An Honest Look in the Mirror

Run 1 mile
155 pound Clean and jerk, 21 reps
Run 800 meters
155 pound Clean and jerk, 21 reps
Run 1 Mile

Named for U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Matthew T. Abbate, who was KIA on December 2, 2010, while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan.


Why Abbate? Why start with a long WOD?

As I pushed through the door into an overcast, misty morning I pondered this.

I knew it was the right WOD, but I couldn’t quite explain why.

It’s certainly a tough one. And I knew I needed to get my ass kicked. But there are any number of WODs that can do that.

The first mile went better than expected- I knew better than to try to sprint, so it was a nice, measured pace… fast enough to have me breathing hard, but not so fast that my form went to shit.

The rhythm of the barbell crashing to the floor after each clean and jerk was only interrupted by the short pause I allowed myself after every 7th rep. The natural cadence made it easy to keep the pace, as I repeated over and over in my head “Just one more rep.”

I was surprised at how much spring the barbell took out of my legs. Of the middle 800 meters, the first 200 were wobbly at best.

As I was gasping for air on that 800, wishing my legs didn’t feel like Jell-o, it started to dawn on me why Abbate was the right WOD.

It was because of the running.

Because I love running.

And because I suck at running right now. And I know it.

Running has always been a strength of mine in CrossFit, and I knew I wasn’t up to my personal standard.

I hear athletes all the time say “Oh I hate this” or “I suck at that.”

Good. Then go do it. Master it.

I think sometimes people are looking for a secret. Something to make it easier. It can’t possibly be this difficult.

But it doesn’t work like that. You don’t get to pick and choose your weaknesses, and you certainly don’t get to hide from them.

That’s something that I’ve always loved about CrossFit… it forces you to face your flaws, and to own your shortcomings. You don’t get to be really strong, but terrible at running. And you don’t get to be really flexible but amazingly uncoordinated.

We will expose your weaknesses in short order. And then, we will go to work improving them.

It’s like standing completely naked in front of the mirror and completely owning your own skin. No glossing over the blemishes. No getting the angle just right. Just pure, honest acceptance of yourself.

We don’t disregard the truths about our fitness. We don’t lie to ourselves about where we are. This is not a place for egos.

We’re not here to judge you for your flaws. We don’t care how fit you are. We care that you want to get better.

And that’s why I needed to suffer through Abbate. I knew the truth- that my running has become a weakness. And it’s time to change that.

Attack your weakness.