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Written By Tasha Mendez (Follow Her Here)

Today’s blog post is by Tasha Mendez from CrossFit Proper in California. She writes about how she’s not only learned how to push through physical barriers during a WOD, but how these lessons in tenacity have translated into and transformed the rest of her life.
Yesterday was the closest I’ve come to crying during a workout. The Workout of the Month this September is called “Karen,” and includes a humble 150 wall-balls. Wall balls are weighted balls that you throw 10 feet up against a wall so it bounces and you catch it while positioning in a squat. An incorrect wall-ball will tire you out very easily quickly, as well as cause injury. So naturally, as with any exercise movement, form is key.

I decided to use a 14 pound wall-ball, because even though I’ve been training with a 12 pounder.. I knew a 14 pound would give me the edge I needed. My time might be compromised, but at least I knew I was really pushing myself. Coaches were saying a good time to do 150 wall balls was under 10 minutes.. so with my burnt out thighs from my 750 row.. I decided to push my limits.

At first I was knocking ‘em out easy.. 25 at a time.. then 15 at a time, then 8, then 3. I think it was at number 78 with a little less than halfway to go, I dropped the ball, and hovered over my thighs, hands on my knees, shaking, and dripping with sweat. I could barely get myself to stand, and when I saw the clock at 6:55, I knew I couldn’t do this in 10 minutes. All I wanted to do was finish..
With each squat and each pump of my hips, throwing the ball in the air, I knew it was more than just my strength making that ball airborne. It was more than my second wind, it was everything I had, every muscle, every inch, every ounce of bone, every thought was making this happen. Finally, with 30 more to go at 9 minutes.. I realized that finishing this workout in less than 10 minutes may actually be a reality.

Wall ball number 150 came and I yelled “TIME!!” before I practically collapsed to the ground. I looked at that time clock and to my surprise it said.. 9:55. Finishing “Karen” in under 10 minutes with an extra 5 seconds to spare. I was so exhausted from exercise and excitement that I plopped myself outside just to grab some breath from the cool breeze.
I surprised myself, I did it. And by the end of this month I plan on doing it faster.

So today with my legs fried, our workout was simple.. but far from easy. One back squat,one push press, and one deadlift. The heaviest you can go. Barely two months ago I couldn’t even lift 95 pounds off the ground, and I haven’t lifted since then so I thought this should be interesting.

When it finally came to the deadlift, I put on one 25 pound plate. Lifted easy. Then I added some more weight, and some more weight.. and some more weight. And finally reached a point where I couldn’t even budge it. I would step away just to catch some rest, to which I heard Christian say, “Stop psyching yourself out. Getting it up is the hard part. All you gotta do is stand”
After setting myself up it seemed as if it was cemented to the ground. And the thought of me lifting it up after being so sore from yesterday’s workout, and from the gradual additions of the amount of weight.. my body was telling me this is impossible, but my mind was telling me otherwise.

All you gotta do is stand, all you gotta do is stand was what I kept saying to myself. Explode and bring up the weight. And right there it happened, it lifted. I lifted. As soon as I brought up to my hips, I dropped it with the satisfaction that I followed through. “How much is that?” I asked Christian. He busted out the calculator, punched the numbers and said “178 pounds”
A lot of people make excuses for themselves, and believe with such conviction that they can’t do such things because it’s “too hard” or “too much” or “too extreme.” I was so happy about my new benchmark that I told my mom and she immediately said, “don’t do that anymore, that’s too much. you might hurt your back.” It’s an understandable thing to say, but what she didn’t know is that I’ve been working on form since day 1, and like every workout, every movement was being supervised.
True, if I tried to lift that much weight day 1, that would have been too much.. but I’ve learned my limits and am gradually making new ones.

Ever since I joined CrossFit, it physically put things in perspective for me. There’s a shirt that they give to every new member “Once you’ve CrossFit, everything else in life is easy” .. which holds much truth. A lot of their movements you can’t get in one day, in one month, or for some even a year. They’re much more about just being strong and agile.. They’re about consistency, form, discipline, and commitment to success.

Coincidentally I started CrossFit around the same time as getting a job in the ER, so it has really helped with my energy, and my strength (compressions, lifting patients, etc). But what it really helped me out with, was taking things one thing at a time.
As much as I love my job, there are times where I feel completely swamped, and there are a hundred zillion things to think about and do simultaneously. And just getting through the day is a feat within itself. But on a smaller, more intense scale.. each CrossFit WOD (workout of the day) has a very similar quality. Some workouts, and some shifts, I power through and feel awesome, feel accomplished, and successful.

And there are other days (and workouts), where you feel burnt, tired, and halfway through it, you want to give up.. and it takes everything you have to just finish. But when I come home, I always come home feeling like I did something a little better, and I approach each day wanting to do more.

I’ve learned my limits, when to back off, when to push them, when to break them, and most importantly..when to ask for help. That it’s okay to cry, just not okay to whine. I had no idea that joining CrossFit wasn’t only a new way to work out, but a new way to live my life.


Friday WOD

Snatch grip DL @ 3131; 3-5 reps x4; rest 3 min.


50 Double Unders


3 Rounds:

20 WB Sit-Ups

20 Push-Ups


50 Double Unders


Shoulder Mobility


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