On Episode 384 of CrossFit Radio, host Justin Judkins interviewed regional champions Emily Abbott and Brooke Wells. This episode was webcast on June 4, 2015.
1:24 Last year, Abbott finished first at the Canada West Regional but said she wasn’t prepared for the CrossFit Games. In 2015, she’s confident she can better her 35th-place finish in Carson, California. The athlete from Alberta talked about the last year of training, touching on volume, intensity and how she makes sure her training doesn’t detract from the regular classes at CrossFit Currie Barracks.
11:05 At 19 years of age, Wells is the Central Regional champion—though she said she didn’t realize winning was actually a possibility until the second day of competition. Wells talked about her fitness background and how she was able to find such impressive success at such a young age, and she explained how she was inspired to see training partner Julie Foucher courageously continuing to compete after an injury. With the CrossFit Games about six weeks away, Wells explained how she’ll prepare so she can live up to her potential.
People struggle with perspective on things which have unpleasant connotation. Things like the color of your shit. It makes sense, right? Shit is gross. But, a nice, healthy, smooth, brown turd is a sign your digestive system is in good working order and you’re probably getting enough fiber.
But we see shit, and stop. Because, gross.
The fact that the “kipping comments” persist, and even get more frequent is a sign we’re winning.
Recently I’ve noticed something similar in the CrossFit world. Something unpleasant, annoying, and negative. But it is actually a sign that things are good, and even getting better.
“A nice, healthy, smooth, brown turd is a sign your digestive system is in good working order and you’re probably getting enough fiber.”
One of my tasks is to steward and care for CrossFit’s YouTube channel. YouTube comments are widely considered the largest cesspool of filth and human depravity on the internet, this side of 4chan. I have the dubious honor of monitoring and cleaning up the sludge over there, and I can tell you; I’ve seen some shit. After awhile you get that “thousand-yard stare,” and start believing humanity is really doomed. Thankfully there are bright spots. You reach a state of zen and can see the light through the muck; a sign that our world is in good order.
The bright spot; It’s not a congratulatory comment, a soaring praise, or a kind encouragement. It’s this:
First instinct is “GFY, n0ob. Welcome to things that were funny in 2003.” There are hundreds of these every week. However, that’s kind of the point. The fact that the “kipping comments” (which includes all comments in that genre, not just about pull-ups) persist, and even get more frequent is a sign we’re winning. These people don’t know any better. They don’t know that joke was played out by 2008 and that means they’re new. They’re newly exposed, and have never seen this stuff before, let alone understand it–yet.
That means we’re doing our jobs. The constant influx of seemingly invincible stupidity which is likely to someday be converted to understanding is necessary and good. It’s not that it’s always invincible; it’s that there are always new people who don’t know better yet, and that’s where we come in.
Our shit isn’t yellow or green, it’s a nice, velvety brown.
All the esoteric character developing, life-improving benefits that come from CrossFit are because we do hard things. If it’s not hard, it’s not making you better. Hard is relative intensity. Without intensity, you’re just on a treadmill.
If you never go to the “place”–never have a chat with your power animal–the stuff that happens between the ears will never come. The physical benefits of what we do are somewhat linear. Even if you’re not hitting it very intensely, you’re going to make improvements directly proportional to your power output, up to a point. The more intangible things though, are all or nothing; you won’t realize them until you’re in the shit.
Your grandmother ain’t gonna hit it as hard as Ben Smith in absolute terms. We know that. But, in order to realize the full benefits of what we do, she needs to feel as wrecked as he does. That might happen at 1/100th the power output of the world’s fittest man, with scaled movements, but relatively, it’s intense.
It’s non-negotiable. It’s required of you. In fact, it’s the only requirement for membership. To think otherwise is to believe there is a magic pill, a shortcut to the good stuff. We already know that’s not true, even if in some strange duality we’re trying to convince ourselves it’s the truth.
Solid mechanics are the stepping stones, and intensity is the taking of the step. This happens in stages. You don’t go directly from sedentary couch potato to workout-shredding, barbells-rampaging beast. “The magic is in the movements,” and so you introduce intensity to it, and you go from couch potato to active and healthy, and so on and so forth.
If you focus on nothing but mechanics, you’ll stay where you are, on firm ground; you need both, though. The next level is terra firma as well, but you cannot get there without intensity. If you’re comortable, you will never move forward. That doesn’t mean you’re not having fun–and no, it’s not unsafe. Staying put or sliding back into your old ways is unsafe.
