When I read CrossFit’s definition of ‘World-Class Fitness in 100 Words’, it’s the last sentence that stands out to me, yet it's one thing we don’t do enough of. We all get caught up in our ways and when we get good at a sport or are new to sport, we have a fear of starting at the bottom. Yet sometimes starting at the bottom can have more rewards then trying to stay at the top.
World-Class Fitness in 100 Words:
Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports. ~Coach Greg Glassman, CrossFit Founder and CEO (Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.)
Two weeks ago on the 15th August 2015, I decided to enter my first Cross Country ski race. The Merino Muster at the Snow Farm in the Cardrona Valley, NZ. http://www.merinomuster.com/
A friend had given us an opportunity to go up at the start of the season to try out cross country skiing for the first time ever. Being a snowboarder for the past 15 years I wasn’t too sure, but thought what the hell. After day one my wife, my three girls and myself were hooked. My girls aged 10, 8, & 4 picked it up almost quicker than Jen and I. On the way down the hill that day I was certain we would be back when I heard the girls say “That was the best day ever”. Later that night the girls had decided this is what they wanted to do for the school winter program and also the 7km merino muster was their goal. They had also decided I was doing the 21km merino muster. Not to be outdone by my girls, the challenge was set.
On the morning of the race, I woke up thinking "what have I got myself into", as I'd only done 5 days of practice, but then I remembered I had been getting lessons from Snow Farm's bestcoach, Alexi. As we drove up the hill, the weather was not looking the greatest - it was snowing, but there was no wind. The girls were so excited yet I was crapping myself! After getting our race packs and seeing a heap of people dressed up ready for a fun race, my nerves lowered and I started to relax.
There were more than 300 competitors lined up ready to start the 42km, 21km & the 7km. Now is the time to tell you I’m a very competitive person, although I decided to start near the back. Away we went and at the back is where I stayed…. I came around the first corner and realised really quickly to stop trying to go fast and do as Alexi had taught me. Just like weightlifting - “The Magic’s in the Movement”. The faster I tried to go, the slower I went!
By the time I got out past Bob Lee hut, which is about the 15km mark, the sun came out and what a great day I was having! I still hadn’t fallen over. I had stopped trying to be competitive and enjoyed thinking about what had been achieved, not to mention the views. When that sun came out near the hut, you could almost see Mt Cook..
I finally came around the last corner with the finish in sight and what a feeling that was. As I approached, I could hear Jen and the girls cheering me on. Then with only 3m to go, I fell over!! I could have done it out in the backcountry where know one could see, but no, I did in front of the whole crowd. I looked up with a big smile to hear Alexi on the microphone encouraging me across the line. I finished in 2 hours & 9 minutes.
Although this time placed me right at the back, I would have to say this race gave me the biggest rewards I had ever felt before in a race for many reasons. To cross the line to hear the girls got a 2nd and a 3rd place was pretty cool. I can now say I've done that, but I can also say I will see you next year - I now have goals to chase….
In conclusion, if you don’t try new sports regularly, you are seriously missing out. You just never know where it will take you. For us, we have found a sport the whole family can do together that has been on our doorstep for all these years. The kids have also found their way in a sport I would never had guessed, and not because we made them, but because they wanted to. Most of all, we have found Snow Farm to be the most welcoming ski venue we have ever been to. I think that’s because it's a lot like CrossFit in the fact that everyone leaves their ego at the door and has a great time.
With spring just around the corner, who’s keen to get some training in before next year's Merino Muster?
Now with all that Wanaka has to offer, go online and enter a race or join a club and try new sports regularly - you just never know where it will take you, or the people you will meet.