The Clean Plate Club

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by Sara M. Littlefield


Today I learned, officially, that my clean is broken.

It’s busted.

I am not a member of the CrossFit Clean Plate Club. My clean is dirty and ugly. A full on Monet. (The movie Clueless to my generation is The Mean Girls of this one. Don’t get the “Monet” reference? Google it.)

It’s a damn good thing I have a sense of humor or I might have busted into tears right there on the mats before the WoD as Coach kept drilling me with commands. “You’re too slow through the hips!” “Don’t bend your elbows!” “Start from the high hang…get that bar into your hips.” “It needs to be ALL ONE movement!”

Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.

Not since the day that I burst into tears doing snatches after CrossFitting for just under month did I feel more frustrated and unsatisfied with the way the bar felt in my hands.

We all have that one thing that humbles us and keeps us searching for that breakthrough moment.

Maybe it’s reflected in the speed rope shaped bruises and lashes on your arms and legs. Maybe it’s shown in your callouses and hand tears. Maybe it’s the 30 minutes early you show up and the 30 minutes late you stay trying…one more time.

For me that breakthrough moment is going to be when the bar lifts off the ground and magically travels through the pathway of unicorns and rainbows, my elbows fly under the bar with the speed of a Mexican mouse and lands beautifully against my chest with the lightness of angels.

Until then I have a looping bar path, slow elbows, and no follow through in my pull. Until then I stand with my shins against the bar, my butt down, my chest up, and my thumbs hooked under my fingers, a silent prayer playing on my lips that this is the time it feels right.

The most important thing any CrossFit athlete has isn’t strength, stamina, endurance, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, or accuracy…it’s heart and the will to try again.

Even if it is tomorrow.

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