Sunday, July 10, 2011

My New WOD

The WOD I have been doing is not one that is an AMRAP, or has a specific time component, or is about an amount of weight. It doesn't take the strength required to lift something heavy, or do as many reps as possible, or even do a series of exercises in the fastest time possible.

This WOD requires a different kind of strength. This WOD has required mental toughness, perseverance, trust, and the ability to deal with the unknown. It is a strength that comes from within. And sometimes borrowed from the strength of others. Those who have reached out to me with their love and kindness have helped me be stronger. And their strength has helped me fight harder.

In reality, it is not really even a WOD – Workout of the Day. This is more of a Workout of Unknown and Unknowable – A WUU, if you will. Interestingly enough, that is what CrossFit prepares us for, the unknown and the unknowable.

CrossFit trains us in cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy, all so we can be prepared for the unknown and the unknowable. I have had to rely on all of these elements to tackle this WUU.

Cardiovascular and Respiratory Endurance and Stamina
These kind of go together for me. I have had to endure many things that some may find frightening. They have been scary to me as well. There have been many hospital visits, many needle pricks for a multitude of things, a surgery, radiation, lots of medications, and the side effects of it all. Through this I have had to have the stamina to endure. What else would I do? I thank God for CrossFit to teach me about stamina and endurance. About pushing through when the going gets tough.

Going into this WUU, I was strong. I could lift heavy things, and move them around. But strength, as we learn in CrossFit, may not necessarily be about moving heavy objects. It may also be about inner strength. The inner strength needed to push through when a WOD is beating you up and you have the strength to fight back. This is a strength that comes from within, and is not about muscle. It is when you reach down inside and come up with that extra push needed to finish. For me, it is the inner strength to endure the unknown (i.e., how much longer will I feel this way, will this make me feel better or worse?) and to have the stamina to push through when I am struggling (i.e., how many more radiation treatments? writing everything down because of short-term memory loss).

CrossFit makes us flexible enough to squat deeply with heavy objects overhead, and just be able to squat in general. We are also flexible enough to dead lift heavy objects off the ground. This is flexibility in terms of body mechanics. But there is also a different type of flexibility that CrossFit prepares us for. It is, again, a mental flexibility. We go into WODs without knowing what we are walking into. The WODs may not be posted. We must be flexible enough to handle what is put before, whether is what we want to do that day or not.

For my WUU, it is the same. I have had to be flexible enough to handle what has been put before me, without knowing what it. This is in terms of treatments, doctors’ appointments, nutrition, and inability to do the things I was previously able to do.

CrossFit teaches us about power – how far we can move an object and at what speed. Some movements even have “power” in their titles (power clean, power snatch). But there is also the mental side of power – the mind over matter power. This is the ability to think about something, and, thus make it happen. In WODs, this might be that extra push at the end of a WOD, or that extra push to get a PR. My WUU also has power. I have had to have mind over matter power, especially during my treatments. When they became difficult to bear, I had to power my way through them. I needed that extra mental push to get to the finish line.

This is an easy one for CrossFit. It is about how fast you can go, and training to be faster. For my WUU it is not much different. Daily, I try to get normal things completed more quickly. And when I say normal, I truly mean normal. Things like grocery shopping, getting dressed and folding laundry. Normal things that I had become slow at, I am now focusing on becoming faster at. Or perhaps I should just say, “normal” at. It is a different kind of speed, but speed nonetheless.

Many of the CrossFit movements require us to be coordinated. Improvements in coordination come through practice. WODs are designed to aid in the improvement of coordination – the practice of coordination. My WUU is constantly aiding in the improvement of my coordination. After treatments my coordination deteriorated. Day by day, I have been challenged to have coordination for very basic things. Things that many may not think of as needing coordination. Things like shaving my legs, changing a light bulb, slicing an avocado, typing, and of course, driving. I have had to work on improving my coordination, so these very basic things start to feel second nature, as they did prior to surgery. My WUU is helping me improve my coordination.

