I happens to everyone at some point. It happens to me a lot. My goal in a work-out is to not be last. It seems like a reasonable goal. Most of the time I have to scale to make that happen. Sometimes I have to scale and I still finish last.
Finishing last gets old. But at the same time, I don't particularly mind. After all, it isn't a race. I'm not competing with anyone at the gym. My only competition is myself.
I read this article today: Crossfit 101: Don’t cheat on burpees
I could have written that article. I've actually been thinking about that for days. I was amazed at the coincidence that someone else was at the exact same place as me when considering scaling. I've been doing Crossfit for just over 3 months now. Going from inactive and pregnant to athlete isn't going to happen in just 3 months. So it's perfectly reasonable to scale. Everyone would agree with that logic.
But at what point does scaling become cheating?
I don't have a clear answer. I only know that if I don't leave everything I have at the gym, I feel like I've cheated.
Sometimes after a work-out if I feel like I could keep going, I'm disappointed. Obviously I didn't work hard enough. I've gotten to where I take it in stride. If that's the case, then I know for sure next time I shouldn't scale quite so much.
Sometimes after a work-out if I feel like I could keep going, I feel dumb. Because I knew when I started I wasn't doing as much as I can. Those work-outs always involve a movement (or movements) that I'm not good at. I don't know anyone that likes to do things they aren't good at. And I've wondered lately if I've been using my need to scale as an excuse to slack on those movements.
It wasn't so much wondering, as realizing what I was doing. When I started, I was scaling because I couldn't do the movements in a reasonable time. Three months later, I'm leaps and bounds stronger and more capable, but I'm still scaling the same.
My biggest excuse: I don't want to finish last.
Gave up that excuse at the beginning of the week.
Wow, Crossfit has kicked my ass this week!
And I've finished last Thursday. I fought for every second of that time! I finished pretty damn proud of myself.
Friday, I had my turn to kick some ass. I didn't manage the WOD Rx (work-out of the day as prescribed (without scaling)). But I did it at the higher level. And I managed to do one of the skills unbroken (meaning without rest) at a higher weight than I've used before. Which is a great accomplishment.
From now on, my new rule for myself will be not to scale just to not finish last. If I don't want to finish last, then I just need to work harder. And if I do finish last, I'm going to make sure that I've worked hard enough that I'm proud of finishing last.
Because finishing last is better than not finishing at all.