It’s a couple of weeks since I posted. I have lost my crossfit mojo. Totally.
It’s not a surprise to me, although it always comes as a shock. And it probably comes as a shock to many people who train with me and didn’t know that I even thought I had a mjo, but I did, and it’s gone.
The question of why we crossfit comes up a lot, not so much inside the community as outside. I know that in that outer world my choices rarely match up to my appearance, and people are often puzzled as to why this very feminine-looking middle-aged woman has spent the entire day digging up potatoes or claims that her black eye came from lifting a heavy weight over her head thirty times as fast as possible (thanks, Grace!)
The reason is my business, as it is for all of us, but unlike the average strong but slow, or fast but weak crossfitter who turns up hoping to train their goats, I arrived with the slow and weak goat troupe, bascially, I’m just all goats, and knowing exactly what I wanted – which I got. The mindless physical exhaustion of the WOD.
I’ve found it other ways at other times: running did it for decades, yoga, performed intensively, did it too. Martial arts most definitely did it, but were too dangerous for me and anybody who had to train with me. Hard manual labour, basically, does the job, which is why an allotment is an absolute necessity for me to sustain my creative life. I need that mindlessness, the muscular exhaustion, the slow seeping burn of DOMs because without it I can’t write well. But with it, I write very well indeed.
So, in the end days of drafting a novel, which is where I am now, living eight hours a day in 1917, dreaming my protagonist’s dreams, feeling her dread and – with her – wondering if the War to End War will ever end, my mind is rarely present in the present. There’s a buzz to the end days of a novel, which maybe only novelists, epic poets and symphony writers can know (although I’m willing to be persuaded that other forms of creative life deliver it too, not attempting to be exclusive here, simply reporting what I hear from other folk) which is like white noise in the head. It will never be quite like this again. When ‘this’ ends, there will be crafting and shaping and ruthless excision and revisions and rewrites and sharing my writing with others … but there’s never ‘this’. This moment when you can see the end, and you are going to set your characters down, at that end, and walk away, leaving them to have no future outside of the tales you spin in your head for them (unless there is a sequel, which is a whole different and weird experience for a writer). You are about to kill some darlings – or if not kill them, at least nail them to the page so they can bleed interestingly for public entertainment. It’s an odd place from which to try and get physical.
I am, frankly speaking, a crap crossfitter. This often infuriates and humiliates me. It did today, when my Crossfit 2 Total was less of a total and more of an accommodation with the inevitabilities of age, injury and my head being in 1917. But without something like crossfit, that gives my body something to do while my head does the other stuff, I would not be a writer.
End days are just strange. I woke at three to listen to the rumble of thunder and wasn’t totally sure, for a little while, if it was thunder or my imagination supplying the background noise to my protagonist’s final chapters. Her name is Dorrie, by the way, and she, like a surprising number of other women, was at the Front during the Great War, as a volunteer. I spent the whole of yesterday hunting down the starter system for a WWI ambulance, so that I could imagine how it felt to sit in a cold leather driving seat at dawn, feeling the vehicle warm up around you, as you waited to be told where you were going to collect the shattered bodies of boys who had been officers just an hour ago, and were now the wreckage of war. As I say, end days are strange.
And my crossfit mojo, such as it was, has departed, as usually happens in end days of a big project. Today had nothing good in it – no fluency, no endorphin rush, a pb (but given my appalling previous one rep max, less of a pb than a public apology for previous poor performance) and none of that glorious surrender of self to the exigencies of the WOD.
Tomorrow … barbell club. More public goat training. Why do I do this again?
Edit – just found a fascinating article over at The Sport In Mind which encapsulates how I feel about my crossfit performance: http://www.thesportinmind.com/articles/shame-what-we-wont-talk-about/