In case you didn’t already know it is CrossFit games season. CI and I are the least manly men when it comes to sports EXCEPT for CrossFit. I couldn’t tell you how many sports teams New York has. I do know that they all suck. ALL OF THEM! (Doreen, don’t bother posting to comments I will just delete it.) I don’t know who won the super bowl the last time even though I am pretty sure it was just the other day. I can tell you all of the CrossFit games champions and what gyms they train at and whether or not they will be competing this year. In fact I can tell you who came in 3rd place every year. It doesn’t surprise anyone that I was looking for a place to train 6 minutes after we got our hotel. We are in a little surfing town on the western tip of CR and it had not been looking good. We have been eating second lunch at the same spot for the past few days so I asked my fish taco supply guy if he knew of a gym in the area. If you are ever in the Santa Teresa area of Costa Rica I highly recommend Product C. Cito and his family will serve you the freshest fish in the most brilliant concoctions. In typical surfer bum style some dude in the restaurant says, “The Ocean is right over there bro.” I squat cleaned and thrustered him outside as part of my sectional wod warm up and told him to keep quiet while the grownups were talking. The taco guy, whose name is Cito, tells me there are no gyms but he knows a guy who has some weights in his garage and maybe for a few bucks he will let me use them. It was straight out of a movie. He tells me to go to “Franks Place” and ask for Esteban. True story. It is a grocery store about a block away. It is a family run business and there are 5 brothers who work there. They don’t speak any English so Cito writes me a note to just hand to Esteban. I go to Franks and ask for the dude but he isn’t in. With my little bit of Spanish I am able to extract that Esteban is in San Jose until Monday but the hermano I am speaking with can get me set up for 1500 Colones. ($3) I tell him I will be back at 6pm and he says he won’t be there but his other brother will be there and he will take care of it. At 6 I show up and Ruben is there and he tells me to go around the corner to “Frank’s Place” and ask for his brother Ramon. It turns out that Frank has a couple of places in this town and he has a son or two working at all of them. I step out of Franks #1 and el seguridad says he will take me in through the back way. We go down an alley and through a shady door and ultimately end up in the nice reception area of an apartment complex that is also Frank’s. I am introduced to Ramon who leads me through the complex and out the back to a two-car garage that has no doors and some rusty but functioning home exercise equipment.
There are three dudes “working out” and a girl who is just holding down the bench press. The whole time these dudes were there someone was doing wrist curls at all times I kid you not. When Cito said “barbells” we clearly weren’t speaking the same language. They had three Wieder bars that have 1” sleeves and the weights actually screw onto the bars. I round up 90% of the weight in the “gym” which I only feel is accepted by the athletes who were already present because they were dubious to whether or not I could even lift the bar I was loading. It was about 330 degrees in the garage so I took my shirt off and I am not being vain (maybe a little) when I tell you the girl in the gym immediately broke up with her boyfriend and bounced. I rolled the bar out of the garage to find a nice moderately level patch of gravel so I wouldn’t break the bar or the floor in the event that I dropped it. I was shooting for 30+ reps but after 6 reps I came up with a new plan for anything more than 6 reps. The Kid is a level 1 certified CrossFit trainer so I figured she would be a valid judge even though we were outside of the gym. The fact that I couldn’t drop the bar, didn’t have lifting shoes, was lifting on uneven gravel, with a rusty bar with plates 3 inches smaller in diameter created enough additional challenges to make this wod legit. Speaking of the additional challenges though I really felt the spirit of the open sectionals working under these conditions. Put up or shut up. There is only one door for everyone and you either enter or stay outside and whine. I would have much rather been pulling an Olympic bar, in the gym, on a platform, with my favorite song, CI counting my reps, going head to head with the team but that wasn’t what I got. What I got was iron plates, in the dark humid driveway or Esteban out behind Frank’s Place. Let’s add to our list of fitness pursuits “presence.” Do not reject what is. Certainly strive for what can be but do not resist the present. One thing that did go in my favor after the garage gym workout is that I went for an awesome tuna burger with the Kid and then rode back to our bungalow amidst the calls of monkeys and bats and you are probably going back to work. I guess it is a wash.
As of last week our team was 8th out of 70ish and I think we can move up a bit this week. Give it everything. That goes for everyone. Even if you aren’t competing in Sectionals you are still in a day to day contest with your past self. Better than yesterday is enough for me.