Last Friday, our coach Sibylle tried to kill us with the workout of the day.
Maybe that’s a little harsh, but the WOD left nearly everyone on the ground in a puddle of his or her own sweat. And after the WOD, we had the WOD 2 in the form of 30 toe to bars, which by that point, was a cruel joke.
Toes to bar: you grab the pull-up bar, bend yourself in half and touch your feet to the bar overhead; or for beginners, you hang there quivering and think: "This was so simple when I was 9!"
The first night I stepped foot in the box, we were supposed to do toes to bar. Naturally, having spaghetti arms and a core comprised mostly of ice cream and gummy bears, all I could do was raise my knees an inch in the general direction of my chest while the coach talked about ‘torque,’ whatever that meant.
I remember thinking I would never be able to do this. It was simply something I’d never envisioned, like real pull-ups (which I STILL can’t do).
Imagine my surprise when after our grueling workout on Friday, I hung from the bar and swung both my feet overhead.
I was shocked.
And like a toddler who just realized she could sling oatmeal at the wall, I did it again.
I ended up touching my toes to the bar 8 times well and 3 more times not-so-well-but-it-still-counted-to-me. I turned giddily to William and asked, “How long do we have to do this?” thinking we were probably nearing the end of our time limit, and I would have a count that wouldn’t make me hang my head in shame, to which he replied, “We’re supposed to do 30.”
That meant I had to work.
Thus, my T2B’s decreased in quality as the reps increased.
By the end I could barely move my knees upward, and I really wanted to complain about the callous that had torn off my hand.
After class, I showed Sibylle the flap of skin hanging from my hand, and in her classic, German, Crossfitter style, she left me with a quote I’ll use for the rest of my life: “We, none of us, are pretty.”
My hands (like my long-distance runner feet with 3-inch calluses) couldn’t even win Miss Congeniality in a pretty contest, but they are getting stronger.
Being strong can be a beautiful thing. But strength isn’t something that you can simply put on like a new pair of shoes. Real strength, like real beauty, comes from God, and it is demonstrated by the quality of a person’s character.
How we react to challenges shows what we’re really made of, regardless of how long it takes you to do 30 T2B’s. You can never become stronger if you’ve already forfeited the race in your mind.
The important thing is to do your best and not give up, even when you feel weak–and that IS something truly beautiful.