Hangin’ Tough at the NKITB Throwdown


Less than six months ago, I took my first Bootcamp class at the Fort box. It was horrendous, and tiring, and it took all my willpower not to pass out and embarrass myself. Immediately after, I signed up for a month. Because such is the power of CrossFit.

I started to do WoDs around 7-8 weeks after and I was hooked. It was like finding the right hug, and I woke up every day looking forward to it.

When I heard about NKITB, I didn’t even think twice about it and signed up. I signed up because I was an athlete when I was younger, in college and a few years after. Athletes always have to train with a goal in mind, and NKITB was the perfect goal for me. To improve my technique, to aim for PR’s, to do extra work. So I thought, newbie sounded safe enough for someone as new as me. Right?

(In hindsight, had I known what was involved in the qualifying process I might have had second thoughts but I had no idea, and luckily no one bothered to tell me.)

Then the Open started.

To call it a rude awakening to the world of “qualifying WoDs” would be an understatement. I became quite intimate with the term red line.

I finished the first qualifying WoD, I honestly have no idea how, but I did. One of my friends texted me after and called me a trooper, although it was only really because the entire box was just shouting at me to finish. So I did. I finished on sheer willpower and brute cheering.

And on it went for the following weeks, I started having a love/hate relationship with Friday mornings but honestly, the energy in the box when all the WoDs were being done is something completely out of this world. We trained, we did the WoDs, we waited for the leader board to come out. Every week, until the day of reckoning arrived: The Finals.

I was moved to the Masters Scaled division from Newbies (thankfully because no amount of training can compete with the energy of the youth!). I prepped myself physically, mentally, but it was all for nothing because I was nerves on a wire the day before the finals.

I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t concentrate on anything.

The day of the finals, all I could think was of ways to get out. I was sick! I was too old for this! I was a quitter!!! Please please get me out of this!!!

Thankfully, my coaches and box mates know me very well and ignored my constant stream of complaints. I was told to warm up, to start going through the movements, and to wait. Stop moaning and complaining.

I started my heat, and everything just faded away. All the nerves, all the complaints, all the horrible things I thought would happen just disappeared.

All I could see were my coaches, my box mates. In a room packed full of athletes, only their faces stood out. With all the shouting and screaming happening, all I could hear were the voices of the Fort box people. I was doing singles and I saw Jigs telling me to BREAAAATH and I did. I started the OHS and I zoned in on my coach’s voice telling me to go pick it up! Go down! Up down, DON’T STOP! I went to the rings and Cherry was there counting my breaks. Sonia and Flo, whom I trained with religiously for more than a month, anticipated all my weak points and pulled me through them.

The entire 18 minutes were a blur but the faces and voices of my box mates and coaches were crystal clear.

How can that even be explained to anyone who has never been to a throwdown?

So this is the best way to say it: Everyone who goes to a box has experienced this. Every single day, we are pushed to be better by our peers. Every day, they take a bit of our fear away and make us realize that we are stronger than we thought we were. Every day, we wake up and make the trek to lift, to run, to row, to be better than we were yesterday because there are people who tell us we can, who believe in us when we doubt ourselves.

That is what NKITB is about.

It is a reminder that we are always surrounded by this powerful community, we just need to blur the rest of the noise out, zone in and see them clearly.

(How did I do? The results are irrelevant, everyone was a winner that day.)