Retired. Navy Capt. Dave Robey tackles the Potomac River's winter rapids. Photo courtesy of Dave RobeyWhen I learned to kayak a few years ago the instructor stopped us on the side of the river before a difficult section. The water rushed through a narrow passage that shot straight towards a gigantic rock face and the river made a sharp turn. He told us “Don’t look at the rock. If you look at the rock and think ‘Don’t hit the rock’ you will hit the rock and flip over every time. If you concentrate on the direction you want to go, think to yourself ‘Go that way’, and go as hard as you can, you will hardly notice there was an obstacle.”

For months I have believed that I am no good at overhead squats. So I have put extra time into it. That is a good thing, right?  Well, sort of. I recently realized that I may have subconsciously undermined some of my extra efforts. Maybe I did less reps or less weight because I didn’t believe I could do more. Or maybe subconsciously I excused myself for poor form because I thought I could not do better. There is a fine line between being aware of what you have difficulty with so you can work on it and inadvertently sabotaging yourself with doubt or dread. If CrossFit has taught me anything it is that the biggest obstacle to overcome is usually in my head.

Yesterday the workout was 100 overhead squats for time at 65#. I wondered if I should lower the weight “since this is one of my weaknesses”. But the trainer said “You’re fine at 65”. So I thought “Okay, I can do these. They need work like everything else and here is my chance to do that work.”  What a difference. It was no harder or easier than 100 wall balls or 100 pull ups or anything else. And in a workout that is probably intended to be 8-10 minutes I set a benchmark of 12 minutes and 30 seconds and I intend to smash that next time around.

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