[Editor's Note: This was originally published on Febuary 3, 2010.]
There’s always something.
The bright lights. The Top 20 pop. Someone wanting to talk to you about the something about the time you did the thing.
Ignore them. Not nasty. Not with distain. Because now is the time, the moment when you concentrate on the task ahead, on the never-ending belief that what’s about to go down will go down, that you can’t be beaten.
Every ounce of psychic energy you’re about to bring to bear; it’s easy to disrupt, easy to kill. You have to protect it, feet on the ground, head down, focusing on the simple mental images of success.
And now, you have to take it. Two words, three words run through your head, a tight, concise, pithy description of the end state, the moment right before the chest bumps and high fives and screams like a fifteen-year-old’s cracking voice. There is great power in the singular sight, the sole goal, the only reason you came here. Your next personal record, better than last time, better than ever, it’s right here in front of you, ready for the taking.
When they try to distract you, jump in on your bar, talk about the suck, borrow your 5s, cure your stress, just stop. Look up, make eye contact, not angry but ready, and look back down. This isn’t about Community. Not now. This is about winning, succeeding, making yourself believe that what’s about to happen will happen, must happen, that nothing else can happen, the intellectual certitude followed by physical reality.
And then, get ready to go. Grip the bar. Chalk up, and remember that your momentary lapse in social nicety will be rewarded with what you wanted, the moment of apex. Your short, pithy phrase repeats until there is nothing else, no sound, no Top 20, no mats, no platforms, no nothing except a bar and a goal, the universe bent around you in a cocoon of now.
Don’t think heels down, chest up. Don’t think at all, because you don’t need to. You already did it, and miracle of miracles, what was supposed to happen happened. It’s over your head. It’s locked out.
And now, they fade back in. The sound of volume slow marching to full blast, clapping, screaming, backslapping rah.
You can give in, or you can go back. Sit down, shut your eyes, and bring pithy back. Because it’s not over, and you can shut it out again. Accept that this is just a step and not the end, and it will happen all over again. Another record, not a defining moment, but an ephemeral glimpse at where you were, the shallow footprint of an athlete who’s moving forward faster.
Ignore them, and bring it. Because there’s always something more.
Jon Gilson is the founder of Again Faster and former member of CrossFit’s Level I Seminar staff.