Thursday, February 26, 2015

Perspective From My Pre-cancer Self

This week I made it back to crossfit, twice.  If all goes well, I plan to go tomorrow morning,  which will make it 3 times this week!!   It is a struggle.  I do not look forward to the classes, I dread them.  I sit in my car willing myself to go inside while I run through a list of excuses to back out of the parking space and go, go anywhere. However, yesterday, I left class and I did not cry.  I did not even want to cry.  I was tired and hot and sweating but I walked out (ok it was a bit of a slow shuffle) smiling.

Yesterday was a snatch day, I hate snatches (insert childlike giggle here).  I hate snatches almost as much as I hate overhead squats.  My pre-cancer self would have checked the workout, seen snatch and immediately found a reason to skip.  My post cancer self does not have that flexibility.  My post-cancer self, promised herself that she would go to crossfit 30 times before she allowed herself to give up and exchange her wardrobe with multi-colored mumu’s.  I know that if I don’t start going more than once a week, I will make no progress and I will never make it to mumu land, so… snatch day or cupcake day, I was going to class.   

I bribed myself by telling myself that I could snatch with the PVC pipe all day and wouldn’t even have to touch a barbell if I didn’t want to.  After all, who is going to demand that I work harder…I am still wielding my cancer card and am not afraid to cry on demand. 

So I walked back in, for the second time in a week.  I must say that just crossing the threshold felt like a win to me. I warmed up and tugged self consciously at my spandex, that does not fit my post cancer body in the same way it fit my pre-cancer body, but self-conscious or not, I warmed up. Still a win.

When it was time to snatch, I grabbed the PVC pipe and I worked with my coach to relearn the movement.  I didn’t hate it.  My form needs WERK but when it came time to trade in my PVC pipe for a barbell,  well,  I thought about my bribe,  I shuffled my feet and finally I skulked over to the bucket,  returned my pipe and got a barbell.  It was the baby barbell. 

Now, my pre-cancer self never used the baby barbell.  Even when I first started crossfit, I went for the normal bar.  So as I warmed up with the baby bell, couldn’t help feeling angry and defeated.  I wanted to go home, but I didn’t.  I kept working on my snatch and somewhere along the line, with sweat running into my eyes (seriously, whose dumb idea was it to cut bangs), I had an epiphany.

 I thought about what my pre-cancer self would say to me if she saw me working out beside her.  I thought about what I used to say to new people that came to try a class and halfway through started looking for an exit.  I would not tell them they would never become a “crossfitter”.  I would tell them to hang in there.  I would tell them to be smart and not push themselves too hard too fast.  I would tell them to just breathe, because if they just kept coming, it would happen.  If they just kept walking through the doors, they would soon be doing what the other kids were doing.  They would soon feel like they belonged in this crazy testosterone filled playground.  I would not tell them they could not do it and had no business being there, because that would be unbelievably freakin rude.  I would not say it to anyone else, so why had I been saying it to myself for the last month.

So… I told my post-cancer self to shut her stupid pie hole. 

 I added little baby weights to my little baby barbell and I snatched.  I worked on my form and I worked up a sweat and then I scaled the WOD back to what I thought I could do successfully.  As the others did chest to bars, I did ring rows with gusto and panache.  Ok, they probably looked like a hot sweaty mess, but I did them.

 If I have learned anything lately, it is that my body took a beating.  Somewhere in the process of kicking cancer’s ass …cancer kicked my ass too.  Luckily, in the end, I won. BOOM!  I won because there is no quitting in the game of life.  Baby barbell or not…I am going to make it back.  

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