It was mostly out of frustration, because I am not good at being bad at things. And it was a morning when everyone else was faster, stronger, better and I just kept losing. We had to loop a fire hose ("Firehose!" - another F word) through a tire and pull it like a work horse, and then stack another tire on, drag it back around the giant tire, and so on, until we were pulling a stack of 4 tires. I kept getting myself stuck as I tried to manoeuvre around the giant tire. At one point I shouted: "I HATE PHYSICS!" The thing is, not all the tires are the same size or weight, and the pavement is uneven, and turning a pile of tires is like turning the Titanic (it happens slowly and in a wide arc, you can't do it in a tight turn), and we'll just go with THAT as the reason I was sucking so badly. I don't usually make noises when I work out, the way lots of people do. I sweat, and I glare, and I pull ugly faces, but I don't grunt. Today, I felt a level of frustration that required some primal scream therapy and I let out a few "aaaaarghs" along the way. It made me feel a tad better, but didn't help with the momentum. On the last round, when the others were done and I had one tire left - the biggest, honey-cruller tire that we all try to avoid - I threw down my fire hose and said, "Fuck it." Yes. I gave up. I capital-F Failed. Because, no matter how bad you are at something, you really don't fail until you stop trying, but I'd had enough. We were running out of time, or Mat probably would have made me finish, but I think even he could see that I was at a tipping-point of frustration with myself.
I don't like to fail. I mean, nobody does, but I don't deal with it very well. Which is probably why, for most of my life, I didn't often try things unless I had a sense I'd be good at it right away. I'm learning to overcome that, and in fact have been going out of my way to try new things lately. Any new thing, especially if I never even thought I wanted to do it. Some have surprised me, when I expected to be terrible and was far better than anyone would have guessed. (Firearms. Shot a hole dead centre through the X in the target!). Some things I've been as bad at as anticipated, but I didn't care, it was just for fun, so it is much easier to see the humour it in. (Frisbee, anyone? It's a comedy of errors when I play). It is when I take something seriously, like being strong or not losing, or when it's something that I have been able to do in the past and all of a sudden one day I can't, that's when I get super frustrated.
Fear also rules a lot of what I do and don't do. It's more than just a fear of failure. Sometimes it is a physically paralyzing fear. On Wednesday morning, in the outdoor class that did not get rained out, we used the giant tires to do burpees off of. All well and good. Until Mat says, "can you jump up on the tire?" Like, a box jump? Like, actually land on the tire and NOT do a face-plant into the centre? That is exactly what he meant. Jump from a standing/crouching position onto the tire and jump back down. Before making it part of the burpee, he had to see if we could each do it. When it came down to it, I had a lot of false starts, my mind saying "jump!" but the message not translating to my legs or feet. What they heard was "NO! This will hurt! You will fall! You can't make it!" Eventually I did it, but it slowed my burpees right down. What should have been "burpee (plank, jump the feet in, jump up), box jump, tire flip, repeat" became more "burpee, pause pause pause try to box jump pause false start box jump, tire flip, repeat." I knew I could do it. I was trying to do it. Initially, I wasn't sure I could. The very first one took the longest and Mat was patient and coaxed me through it. "What is it, your knees or that you'll fall?" he asked. "Both," I muttered. I tried to visualize myself jumping up and back down. "Don't over-think it," he advised, "that's what's holding you back." I finally stepped up, and jumped down, to see what it would feel like. I did half of the jump. And then I kept almost starting until I finally did it. Didn't even Faceplant.
You know, it was a lot like when I taught swimming lessons. I watched dozens of children do the exact same thing when learning to dive. Get into position. Crouch. Tense up. Just when you think they're going to launch themselves in, they stop. Fear freezes them. Same with me and the tire. Fear kept physically holding me back from completing the motion. It was not a conscious action; I really didn't have full control between my brain and my body. I suppose the fact that I did it in the end was a small victory, though it shouldn't have taken as long as it did for me to get it.
Jumped a tire on Wednesday. Fear. Had a great personal training session on Thursday (including more than one compliment from Mat, leaving me Flummoxed ... another F word). Fitness. And failed fantastically at being first with the fire hose and tires on Friday. Frustration.
I'll just have to take everything from this week and use it to fuel the fire in the future.
Feel the fear, and do it anyway.