This morning I ran my first 9-minute mile ever. An 11- or even 12-minute-miler at heart (and more importantly, in-lung and in-leg), this was a really big deal for me. Even more of a big deal was the fact that it was at 5:30AM, on an empty stomach, and as the first part of a 15-minute AMRAP (or as TJ labeled it, “AMLAP”) of running quarter-mile laps around the block. I finished my 2nd lap at 4:30–right on pace–but my 3rd lap took over 2 and 1/2 minutes, meaning I had barely 2 minutes to complete my 4th lap. I took off around the corner, determined to make it, and came in at exactly 9 minutes. After that, the second part of the AMRAP was mostly spent throwing up (which I did twice…) and trying to stay on my feet–I managed to somehow keep my pace at a jog for the rest of the time, but it wasn’t pretty.
You would think I would be thrilled to finally have cracked the 9-minute mile, a goal I have been seeking since long before starting CrossFit. But if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that running is not only my biggest physical weakness, but my biggest emotional weakness as well. That being said, my reaction to this new PR surprised me. When I finally wheezed my way back into the gym, I did not feel excited at all. In fact, I felt horrible. Despite my PR, I had still been lapped by every other person in the WOD–twice by some people (coughBRANDONcough)–and TJ was insisting that I must have gotten eight laps, there was no way I “only” did seven. Suddenly I was feeling a lot like this performance, one of my best ever, was still pretty poor.
After we left the gym I spent about an hour feeling pretty sorry for myself. I felt like the joy had been taken out of my PR. Then I took a shower and ate some bacon and snapped out of it, and thanks in no small part to everyone’s encouragement on Facebook, I started to remember that CrossFit is all about YOU vs YOU, not You vs. The Fastest Person at the Gym Who Also Happens to be Your Boyfriend, or You vs. The Girl Who Runs Half Marathons, or even You vs. The Clock. You vs. You–and trust me, I definitely feel like today I kicked my own butt.
This is a lesson I have been learning a lot lately, as I feel like somehow I am entitled to being better at CrossFit now that I am slowly approaching my 1-year CrossFit anniversary. I used to be at peace with coming in last, because I knew that I was still making huge personal gains. But lately I have subconsciously been waiting (impatiently, at that) to “Level Up” and suddenly wake up as an advanced athlete just because I have checked all the boxes. But it’s more of a process than that. Luckily I have a lot of people in my life who are quick to point out the small victories I still achieve every day, like not finishing last in the WOD last night even though I was getting through my kipping pull-ups one at a time. Or even doing kipping pull-ups in the WOD at all, when most other girls on the board had used bands or done jumping pull-ups. And dang it, I’m proud of my 9-minute mile this morning! Because I may have finished “last” compared to everyone else, but compared to Me vs. Me from yesterday or last week or last year, today I killed it.
And I hereby promise to not let comparison rob me of my joy in CrossFit again.