Back in 2008, Tyler – just a shiny-eyed kid from the West End with a sub-300 deadlift and full head of hair – 'volunteered' to try this CrossFit thing. On February 1, he eagerly booted up his computer (such things were still done back then) and waited for CrossFit.com to load (ditto.)
His first workout: 10k run.
He recruited a few others, went out into the snowy streets, and did it. It wouldn't have been his first choice; it wasn't the most typical of what we thought was the CrossFit 'style'; it wasn't even fun. But he did it anyway. Thus did we learn both about the harsh reality of 'broad, general and inclusive' AND the happy reality that is Tyler Belanger. 'Do what's necessary' met 'do whatever it takes.'
If he hadn't done that 10k run – if he'd simply said, "I'll do yesterday's CrossFit workout instead," or "I'll start tomorrow," or "Let's wait until it's a workout I like…" things may have gone differently for Catalyst and CrossFit. We may have believed that it was acceptable to 'cherry-pick' workouts, or choose those that played to our strengths. We may have chosen to do those things that we perceived we "could" do – that damning word, full of both promise and limitation. If Ty had said, "I can't run 10k," I would have chirped him a little but blamed him not at all. I wouldn't have done it either. I'd painted myself into a small corner of athleticism – powerlifting – and powerlifters do NOT run 10k.
Nor do Olympic lifters, gymnasts, swimmers, kettlebell coaches…at least, not before CrossFit. Neither do baseball players, before Ty did. CrossFit showed us that the barriers we perceived as walls were really just windows. And anyone can smash a window.
You are not a 'runner.' You are not a 'powerlifter,' or a 'bodybuilder.' You are not a 'couch potato,' or 'lazy,' or 'fat.' You are an athlete, born if not raised. You may be specializing in one of these. You may be quite good at the pursuit of running, or quite bad. It doesn't matter. Look out the window: there you are, running 10k, with fluid gait or clunky stumble. It doesn't matter. Go do it.
(you can read Tyler's original blog posts from February 2008 here.)