It’s an irrevocable part of our methods; constantly varied, functional movements, executed at relatively high intensity. To become better change your modes and domains constantly. Move large loads, long distances quickly. Move at a pace that is only enjoyable because other people are doing it with you.
My name is Kevin Daigle, and I believe in fitness.
I don’t remember a year where there was no complaining about the programming at the CrossFit Games. Of course, when the programming just happens to serve someone’s interest, then it’s great. But if your horse lost the race, or someone can’t complete a task, then suddenly the CrossFit Games have “gotten out of hand” and are “too hard.”
Are you fucking kidding me? Sports are too hard? Anyone who thinks a test for something to find the best in the whole world–in which many people performed quite well–is too hard, either doesn’t understand sports, or is being willfully contrarian.
If you think something, by definition is too hard, then you just haven’t got the point yet. That’s a really ineffectual mentality. If an athlete came to me in class and said “Hey, I can’t do this it’s too hard,” I’d respond that no, it’s not. Find out what part of the workout has them frazzled, and scale it appropriately for them. But, this isn’t a class.
Some people have a will to continue which exceeds their capacity. A resolve to endure that makes the rest of us feel sheepish and inadequate when it’s displayed.
It’s supposed to be hard. Strangely most of this is coming from bystanders. People who are making a judgement by relating the exact tasks they see at the Games to their own experiences. They think, “Holy shit, these are the best CrossFit athletes on earth and they can’t do it. That means I can’t do that. No one should do that.”
Nothing could be more myopic and out of touch.
In 2009 it was parallette HSPU and muscle-ups. Gasp. How could women be expected to do that? And true, some looked inept at those tasks (Annie Thorisdottir learned how to do a muscle-up during the final that year). Well, they look pretty proficient now. Then it was ocean swims, legless rope climbs and deficit HSPU. It’s the same story, different year. We can bet no one will be struggling on the peg board in the future.
There’s a gulf here between reality and the perspective of the commenter. It’s the motherfucking grand canyon of myopia. A huge complaint was athletes weren’t finishing events like Murph and Pedal to the Metal 1. Well, no shit, the Games aren’t trying to make sure everyone finishes every event. When was that a requirement? Alex Viada put this in wonderful perspective (Alex made several other great points on his facebook page, head over there and check them out).
We need to keep in mind, with the huge growth in the number of people watching the CrossFit Games, all categories of people are increased proportionally. That includes people who aren’t generally into sports (outside of CrossFit), people who aren’t naturally competitive, and those who haven’t been athletic prior to CrossFit; those whose exposure to sport is limited either by experience or choice to what happens in their day-to-day workout. So none of the info you see above enters into their summation of the Games.
The biggest celebration of everything we do in CrossFit as an event, are the CrossFit Games. But, we aren’t the CrossFit Games. We all come together to marvel and carouse at the Games with our fitness brethren, but there is a competition happening there, and it’s not for us to do. It’s for 40 men, 40 women, and 40 teams who have proven themselves the fittest among us. The purpose is to find which of these 40 in each category are the fittest on earth.
The Games are a test, they’re not a showcase designed to make people look good or to be entertaining (although it is entertaining as hell). You have to expose people at their limit to find the best. If you’re not doing so, you aren’t even close. Paraphrasing Greg Glassman, we fail at the margins of our experience. If you don’t go to that place–you don’t have some people fail–you’re making the holes in your sieve far too big. Not everyone should make it through.
People point at Murph, and say things like “It was too hot,” or “It was too much.” Seriously? Meanwhile, all over the country high school and college kids are preparing for two and three-a-days in the same heat. Some of them will pass out from exertion (I did). It’s not because something is too hard. It’s because some people have a will to continue which exceeds their capacity. A resolve to endure that makes the rest of us feel sheepish and inadequate when it’s displayed.
“Holy shit, these are the best CrossFit athletes on earth and they can’t do it. That means I can’t do that. No one should do that.” Nothing could be more myopic and out of touch.
The true competitive athlete, in any sport, will continue and suffer through anything for their cause, until it’s no longer up to them. People who don’t have this resolve don’t like watching it, because they’re confronted with their own perceived fear of inadequacy. People fucking hate when other people do shit which shatters their perceived limits.
