THIS IS WHY I WON’T STOP COMPETING
This past weekend a group of us from GEO headed north to Gosford to take part in the two-day Riot Squad Team competition.
Teams of 4 (mixed, all male, and all female) were comprised of varying levels of competition experience. For Tiffany, Dan and Harry (I mean Larry, I mean Barry, I mean Garry), it was their very first comp, but to see them in action, you would not have thought so. And for the rest of us seasoned campaigners, well this was another CrossFit comp where we knew were going to hurt.
I stayed with my parents the night before on the Central Coast and my Dad asked me, “How long are you going to keep this up?” referring to me taking part in competitions and challenges at age 45. To which I replied, “Until my body doesn’t let me do it anymore.”
Why do I do it? Why does anyone do it?
Here’s what I get out of competing:
A sense of achievement. Put simply, through competition I get to put my body, mind and soul up against a challenge that will test me. I get to push myself to a place that is well beyond anything remotely close to normal, everyday life, and in doing so, I get a tremendous amount of self satisfaction and a sense of achievement. Just trying is enough, but if I actually accomplish/finish a task, then that is even better. Sometimes I go into a competition/challenge with a very clear goal and desire to win. The chance to prove myself against other athletes feeds my ego in a positive way. Other times I take part purely for the experience of pushing myself and trying new things. Either one gives me a sense of achievement, no matter the result.
Learning through failure. Failure is a teacher. Failure lets me know what I did wrong, and what I need to do to fix it. Failure builds character and fortitude. But Failure only does this if I am willing to stand up each time I get knocked down. A lot of people are scared to Fail something, so they don’t even try. Even if that means there is very little sacrifice or effort required. They miss out on something beautiful because they don’t want to look weak or poor in front of others, or they don’t have enough confidence or belief in themselves.
On the weekend, in the Riot comp, I failed a lift. A lift that I know I can do. I reflected on why I failed (poor commitment to training recently) and now know what I need to do to remedy the situation – commit time each week to performing Cleans and Front Squats.
During the Ninja Warrior series last year, I failed on the tilting ladders obstacle and landed in the drink. I reflected upon that and I now know that I need to do more grip and climbing work, and I need to move faster if I am to succeed on that course.
If you are willing to learn from your mistakes, then Failure can be a good thing.
Bonding with my mates. There is something to be said about sharing a moment, or in this case, two days, of pain and suffering with others. It creates a bond that allows me to empathise with others who are going through the same experience. I know the joy, the disappointment, and the raw emotions that they are feeling. And because of that, I am in a better position to encourage, support and motivate them to keep going, and they can do the same for me. It gives me the opportunity to step up my game and push harder than I normally would because I do not want to let my mates down. We push each other up, not hold each other back.
I can explore my potential. I push my boundaries because I want to know what I am capable of. I search for my limits so that I can touch them, and them nudge them a bit further out. This keeps me motivated to be better and gives me something to work towards. And it allows me to be in charge of whether or not I reach my potential.
Also, if I know that I can do something in a competition setting, under physical duress and mental stress, then challenges that pop up in everyday life are just that little bit easier to handle.
Calming the mind and learning to breathe. Related to the point above, competition allows me to work and think under incredible amounts of stress. If I don’t know how to calm my thoughts and be present (through breathing) then things can get out of hand. When the poo poo hits the fan, no-one is going to be served well by someone who is highly strung, anxious, and panicky. Learning to calm my mind in stressful situations means I can make better decisions about how to proceed next – something that is useful in competition and in life.
WORKOUT OF THE DAY
5 rounds for time of:
50 Double Unders/150 Singles
10 Chest to Bar Pull-ups/15 Pull-ups/20 Ring Rows
15 mins to get 5RM Back Squat