The Opinionated Manager

learning to trust my own opinions and expertise

What it feels like to come last


Photo Credit: The Fitographer

On Sunday afternoon I finished unpacking the groceries then locked myself in the toilet and cried. Big quiet tears of frustration, anger and embarrassment. Then I wiped my face down, went back to the kitchen and made everyone lunch with my usual smile on my face.

The day before I had taken part in my first Crossfit competition – a beginner-friendly comp that was fundraising for my Box (gym), Crossfit 4017. I was there with some old mates who have been going to Crossfit with me this year, and some fantastic new friends that I have made at the Box.  Stacks of people – young, old, fat, skinny, fit, strong – were out in force to compete and have fun.

When the results came through on Sunday afternoon I found out that I had come last. It wasn’t exactly a surprise and I had been talking through exactly that scenario in my head in the days and weeks prior to the comp. But in the end it was still a bitterly disappointing moment when I read my name all the way down the bottom of the list.

I am 36 years old, 75kg, with no upper body strength, terrible aerobic fitness and really poor flexibility. I have been athletically useless pretty much all of my life – even at my peak In-The-Navy fitness I was generally terrible. Always the worst in my class or unit.

In many ways I am used to it, to the failure, to the coming last. It’s kind of OK. Because I know it’s going to happen I can just get on and give it a go anyway. I am deadened to the humiliation, so the fear of it doesn’t stop me.

But it is frustrating. My body is the same as yours. It has the same muscles, same organs. So they should be able to do the same things. And that is where I feel the greatest betrayal, that I try, but I rarely improve. My body ignores me.

This can’t really be true. I mustn’t try hard enough, or stick with things long enough. It must be what is in my heart and my head that is the problem.

The people around me tell me, Well Done. They think that because I am out there giving it a go when others are not that I am doing great. But sometimes that is not enough for me.

After lunch I checked back on the results to see how my mates went. Looking more closely at the list I realized that there were rankings for each workout as well as the overall ranking. I checked my placing again. I didn’t come last in any of the three individual components. Sure, my overall place was still last, but in each workout I wasn’t the worst. I burst into tears in front of my family, because this time I was so happy! I live to fight another day!

See you at the Box!

I know a lot of you have no idea what Crossfit is – I’m planning a follow up post detailing the day’s competition, but this is the post I wanted to write first.


23 comments on “What it feels like to come last

  1. coloursofsunset
    July 9, 2013

    ok, from what I’ve seen of crossfit it is hard as shit. I have been doing personal training for a year and it scares the crap out of me! I don’t even have the guts to do it. So in my eyes, you didn’t even come CLOSE to last! You went and did it, and beat ALL of us who would never even dream of doing such a thing! Keep at it! I know it is really frustrating to feel like you’re not improving, but I bet you are. x Aroha

  2. Lisa@Circle of Toast
    July 9, 2013

    I am totally in awe that you did it – the vast majortiy of people (me included) are too lardy-arsed to even think of entering something like that – good on you!

  3. Eleise
    July 9, 2013

    I understand this one! Last year Miss 14 and I competed in the aquathon, I slowed her down a little in the swim and she slowed me down a bit in the run, in the end we crossed the line and everyone was estastic. That night hubby decided to check the results and we had come in 6th last, I was quite upset, silly really but I had trained hard and I was so rediculously proud of Miss 14 completing the event. Now I think, I beat all those people who didn’t even try.

  4. There is no shame from getting out there and doing it! Imagine the fitness level you would have if you didn’t. Cant wait for your next post so I can learn more about the Crossfit! Now you have a baseline so when you enter the next comp you can improve!

  5. Sarah @ Slapdash Mama
    July 9, 2013

    Mate if I had been there I would have come last. You beat me.

  6. Kate JM (@run_kjm)
    July 9, 2013

    I understand what it’s like to come last, it really does hurt! The most important thing is that you ‘get back on that horse’ to fight another day. Well done for doing something outside your comfort zone, you should be proud of that alone 🙂

  7. Rachel
    July 9, 2013

    Katrina you are my hero! I would love to try cross fit (I’ve worked with a few people who do it and they are total converts) but I haven’t yet, and do you know WHY? It’s because I am so shit scared of coming last or being the worst in the class that I haven’t even had the guts to TRY. So yo are a winner a thousand times over in my eyes -YOU GO GIRL!

