Sunday, July 3, 2011

Memorial Pull-Ups

This is my third attempt at writing this post. I have somehow managed to accidentally delete it twice. Each time I got so mad I had to walk away, so yeah, I also started this post like 3 days ago.

CrossFit and the military have a connection. I'm not sure how it originated, but many service people perform crossfit workouts, and many people that served in the military now run crossfit gyms. All crossfit's give a discounted membership to military/fire/police. The owner/trainer of my gym is included in the military-cum-crossfit owner group. Due to this connection, the crossfit community takes the benchmark "hero WOD's" (hero workout of the days) very seriously. Hero WOD's are workouts named after men killed while serving our country, and are usually pretty rough) I wrote a whole post on my "Murph" experience here). It is common for gym's to honor a particular soldiers hero WOD on days like Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day. Hero WOD's are a reminder that when things seem tough, impossible even, you just got to do your best to get through it. They are a reminder that we crossfitters sweating and cursing are alive and able to sweat and curse. It is not a time to complain about how bad things hurt.

Many changes have come about to my gym since the stolen equipment debacle; a new location (in the same complex, but smaller space), a new investor, new equipment, and new rules. Everything is just a little bit different, and it definitely takes some getting used to. The bumper weight plates are brightly colored instead of black, plywood lifting areas now stripe the thick black mats, we have fewer medicine balls and kettlebells, but we have 3 new GHD (torture) machines that we never had at the old location. Probably the biggest thing I have had to get used to is the height of the pull-up bars. At the old location, there was this really nice pull-up rack set up- there were two different height bars, and the lowest height was perfect for me. I could just stretch on my tip-toes and reach it, and when I grabbed on my feet cleared the floor- just perfect. I miss that set-up immensley. Not only was it our pull-up station, but it was also our place to rack weights. Now we have these two portable rack dealies that perform the same function, but they are...different.

The new location has a wall of pull-up bars that are all the same height- high. As in I can't even reach them trying my hardest to jump. Then there are a few more bars on the adjacent wall that are even HIGHER. Like, crazy high. One of the new rules of the gym is memorial pull-ups. Every Friday. As the owner/trainer explained this new idea to me, I half thought in the back of my mind that it would never be enforced. I had HOPED that perhaps? I knew it was something that was going to cause me a lot of stress should we actually have to perform these particular pull-ups.

Each Friday, we are to perform one pull-up for every hero WOD the gym has honored on the big white board (currently there are 8, but I know more will be added) and if there are any military/fire/police persons present in the room, one for them as well. The kicker? We have to perform them on the SUPER HIGH bars, and cannot use anything that is not breathing to assist you in getting up to the bar if you cannot jump to it, and nothing that isn't breathing to assist you in the pull-up if you cannot perform one. Here is where I panic as I realize 1) I can't jump to the bar and 2) can't do a non-band assisted pull-up. "" I stammer. Oh, was that the wrong thing to say. I was met with a short lecture to the tune of "figure it out yourself, those men up there died protecting your rights and your freedoms, and they never once asked how."

I have written many times about happenings/events that make me aware of my size, and how that is really a driving force in me wanting to be smaller, so I don't have to be reminded (either overtly or covertly) about how I'm larger then the average Jane. So, I show up a few Fridays ago, half expecting to get away with not doing the pull-ups. Much like that kid reminding the teacher they forgot to give us homework, someone says something. Dammit. Next thing I know, the group of 6 or so that just completed the warm-up is circling around the super high bars, and one tiny girl gets boosted to the bar. She can do unassisted pull-ups, and knocks out her 8 as we chant the names of each hero each time her chin goes over the bar. Next girl up is new. She is normal size, but can not do pull-ups, so after stepping on a thigh to reach the bar, she is then assisted in her pull-ups as her booster lifts one leg effortlessly, and her chin glides over the bar. More of the same...I'm now the only one who hasn't gone. Everyone looks at me. A girl squats down and pats her leg for me to step on. "I'm going to crush her" I think to myself. I manage to clumsily clammor my way up to the bar. Ok, now what? TWO people have to assist me in getting my chin over the bar, and yeah, everyone is still circled around. FML.

This experience is not one I care to repeat. I start to find excuses to miss the gym on Fridays. I know its selfish and dumb, but 1) I don't want to be a burden on the person that I have to step on, and 2) I can't even come close to doing a real pull-up so the workout is really for the people that are boosting me over the bar! I know, I suck. And I know if I ever expressed these concerns to the trainer, he would shake his head and get sooooo mad at me for being disrespectful. He's right.

Last Thursday I was working out with a girl who is fairly new to the gym. She is very overweight, but I can tell she's already lost weight just from the short amount of time she's been crossfitting. She's nice, we have some chats, and then we workout. I friend her on facebook later. On Friday, she posts her facebook status as "Really want to go to the gym today, but don't want to do the Memorial pull-ups." Ugh. I knew exactly how she felt. Not wanting to be on display, not wanting to be a burden, feeling bad that other people have to lift the extra weight she created on herself. I get it. At the same time though, I realized how silly of a reason that was to skip the gym though. When I think about helping her do the pull-ups, I don't think she's a burden. It's just something we all have to do, we all help out, get it done, and bam! I tell her she's silly, and say I'll meet her there. I made the decision to never skip another Friday just because of the pull-ups.

If I don't think SHE'S a burden, that must mean that maybe people don't think I'M a burden, and that the uncomfortableness I had with the memorial pull-ups was in my head? Why should I sacrifice a potentially good day of working out and furthering my fitness goals because of 30 seconds of in-my-head-craziness? I can guarantee that I spend way more time thinking about how heavy I am during and after those pull-ups then any of the people helping me out do. Eh, le sigh. Still a work in progress.

Oh, in other news...the official cube setter-upper at my office came by and set up my sweet new stand up desk:
I even got to switch to a bigger cube that is off the beaten path, and I LOVE my new arrangement. Standing at work so far has proven to be so much better for me as well. I wake up quicker, I get more done, and I generally have more energy at the end of the day. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

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