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On Not Underestimating Oneself

I simultaneously had a great workout and a lame workout this morning. I sort of underestimated myself and cheated myself, albeit unintentionally. But like a cast-iron skillet to the back of the head, it caught my attention and makes me wonder: how often am I doing that? And how can I make sure I don’t do it again?

So let me tell you all about it…

This was our workout today.

WOD
7 rounds:
:20 unbroken thrusters – rest:30
(Start at last Fran weight, try to increase each round but maintain unbroken sets.)
200m sprint – rest :90

Skills
5 sets:
5 3-position snatch-grip DLs – rest :30
6-8 powell raises/arm – rest 2:00

Astute readers will see the name of my arch nemesis in the WOD: thrusters. Oh, thrusters! How I hate love hate love am challenged by thee. Plus, it was raining, and it was really dark – the kind of morning that begs for a lazy roll-out and a mug of steaming coffee.

But remembering my post about being the best version of myself, instead of complaining about the rain and the thrusters, I said out loud, laughing, “This is going to be a special experience.” And I meant it! I made myself be excited for the workout. For that, I give myself one point in the ‘positive’ column.

Our starting weight for the thrusters was supposed to be our last Fran weight. For me, that was 50#. I somehow wasn’t totally paying attention to the part of the WOD that dictated increasing the weight on every round; I kinda heard it as optional. And then Tristy said, “If you can’t do 20 seconds of unbroken thrusters, you’ll need to drop the weight down.”

So right then, I decided that 50 was probably going to be my weight for the whole workout.

Before. I. Started. I decided my ending weight.

Pause and sigh.

So I started with 50# and stayed there for three rounds. Right about then, I noticed that everyone else was adding weight to their bars. On every round. I felt very lame.

So I threw another 5# on the bar. And you know what? It wasn’t THAT much harder than the 50#. And I got the same number of reps. I was four rounds in and I’d finished 8 reps on every round.

Round 5. 55#. And a sinking feeling that I should have been trying to lift more, even if it meant fewer reps.

Round 6. I upped the ante to 60#. I squeaked out 7 reps. My rain-soaked “sprints” had devolved into flippy-floppy, madcap dashes of varying speed and skill. Basically, I was trying to not slip, to avoid the puddles, and to not crash into my classmates in the dark.

Round 7. 60#. 8 reps. Final run.

My total reps were 55, which was not a bad showing. And I’m not at all saying that 60# thrusters are light or easy. But I can’t help feeling that it would have been better – that I would have been the best me – if I’d tried to increase the weight by 5# every round just to see if I could do it.

See? There’s that whole, experimental, “just to see” thing again!

I stopped myself from trying because I assumed I couldn’t. Maybe I was right and 60# was my max today. Or maybe I underestimated myself. But because I didn’t try, I don’t know.

It can be very easy to think, I lifted X last time, so that’s the best I can do. … or Thrusters make me feel like I’m going to die, and I’m scared to get to my max. … or It’s enough that I’m here. Not many people are up this early, running in the RAIN, lifting barbells over their heads.

But other people don’t matter. Previous weights don’t matter. Being scared doesn’t matter.

All that matters is the moment in the gym when the clock is ticking down 3-2-1, and we’re going to see what we can do. With that WOD. At that time. On that day.

The lesson I’m sharing for today: Let’s not underestimate ourselves and just see what we can do.

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7 Responses to “On Not Underestimating Oneself”

  1. Zyzzyx says:

    I did something like that last night.

    The WOD, scaled for our Level 1:
    20 muscle-ups (sub 3 dips, 3 pullups per m/u)
    20 snatch
    20 clean & jerks.

    Recommended weight was 65#. So that's what I went with. Did a couple practive moves, it felt alright. Even though I'm really moving into a "Level 1.5" territory, this was an unknown combination (aren't most WODs?), so I played it 'safe' and left it at 65#. Should've at least tried 75#.

    Got started and made it through the dips and pullups, seemed like it took forever. Moved on to the snatch and it felt a bit heavy. "Good weight choice," I thought to myself. Then it actually seemed to get easier as I progressed. Not any lighter, but perhaps more efficient with the motion. Same thing with the C&J; started off feeling a bit heavy, taking a few seconds between each rep. Then towards the end I was doing 3-4 reps unbroken.

    Yeah, felt like I cheated myself a bit on that one. Not the best feeling. Ah well, that one's done; need to remember that feeling before I start out next time.

  2. jencereghino says:

    Love this:
    "But other people don't matter. Previous weights don't matter. Being scared doesn't matter."

    It's such a pride thing that we get wrapped up in, especially in the world of CrossFit. I think it's just human nature to compare, but I've finally gotten to the point where I have realized (after a really awful run-in with "Fran", actually) that the competition aspect of fitness can only get me so far. I need to focus on what's best for me and if that means using less weight on a met-con, because my form is suffering, then so be it. I'm the only person who knows what I am capable of and I'm the only person who knows what's best for me. And, in my opinion, it's not necessarily "can" I do it, but will I do it well that matters when it comes to lifting really heavy weights.

    So…way to bust out a crapload of thrusters (blech!) and run in the rain (blech!) and wake up to work out in the cold, dark morning (blech!)! And, good luck lifting your arms tomorrow… :)

    BTW…I loathe thrusters.

  3. kim says:

    Once again "like a cast iron skillet to the back of the head" you have wholloped me to my very core with your insight. Love it. Thank you for repeatedly shaking up the way I think and getting me out of my comfort zone.

  4. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Zyzzyx –> Don'tcha hate the post-workout, "shoulda/coulda/woulda"? But it is also important to celebrate the fact that you did a really tough workout. I mean, that stuff is challenging at any weight. So yay for you — and also, remember that "shoulda/coulda/woulda" feeling next time :-)

    Jen –> "I'm the only person who knows what I am capable of and I'm the only person who knows what's best for me." Amen, sister. And thanks for the rah-rah for me at the end. Much appreciated.

    Kim –> Thank YOU for letting me know my posts are helping. Beware flying cast iron skillets!

  5. kb says:

    i just found your blog and, for the record, i love it.

    btw: thrusters are my nemesis too – i dont know that i thoroughly despise any one movement more… :)

  6. Mel says:

    Hi, KB! I’m glad you love my blog; thank you!

    Poor thrusters! So hated. Do you think they have low self esteem?

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