Sorry for the expletive in the title, but it’s true. Seriously, mom, I’m sorry. Don’t text me how inappropriate it was. There was no other word that was correct.
I have known that my inner voice was a big fat liar (see, it doesn’t quite have the same impact) for a very long time. The only problem is that this voice is very convincing. You know the one. It’s the voice that begins to scream maniacally during your workout. Sometimes the screaming begins at the start of the workout, sometimes it begins in the middle of the workout; nevertheless, it always happens. As most of you know, I have been doing CrossFit for three years (my anniversary was just last weekend). I really thought by this point the inner voice would become more quiet or subdued, but she keeps getting louder. I have searched often for articles about mental toughness. I have sought tips on how to improve my mental game. I have even joked with my coaches about needing a sports psychologist, an idea I still haven’t ruled out. The mental part of my game is the absolute weakest part.
I have talked often on here about letting the opinion of others get to me, and only recently discussed that with my age, that pull is loosening it’s grip on me, and that’s true. But that voice keeps screaming at me during my WODs. You know the one. It’s the voice who tells you to quit, the one who tells you that you can’t do any more pull ups or your hands are going to rip off. The one who tells you that three rounds are fine, and there is no real reason to do five. Just quit. You’re tired. You’re never going to beat____ (fill in the blank with the name of the person you are chasing). Does anyone else have this voice? Surely it can’t just be me.
So, why am I writing this? To lament? To complain? No, along with my new found social freedom, I am losing the ability to listen to my inner voice. I have simply stopped caring what she says. I have realized that she is, in fact, a whore. When she begins to tell me I’m not good enough, I tell her it’s how I learn. When she tells me I’m not strong enough, I push out a few more reps. When she tells me that rep was good enough, I “no rep” myself and try again.
Just today I did a WOD that kicked my rear. It is full of my weaknesses, but things I am trying to improve, so I work on them. To those familiar with CrossFit, I completed Mary: 20 minutes AMRAP of 5 Handstand Push ups; 10 Pistols (1 legged squats) and 15 pull ups. I was slow. I got stuck in the bottom of my right leg pistols most of the time, and had to redo them. I got stuck on my strict pull ups. And, instead of saying “close enough” or moving on to the next rep, I redid that rep. My inner voice was screaming at me to call it done. To move on. But I didn’t. My score was low. It was not impressive, but it was mine. It was reflective of the work I have put in on some of my weakest skills. It shows me where I am and where I need to go.
My inner voice does not know me at all. She does not want me to succeed. She’s too weak to keep up with me, and she needs to learn to shut her mouth. When I shut her out of my head, I can go further. I become better. The only way to be better in this crazy sport is to train your weaknesses. Confronting the skills that hold us back, slow us down, and make us write crappy scores on the whiteboard. Does it suck? Sure. Can I make a million excuses? Yes, and some days I try. But, every day I walk into the gym, remind myself my inner voice is a whore, and workout. I have no problem telling her she sucks. Maybe one day she will just give up. Personally, I hope she does.