“The best pace is a suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die,” famously said Steve Prefontaine, one of the most legendary runners and athletes of all time and certified bad motherfucker.
The intensity of competition is determined by the competitors engaged in the test, not the other way around. They do it simply because they can. No one called for the ban of running because Pre did it so hard it made people bleed from the soul. This is another element people are ignoring, the level of competition. None of those athletes, in their home gym, are going to go to that place. But they’re competitors, and this isn’t their box; it’s the CrossFit Games. It could be a goddamn tricycle ride, and they’d still go to these levels of complete, utter exhaustion to beat the guy or girl next to them.
This ain’t kindergarten field day, chief.
These athletes will push to the bleeding, white-hot edge on any challenge they’re faced with. The test isn’t too hard, the will to win is stronger than gravity.
Australia’s Kara Webb looked like she was borderline unconscious for a good portion of the second mile run, and collapsed at the finish. This is not a sign that the Games are too hard. It’s an awe-inspiring example of grit and fortitude by a fucking warrior of an athlete. It’s one of the most impressive things I’ve seen in sports, and I’ve seen a lot of sports. She chose to continue, because her will was even stronger than her prodigiously powerful body. She’s a goddamn animal, with determination most of us can only dream of.
Who are you, or I, to decide how hard an athlete is allowed to push themselves? In a marathon, a triathlon, the olympics, the Western States 100, the Death Race, etc, where people piss and shit themselves routinely in competition, this is lauded as achievement and perseverance, not a cause to believe “things have gotten out of hand.” For whom? For you? Fuck that. I don’t want to live, train, compete or spectate in a world of sport where people just take a knee and relax when things get bad. I’ve gone over that edge, as Webb did, and woke up on the training table of my college’s athletic center some time later. I did it willingly, I don’t regret it, and I’d do those 100-yd bear crawls in the 95-degree, 100% humidity heat again without reservation.
There is no outrage over marathon runners shitting themselves, football players breaking bones or suffering head injuries. No call for the banning of all races over a certain distance. There’s not a coalition of dentists trying to make hockey players use a Nerf puck. Nor should there be. The Games are no different.
If you don’t understand it, then maybe sports aren’t for you. This ain’t kindergarten field day, chief. This isn’t the everybody-gets-a-trophy youth league. It’s not the test to find the fittest comfortable people who look good doing stuff. It’s to find the fittest man, woman, and team on earth. There will be blood, sweat, tears, piss and shit and anyone who has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning it is ok with that.
I recently saw a social media post from someone who is otherwise an intelligent, rational human being, citing reasons why they wanted to move to New Zealand. One of the top reasons was low gun violence. Without too much digging you can find that that it is, in fact, lower than it is in the U.S. What this highlights is the fundamental inability of human being to process abstract statistics and large numbers, especially when they involve bad things. That’s like moving to the Mojave Desert because there are less sharks.
There are volumes on this topic. “The Science of Fear” is one of the best. The quick, dirty summary is it’s the same concept which makes us fear flying, even though we know that statistically flying is far, far safer than driving. Our primally driven subconscious cannot coneptualize numbers like 1 in a 1,000,000. We think we can, but we can’t. Our subconscious understands, “Oh shit that’s bad,” and calls it a day.
It’s the same thing with sharks, guns, and air squats.
The odds something bad will happen to you at the behest of a shark, an air squat or gun are infinitesimally small (but swords will fuck you up). The odds you will encounter any of these things in the wild are minuscule (there will, however, be burpees). We live in a world with a very large number of people and an interconnectedness unimaginable even 30 years ago. So, sometimes sharks or guns do kill people. When it happens, we hear about every. Single. One. In graphic, gory, detail, with shocking dramatic delivery. Your brain says, “Holy shit that’s bad,” and stops processing information. Your subconscious can’t figure out the odds, even though your rational mind knows you’re more likely to win the lottery.
The Matrix of Leadership is a theoretical example of a virtuous, incorruptible symbol and weapon.
Of course guns can kill you. They were created as an instrument of war, after all. All powerful tools are dangerous in the hands of the ignorant and/or the evil. What else fits in this category? Cars, knives, superchargers, nitrous oxide, drugs, yes, CrossFit, and the Autobot Matrix of Leadership.
