It's been a while now, but I used to play beer-league ice hockey on a pretty regular basis. That slowed down a bunch once I moved to Las Vegas. Then when I hurt my knee in 2007 training for the half-marathon, I went ahead and got rid of all my equipment that had been gathering dust in the garage.
I've had several friends ask if I miss playing hockey. Of course I do, from time to time. But what I've found is that watching professional (NHL or even ECHL) hockey doesn't make me miss playing. I figure that's probably because those players are at a level that I have no delusions that I could ever reach. But watching my old teammates play in tournaments here in Vegas will make me miss it. Badly. Because I know that with some regular play, I could be right back on the ice playing and competing at that same level.
Starting at the Bottom
At the end of each CrossFit workout, the coach writes everybody's results on the board. A lot of times the results are tracked as the time it took you to complete the prescribed workout. If you were able to complete the workout exactly as prescribed without having to scale any of the movements, then your results will be the time to complete plus the letters RX next to it. It took me roughly 4 months to complete my first RX workout.
Since I typically workout in the evening classes, when I'm done with my workout I take a look at the board to see how everybody did for the entire day. Even though I'm not in competition with anybody other than myself, it's impossible not to be at least a little curious how I stack up against the other members. Typically the answer is, ‘not very well.'
I'm 100% OK with that.
Bring on the Motivation
Just like with hockey, there are CrossFit athletes who compete at levels that I will never reach. But there are also athletes who I get to see workout that are definitely ahead of me, but not so far ahead that I can't conceive of reaching their level.
A couple weeks back I RX'd a workout that was brutal. My time was almost 14 minutes slower than anybody else on the board. Still, when I left the gym that night, I felt amazing. Well, my body felt like shit, but on the inside I was stoked. It was, without a doubt, the toughest workout I had been through. Just completing it without having to scale it was exciting.
A week or so later, I RX'd another workout. It was another tough one [uh, they're all tough]. This time when I looked on the board, I noticed that my time was actually faster than one of the other guys at the gym. We aren't in any sort of competition, but still it felt good to be ahead of somebody. Even if it was for just the one workout. (For the record, it hasn't happened since.)
On Saturday I was talking to my buddy Scott about my week of workouts. He pointed out that my time for one of the workouts was faster than his best time.
Hold. The. Phone.
I may not be in competition with anybody at my gym, but when my buddy, the guy who introduced me to CrossFit, when he says I beat his best time for ANY workout, well, I'd say that's cause for a little celebration!
Fast forward to Sunday afternoon.
I received a text from Scott that simply said, “Thanks for the push.”
Attached to the text was a photo of his workout tracker showing a new best time that beat my time by roughly 2:30.
My first thought, “I need to get back to the gym.”
The line between motivation and competition is a thin one. Blurry, even.
Thanks for the push, Scott.