anything other than wall balls. But alas, Kelly is 5 rounds of 400 m run, 30 box jumps, and 30 wall balls. There is no escape.
We showed up last night for the 7PM WOD, and I was feeling more nervous than I have for a WOD in a long time. It turned out to be the first time in a while where I have really had to go deep inside my head and try to convince the non-athlete who still lives there that I was capable of finishing this workout. Because there is still a voice in my head, one that may or may not ever totally go away, that makes me feel like I’m the slow, pudgy girl with glasses sitting on the bench during 5th grade floor hockey again. It reminds me that it took me so long to run a mile in 4th grade that I had to stay after class to finish, that I was always picked last for relays in gym, that my triple-jump score wouldn’t have even qualified me for the long jump finals in middle school track (why did I run track? whose idea was that?). It reminds me of all the people in my life who have meant well when they said, “You’re just not athletic! It’s fine, you have other talents!” or the time I tried to run a 5k with my friends in high school and they finally just ran ahead because they got tired of waiting for me.
These memories suck, and what makes them even worse is that 5, 10, even 15 years later… I still feel embarrassed when I remember those moments. And even though I have spent the past 7 months accomplishing goal after goal that should help me erase that feeling of inadequacy, of slowness, of not being enough, let me tell you that on the 4th of 5 rounds in a workout where I started to wheeze on the second half of my 400 lap, that voice snuck up behind me and whispered, “What makes you think you can do this after all the other times you’ve failed?”
But, once again, just like every other WOD I’ve showed up for so far, I finished. I am proud to say that not only did I go up from a 10-pound wall ball to a 14-pounder, but I took 1:03 off my previous time. I just wish I could go back in time and tell my little chubby self that it’s okay to not get the Presidential Fitness certificate or make it up the rock wall during Outdoor Ed, because eventually there will be a day when you finish 1.25 miles of running, 150 box jumps, and 150 wall balls… and it won’t even make you cry (the second time around, at least).