April 29, 2014
This is my Happy Hour: A Typical Day in the Box
By William Imbo
May 2, 2014
You’ve been waiting all day for the clock to hit 5:00 P.M., and now it’s finally here. You’re free. Free from the monotony of work, the stressful workload, the irritating noises and the temptation of a slice of your colleague’s birthday cake. Finally, you can leave the office. So where to now? Jump in the car for an agonizing battle with rush hour traffic on your way home? Some people are headed to happy hour, a cold beer would really hit the spot—maybe you’ll even have two. What better way to relax and relieve all of that pent-up stress? Of course, you’ll politely decline the invitation. You know the perfect way to get rid of that stress. And unlike a beer with your friends, it can’t wait.
The box is calling.
You fight your way through town to get to the gym. You’re an eager beaver, so you’ve already changed into your battle gear in the toilet stalls at work. Clark Kent becomes Superman. Wonder Woman has arrived. Your day at work has been peppered with brief breaks to steal a look at the day’s WOD on your box’s home page. You’ve got your game face on, but you’re a little nervous about the pain you’re about to endure. But once you step through the gym doors, familiar faces greet you and all your concerns start to ebb away. You catch up with your buddies, bitch about work and discuss your plans for the weekend. Then it’s time to talk a little strategy. As you mobilize on the magical roller of foam, you discuss your game plan for the day’s WOD. Does your friend share your fears about those 50 wall balls and burpees? How are they going to break them up?
This is happy hour.
The clock hits 6:00 P.M., and your coach gathers you and your classmates around to drop some knowledge about how the session is going to look. Then it’s time for the warm-up and some more mobility. Of course, you got to the box a little early to get some extra work in didn’t you? That’s right—this is your jam. You crack a few jokes with your comrades—the warm-up destroyer has once again attacked the intro to class as if their life depended on it—this might be your last opportunity to smile and laugh for a little while, so you better take advantage of it.
Before you know it, it’s time for business.
Your coach breaks down the workout and details the movements within, showing variations for those who need to scale. This is all foreplay to you. You’ve researched the workout at the office and discussed WOD tactics with your fellow CrossFitters. The coach gives you some time to prepare for battle. You carefully select your weaponry. You bring your barbell, kettlebell, wall ball and jump rope to your favorite spot on the floor—it better be free. If it’s not, this workout just got a little spicier. Now you’re not just racing the clock, you’re racing the fool who took your sacred gym space. Speaking of which, your CrossFit rival has just set up shop a few feet away from you.
Oh, it’s on alright.
Your coach is setting up the clock—do you have time to go grab some chalk? Yes, thank goodness. You prep your bar and palms with the addictive drug, making sure that the bucket is not too far away. You can never have enough. A few seconds remain before go time. You take a moment to prepare yourself mentally. Yep, this is going to suck.
“3, 2, 1 GO”
You’re off. Hands grip the bar, solid as a rock. Thanks, dear chalk. The reps start to pile up, your heart rate begins to pound. Sweat cascades down your forehead and on to the padded floor beneath. Your lungs start burning for air. Now this is stress relief. You remind yourself to focus on form—no need to get hurt. You break when you need to, but your rival and the spot stealer are still moving. “ Over my dead body,” you tell yourself. You dig deep for some motivation. Work has been pissing you off lately—that brings the fire. Your hands are back on the wall ball, and with renewed vigor you begin chipping away at the remaining sets of the WOD.
Just one round left.
Now you’re in a dark place. Your body is screaming for you to rest, your head isn’t helping. How easy it would be to simply stop for a second. Let your aching muscles rest, give your lungs the air they desperately cry out for!
But not today.
Today you have fire, and the finish line is tantalizingly close. Where is your rival, are they close? It doesn’t matter anymore. Now it’s just about YOU. Now you’re testing your heart. You deal with shit every day outside of this box—but when do you get to test your heart? That’s what saves you. You galvanize yourself for one last push, and smash through the mental and physical barriers to collapse on the floor in a puddle of your own sweat and blood, completely spent.
The floor has never felt so good. As you lay there, gasping, unable to speak or move, you realize that in this moment, everything in life is pretty swell. And you, well, you’re a bad mofo. Finally, you manage to get to your feet as your rival comes over to help you up. You swap your war stories and give the post-game feedback. There’s time for a little bit of mobility, and as you prepare to leave, it feels as if the entire class wishes you farewell.
As you step outside into the evening air, a smile breaks. That’s why you do CrossFit.
Bring on tomorrow.