Pain is My Zen

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We were prepared to win.

Our team was strong- Mark Go the heavy artillery RX, PJ Tugade the quick-footed Scaled guy and me the WOD-der who is playing for the Bootcamp Division. We signed up for the Monsoon Throwdown early and as soon as the WODs were announced, we began discussing strategy and planned our practice runs.

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Photos courtesy of Mr. David Lee and Ms. Darlene Reonal

Incidentally, I am one year into Crossfit but this was my first throwdown and I would be with my two closest friends. I was feeling good. I was in my comfort zone.

Two days prior to the throwdown, our head coach said five ominous words “CURRENT TEAMS WILL BE SHUFFLED.” Soon after, our team was broken up and I was bumped up to the Scaled Division.

Left with an unfamiliar team, in a division that necessitates repping weights heavier than what I am used to, I was ill-prepared. I knew I had to make the requisite adjustment in a short period of time. To his credit, my new RX teammate Bernabe “Bern” Llanes was very supportive and encouraging. He analyzed my lifts, did one run of the WOD 1 and then made some semblance of a plan.

D-Day    

July 16, 2016, it was the day of reckoning. As I walked around CFMNL MOA and met wonderful athletes, I realized three things: 1. All the people I met in the Scaled Division are bigger and taller than me. 2. I do not want to let myself, my friends, my teammates and my box down. 3. My husband Alvin and my son Basti will be watching. I have to give my best.

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Photos courtesy of Mr. David Lee and Ms. Darlene Reonal

Bern finally introduced me to our bootcamp teammate Daphne Kolimlim. Bern and Daphne were all smiles and they radiated positive energy, I felt the pressure and the anxiety ease up a little.

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Photos courtesy of Mr. David Lee and Ms. Darlene Reonal

WOD 1 Embracing the suck

There was a plan somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind. But as I went through each set of the 9 power cleans and the push jerks and the front squats, I went by feel. I had to re-calibrate, I had to adapt. I rested a bit in between the cleans and repped the push jerks. The front squats had me dying on my knees. By the time I reached my third set of the 9s, my mind receded and everything went mechanical. I had learned to embrace the suck. Daphne was steady and sure on her sets while Bern was the epitome of a well-oiled machine. My teammates were great!

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Photos courtesy of Mr. David Lee and Ms. Darlene Reonal

WOD 2 The missing hands

Boxjumps, kettlebell swings and overhead plate holds. This was the WOD that tried one’s engine and fortitude as one breathed heavily under the strain of the overhead hold after the jumps and the swings. It was simple, it was effective, it was deadly. As my arms struggled at the strain of locking out the 25 lbs. plate above my head, my mind started singing the missing hands song “meine hände sind verschwunden, ich habe keine hände mehr, Ei da sind die hände wieder, Tra la la la la la la… “ Yes, this WOD can do that to a person.

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Photos courtesy of Mr. David Lee and Ms. Darlene Reonal

WOD 3 Chipper

And finally, the last WOD. This was the ultimate group effort. The synchronized burpees when done right feel like winning the lottery, while a no-rep may cause you to murder your teammate. We divided the weighted sit-ups, deadlifts and front rack lunges fairly but we were also ready to “catch” a failing teammate’s rep when necessary. This method had to be effective as we thankfully got to the double unders bonus round with quite a few reps under our “shoes”, literally, before the buzzer announced the end of our torture.

By this time, I knew I had achieved something OUTSIDE my comfort zone, and this felt better than GOOD. I knew then that this was never about being comfortable in the mediocre, this is and will always be about being uncomfortable in the greatest.

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Photos courtesy of Mr. David Lee and Ms. Darlene Reonal

Epilogue

Winners were announced and naturally, we were cheering for our home boxes and for our friends. Our team did not podium but our friends did, and it felt just as good as winning.

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Photos courtesy of Mr. David Lee and Ms. Darlene Reonal

Here is why. Every rep that we struggle to make, every second that we chase, every curse that we say, every pain that we feel- our teammates, our loved ones, our friends, our coaches and our box are there with us, feeling the same things, cheering us on, inspiring us. This is a community of achievers. We are Crossfit MNL.

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Photos courtesy of Mr. David Lee and Ms. Darlene Reonal

-Christine L. Gruenberg, CFMNL Quezon Avenue