This past weekend, I took part in my first CrossFit competition! It was the “Love is Love” competition hosted by OutWOD and was a partner competition with a fundraising component to support LGBTQ youth athletes. Between 27 teams, we raised $18k to support a class of 20 OutAthletes this year!!!
The experience was amazing and so affirming both of myself on a personal self-confidence level, but it was also such a unique experience to gather and compete against other queer athletes. My gym is very queer, and is such a special place and community, and I feel completely comfortable there, but I also have been there long enough that it’s become a second home — I know the members and greeting new athletes as they join the gym is very different from showing up at an event with people from other gym who you don’t know and having that same feeling of being completely safe and comfortable, especially as a trans and nonbinary athlete.
I have been so fascinated recently by what it takes to create a culture — a mindset, a shared sense of spirit and real community — of a place, of an event, of a group, of an organization. Not even a year or two ago, I would have immediately stopped paying attention at the mention of “how to create an organizational culture,” and while that’s still maybe more professional-sounding than is really appealing to me, I understand the root value of it now, and have started to see it everywhere and to think more about it. The more I see it in places, especially around creating communities centered around health and fitness, the more I appreciate how powerfully positive it can be, and the more I appreciate how this sort of higher-level thinking can create or enable these incredibly meaningful relationships between people and form these incredible groups, communities, and places.
This was such an incredible experience for my first competition and I’m completely psyched about doing more competitions this year, something that honestly for a long time felt unimaginable. My partner and I were in D2, which among differentiating skills included pull-ups, handstand walks in 5′ increments, and clean and jerks up to 135 pounds, where D1 was chest-to-bar, handstand walks in 20′ increments, and clean and jerks up to 155 pounds. We considered making a reach for D1, but also felt that we would have spent a lot of time resting and not moving, which didn’t feel appropriate for competition, and I think we were spot on in our devision, since we placed third! Another thing that even a year ago, seemed pretty unimaginable. This was the first time in my life that I’ve ever won anything in an athletic endeavor, and certainly the first time in my adult life that I have done any sort of athletic competition.
One of my biggest takeaways from this competition as an athlete was seeing higher caliber athletes working out. Bigger pond, so to speak, but I walked away from this competition so inspired to redouble my efforts. Beautiful butterfly chest-to-bar? I want them. Moving 155 C&Js as a metcon weight? I want it. It’s amazing what seeing, in person, other athletes working near, but still above your level can do for your motivation. I cannot wait until I feel like I belong at a D1 level competition — and can be competitive in that division.
I’ve always been driven forward by a desire for general improvement — when I started CrossFit, I just wanted to know, “I’m 30, I wonder how fit I can get, if I really take this seriously,” — since then, that’s been my driving force, and it still remains, but now I have a more medium-term goal as a marker along the way, and I could not be more excited or motivated!