That was the question that Dean posited to my 9 a.m. class of athletes yesterday morning when we all were on the foam rollers.
I listened quietly as my fellow athletes took time to thoughtfully answer. One guy was in some sort of endurance competition, during which he lasted, “only 42 hours.” Another guy told a story about how he got chewed out after his first officer briefing. Someone else explained how raising her kids was the hardest thing, mentally, she has ever done in her life.
I sort of checked out before Dean had the chance to ask me, but it’s a question that had me thinking all day long.
What’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done?
I’ve never participated in an endurance competition to that extent, I’ve had my ass handed to me before but not in the same way, and I have no children of my own.
These people have done some really, really hard things!
The first thing that comes to mind is moving to New York. It was a tough decision, and it’s been a tough journey, even now, almost three years later. I’m 3,000 miles away from all my family and my superfriends, from the coffee I’m obsessed with, and my bike. It’s mentally taxing to sort of have your life divided into two parts (one part in Portland, and a growing part in Albany). It’s financially difficult to go between the places, even for visiting.
But does it compare to raising kids? Or pushing through fatigue and doing some sort of exercise for 42 hours straight?
Eh. Maybe not.
The next thing that comes to mind, and I didn’t immediately blurt it out for fear of a response of mass eye-rolling, is coming in to Crossfit for my first WOD. I remember being so, so scared and almost didn’t leave my car. It took, literally, everything I had to force myself inside.
But I did.
And I can’t lie…it was still scary, but it became less so.
What’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done?
Was it my first competition? And then my first Strongman competition? At the time, yes. Looking back, maybe not.
The last few months have been horrendously difficult for me, both mentally and physically. Winter break was a total bust at home, and being back in Albany has just reminded me how badly I cared for myself over the holidays, even if I stayed active to some extent.
It’s a constant battle right now to get myself to WODs, and everything feels heavy. Everything feels…mediocre.
One of my first WODs back was Karen. Granted, this was a workout I had been avoiding since I began Crossfit way the hell back in November 2010. That’s a long time to be putting off a benchmark WOD. I decided to go in and do it. And I did it, at Rx, in 12:40—above the 12-minute cap, but definitely not a DNF. The person WODing next to me had to have been new. I’d never seen him before, and he’d never seen me. We both used 14# wallballs for the WOD, and of course, he finished way before I did.
I was suffering in the extreme, and had come to terms with the fact that I would run out of time and DNF the WOD. The last 50 or so wallballs, Chris took it upon himself to come over to me and essentially scream at me until I finished—over the time cap.
Afterward, my new WOD friend came over to me as I heaved up against the wall and told me how awesome it was to watch me finish. How, just when he thought I was about to pass out and couldn’t do any more, I did…and got deeper. How great it was.
And I’m thinking to myself…Well…I have been here a while. I’d hope I’d finish.
The same thing happened in the WOD yesterday. I learned from the same guy that I make great WOD faces, and that it looked like I wouldn’t finish the last round, but did. How great that was.
Which made me think about the question even more. Right now, for me, the hardest thing that I’ve ever done is come to a WOD—any WOD—and just give it my all. The hardest thing is waking up every day and coming to Crossfit. And eating clean (which is of equal importance in my journey to activity).
It’s like in Office Space:
…except, every day isn’t the worst day of my life (thank God). But every day I have to think about food and force myself to go into Crossfit against every ounce of my being…it’s the hardest day of my life. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
Maybe the question is a bit easier for you.
What was the hardest think YOU’VE ever had to do?