A Defining Moment

Here is another guest blog I wrote for my girl, Nikki. Her blog can be found here (and I highly recommend you follow her too!). Posted on 5/15/2012


There is a moment in time in which all of us are defined as an athlete in our own minds.  We tend to hold our definition of what we think an athlete should or shouldn’t be wrapped pretty tightly around. When this moment happens the mold of who and what we thought an athlete is cracked a bit. Not because those athletes aren’t athletes anymore, but because we are.

I believe an athlete to be someone who doesn’t take no for an answer. Someone who goes into a workout with nothing less than the best they have to give on that day. A person who takes on the challenges that lie before them physically and mentally no matter how much it scares the shit out of them. Someone who strives to learn from others and returns that favor no matter how high they can reach. A person who wants to be better when they leave their box, than when they entered.

There is a moment in which we start to believe anything is possible…..

I promised Nikki I would write something to put on her blog from the perspective of being a newbie to the CrossFit world. That was two months ago. Every time I started to put my thoughts together, I just couldn’t find anything exceptionally inspirational that would maybe motivate someone else to try it or make it relate to what they were going through.

Then this morning for 6 am class, our WOD was Fran. 21-15-9 reps of thrusters and pull-ups. Most workouts get me a little skittish but Fran is notorious for being dreadful. It had been a while since I last did it and since I never bother to write down my CF workouts, I was debating how to scale it. I asked Gus, the assistant coach, my standard question of late “Should I go light for this one?” He asked me what I was thinking for weight and I nervously said 55 pounds (Rx was for 65). He told me I could do it and I laughed telling him I don’t know why I bother to ask him. He always tells me I can and then I know I have to go for it.

I had a red and thin blue bands set up for pull ups as from past experience I’m smart enough to know how much that many reps absolutely suck. I had recently started doing kipping pull ups (thanks to Nikki who broke it down so well that I got it in my first attempt a few weeks back). I asked the coaches if I should start out doing a few kipping pull ups without the bands (I figured I could maybe get 2 in) or if not to bother and just stick to the bands. They told me to go for it and do what I can. I can drop down to the bands when I max out on kips.

The clock started and I somehow got through 21 grueling reps of 55-pound thrusters. I wasn’t the fastest one but I know how important it is to pace myself. With less trepidation than I expected, I went over to the pull up bar and jumped up to grab it. I swung once and got myself up for my first kipping. I could hear my fellow athletes from the first wave who were now cheering everyone on, calling out “Go Missy!” I got right into my next kipping and my third. I got to 5 and dropped down. I shocked myself and surprisingly I impressed even those CrossFitters who have been going for years. I think when I was on my 3rd pull up, I heard someone shout out “Nice Missy! Damn, where the hell did she come from?” It isn’t all about accolades but when I got a genuine compliment from people who I look up to as being so elite and at a level I never see myself getting to, it’s like I had that moment where I felt like wow, maybe I AM cut out for this CrossFit craziness.

Up until this morning, I have always felt like a little kid trying to hang with the big kids when I walk into CrossFit. I always had this mentality of going lighter so that I wasn’t the last one to finish. It’s not that I haven’t gone hard, but I realized after today (getting through Fran in less than 8 minutes and wanting to vomit after minute 4) that when it comes to CrossFit, I have been sandbagging it at times. I’m not a total guppy and I am ready to take it to the next level. My own success is dependent on setting my own realistic goals. I shouldn’t benchmark myself against other people. I’ve taken on things before (running, kickboxing) and I’ve done well with them. CrossFit shouldn’t be any different. Once I realized that I can’t let the intensity or a past injury (broken foot) intimidate me and stop me from achieving my goals. I know what my strengths are and I should let those be my focus and encouragement. I feel like I hit a CrossFit milestone and I am over the moon to keep going for the next one.

Missy Berkowitz 
Crossfit SouthBay
Crossfitting for 6 mos.  



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