CrossFit helps us develop our agility. Whether it is in a movement, such as a double under, or just being agile enough to move from one movement to another, we train to become more agile. Over time, my WUU has been improving my agility. As in coordination, it is not the agility that I have been accustomed to, but more the basic things that most people can do without thinking. My agility has diminished, so I have had to retrain it for day to day life. I have had to use agility to cook food without burning it, to do the dishes, to put away groceries, to type on the computer, and, of course, to drive a car. Thank goodness that CrossFit has taught me to train this element.

Another item that must be trained, balance most is evident in the CrossFit gymnastics movements. WODS that have handstand pushups or ring dips require balance (i.e.). My WUU has also required balance. Not only in day to day activities, but mental balance as well. I have had to redevelop my balance. Whether walking down stairs, grocery shopping, or, again, shaving my legs, I have had to relearn and train my balance. Additionally, I have had to mentally balance my day to day medication regimen, and coordinate it with my day to day appointments. A true balancing act…

CrossFit has also trained our accuracy. Whether throwing a medicine ball, performing an Olympic lift, jumping on a box, or doing double unders, there are many elements of CrossFit that train our accuracy. Our WODs challenge us in this area in nearly every WOD. If we can be accurate, we can be efficient, and we can therefore be more powerful. My WUU has also been training my accuracy, but in different ways. I have had to become accurate at typing (thank goodness for spell check), at brushing my hair, at tossing a salad, at cutting an apple, and, of course, at driving.

In Summary
On many of these items, CrossFit has taught me that with patience, practice, and perseverance, things improve. And in my WUU, with patience, practice and perseverance, things will improve. CrossFit has given me some skills to get through the unknown and unknowable, and for that I am blessed. As CrossFitters, we work on these things together. Our WODs contain elements related to these items. My WUU contains elements related to these items. These things tie us together, unite us, and make us one, as we have each experienced them in one form or another. So, while I am doing my WUU, all my CrossFit friends are doing their WODs. And in these workouts, we are bound together. This I have learned.

I have never been so challenged as I have been over the past 3 months. There are many adjectives I can use to describe what I have been feeling. Surprisingly, they are not all negative. Yes, there are the ones like scared, hurting, and angry. But there are also many more positive ones. There is also optimistic, faithful, overwhelmed, thankful, blessed, etc. I have been so overwhelmed by the love and support from my friends, family, and loved ones. And this love and support has consistently reminded me of the positive adjectives.

And there are those friends I really don't know, who have reached out to me via FaceBook. Many of who are in the CrossFit community, through which we are united. The worldwide CrossFit community has reached out to me, wrapped their arms around me, and held me close. They have prayed for me, done workouts for me, and sent me positive wishes and thoughts, when I have felt down. They have lent me their strength when I needed it. As CrossFitters, we are bound together by the experiences we share, no matter where we live, or whether or not we actually know each other. And I know this now, more than ever. As CrossFitters, they are doing for me, what I would be doing for any one of them. We are a community that is bound together, whether we know each other or not. I am truly blessed to be a part of this community, to have shared in the same experiences with my friends all over the world, whether in a WOD or a WUU.


Keith said...

Your blog entry was so thoughtful and inspiring. Your have been considering your life and health in whole new ways and maintaining an optimism which is also inspiring. Keep up the good fight!
Love Keith

Russ B said...

CF changed my life and your blog is one of the best I have seen to describe what I am sure so many of us feel....Keep insuring others and live well

Russ B

kellyj said...

thank you so much for your blog today. i found out that i have to have a biopsy done on my breast and of course the unknown is very scary. thanks for the reminder of the role that cf plays in my life and that i need to focus on the right things instead on the fear of the unknown. it's just another wod, right? or WUU... i am keeping a copy of this bog as a reminder that i will be strong and fearless. or try anyway :)

Lauriel said...

Keith, thank you so much. Love you and Hil lots :-)

Russ, thank you for the kind words.

Kelly, please find me on FaceBook, or contact me direct. on FB, Lauriel Luther in Arizona. email is Always fight, always have faith.

coach b said...

omg!! you are a marines daughter for sure!! i can sense your mental, physical toughness! in for the fight of your life and you are not backing down!! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!! hang tough and i promise you WE WILL pray for you, be here for you!! the geezers at mikes gym are thinking good thoughts for you daily!!! coach b