2 Rounds for time:
30 Cal Row
12 Muscle Up

 

From Carsen

 

Since I first learned to walk, I’ve always been an athlete.

 

The competitiveness I inherited from my father was consistently sharpened throughout preschool and middle school and high school. From sets of push-ups orchestrated in the garage after soccer practice, to miles run on bike trails pacing my mother for her next marathon, to swim practices starting at the age of 2: I was born with an engine that didn’t stop running.

 

But without proper maintenance, and given enough time, everything breaks down.

 

After the Titanic-esque devastation of being cut from my high school’s freshmen soccer team, my parents enlisted me (essentially), on a year-round competitive swim team.
 

If there was anything I was figuring out, it was that when it came down to it--  I was pretty damn good at giving up.

 

Fast forward four years, standing dripping wet and shivering on another freezing, before-sunrise pool deck, my college swim coach gripped the top of cap with one hand and glared down at me. With the rest of the team still floating, waiting and watching in the steaming water, his earthquake voice broke my bones and my dwindling confidence.

 

“Your attitude is [censored].” His finger jabbed the middle of my forehead. “This. Is. Weak. You, are weak.”

 

The next summer, after my sophomore year, my mother asked me to give my younger brother a ride to his CrossFit SAC class, to which I replied: “What the hell is a CrossFit?”

 

Pretty soon I was dropping off my little sister too. Sometimes I unloaded them in the parking lot and went to get lunch before I came back for them. Sometimes I picked a spot to park my car and read books lounged in my front seat until they were done. Sometimes the guy who owned the gym came out to wave or knock on my window. Eventually, my siblings and Dave persuaded me through the single, narrow roll-up door and into signing the waiver  (what I would come to know later, was actually a contract surrendering my soul to fitness).

 

It was just supposed to be offseason training for my next year of swim, something to keep me in shape until I went back down to school. It started with excessive quantities of curse words, no-reps, and blaring red double under tiger stripes. There were bloody palms and bruised collarbones and shoes kicked across the gym. If there was anything I was figuring out (now), it was that every time I stepped up to the barbell, I wasn’t just fighting the plates, or the reps, or actual gravity-- I was fighting myself. Slowly but surely, my mind started moving heavier loads. My mental game chalked the hell up.

 

Junior season I started back at school lifting the same weights as half of the water polo boys. The season after that, I was outlifting nearly all of them. At my senior championship meet, I broke two individual school records and all of the school relay records.

 

Some of my senior teammates graduated and complained about missing the pool, the early mornings, the heat of competition. I graduated, trained and registered for the CrossFit Open.

 

CrossFit SAC has an electrical, unifying atmosphere unlike any team I’ve ever competed on before. During those weeks of my first Open struggle, that energy was palpable. I found a home between the always-cold, now white-and-red graffitied warehouse walls. I left behind securities and uncertainties in every sweat angel plastered on the charcoal blackness of the floor mats. I rebuilt confidence hanging from pull up rigs and wooden rings and creaking ropes.

 

A second year in the Open, I had the strength to come out for the first time, to my entire gym family, all at once. Year number three, I placed first in the Open Intramurals in a workout I had thought was going to crush me. Here’s to the CrossFit Open, round 4.

 

I’ve always been an athlete.

But CrossFit SAC made me a competitor.