I met a runner the other day. He saw my tight pants that I seem to wear everywhere when the temperature dips below 50° and asked where my favorite place to run was. “Not much of a runner,” I said smiling. “So, your a CrossFitter then,” he said.
I met people like this all the time now. CrossFit has a way of making you feel like your running for office. Like your a mayor of fitness to those folks trying to find “in shape”. It’s cool meeting new friends, even if they do like to run a lot.
For the sake of this article we will call him my new friend Ted. Ted was a high school cross-country athlete, a local 5k whore, and a running group leader. And sadly, Ted couldn’t run anymore. “It just hurts too much to really get out and get going. I was a 40 mile a week guy, now I’m lucky to get seven,” he said. Ted is 44 years old.
He went on to tell me that he was going to need hip surgery, and that some days, bad ones, he could hardly bend his knee. “What did you replace all that time with,” I asked. “The couch,” Ted said after really having to think about.
The coffee shop is where life is discussed over cups of perky. I was about to exit the line as I asked Ted, “if you knew I was a CrossFitter, that means you have tried it right?” “Yeah, not for me,” he said. I quickly offered to buy Ted’s morning whatever if he would hang for a minute and tell me why CrossFit wasn’t for him.
Ted had no real reason to dislike CrossFit. He wasn’t manipulated into thinking CrossFitters were elitists, or that all we do is lift heavy.
Ted had simply defined himself as a “runner”. A tribesmen who built his identity around one specific athletic activity. Ted’s friends were runners, his wife was runner, his son a runner. Ted’s planet was a big path he traveled as quick and as often as possible, all on his own two feet. A lane he may never navigate again.
We continued on about CrossFit and running for ten minutes or so. I invited Ted back for a CrossFit second chance. He politely declined and said that he would just continue running as much as he could, cutting more and more miles as necessary to deal with the pain. “It’s just something that happens when you get old, I will just deal with it until I can’t run anymore,” was one of the last things Ted said to me before he left. I haven’t stopped thinking about it.
I have met many runners just like Ted. To be fair, not just runners, but globogymers, cyclists, swimmers. Folks who don’t really have an issue with CrossFit in the least. Folks, potentially, who would love CrossFit if they sincerely tried it. But trying means dying a little. Once you have defined yourself as one thing for so long it feels like suicide to become something new.
One of the best things about CrossFit is it’s lack of identity. It’s inability to be categorized. You really think your in a cult-how? You Olympic lift, you run, you row, you pull-up muscle-up, push-up. You climb ropes throw balls at ceilings and power-lift. Tell me, what cult has such acceptance, such a wide net of belief, such ability to offer something to everyone.
I asked Ted to give up a little bit of himself in exchange for a big umbrella. But giving up who he was, was too much to bear. I asked Ted to leave his identity behind and chose a life minus a definition. A CrossFit life where you can remake yourself every day. Where friends are considered CrossFitter, but nobody really knows exactly what that means. Where runners can be more than feet hitting pavement, lifters can be more than barbells, and people can be whoever they want to be.
3-Stone to shoulder 118/145
4-Sandbag toe 2 bar @8 lbs
30-Second hollow rock
4 rounds-not for time
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