Fight Gone Bad

This is my favourite CrossFit workout. I was a little disappointed with my performance today (body is feeling quite slow after the rest weeks and alcohol abuse last week!), but it was more a mental fail. There wasn’t anyone there really yelling at me properly and I didn’t push myself as hard as I could have gone. If you don’t literally feel like you’re going to die between rounds 2 and 3 of this sucker you aren’t going hard enough. For the non-cult members out there the workout is the following:

Three rounds of:
• Wall-ball @6/9kg
• Sumo deadlift high-pull @24/29kg
• Box Jump @40/50cm
• Push-press @24/29kg
• Row (Calories)

In this workout you move from each of five stations after a minute. The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. This is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. On call of “rotate”, the athletes must move to next station immediately for best score. One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is one point.

The thing with this workout is that you can always do one more rep. You just can. But damn …. It hurts. So it’s actually as much a mental test as a physical one. And my mind is not feeling too sharp at the present moment. Still, I scored 305 which beats my previous PR by 18 reps and is over the magical 300 mark. I was disappointed to the point where Chris’ compliments actually made me feel worse. Even felt very weak on the volume training on strict pullups I was doing after.

Back to training this week is very exciting although yeah, haven’t felt super sharp. Was something like 23 seconds slower on Regional WOD 6 on Tuesday than I was doing it a few weeks back, and I just had a hard time pushing myself on the rower on Wednesday. Although I did something like 45 handstand pushups in that workout, so that is always fun.

Bottom line: I’m not feeling at my best but it’s ok because I’m six weeks away from the Games and so after 4 weeks of hard training I’ll be much closer to peaking than I am now. Not that we’re gonna win or anything, or even come close, but we’re going to have an awesome time. Jobst was asking me today if I was nervous, and it hadn’t even occurred to me. I’m sure I’ll get excited closer to the date. We did pick our team this week and I’m psyched: it’s a really good group and we’re going to have a lot of fun together. It’s just … frustrating because it feels like it should be easier than it is. Frustrating when the body and mind doesn’t do what you think it should.

As usual, Daigle has something apropos to say on the matter. Here is the key bit:

“In the down and dirty of a workout, it might be that it just hurts so much to physically run, that you slow it way down and take it easy. That’s running away from the pain…and it’s not going to get you want you want – what you deserve. You deserve a PR, or a win, or that exasperated feeling of knowing you really did give it all you had.

It’s time to stand and deliver, to decide what you deserve.

If you run, you’ll not feel joy…nor will you deserve it. See, we always get what we deserve. ‘Deserve’ is a tricky word, a moving target of sort. If you stand your ground and force your way forward you will find what you seek – because of your noble efforts it is deserved. If you run, you will feel like shit later knowing that you gave up what you truly wanted, because you didn’t have the stones to stay and fight. Surprise…you deserved that too.”

He hit the nail on the head. Yes, I scored over 300. I won’t say I was coasting, and yes, 300 is a pretty damn good score. But I could have done more. And it’s that which pisses me off. I’m stronger than that. And that’s probably the #1 thing I love about CrossFit: it forces me to be absolutely brutally honest with myself.

Sport is, as always, a metaphor for life, and this week was unsettling in other ways. Max Pichulik, one of our partners, resigned this week. In a strange combination of circumstances I was doing the dishes Wednesday night and I just knew he was going to leave. I would characterize this as a fundamental difference of opinion on strategy but fundamentally he decided it just wasn’t a good fit for him. Which I totally understand and respect, but I will definitely miss a lot of aspects of having Max around. He is a great networker, sounding board, and great also at challenging and keeping me honest. But it’s not a train smash. Life goes on.

It’s also one of our last weeks in our offices as they exist today. Renovations and new people moving in, which is a blessing but it’s amazing how used to things you can get. No matter how I try not to become attached to material things it still happens. It’s ok, though, time makes all things and situations your own so in a year or three I’ll feel the same sense of ownership about the new facilities. Unless, of course, we’re on to the next thing by then. We don’t know what the future holds, but thank goodness for that!

