I recently competed in a pairs CrossFit competition with a gym buddy.
It wasn't the first time we had done a competition together because about two years ago we entered a pair competition in the beginner category. Last week we competed in the intermediate category.
For those who don't know, CrossFit is a style of training that combines weightlifting, gymnastics and bodyweight exercises.
During a competition, the competitors are tested across each of these areas over the course of about five workouts. The workouts might be just weightlifting, or they might combine multiple aspects.
If you do CrossFit, you don't have to compete, but it is a good goal to work towards and a test of your abilities.
I'm a pretty positive person and like to expect the best, but all week leading up to the competition I was fretting about it.
The organisers had announced what the workouts were on Monday and Tuesday, and I spent the subsequent days over-analysing it. No matter how hard I tried to turn my brain off I often couldn't.
So I started thinking about some of the positive things I would get out of doing the competition.
Now it is over, and we didn't do so well, but we did enjoy it and we did get some positive experiences out of it and it gave me a new drive to train.
When we were out there, we were competing against only ourselves.
Well, that's not entirely true, you are technically competing against other people but for my partner and me, it was amazing to reflect on how we performed at the CrossFit competition a few years ago.
At that time we did terribly in the running workout, in other workouts there were movements one or the other of us couldn't do. I can't remember our final placing, but I don't think it was particularly high. I do remember feeling slightly defeated and robbed by the fact some more-elite athletes were clearly in the wrong category.
The other weekend we were definitely in the wrong category and got smoked because of it, but it was amazing to see how much we had improved in certain movements.
I would rather place 10th knowing I did my best than come first knowing I lied about my abilities and was in the wrong category.
But despite how far we've come, there is always room for improvement and competition provides the refreshed push to improve.
Comparing ourselves to other teams was inevitable, but it was a chance to go back to the gym the following week with a refreshed drive to improve.
And finally, you don't have to be the best to feel the best. There were a few workouts where we didn't place highly, but we were proud of our performance.
We pushed hard and genuinely did the best we could do.
And that is something to be proud of.