“Once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about”
I’m always on the look out for quotes that sum up my current mood or episodes in my life that I go through. Some look at these posts and roll their eyes thinking “not another inspirational quote”, but for me I have often found hope, strength and empathy through the words of others. I often struggle to articulate exactly what I am feeling or the message I am trying to convey, so I have turned to the words of others.
You may have seen my most recent Instagram post that I put out just after the Open finished. I was pondering for a while to find something to help explain how I felt. I remembered the above quote by Haruki Murakami that I had used last year at my Dad’s funeral. At the time I was trying to give hope to those who felt an enormous amount of grief surrounding my father’s death, myself included. One of the things that my Dad always told me was that no matter what happens to us and no matter how bad the storm is, you will always get up the next day and life goes on.
We as humans are enormously resilient when you think about it. And so it seemed fitting to use Murakami’s quote to give hope to those who were overwhelmed by grief. I still miss my Dad immensely, I don’t know if that will ever change, but what I do know is that those words give me hope that some day I will get through this and come out of it a better person.
No matter what path I walk along.
The picture I posted on Instagram last week was a reflection of the past 5 weeks. I participated alongside many of you who took part in the Open. For 5 weeks the same scenario played out. Go to bed every Thursday night with no knowledge of what workout would be posted online in the middle of the night. Wake up on Friday morning (some of us in the very early hours) to check out what Dave Castro had given us.
The Open really is a true test of preparing for the unknown and the unknowable. Friday would then be spent analysing the workout, chatting to friends about what the best strategy was. Perhaps a quick text to our coach about what they would do. Turn up at the gym on Friday evening to take part in the Friday Night Lights. As soon as the bell went at the start of the WOD I bet many of you just went to that place you are all familiar with. That dark place that CrossFit often takes us to. 8 minutes, 12 minutes, perhaps 20 minutes later the bell would sound again and time would be called. As we lay there on the floor staring up at the ceiling, being congratulated by our judge, our friends, thinking ‘what the f**k just happened to me?!’
Well folks, that was the storm I was referring to and we all made it through, each and every one of us.
Some of us repeated the Open workouts (for me this was an essential part of my journey because I was competing for a place in the next stage of the competition). Shaving off a few seconds or adding a couple of reps would have meant jumping a few precious places up the leaderboard. Competing in a category whereby I am ranked against the rest of the world not just my region, meant that I really did have to give each workout 100%. No ‘what ifs’, leave nothing to chance.
So my weekend would consist of Saturday as an active recovery session paired with some skills / accessory work, Sunday a complete rest day and Monday repeating the workout. Tuesday an active recovery session, Thursday a complete rest day meaning Wednesday was the only day of the week I would have to train semi properly. And so the cycle continued for 5 weeks. Physically this was tough, it meant that I had to make sure my recovery was on point – nutrition, sleep, stress levels, body work (for this I used Nicky at the Clique Clinic).
But the greatest challenge by far was the mental game. Going through each workout twice I described as voluntarily walking through fire. I knew how bad it hurt the first time and I was willingly putting myself through it again. For what? The answer to that question is simple. It is what drove me for 5 weeks and still drives me today.
Because I want to win.
I love competing. I love testing what I am capable of doing and constantly pushing those limits. I actually enjoy walking through the storm and seeing what comes out the other side. Because if I didn’t try then I would never know. The only real failure is the failure to try and the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment.
People tend to become what they think about themselves and we more often than not suffer greater in our imagination than in reality. What screws us up most in life is the picture in our heads of how it’s supposed to be. Sometimes we just need to take note of what is actually going on in the now. So, we suffered for a few minutes in those workouts. What did we learn? If we didn’t do as well as we had hoped then what can we take from this? Maybe we paced a little bit too much. Or did not pace enough? Perhaps you had tested bar muscle ups the week before 17.2 came out and then you couldn’t string two together in the workout. That would suggest to me that perhaps you had not tested them enough under fatigue, so make damned sure you do so in your training going forward.
It’s little things like this that you need to start giving yourself more credit for. Almost everything we go through in life teaches us a lesson. The Open is no exception to this rule.
So be proud! You made it! You made it through the storm. One way or another you will be a changed person for it. But whatever you do, don’t be a prisoner of a bad experience. Embrace even those bad workouts as something you can learn from. Use this year’s Open as a benchmark. You will all probably have some goals now that you want to achieve that perhaps you took from those 5 weeks. I know a few of my members have come to me and said that it has exposed some holes or some weaknesses that they now want to turn into strengths. Even if you did not take part in the Open this year or have no interest in doing it, this is relative to you as well.
Every day we step into the gym and take a class we are testing ourselves. We are bettering ourselves, becoming the best version of you that you can be.
Over the next 7 weeks we will be entering a new phase in the programming and at the end of it there will be a testing week. Embrace this, learn from it and set some goals. We all have the ability to achieve great things and I believe I every one of you.
Just remember, negativity is a worthless emotion and it will get you absolutely nowhere. As Paul McCartney once wrote “Take a sad song and make it better”
Until next time…
….don’t forget to visit my Instagram page @alexisrufus9