This week was also characterized by bad insomnia (kept waking up in the middle of the night with my mind racing; so much going on), dinner with lovely Charlotte, the first iteration of TEDxCity Bowl (biomimicry is an interest of mine), and two meetings that were way more hectic than they had to be, because the men in the room weren’t listening to each other. I poked a bit of fun at this on facebook. I try not to be sexist but actually men’s and women’s brains are different and we know this. Women can not listen too, and goodness knows I’ve been guilty of that one plenty of times (along with a lot of other things). But sometimes I feel like half my job is to be translator and peace-maker. There is nothing worse than things not working out because people aren’t talking to each other properly!

In a big coup this week I finally found an intern for HR, to help us recruit more interns. I think she is going to be awesome. She likes psychology and human behavior which makes her interesting in my book immediately, and answered my behavior-based interview questions with flying colors, and even had an answer I agreed to with what stops some people from doing things they want to do.

Speaking of which, I’m looking forward to yet dreading the next two weeks or so. Between Nick being in town, and the Babson crew arriving (this year’s version of the class that I came on two years ago!), two away weekends, and two interns starting there is a lot going on and a lot of demands on my time. So much so that it’s pushing my training to the morning, which is going to make getting enough sleep challenging. Trying to balance being a startup entrepreneur with being a competitive athlete (who also happens to be team captain and is therefore doing everything from co-ordinating travel to prize money payment to visas for the South Africans on the team to a bunch of other stuff) is, objectively, more than enough already. But add to that, I want to keep my social life and it feels like that’s hotting up too between lots of new friends, and getting closer to others. It’s going to be very interesting too, the team bonding and practicing in the next few weeks.

So I’m feeling like Fight Gone Bad is a pretty good metaphor for my life right now. Lots of different activities going on: CrossFit & the associated lifestyle, friends, family, & relationships, mentoring social entrepreneurs, fundraising, and just having fun (music, travel, etc.). Lots going on, very intensely, not a ton of rest. But that’s just how I like it. On the other hand, Fight Gone Bad lasts for 17 minutes, and is not intended as a long-term continuous activity. I do need a vacation, so this 5 day road trip coming up should be good for me, and I’ll try and take some actual vacation on my U.S. trip combined with all the other things I already have planned.

I will soon be quite excited for this trip to arrive. For the Games, to meet all these celebs, and to go back to San Francisco and Boston and see the old crews. It may be the case that I think on a daily basis how happy I am to be here in Cape Town but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel nostalgia from time to time, and also I just miss people.

So here’s an interesting question: think about what is the #1 thing you want most in your life right now.

Now think about are you really doing everything you can to get it? Are you really? I actually haven’t gotten past the first part of the question. There are so many things that I want right now, and I’m definitely trying to have it all, but by doing so I am making some implicit choices. But I’m sure I’ll figure it out, and following your heart is a good place to start.

Random mood today and random photos to match: my lovely breakfast at work (can I just say, AGAIN, how much I love paleo), me modeling the Reebok sample clothes in my best Barbie look (check my right hand), and a photo of the office as it exists today. Speaking of nostalgia again.

• “I can’t believe you didn’t recognize Peter Grant! You are SUCH an American!” – Tim
• “You really feel that there’s something special going on here.” – Matt
• “Right now we have to go where angels fear to tread.” – Peter
• “If the milk gets spilled, cry over it for one second maybe but then get over it.” – Max
• “Whatever you do in life you must be careful what you choose.” – Nonhlanhla
• “We’ve been through so much. And we don’t want other social entrepreneurs to have to go through what we’ve been through.” – Peter
• “If you can’t drink your own kool-aid then you have a major problem, right?” – Peter
• “It’s kind of like pimp your tunnel!” – Peter
• “The last person to use my mug was Max Pichulik. And after that, my mug was broken.” – Jacques (I was saying the next person to steal my mug was going to get it)
• “It smells like …. Well, it doesn’t smell like milk!” – Jacques (I was showing him my almond milk)
• “It’s ok. You don’t need to explain anything. I just don’t want to put up with this crap any more is all.” – Ellie
• “Meat for dessert?? I’m sold on how incredibly awesome you are!!!!” – Ray
• “I think it’s fear.” – Yaseera
• “You presented him with a fork in the road.” – Hermann
• “Who’d wanna do Fight Gone Bad?” – Ellie
• “Is this vacation or boot camp?” – Nick
• “You do this voluntarily?” – Nick


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