Each year 31,537 people are killed by guns in the U.S. (Note: I’m using statistics from the Brady Campaign intentionally, an organization strongly biased against guns and against my personal confirmation bias). Whoa. That sounds bad. But that includes suicides (which is obnoxious). If you’re going to peace yourself out (or arguably someone else) you’ll find a way regardless of what’s available. If you exclude self-icide (18,783) you’re left with 12,754. There are 318,900,000 people living in the U.S. That is 0.000039%. This is where the inability to conceptualize the very large or very small comes into play. That’s 3.9×10^-5. in scientific notation.
There are roughly 44,800 people killed in car accidents in the U.S. each year. That’s 3.6 times more likely than being killed by a firearm.
Almost no one is currently terrified of automobiles or railing that we stop the carnage. We’re just exposed to the firearm cases that do happen daily in the media cycle because, “if it bleeds it leads.” It’s also very inconvenient for us to worry about driving.
I’m using firearms here, as a tongue-in-cheek hyperbole, but it’s also a pragmatic metaphor; it applies to many things as an extreme, supposedly terminal real-life example.
The Matrix of Leadership is a theoretical example of a virtuous, incorruptible symbol and weapon. It’s also interesting, as such a thing does not exist in our world. It’s capable of destroying an entire planet, but only a bad planet. It annihilates all the bad guys, but doesn’t hurt the good guys. And, it can only be wielded by the pure of heart–much like the sword in the stone. It’s an all-powerful force for good, that cannot be used for ill, for evil, or by evil; just ask Galvatron. He got real fucked up.
None of the memetic or macro-shareable “information” you see on social media comes from an unbiased source–unbiased sources don’t engage in massive data (it’s not information) dissemination, sans context. Due to the instant availability of non-contextual, hyperbolic statistics and the 24-hour news bullshit cycle, we’re inundated with seemingly compelling information that is presented by an agenda, not an educator.
On a much less dramatic but no less damaging scale, this is what the Russes have been telling us about with our beloved air squats. There are people who would have you believe that fitness is so dangerous (nevermind obesity, you cookie-eating fuckers), it will literally fucking kill you!
No, it fucking won’t. Neither will sharks. I went to college with a dude who successfully kicked a shark’s ass while surfing and is fine now. Sharks aren’t instant death machines. Neither are guns.
“Swords are dangerous. They’ll cut your fucking throat wide open.”
There’s a false belief that guns are death rays. This isn’t fucking “Mars Attacks.” In total 71,386 people survive being shot each year, in the U.S. (including failed suicides). I’m surrounded by ludicrous fitness all day every day, and even I don’t see many injuries other than mild nicks, cuts and life-altering DOMS.
There are people and organizations who want you to be scared. All the time. Of everything. Scared people are easy to manipulate. I’m not suggesting the Illuminati or some malevolent force is behind these things, it’s simpler and more insidious. Self-interest and greed. There are people and organizations who stand to profit from all of us believing that we are constantly in great danger from things which are less likely to harm us than things we do every day, without a second thought.
CrossFit’s illustrious founder and CEO, Greg Glassman, once said that the greatest danger in functional movements is in not doing them.
Students at Lexington High School in Lexington, Massachusetts (an area where people like this guy fucked shit up so hard it’s memorialized in stone) decided a cool theme for one of their school dances was “American Pride.” Fuck yeah, you stay bad little dudes and dudettes.
But there was a problem. Albeit blown a little bit out of proportion in the initial internet-whirlwind-shitstorm. The administration suggested changing the theme/name to “national pride,” because it’s more inclusive, or some shit. Wait, back up the truck, chief. Everyone is an American, so who exactly is excluded?
Read the article here, which was updated to remove internet knee-jerkisms.
Is being butt-hurt a new American pastime? It’s in right now to not be proud of your heritage, unless it’s something exotic, other than American. It seems like every time I glance at the internet there’s a report of some group of people vehemently denouncing some innocuous activity or statement, ostensibly at the behest of another, usually ambiguous group of people who are feared “offended”, or who have feigned as such (see the end of this article for thoughts on the concept of being offended).
This guy got kicked off a Southwest flight because his shirt said “fuck.” What the actual shit is wrong with us? Why do we care about such non-issue bullshit? Hell, I have lots of shirts that say “fuck” on them.
These fucking things sicken me. And by sicken, I mean fill me with smoldering rage. Not for the reasons you might think, though. It’s not because, “‘Murica.” Ok, it’s partly because, ‘Murica. But mostly it’s because there is a dishonesty in all of these things, on both sides which bothers me more deeply than the pussification implied therein.
