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The Last One to Cross the Finish Line

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I suppose there are some people who revel in the full attention of the class…

Their gym mates are a captive audience focused on the lead athlete’s performance. Every thrust of the barbell overhead, each swing of the rope underfoot, each piece of the WOD completed under the full attention of dozens of eyes. Then, applause erupts when the last rep is finished and both the athlete and barbell collapse onto the floor. As the crowd cheers around them, they lay in their sweat puddle delighting in the attention and praise​. This might be true of some CrossFitters. 

F​or many of us, however, the full attention of the class is the last thing on earth we would choose, especially when we’ve fallen behind the group. A workout for time is no AMRAP – it must be completed in its entirety and there is no way not to notice how others around you are faring. I feel it’s easy to get into your head at this moment – you thought you were pacing well, when all of a sudden you notice people finishing and you’re only halfway done. You begin to quicken your pace even though your breath is fleeting. Your heart rate is high and there’s little room to push it before you’re in the red, but now you must push – slowing down is not an option. Completing the workout unnoticed is an impossibility. 

T​here are two beauties of CrossFit. One is the variety of exercises and skill sets thrown into a weeks’ workouts. Everyone has a different area which they thrive and struggle. Sometimes even a single WOD will play to different strengths and weaknesses. It’s not uncommon to see some athletes sail through the lift only to get hung up on the toes-to-bar, and that’s where a different athlete will rocket into the lead. Someone who was behind the whole class may be the fastest runner, and will smoke everyone in the last portion and finish first! No one is ever in their comfort zone the whole time. The second beauty of CrossFit is the sense of community.

“​No one is done until EVERYONE is done”

While we are fighting to get through our least favorite exercise, we are getting the full support of the class – as much as some of us hate the attention. Inherent in CrossFit is the sense of community and desire to stay and support each other during a workout. The variation of exercise and community aspect mean that there’s a revolving wheel of athletes who finish first and last. We will all be the last horse to cross the finish line sometimes, and there’s no choice other than to smile and suffer with full support.

Think back to a time before you did CrossFit…B.C, if you will…

Y​our fitness on any given day can be affected by a number of factors: the quality of sleep you got the night before, what you ate or didn’t eat before exercise, your alcohol consumption, if you’re fully recovered and rested, and the list goes on. But j​ust by coming to class – you’ve won. Think back to a time before you did CrossFit…B.C, if you will. Most days and most months, you didn’t put your body through a sweat like this. Your normie friends would take one look at these workouts and be floored by the athleticism you possess and the “torture” you willingly put yourself through. 

Any workout that pushes you to the brink is also pushing your body to new heights. Yes, even if you’ve been faster or stronger years ago. Here is today, here is now, and this is what you can do and what you can push. If you find yourself the last horse in class, fear not! Don’t be discouraged, just smile and thank your gym mates for their support. Soon, you will be on the other side of this equation – cheering on another athlete who’s giving it everything they’ve got when everyone else has finished. The next day, the wheel will turn, and who knows who will be first and last. It doesn’t matter – just by being there we’ve all won. 

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

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