A few years ago, some friends and I loaded up into a rented RV and headed west on an adventure to see the country. We were on the road for 9 days and experienced so much that our beautiful land has to offer.
Traveling across Kansas, we woke up at 4:00am to see a full fledged lightning storm no more than 5 miles away, running parallel to our road. We were under a fully clear sky.
We found Route 66 and hung out in the town they made the movie Cars about. We hiked through the Sequoia’s amazed at how enormous those trees are. We swam in natural hot springs, climbed up the side of a Yosemite falls, did pushups in the middle of the road in front of Monument Valley, and found a $6 steak in Las Vegas.
We did a lot in just over a week.
One experience stands apart as unique in my mind from this trip. It was about two in the afternoon, and we pulled over our RV at the rim of the Grand Canyon. If you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, it’s too much to put into words, even for me..
We ran through the entrance and right to the viewing area and began taking it all in.
Then a couple of the guys walked past the little rock fence and right up to the edge of the beautiful abyss. They were inches from certain death. They took the experience in with massive gulps.
Where was I? I was being the good, safe, rule-following citizen standing behind the fence. I was missing the real view because I was trying to be “responsible”…
My margin was about 15 feet at the Grand Canyon. That was the distance between “safe” and “dangerous”. That margin prevented the fullness of my experience that day, and I’ve been kicking myself since then.
Sometimes that “safe margin” is real wisdom, and going past the fence will result in catastrophe. But sometimes it’s better to push it just a little bit. Risk isn’t always right, but sometimes it is. And the rewards can be gratifying.
If you’ve been doing CrossFit for less than 6 months to a year, it’s probably best to keep things under control. Stay behind the fence and remember our principle of Mechanics, Consistency, and Intensity.
But, if you’ve been doing it for more than a year, you should probably spend time on the edge of the abyss on some kind of recurring basis. Push yourself hard enough that the wheels threaten to fall off, or actually do. This is where you become transformed. You either realize that you have more to offer than you thought, or you discover you actual limits. These are the experiences you remember. The ones you talk about for years.
They’re the embarrassing failures, and the huge PR’s! But they’re definitely not just another workout.
I don’t want to get to the end of my day, my year, my life and regret standing on the wrong side of the fence.