Different Pace, Same Race

4 02 2008

clock.jpgI’ve been talking a lot lately about this whole “slowing the pace down”. In doing so, I also want to be sure there is an understanding that this is about a change in the pace, not a change in the race. And I’ll use training Crossfit style vs training with Kettlebells in the more classical (ie: American Kettlebell Club) style.

This blog, Gym Jane, sprouted out of a commitment Chris and I made (as we’ve each moved into a new stage in our lives, having each become fathers in the last few years) to truly challenge ourselves, to keep us fit (physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally), to ensure we continue to grow, that nothing becomes stagnant, that we maintain and improve upon the vitality we had when we were younger and to transfer that energy, excitement, adventurousness and desire to learn over to our kids, that they may carry that with them throughout the duration of their lives.

In doing so, we’ve climbed mountains and pushed ourselves to the brinks of our limits (in our workouts) with our modified version (a la Gym Jones) of Crossfit. It was these physical endeavors that provided the location for our continued efforts to be honest with ourselves, the forge where we burnt off the excess of complacency and got closer to the mettle that we are made of.

Crossfit is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. It is a fast-paced, heart-thumping, gut-wrenching, full out dose of insanity;). Each workout is a gut-check, a moment needing to be taken beforehand to come to terms with the little voice that says “NNOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” and tell it, it must step aside now. It is explosive! You do not think about the last rep, you charge full out to the next ones to come, willing the power within you to take yourself to the end of this seeming insurmountable task. Like a blazing star, shooting across the clear black night, you explode across it’s canvas with spectacle. Then, barely able to give your body the oxygen it needs to recover from this period of time that you asked everything of it (and more), you reflect on what you just accomplished (as it’s almost the only thing you can do;). Once again, your mind proved a powerful translator for your spirit, in it’s call to the body. You’ve proven you can face the intensity when called upon (again!). Now you can breath, you can relax, it is over. You can get on with your day, knowing you can deal with any little disruption that may come your way.

Lifting the Kettlebells (for time) is one of the most deceptive agents of fitness. It is simplicity at it’s finest, consisting mainly of just 3 movements. You come up to these two bells, hands chalked, feeling invincible as you tower over these two little hunks of metal. “One move (the Jerk), 10 mins and I just take my time?”. You grin a devilish grin, look at your clock for the start time, then clean the bells and begin. Working at a slow but steady pace, you move thru the minute. With time to rest in the rack position, you catch your breath as you proceed to the next rep, thru the next minute (two). No problem, things are going well. As you proceed thru minute 3, you think, “aaah here we go, finally, feeling like I’m getting a bit of a workout”. Before you know it, minute 4 is upon you and you realize you are starting to feel out of breath as the bells come crushing down on your chest cavity, constricting the amount of air you can hold in your lungs. You are suddenly aware that your legs feel like they’ve just taken you up a huge steep hill. You focus on your breath, each rest not feeling long enough. You barely have time to think about how your last rep went, when you need to put everything into making your next rep the epitome of efficiency, so as to make the work a bit easier on your tired and uncomfortable body. You now have come into minute 5, your forearms are screaming at you to put the bells down, while your mind, soothing, encouraging, patient, tells you “that’s okay, you can put them down, there’s no rush, we’re taking our time here, no need to BLAST thru it, ha ha ha, just go ahead and set them down, we’ll get to it eventually, put them down and take a breather”. You think, “yeah, we’re in no rush here I can just….wait a sec….that’s not right. I have to get to 10 mins…..” You look at the clock, your only half way there! Each breath is labored, sweat is streaming down your face, your eyes sting, you can just barely see the clock in the blur of it all (is it sweat or tears?). 6 minutes. The bells slip slightly. Oh No! The sweat is spreading it’s slow acting poison throughout, sapping your strength in tiny increments with each rep. You want nothing more than to scream, speed up and blaze thru to ten minutes. But you can’t. You can’t speed up the time and to go full out now would completely burn you out, making it impossible to complete the task at hand. 7 minutes. You have to be here, hyper-focused on each rep, but relaxed at the same time, sharp as the razors edge, and walk that cutting line with a sense of contentment. 8 minutes. You have to face the ugly beast straight on, not fight it or run from it, just “be” with it. Be able to take it’s ridiculing taunts, it’s disarming lullabies, it’s punishing jabs, it’s tempting offers……..all with a smile on your face and a streadfastness of your resolve. 9 minutes. This is pure Strength-Endurance. Strength of character, Endurance of spirit. 10 mins. The bells are dropped. No words are said. Your mind pulls back in relief from the concentration needed to be maintained for what was surely an eternity. The muscles hang as meat from a hook. You faced it. You faced it and “lived” with it. To live with it is to have the ability to live and interact, deal, overcome, move past and continue to live, with anything.

Starting with your next set for time…….of snatches;).





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