“The Grateful Deep Dive” by Alejandra Morisi

Today we did a workout called “12 Days of Christmas”. We do this workout every year and it is a grueling, tough workout that takes nearly an hour to do. For some of us, it takes longer. And we do it listening to Christmas music the whole time. It has become a tradition for us at Baltimore Built Strength and Conditioning. We usually do it the Saturday before Christmas so we did it today this year.

I realized at the beginning that I was wearing the same top that I wore two years ago when I did this same workout. It’s a blue crop top that says “Rogue” in white, right in the center. I remember that day because it was right after my father died. And when we got back to the States, I decided to do this crazy workout anyway, to do my best to get back to “normal.” It had been 11 days since his death. And I remember the heaviness of it all that day; moving from exercise to exercise feeling like everything was so hard, that everything was so heavy. And what I remember is that I was the last one to finish in my class that year—by a lot. But everybody stayed around, encouraging me and everyone burst into applause when I finished. Remembering that today made me so emotional right before we started. There was a nostalgic Christmas song playing so that didn’t help. But it made me think of how much my gym family has ‘held’ me through moments of such sadness, stress and grief in my life. It makes me emotional to think of that day, of how sad I was and of how loved I felt by everyone in that gym. I looked for a picture that we took right after we did that workout. And there I am, right in the center with my Rogue crop top, literally surrounded by people who worked so hard beside me, people who supported me and held space for me as I made my way to the end of this workout.

Sometimes I wonder why we do such crazy workouts but then I think of moments like that and I just feel so grateful. Every encouraging word you generously offer me, every eye contact and nod, every glimpse of others working so hard is so profoundly meaningful. I remember an Amanda Allen post from years ago during the Open that described what we do in a way that deeply resonates with me. She wrote:

“Sometimes I think that what we do is silly, it’s just working out, exercising, then I reflect more deeply and know that what we are actually doing is overcoming, facing our fears, pushing beyond our comfort zones, digging deep into our character, holding ourselves to our personal integrity, turning up when we’d rather not, delving deep into the fabric of our being so we may grow stronger tomorrow, and strengthening our tribe as we stand witness to one another’s suffering and determination…You are what you repeatedly do…We don’t just exercise, we deep dive personal growth every time we workout…”    

So, yes, I am so grateful. To those who show up with me and to the coaches who make this happen for us. I know how much preparation it took for us to get to do that workout this year in the midst of a pandemic—to get to do it the way that we’ve done it every year. I don’t remember doing rope climbs before the pandemic this year but we definitely have not done them since March. Doing them today felt so hard! But it also made this workout “normal” because it’s what we’ve done every year. And I know they had to move all the ropes and space them out even more so that we could do them. I know that Tony and Meg were there until after 9 PM yesterday figuring out the set-up so we could safely do this in a socially distant way. And I know that all the coaches were there way before 7 AM today to make sure we were ready to go. And we all saw them cleaning up after us so they could bring in the next class.

So, thank you, to the coaches and to all of you who show up. You create the space for us to hold each other as we grow stronger and as we deep dive into our own personal growth.