When I first started to think about joining CrossFit I pored over the website. I kept coming back to the photo on the home page of the t-shirt that reads “Embrace the Pain.” More so even than the incredibly fit bodies that looked nothing like mine, that picture made me question if I could do this. Who embraces pain? I’m no masochist – like any rational human, I avoid pain. How could I fit in somewhere that so proudly digs pain?
Well, 30-some days later (has it really only been that long?!) I’ve learned – at least a little bit — to embrace my own pain. I haven’t had a day – an hour – without pain of some sort since beginning. I don’t think any part of my body has escaped. I wake up at night sometimes after an especially grueling workout and am confused, wondering for a moment whatever has happened that my [fill in the blank] is so incredibly sore. I move gingerly many days, favoring whatever part or parts are sore. I grimace and say ‘ow’ under my breath a lot, and make a lot of references to the bats that seem to have been beating me.
But I haven’t stopped, haven’t slowed down the intensity. The pain is a battle scar of sorts – I earned it. It only hurts because I’m working so hard, pushing my body to do more than I ever thought it could. The pain reminds me that I’m getting stronger, getting better. And when I look beyond the pain I find that the rest of me feels pretty great. Mentally and physically, it feels better to be stronger. I feel younger, lighter and more energetic. I feel like I want to do more and more. And if that means more pain, well then, I’ll just have to embrace it.