Here’s to you, 6 AM Crew

I love CrossFit (I know what you’re thinking: “Um, thanks Captain Obvious, I’m reading your CrossFit blog). I could rhyme off for you now a thousand reasons why I love it, but one thing I love even more than CrossFit itself is the people of CrossFit. I can’t say enough about the community I’ve built, amazing people I’ve met, and friendships I’ve made from my gym.

Before I started CrossFit, I’d seen posts on friends’ Facebook, and read on Carrots ‘n Cake about all her great CrossFit friends and hangouts, but honestly, I really didn’t get it. Maybe it was because I never played team sports. Maybe it was because I had always seen the gym somehow as a negative. But until I tried CrossFit for myself, I didn’t realize how tight a community it was, or how it would become for me as well.

It’s no secret that I’m at the gym a lot. Since I love WODs and my own lifting program, I’m often there more than once a day. But my first loyalty will always be to 6 AM. I just love starting my day with a good workout (so much so that although I’m a teacher and have summers off, I still went to 6 AM class for most days during July and August).

What makes 6 AM even better though is our 6 AM crew. There are a few of us who have been around for longer, and some faces have come and gone, but I just love my 6 AM-ers. It takes a special kind of person to get up early and suffer through the pain of a tough WOD. I say all the time, it’s not for everyone (and we at 6 AM like it that way – we don’t want our beloved class getting too crowded).

6 AM crew has gotten pretty tight over the last month or so. First, it was the semi-impromptu mini potluck. We had a big weekend coming up (two of the crew getting married, several of us doing the partner competition at our gym, another one of us running a half marathon) so we decided we needed to mark the occasion. Of course, we all have jobs to get to and places to be, so we couldn’t linger long, but it was great to take even a few minutes to share food together. And now we’re planning to make it a recurring monthly event.

Next, there’s the Facebook group. To facilitate communication between members, we’ve created a secret (ultra exclusive) Facebook group. We use it to share potluck recipes, congratulate each other on tough WODs, and plan for upcoming social gatherings (more on that one in a minute).

And then there was Murph. Our gym does Murph (1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats then another 1 mile run) every year on November 11 for Remembrance Day. This was my third go-round, so I knew what was coming (other 6 AM crew members were a little upset at me for not posting a warning in our group πŸ˜‰ ). My goal this year: simply to finish it (something I’ve never done before in the 45 minute cap).

Weight vest is absolutely out of the question. And pull-ups are not where they need to be for me to attempt RX-ing that many. And I thought the 20 round Cindy option (5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats) was smarter for me than doing it chipper-style. But still, I just wanted to make it to the end so I could say I finally made it all the way through Murph.

We all worked at different standards. Some of us did half Murph. Some RX’ed pull-ups. Some RX’ed push-ups. Some of us had to sub movements due to injury. But we were all in it together, slugging it out and cheering each other on.

I somehow managed to RX all of the push-ups. That’s right. 200 total, all from my toes. I was sure when I started I wouldn’t make it to the end. At first I thought after the first 10 rounds I’d go to my knees. Then I thought maybe 15. Or I kept expecting Coach Duncan to cut me off, as I knew that if my form really started going, he wouldn’t let me stay on my toes. But after round 15, I was like “well, ok, I guess I might as well finish all of these RX.”

Anyhow, bodyweight movements are slow for me, and I had to break those push-ups up a lot, so I was the last one out the door for the mile. But somehow that didn’t bother me. And when I got back in, the 6 AM crew greeted me with cheers and applause. I did it. I finished Murph. I didn’t even think about coming in last. I felt like the biggest winner ever and went into my day knowing I could do anything.

And beyond potlucks, Facebook and hero WODs, 6 AM crew has started taking it outside of the gym. The day after Murph was our first social: tacos! We talked CrossFit (of course)…mainly it was a lot of “how sore are you?” the day after Murph (and, due to a little programming snafu, a couple of us did ANOTHER. HERO. WOD. the next day…oy) and sharing anecdotes like “I was peeling carrots and could barely hold them,” or my story of only doing my hair in a ponytail for work because I was too late (it took me just over 50 minutes to finish) and sore to do anything else. I also told Sandy he was my beacon of hope when I rounded a corner and saw him running ahead of me that last mile.

But we also found (thankfully) that we had other things to talk about and it was fun to see what we all looked like in our “real people clothes” and when we haven’t just rolled out of bed. There’s talk of more outings and even coordinating a 6 AM Crew Christmas gathering.

So I get it. CrossFit is much more than just a gym. It’s a community like no other. People of CrossFit, I love you all. But 6 AM Crew will always have a special place in my heart (and Jess, if you’re reading this, I am still holding out hope that one day you’ll come back to 6 AM).

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