Ignorance is bliss?

As someone whose full-time job is in academia, I’ve always felt that ignorance is better equated to torture than bliss. I enjoy gathering information, examining nuances, pondering anomalies, and debating perspectives. It perhaps naturally follows that I spend every Sunday obsessively refreshing Wodify to see whether the coach has posted the upcoming week’s WODs.

Once the refresh button finally yields a page with text under “Monday” I feel a delightful stomach-churning anticipation. I review the week’s WODs much like I used to review my assigned readings as a student– first quickly, trying to gulp in the important information, and then more slowly, absorbing the details and developing a reaction to each element of the workouts. Throughout this process, I have two simultaneous one-sided internal conversations: one with myself and one with my coach.

The conversation with myself sounds something like this: “Oh dear, we’re supposed to find a heavy one-rep? What if I don’t PR? I’ll be the only one who doesn’t PR. How many double-unders? Ugh. I’m never going to finish that. Oh here’s one I can do! Yay rope climbs! Thrusters might aggravate my shoulder. Should I skip that day? No, of course not. I really hope R doesn’t beat my time on the run again. I hope she’ll be my partner. Let’s strategize; what’s going to get me through these WODs?”

The imaginary conversation with my coach runs along these lines: “Seriously? This is cruel. OH YAY SOMETHING I CAN RX! Oh goodness, what is Thursday, you crazy sadist? Wait we’re squat cleaning again? Is this all part of some larger training plan? What else are we doing that’s part of a larger plan? How can I work within a plan if I don’t know what the plan is? Are you God?”

After my internal dialogue concludes, I have conversations with real people (I’m not crazy). I typically first consult my buddy E, whose reactions often complement my own. We’re at similar skill levels, but she’s a PM crossfitter, while I’m solidly in the AM group. So we enjoy both planning for the WODs and debriefing, comparing the different advice we got and the different challenges we faced. E is a great person to share nervous energy with on the Sunday before a new crossfit week.

I also chat with  my husband, who only occasionally does crossfit, but is legally obligated to sympathize with me.

And that brings me to today’s WOD. I had been dreading it since Sunday. The workout included dumbbell thrusters (women’s RX: 35lbs); the last time I recall doing dumbbell thrusters, I remember struggling with the 25lb dumbbells and feeling exceedingly sore for days. It also featured double unders and their accompanying whip burn, followed by chest-to-bar, a slowly developing and exhausting exercise. The whole workout concluded with single-arm snatches. I’m actually at peace with those, but they were small consolation for the rest.

I dwelled on this WOD more than any of the others this week, even those I was looking forward to. I thought about my healing shoulder and wondered if I shouldn’t just skip. I wondered whether I was going to hold my partner back for the entire WOD. I berated myself for not working more on chest-to-bar. And, as it turns out, all of this fretting and self-deprecating was entirely unnecessary. Was it a fun WOD? Not especially. Did I RX? No.  Did I work through each round at a painfully slow pace? Absolutely.

Did it kill me? No. I had a tough thirty minutes, got a little stronger as a result, and then I went about my life.

So I write this as a reminder to myself and others that knowledge is only beneficial to the extent that we can appropriately contextualize it and allow it to bolster our understanding of the world and ourselves. The next time I’m repeatedly refreshing the Wodify page on a Sunday, I plan to recite a positive affirmation with each click. Instead of berating myself or blaming my coach inside my head, I will remember that every workout is a chance to improve a little and that no one expects any more than my best effort. Finally, instead of looking at WODs as giant ugly monsters that I need to battle, I will look at them as reflections of my capabilities and my growth because at the end of the day all I want is to be able to look myself in the eye and smile.


One thought on “Ignorance is bliss?

  1. You have accurately described my Sundays and my jaunts with various internal conversations. One of the things I do like about knowing the various workouts, it mentally preparing myself for the various lifts, prepping my mind to hit certain numbers, planning how I will make the various jumps in weight. However, I will henceforth try my darndest best to have your attitude toward the weekly challenges the coaches present to me. And I hope to live up to your standard of enjoyment of the amount of suck, challenge, and accomplishment that will be coming my way in the weeks, months and years (hopefully) ahead. Thank you.


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