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.