People don’t want to be so sterile, politically correct, and fucking whiny. However, theculture of fear propagated by the instant, 24-hour-internet-news-cycle which destroys entire lives thoroughly over speculation and spin based on single lines of text, and never repairs errant damage, people are lead to think most others want them to be that way. They believe acting as such will garner some social capital by pretending to be so moved by meaningless bullshit no one cares about in the first place. It’s a big dog and pony show. It’s all made up.
In many of these cases the white-knighting entities are acting preemptively. There is no outcry until someone takes issue with the response to said nonsense. Of course someone does respond, because it’s nonsense and there are people on the internet with an axe to grind. It’s like an animal who isn’t acting aggressively, when suddenly you freeze in fear and the animal senses it. Then it’s on–they’re coming at you. Not because they were on the attack before but because they sensed fear; where there is fear, there is opportunity to exert dominance and influence.
These wimps (public school administrators in this case) act only in the interest of self-preservation and a kind of entropy, creating the gray-goo of nothingness and sameness; all that ever was, is or will be must be accounted for and payed equal mind at all times. Lest we be thought insensitive towards–whom?
It’s like when you’re a kid, and you gently tap your little brother, who is annoyed but unharmed. Then your mom walks into the room and all of a sudden he turns on the waterworks to bring the wrath and fury upon you. Not because he has a reason to, because he can. That’s one thing when you’re five. I don’t believe these crocodile-tear shedding motherfuckers for one second. I don’t buy the “offended” angle (in almost any case, but that’s another story). They’re simply capitalizing on the influence laid at their feet.
The white-knights profess their undying devotion to non-affrontive conduct in all instances at all times. They don’t believe that “American pride” is offensive, in fucking America, in the home of the American revolution, the site of the shot heard round the world. A place where the hardest fucks who ever lived started the baddest brawl with the biggest bully on the block and eventually knocked his ass out. The irony could choke a donkey, and I imagine that’s a big reason this got so much attention.
They don’t buy that shit, either. But they think enough other people do, and they don’t want to draw the ire of the internet. So, they do things they think the imaginary group–which doesn’t exist until you try not to offend it–wants to see and hear.
All to score points that don’t exist in a game that doesn’t matter, that none of us wanted to play in the first place.
Thoughts on being offended:
The concept of being offended, is in and of itself the only true obscenity. If something ‘offends’ you, instead of lashing out look within yourself to find why you might be so weak, as to be troubled by such a petty thing. Being offended is your problem, not the problem of the world around you. It’s up to you to decide how to feel about incoming information. No one has the power to make you feel a certain way, unless you give it to them. It’s no ones responsibility to walk on egg shells around you, so if you constantly find your sensibilities offended; you’re the problem.
People often look at racing organizations like Formula 1, Indy Car and NASCAR and have this notion of how race cars are built. Visions of multi-million dollar, CAD-generated, heli-arc’d, TIG-welded, titanium and 6066-T6 aircraft aluminum gleaming in an operating room-clean, sound-stage-audio, color-correct lit room filled with technicians whose hands are cleaner than an OCD, germaphobe surgeon in the hygiene aisle at CVS.
Well, that my friends, is a fantasy. Those rooms exist, but people who work in them
get dirty. They spill oil and coolant all over themselves. Their hands and knuckles get cut up like they boxed The Shredder for 12 rounds. The real process involves a lot of back-0f-the-napkin blueprinting and this-will-probably-hold engineering. Like the time I welded 2 bolts together to make a longer bolt for someone’s alternator. Or the time we got a monster truck running in the middle of a show with a plastic Coke bottle and sledgehammer.
The real story plays out millions of times a year all over the U.S. of A., with varying degrees of success. But, always with an indescribable satisfaction. If you’re not a gear head this will help describe the process. If you’ve turned a few bolts, regardless of the racing discipline of your choosing, this will upturn a corner of your mouth as you recall the struggles in a rosier shade than they were when you flung that 3/4″ wrench at the wall with a force that would make the Big Unit jealous.
1. Dream Big
You’ve set out to build the world’s first 3.5-second street legal car. Or perhaps the first home-hot-rodded-middle-class-budget corner-carver to tear the ‘ring to ribbons. You let every car forum on the internet know your intentions. It will be a shiny, sleek, aesthetically perfect creation with a meticulously assembled mechanical heart that’ll make the space program blush. Yeah. And I’m a Chinese jet pilot.
