I CrossFit, Therefore I Tear My Hands

When I was a young girl full of dreams delusions, I never thought I’d grow up to be a woman who shaved her palms or went up in t-shirt size to accommodate her expanding arms. I didn’t foresee swinging 35 pounds and following up the fun by throwing myself on the ground for a sort of belly flop, pushing myself up and jumping for a clap. There’s a name for that movement: burpee. And wouldn’t you know it, the burpee can be accessorized with pull ups and jumping over boxes. The things you learn.

In the nine-ish months I’ve been CrossFitting, I’ve birthed a new me. New, not necessarily better. For example, CrossFit Courtney is strangely proud of lifting massive weight, but I can only boast of such feats in a CrossFit setting. Proclamations like “I can deadlift that” while pointing at a railroad tie isn’t perceived as feminine. Maybe if the finger I pointed was painted with glitter it would be different. Noted.

snatchesscaremeI complain. About assault bikes. About toes-to-bar. About running laps. About how I can’t drop under a snatch without hurting my left shoulder (an old horse injury). Sometimes I imagine wearing a wide-sleeved t-shirt reading: “Snatches Scare Me.” Regardless of how often I bitch and moan about snatches, thrusters or burpees, I keep going back. Maybe it’s some form of Stockholm Syndrome, CrossFit. If a WOD requires wall balls, I find myself ready to accept the torture.

And yet in the midst of my complaints, CrossFit is the highlight of my day. I enter the box with the dregs of life weighing me down and leave with a sweaty smile. Despite my protestations about double-unders and the red whip marks all over my legs and arms, I love it. Not the whip marks, the whole experience of working so hard I collapse on the floor, only to inhale chalk and cough for an hour after class. It’s a form of therapy: Chalk Inhalation Detoxification.

My goals for the coming year are modest ones: perform a muscle-up without dislocating a shoulder and falling spectacularly to the floor; ten consecutive double-unders without flaying my body; dropping deeper for my split jerk, because muscling up 133 pounds is just silly; and of course, writing about the inherit comedy of CrossFit suffering.

By Courtney

Courtney Kirchoff is a published novelist, graphic designer, dog and horse lover, and lots of other (hopefully good) things. She lives in the greater Puget Sound area in Washington State with her lovable shelties, Riley and Margo.

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