The following is a completely true account
9 days without an Erg, awesomecycle, ring dips, or snatches. If it weren’t for the beautiful people, beautiful scenery and incredible food I might be prone to some kind of fit. I will admit I got the shakes pretty bad about three days in and I would wake up in the middle of the night screaming about wall balls and deadlifts. I would roll over and eat a few tacos from my night time emergency supply under my pillow and then go back to sleep. The last few days have been without incident. I can now handle the heat, humidity, dust, bugs, dogs, stares from the locals, stares from the heavy tourists, and even the spontaneous rain showers during my workouts. I have been running, lunging, pushing, pulling, jumping, throwing, and doing burpees all week. On tap for tomorrow are rock thrusters, kte on a tree branch, and handstand walking.
Spoiler alert. We are doing Fran when I get back as a test to see how much progress we all made over the past two weeks.
The Kid and I were standing on a beach yesterday with nobody around just watching the waves. I was thinking to myself how I had so magnificently defied my natural surroundings and continued my pursuit of elite fitness in spite of the environmental challenges I was faced with. In fact I thought about the constantly varied tenant of CrossFit and considered how I just might have expanded the margins of my experience to include all known possible combinations.
This is where the story gets a little hard to swallow but it happened just like I am telling you. At this point the Kid was off in the jungle trying to get her camera back from a howler monkey that had snatched it so you can’t ask her to validate the details. It was amidst my fit of hubris that I heard the voice.
EXT-Beach, Costa Rica-Day-
JHo: I am finished. I am wont to weep like Alexander for as I survey my surroundings there are no more worlds to conquer
JHo: (surprised to be hearing from the almighty but excited about the opportunity) Where?
God: To the other side
God: I thought you said you have arrived. I thought you were “ELITE”.
JHo: I know what I said but what I meant was…
God: I am just kidding my son. We both know that black people can’t swim
JHo: Now wait one cotton pickin’ minute Hashem. I will have you know that I was on the swim team in high school.
God: I know. I saw. My statement stands. But let’s assume that one can be an elite athlete unfazed by any challenge and statistically capable of performing better than 80% of the population across a broad range of time domains and modes without being able to swim. You are telling me that because you did a few deadlifts and push presses for the past few years, and because you did a few squat cleans with a kiddie bar in some dudes garage, and because you went for a shirtless run on the beach that you are a fully evolved specimen of human capacity and performance?
JHo: Well put. Yes I am.
God: So we are skipping over the fact that you wussed out on the swim across the ocean challenge but…
JHo: I am not wussing out. I just ate and if we just waited 30 minutes or so…
God: Don’t worry about it. I have a better idea. I have noticed that you have been eating a fair amount of rice, beans, tortillas, bread, fruit, and…
JHo: Yeah yeah yeah so
God: So we can assume you are nice and carbo-loaded?
JHo: Hell yes. Are you thinking some running?
JHo: Sweet (thinking to myself, ‘sucker’)
God: You know I can hear what you are thinking right?
JHo: Right. Got it. I meant: What do you have in mind?
God: I want you to travel northeast. Go to Monteverde. Stay in the Hidden Canopy Treetop Hotel. In the morning I want you to get up and go for a run.
God: Hold on. I want you to run 150 meters at 95 percent effort.
JHo: You’ve got it
God: I want you to rest for two minutes and thirty seconds between sets
God: Hey good idea. Speaking of breeze. I am going to send a headwind for the sprints.
JHo: Why don’t you just throw in a hill while you’re at it?
God: I like where your head’s at. I am thinking 7-11% grade
God: I feel like I am forgetting something. Let’s see we’ve got lactic endurance, uphill, into the wind…and I feel like there is something else
God: Not at this elev…THAT’S IT! ELEVATION. The hotel is almost at 5000 feet. Since you train at sea level it will add a nice twist. Heat, humidity, steep hills, post lactate threshold, head wind, and thousands of feet of elevation.
JHo: (with little enthusiasm and lots of sarcasm) yeah!
God: 10 sets should do it.
It didn’t go well. After 6 sets I thought I was going to pass out in the street. It turns out I would have been well cared for because the cook was quite taken with my musculos and she was checking on me often. That is also why I got more eggs than anyone else at breakfast. I shut it down after the 7th set when my water broke. I grabbed my jump rope for some double unders and push ups. 2 sets into a 10 round met con I though about dying. I didn’t think I was going to die. I actually thought about willing my death to happen so that the pain would go away. After the 3rd round I even the mosquitoes stopped coming around. I assume they didn’t want to bite such a pathetic creature worried they might contract “lameness” from drinking my blood. I crawled back to my room after a weak four rounds and didn’t get up from the floor for 30 minutes.
It turns out that sweet cure for pride is a mountain. I don’t know why I am continually lulled into the trap of conceit. Just when you start to think that you are good at something someone or something comes along to let you know just how weak, slow, or uncoordinated you are. I love and hate this about fitness as sport. It can be motivating and demoralizing at the same time. I think which one depends on your attitude. I usually take these things as lessons to be used for future programming changes. We can develop so much more as athletes by targeting the things we suck at more than the things we excel at. It feels great to go from 50 pull ups to 55 chest to bar pull ups but if you only have 2 handstand push ups you have a chink in your armor that will destroy you under the right circumstances. Heaven forbid the next sectional wod is 50 handstand push-ups and then 50 chest to bar pull-ups. This example actually speaks specifically to my strengths and weaknesses. If I was competing against CI and the pull-ups came first I would lose by 5 minutes because I suck at HSPU and the pull-ups would make them even harder. I would probably finish pull-ups several minutes before him and I would still lose. If the HSPU came first I would stand a chance and if I won it would be by seconds and only because chest to bar pull-ups would destroy him. He would finish HSPU at least 5 minutes before me and then kill himself to try to stay ahead on pull-ups. Where are you letting skills lag behind? Where is your pride in the gym and how is it taking away from your development as an athlete?