Fear and Loathing in My Noggin’ – aka DNF

There are days I should just go back to bed and stay there. Today was one.

First day back to school for both our girls. One starting 5th grade. The other starting high school as a freshman. We had a packed summer and yet it feels like it’s over way too soon.

But I figured it was a good time to get back into the regular routine… CrossFit a few days a week by myself or with my wife when she’s off from work. Today was an alone day and I could tell as soon as the WOD began that I should have just gone home.


Warmup and WOD

Warmed up with a 500m row that felt pretty good, then did some med-ball cleans (20#), arm swings (forward and back in a few styles), one-armed kettle-bell squat cleans, PVC pipe high elbows, and so on. Then we warmed up with an empty bar and did some clean progressions…

The workout? Pretty straightforward: 5 rounds for time with each round consisting of 7 heavy squat cleans (155/105#) and 14 kettle-bell swings (53/35#). Sure. I warmed up and stood at the bar as time began and just felt the lack of enthusiasm. I stepped to the bar knowing I was going to fail. Always a great way to start.

I got through the first round with 115# on the bar. My knees are still bugging me a bit after taking a digger a week ago during a team WOD version of Murph. And I could feel my left knee “swim” under the bar on every rep.

So I lowered the weight to 95#, got through 2 full reps and stood up the third clean in power clean style. And I walked out.

Big Fat DNF

Instead of completing the workout, I walked the same mile route that I crashed and burned on just 9 days before. I hoped it would make me feel better. It didn’t. I am happy to say I didn’t fall, but I didn’t run either so there you go.

Walked back into the box and the class was doing the post-WOD mobility. Cleaned up my bar, grabbed my stuff, and walked to the car without a word. Wasn’t worth it. I was ticked at myself and nobody was going to be able to say anything to change that.

Drove home and here I am, writing. Go figure. DNF leads to writing here and a bit of analysis. (And yes, I’m aware that DNF is still better than “Did Not Start” – but not by much in this case.)

So I’ve listed off WHAT happened… let me go into a bit of detail about why I think it happened. Perhaps someone can help me get past it then.

My Analysis

Exhaustion plus Injury plus Getting Into My Head = DNF

KTnedq5EcThis past weekend my daughters both played in a soccer tournament down the road at the Air Force Academy. We had soccer Friday night (got through 20 minutes of the first half before the game was called for lightning). We had four games on Saturday (up by 5am, to bed about 10:30pm). And another two games on Sunday (up by 5am again).

Plus we had friends from out of town staying with us for a couple of days. Great folks and we had a nice visit, but it just added to the crazy.

Suffice it to say that it would have been an exhausting weekend even if I wasn’t an introverted geek. Adding in the people, parking, and madness and it took its toll quickly. I crashed hard yesterday afternoon when we got home and still managed my regular tossing and turning self to sleep through the night until about 6am today.

Let’s add in the fact that I still have dings and dents from falling badly during the first part of the mile run in a team version of the Murph WOD on Saturday, August 9. I landed hard on my left knee, so it’s cranky. That adds to the left hip, right knee, and shoulder problems I had before that. And the fact that I hate running.

I’ve been joking for the last week that I’ve been waiting to fall on every jog since starting CrossFit two and a half years ago, but it’s true. I’m a natural klutz.

And lastly, let’s throw in the fact that I overthink everything. Whether it’s my introverted or analytic nature I couldn’t tell you, but if it’s possible to psych myself out of something – damn I’m going to find a way.

I don’t like pain. So when something hurts or I feel like I’m going to hurl or even if I’m just uncomfortable, I seem to find ways to defeat myself. I’ve done it in quite a few workouts. I don’t thrive under the pressure of competition. I just get into my own head and somehow convince myself that I just can’t do it.

So I don’t.

Where Do I Go From Here?

So now what?

My knees “hurting” is just an excuse. They’re fine. Sore, but pretty much back to normal.

How the hell do I get out of my own way and just complete a damn workout? What kinds of mental games do you play with yourself?

I’m open to suggestions at this point, because it’s a problem and I need to solve it or I’m going to keep running into it again and again.



4 thoughts on “Fear and Loathing in My Noggin’ – aka DNF”

  1. Try this: When it feels like it’s too much, just lower the weight/reps or scale the moves. If, after that, it still feels like too much, I always repeat this in my head “one more rep, just one more rep.” And when that rep is done, I repeat the procedure. If I still lack the motivation, I try to think back on how I felt when I DNF and that usually does it for me. I do one more rep and repeat my mantra until I finish. Crossfit is (IMHO) a lot more mental than physical. You just have to prove to your mind that you’re stronger than your inner voice. It took me a while to get there, but unless I’m truly hurt, I rarely DNF anymore. Keep positive, you got this!

    1. Hi Val! Usually that works for me too. One more rep. One more step. Whatever it takes. But for some reason I stepped to the bar on Monday preset to fail in my head, which killed me from the start.

      And yes, I feel awful when I DNF. Yesterday I went back and my brain was throwing all sorts of excuses on why I should just go home, because it’s always tough for me to walk back in after I have a DNF day. But I did go in. And I finished the workout (50 snatches for time in 10:02 at 95#) so I felt a bit better about the week.

      Thanks for being part of the cheering section. 🙂

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