Realization your budget allows for precisely 1/1,000th of what you have imagined. You bargain with yourself. Maybe it doesn’t have to be that pretty. OK. You start digging for parts on ebay and Craigslist. You figure out where you can cut corners. Maybe you don’t need to deck the block at a machine shop; if you’re really careful you can probably do that shit with an angle grinder, a sanding block, and a steady hand.
3. Cognitive Dissonance
You’ve realized what you initially imagined is in all practicality impossible. This sucks, although you still believe your 1996 Mazda Miata is a denizen of the paved surfaces (no, it’s not). But you believe that shit, hard. The twin-turbo LS v8 swap is approximately fifty times your entire budget–for the next 20 years. This causes stress and anxiety as you settle for a new set of plug wires and a polished radiator cap. You put an SCCA sticker on your back window and call it a night, crying yourself to sleep with whatever the opposite of a boner is.
4. Debt Funding
This Camaro is going to be so fucking savage once you have those fully ported Air Flow Research heads with a 77-angle valve job You don’t even know. It’s performed on a machine which simultaneously uses a 7-axis CNC tool while feeding the operator a Twinkie and jerking him off with life-like feminine hands. You rationalize, you don’t really need to eat that badly. Hell, you could probably stand to lose a few pounds anyway. So, you drop the four grand on the heads, machine work, and hand-o for the machinist. Then marvel at them on your coffee table with your friends for six weeks while you try and figure out how to bolt them onto your rusty, grease-caked 305 with stock fuel injection and cast exhaust manifolds without having to index them.
5. The Build
And so it begins. It’s time to build this fucker. This starts on a Friday night with three to five hours of staring at the car figuring out the optimal way to jack it up before any bolts are turned. After ordering pizza, drinking a beer and getting the entire vehicle 12 inches off the floor, you get out air ratchets and disassemble all of the things.
You realize that you don’t understand half the shit you’re looking at, and that there is a third, fourth-dimensional type of bolt head that is neither metric or SAE, which cannot be turned by tools present in our universe. Swearing ensues. Seventy-five percent of the parts don’t even come close to fitting correctly. Dremel tools and angle grinders make them fit in a self-nullifying cycle where parts companies have no incentive to make anything truly “bolt-on”; they know gear heads will just “clearance” shit to make it fit.
Staring blankly at things so fucking wrong, all newtonian mechanics and quantum theory must be bullshit for 3 hours, you decide to go to sleep. You wake, restored by sleep, to discover that you had everything on the wrong side. You vow never to stay up until 2 a.m. working on the car again.
7. Goddammit, It Won’t Start
2 a.m.–All the bolts are (mostly) tight, the coolant is topped off, the fuel pump sounds like it’s working, and you can’t imagine a single fucking bolt on this entire car you haven’t turned, so it must be ready to start.
Fuel, air and spark. That’s all that’s required for an engine to run. You, however, may choose only two. After starting a flamewar on the car message board of your choice, you discover you’ve connected the ignition to a circuit that’s hot in “run” but not in “start.” You fruitlessly try and crush your voltmeter in anger, then rewire the whole thing. With the engine hopelessly flooded, you wait for the 3 gallons of gasoline now residing in the combustion chambers to evaporate.
It’s 3:30 a.m. The car has no exhaust–just open, long-tube headers. After praying to a pagan deity, promising your unborn children to Chthulu and pledging your soul to any hell-spawned demon who will have it, you crank the car over for 90 seconds and blip the throttle three times.
With a sputtering cough and a roaring reminicscent of Manowar playing through Spinal Tap’s concert audio, the engine staggers to life. The deafening roar is exceeded only by your evil cackling, likely screaming something like “It lives! Ahahahahaha!” While trying to hide the massive, awkward boner from your friends you rev the shit out of it, and hold it at about 6000RPM/+200db until the temperature gauge reaches 250. A joy only experienced by those enraptured or who’ve just slept with a porn star washes over you and you go to bed to await the complaining phone calls from neighbors, knowing full-well that it won’t start tomorrow.
8. Dyno Disappointment & Race Day
You agree to pay an hourly fee equal to the GDP of a small Baltic nation to strap your car to a set of giant steel rollers to measure how little power it makes. After four hours of making it worse tuning, you have managed to eek out approximately 50% of the power you told everyone it was going to make on the internet, and blown a head gasket. You declare victory and vow to “dial it in” at the race track where it will run approximately three seconds slower in the quarter mile than you thought it would.
