One of my biggest pet peeves is not knowing what will happen next, the lack of control, the fear of disappointment in myself in or others, and feeling dumb and useless looking back. But over time I've learnt to not rely on a false safety net of comfort, but learn to trust in the effort of myself, the people I surround myself with and to learn from my environment. Either from others or my own mistakes, then to move on with that knowledge.
In August 2014, I decide to ride my single speed road bike from Toronto to Montreal, by myself, with 20 lbs of gear and Google Maps. No real plans along the way, but I knew I only had 4 days to travel to my pre-booked AirBnb and stay for 2 nights before I had to take the train back. Riding almost 15 hours each day throughout those 3 and a half days taught me a lot, and in hindsight was downright ridiculous. But I did it anyways, because my intrinsic drive to accomplish something outrageous overtook all the little voices of doubt.
Fear is in everyone, it is what makes us human sometimes. Sometime is drives us towards an unperceivable goal, or over an emotional cliff. What it really comes down to is your motivation, either your validation, recognition, or the feeling of comfort. Why you do somethings to really drive you to your goal, not anything else.
CrossFit is really my first physical taste of the idea for the fear of the unknown. As much as you want to know what the workout is and how it would feel, you would always crawl back for more. It wasn't the fear of the unknown that pushed me away, it was the curiosity of the unknown that drew myself closer.
One of the nights that I was on that bike trip, I knew I was really behind schedule so I had no choice but to ride an extra 3 hours before I could camp out and sleep for the night. It was pitch black with no street lights until the next small town over, my bike light barely light up a meter in front. I thought to myself, "If I die right now, no one would find me for a very long time." But I wasn't about to stop and curl up into a ball, I kept going, because it wasn't the fear of not making it to Montreal in time or the fact that I could get hurt or die anytime that got me in that scenario. It was the drive to accomplish something I wanted to do for a long time which kept me going.
I was able to quickly relate the bike trip to previous workouts, it’s just like a chipper WOD, I'll just complete 1K at a time and take a rest after 5K. Mentally it was more doable compared to riding for a 5 hour block.
I've heard of many stories of how people got into CrossFit, but the best ones are the stories of how people were scared shitless and not because of injury or by intimidation, but not knowing what they were getting themselves into. I've seen so many faces peer inside through the glass door from the cafe into the gym with the face thinking to themselves "Oh it's a gym! What are they doing? How heavy is that? Is it safe? I don't know if I can do that. I don't think this is for me." And as much as I want to explain to them everything we do, they have to make the decision themselves to jump into it with both feet and run through the darkness of the unknown, it's our jobs to lead you through safely and direct you where you want to go.
Now I've learnt to embrace the unknown and to welcome it. I am a big believer of trusting in the universe and the path you make of it. If you have done everything you can to give your best chance of success, then the following outcome is completely out of your control. The unknowable is just another way to see into the future, how you prepare yourself to face your fears, in workouts, in preparation or bike trips or in life, is the framework you see yourself in. That bike trip was just 620 x 1K repeats over a span of 3 and half days but I'm glad I did it and would love to do again one day, just not on a single speed bike.
Coach Richmond Lo