So the workout of the day, the first CrossFit workout of my life, is going to be intense.
I know this, not because I'm a great student of CrossFit, not because I studied the CrossFit Journal, but because everyone connected with CrossFit York keeps telling me: "It's intense. It's really intense. It's a different level of intensity. You'll really like the intensity." And when the trainers and member say the word -- intensity -- the corner of their mouths turn up in a wicked grin, their eyes widen. They say it as though intensity is a good thing.
Let's get a few things straight. Being middle-aged, fat and slow, intensity sounds like something to be avoided. Not discovered.
So CrossFit York trainer Jason Lauer and his wife Lindsey promise they won't kill me. Not today, at least. They offer a simplified version of a CrossFit workout, think CrossFit for Dummies.
They demonstrate the correct form for a squat. They demonstrate how to throw a medicine ball off the wall, catch the ball and perform a squat -- only to stand and repeat the whole movement. They demonstrate how to squat with a 35-pound kettle bell, how to swing it between your legs and lift the weight to eye level in one motion. And they demonstrate how to jump on top of a wooden box without breaking your face.
My workout of the day consisted of repeating the whole ordeal in one-minute increments.
--- Wall ball: One minute of tossing the medicine ball against a wall, catching it and performing a squat.
--- Ringing the bell: One minute of kettle bell squats. Complete as many as possible.
--- Box jumps of death: One minute of jumping up on a box and jumping back down. Complete as many as possible.
--- Heaven: Rest for one minute.
Then repeat two more times.
That adds up to about a 12-minute workout. Sounds wimpy, right? I can remember thinking, I ran 5 miles yesterday, and this is supposed to be intense? Ha!
Other members were conducting similar routines and they looked to be going in slow motion. Nothing about it looked intense.
And then Lindsey Lauer started telling me to go faster, improve form, squat deeper.
I'd never heard the word "squat" this many times in my life, including the weekend Joe Paterno ran off the field in the middle of the game after being hit with GI issues.
After the first minute of playing wall ball, the first sign of a problem hit me on the 10-foot walk to my kettle bell. The first case of Jell-O legs hit. ... Didn't go down, though. I can remember being proud of that. I didn't collapse after one minute of hard exercise.
My next few thoughts are scattered...
Too much effort needed to exercise...
Not enough time to keep notes...
The box jumps looked impossible after swinging a 35-pound weight up and down. I realized I had become one of those slow moving-souls, struggling to do even simple tasks.
And when my pathetic little workout ended, I sat on the floor -- my shirt covered in sweat.
I've done long runs. I've run marathons. I've lifted.
And this was completely different.
It was ... to coin a phrase ... intense.
The devilish grin is optional.