You’ve got it all shined up, it looks good and sounds much faster than it is. It rarely overheats. You head off to the local summer evening cruise night to hang out with other people who’ve been through the struggle. While parking, you unnecessarily rev the car in neutral–at least twice–before you turn it off. You spend the rest of the evening engaged in overly contrived, unnecessarily technical, rehearsed bolt-talk with other gear heads, telling each other lies about how much power it has and how fast your respective vehicles are.
You drive home, full of coffee and/or ice cream experiencing a joy that only someone who has gone on such a quest and lost all feeling in their knuckles can experience. Cajoled to a dull grin by the symphony of valvetrain noise and supercharger whine in 4th gear, you secretly hope nothing is on fire.
I saw what could be the dumbest thing I have ever seen yesterday.Mashable
reported that someone has created a wearable tech device–which is an early-warning system for having to take a shit. All stop, captain! There’s one on deck! Apparently it detects “activity in your intestines,” and, I shit you not, sends you push-notifications.
Let that sink in for a moment. It tells you it’s time to poop before it’s time to poop. I’m pretty sure I already have one of those. It’s called “feeling like I have to poop.” I could be mistaken, but this is a familiar feeling to everyone who has colon, no?
In the unlikely event you cannot manually detect a little rumbly in the tumbly, I’ve created a very low-tech, hand-dandy flowchart (hehe) to help you manage this incredibly anxiety inducing process.
Each decade I’ve persisted on this flying rock, more truths have become obvious. I’m a dumb-ass, so maybe other people pick all of these up quickly. Nonetheless I got a set in my teens, another in my 20’s and now a new group in my 30’s.
Almost nothing is a fucking crisis.
The population of people my age who are single and want (or are allowed) to hang out is shrinking rapidly.
At this age, even in our pathologically individualist generation, most people have paired up, for better or worse. Married/partnered people spend time with other married/partnered people. You’ll get invited to a few things with these people. Mostly, you won’t.
You’ll realize you don’t give a fuck.
There are very, very few real emergencies.
By now I’ve seen some shit. I have come to realize there aren’t many things worth really getting twisted over. It’s powerful knowledge that whether your brain is set on “freak-the-fuck-out,” or “Whatever-Parks-and-Rec-is-on-Netflix,” the outcome will generally be the same. Stress and anxiety exert no influence on the world outside your skull. Shit will either get done, or it won’t. Tomorrow you’ll wake up, you’ll be breathing, and you’ll do what you were going to do anyway.
Stress is just masochistic mental masturbation.
Before my thirties I tried to control my entire universe. People, work, possessions, everything. I thought when I gained control over these things, I would feel how I wanted. I had it backwards.
You mostly feel how you want to feel, and all the things unfold as they will.
It’s really never about you. The only things that are about “you,” are within you. Stuff other people do which harms you, isn’t about you at all. It’s about them. When you’re younger you can’t see past that, so you take everything deeply personally.
You find that you didn’t realize this, because you we’re all about you too.
In my thirties I realized it’s bullshit. I have almost no control over people and things. The only thing I do have some control over is how I feel about them. Now I can mostly operate without a middleman, and cut to the chase.
Feel good in spite of, not because of, what the world dumps in your lap.
The same principles apply to workouts. Young, baby CrossFitters are always trying to control things way above their pay grade. Supplements stacked to the moon. Figuring out which shoe gives you the most advantage. Ten different kinds of tape. Different barbells for different workouts. All kinds of silly shit I stopped doing when I learned to see the bigger picture. Except chalk; that shit is real. Don’t fucking touch my chalk
The only stack you should worry about, is made of pancakes. The only advantage you need to concern yourself with is between your ears. “Work fucking harder.”
Eating well, moving with virtuosity and training hard; these are things we do have control over. Everything else is a waste of fucking time. When I was a new CrossFitter I was looking for the answers outside myself–just as I was with happiness in my twenties–I was focused on shitty, inconsequential, external details.
Almost nothing is a fucking crisis. It’s not about you. Really. Love and appreciate people for the good they bring; don’t dwell on their transgressions and shortcomings. Unless, of course they’re really bad; then pimp-slap those fuckers and go do some goddamn back squats.