Two weekends ago I attended the Reebok CrossFit 2013 NorCal
Regional event the same as I had the past two years, only this time
as a spectator rather than a competitor. The weeks leading up
to the event I kept myself so busy (maybe intentionally to distract
myself) that I didn't really have a lot of time to think about not
being able to compete. So, driving with Marcus, early Friday
morning from Chico to Santa Rosa, I was all smiles and excited to
be getting out of town for a weekend with my boyfriend and seeing a
lot of friends I hadn't seen in almost a year.
Then, all of a sudden, those joyous feelings crumbled into the
pit of my stomach and I felt nauseous. I mean literally
ill. As a competitive athlete my entire life, I never once
have gotten sick before an event/game - butterflies of course, but
actually feeling sick, never! As we approached the venue, I
saw "tent city" and the reality set in. I broke my
foot. My season is over. And now, for the next 3 days,
I have to watch and cheer on the athletes I'm
supposed to competing against. We continued to drive around
the fairgrounds to park and the floodgates opened. Tears were
pouring down my face and I was so worked up I had the ugly cry face
and weird gasping noises as I unsuccessfully tried to compose
myself. You all know the face I'm talking about. ;)
Poor Marcus, he was driving me to regionals and supporting me
through what we both knew was going to be a tough weekend, and I
was a hot mess. As he always does, Marcus was there for me
but also made me remember that this was exactly what was supposed
to happen this year and this intense desire I felt to be out on
that arena floor needed to be used as fuel for 2014.
Throughout the weekend, I was flooded with hugs and high-fives
from people. I lost count of how many people took the time
out of their spectating to tell me how inspirational my Open videos
were or to genuinely ask how my foot was healing and tell me they
wished I was out there. My response was always, "thank you so
much, me too!". I couldn't think of anything else to say at
the time because it was that simple - I wanted to be competing.
As the events carried on workout after workout over the course
of the weekend, I was sure it was just going to get easier and the
tears would stop flowing. However, it didn't (thank goodness
for sunglasses!!!). As the competition heated up, so did the
fire in my heart. Looking back now, I wonder what the tears
and constant feeling of being choked up were from. I wasn't
angry. I wasn't feeling sorry for myself. I wasn't
sad. I was just ready… ready to be out there and pushing my
body to its limits amongst the best in our sport in NorCal.
It was a strange feeling of almost knowing I should be there but
not feeling like I belonged. I found myself a couple times
just pacing in the athletes prep area… why? I didn't know
where else to go. I know that sounds sort of silly…
especially after my prior blog post about not being defined as
"Jenny the athlete"… but it's what I was feeling.
The day I broke my foot a good friend of mine came over to cheer
me up and while there gave me some advice I hadn't really thought
about. She was a competitive swimmer and had been dealt her
fair share of injuries. She warned me of the phases I would
possible go through with this injury - depression being one.
She told me this not to scare me but more to prepare me, and I'm so
grateful she did. I think because of her advice I faired
pretty well and handled the injury as best I could have.
However, that weekend at regionals I maybe felt a bit of what she
was talking about. It was way harder than I had expected, but
without Marcus by my side, letting me feel the emotions I needed to
feel, providing the comforting words I needed to hear and having
open arms to hold me tight when I needed but also knowing when I
needed my space, I'm not sure I would have had the strength to stay
in that arena workout after workout screaming for the athletes to
keep pushing on.
After the women's final workout on Sunday came to a close, I
broke down almost to the point I had just two day prior upon
entering the venue. I frantically was looking for Marcus so I
could get the keys to the van to go deal with my emotions in
privacy, when I was "bombarded" (and I mean that in a good way) by
the girls of the Diablo CrossFit team. They all but tackled
me and told me how much they loved me and knew I would be on that
podium if I would have competed. Whether that's true or not,
we'll never know, but that moment when all I wanted to do was go
and cry in a hole by myself, those ladies and of course Marcus were
there by my side to once again remind me why this community is so
phenomenal. I needed those hugs and support and the entire
weekend of regionals to have true acceptance and closure on how
this season has panned out. Thank you all so much for your
support and encouragement throughout.
Now, as I have written before, it's time to train for the
Leadville 100 (100-mile mountain bike race in August), but after
that you can bet that I am going to do everything I can to be on
that podium again in 2014 for a come-back year.
Until then, I wish all the athletes still waiting to compete for
their spot at The 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games the best of luck and
all athletes that have already made it, happy/healthy training for
the big show.