  8. Me
    July 9, 2013

    You know what Katrina – you may have come last but you are my hero !!! Anyone who goes out and gives anything a go is a hero to me. I know the feeling of failure when you have come last – I don’t know if I came last in the Twilight Run in Brisbane earlier this year – I didn’t even find out my time – I had that bad a run. It was p*ssing down with rain, I lost my glasses in the river we were running in and thankfully a kind lady stopped and helped me find them – they called the 21km race off because of the weather but I was out doing the 10km race and so pretty much had to finish. I was so disappointed that I never even looked at my time because I felt like a failure because it was a worse time than the previous 10km race I had run. When I think back on it now – I ran that race while I was undiagnosed with hypo-glycemia and adrenal fatigue – I was sleeping, on average 14-16hrs a day on the weekends in order to try to make it through the week – I think I did bloody well and certainly better than everyone else who didn’t do it. You need to be proud of the fact that you got out there and gave it a go – honestly – give yourself credit where it is due.
    You say that you have been athletically useless pretty much all your life and yet you go to gym and you enter competitions – I’m guessing you don’t sit and chat at the gym so you must be doing something that is good for your body !
    I think you may just be being a little too hard on yourself and I hope that in the future you will give yourself the credit you deserve !
    Love, hugs and heaps of positive energy !

  9. Have a laugh on me
    July 9, 2013

    After being so fit for so long I can imagine this. I used to be super fit, healthy, lean and strong. And right now I’m 35, 76-78kg, but SUPER unfit, out of shape and wish I could change. You probably don’t want to hear this but I kind of grateful that I’m not the only one who has a mountain (hill) to climb – I’m sure you (I) can do it! Emily

  10. Totally good on you for getting out there. And super congratulations not only for finishing but not coming last in some sections. It made my heart swell when I read that part. Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses to you lovely, keep on keeping on

  11. I’m just gonna do what you would expect to hear. Good on you for being involved, getting your arse of the couch and going for it. I wish I had your get up and go, your story will resonate with me when the kids are old enough that I can get out and do more exercise…for me. At least you have learnt where you need to improve, take that away 🙂

  12. Lani
    July 10, 2013

    Isn’t Crossfit that horribly hard workout for psychotic fit people?! Hells bells, my hat off to you. I can’t even run for the bus without a lung collapsing. And let’s face it, I haven’t run for the bus in a good while either.

    You know, I feel this way sometimes with my writing. I try and I try but I’m not getting very far in some aspects. I think I’m pretty good, I certainly try my hardest but then I fall short and it frustrates the hell out of me. And I wonder why my peers have more success than I do.

    Keep plugging at it. That’s all you or I can do 🙂

  13. EssentiallyJess
    July 10, 2013

    I’ve never been very athlete either, even struggling ti understand how people could run any distance at all some days. Some times it’s good to feel that disappointment; even better though to feel the joy at getting better too.

  14. Crossfit! You’re aiming too high! Go easy on yourself!

    You can only compete against yourself. Hard as it is not to compare yourself to others, but that’s what PBs and all that jazz are about 🙂

  15. Jacana
    July 11, 2013

    My gosh I would be just amazed at myself if I got through it – it is an incredible achievement. Well done

    • Katyberry
      July 12, 2013

      Thank you. I am really proud of myself

  16. Nee Say (@NeeSayer)
    July 11, 2013

    Man, not only crossfit but ALSO a competition?! Yeah, you’re a loser 😛 Good on you for getting out there. I don’t get fit. I just get cross.

    • Katyberry
      July 12, 2013

      Ha! I am totally going to use that one. Love it

  17. Pingback: What the heck is this Crossfit thingy, anyway? | The Opinionated Manager

  18. Joanne
    July 12, 2013

    I totally get it. I did a 10k running clinic and I was always at the back of the pack. I’m a terrible and slow runner. But I did it. Because my coach reminded me that while I might be the slowest in the group of 15ppl in the clinic, I was faster than the ppl on the patio we ran past eating beer and nachos. You are comparing yourself to ppl who are in the top fitness levels. Don’t compare yourself to them – compare yourself to the other 98% of the population.
    Just by participating you are in a top tier!

    • Katyberry
      July 12, 2013

      You’re a star! And you’re right – most of the time I know this, but every now and again it gets a bit much and I have a “life is unfair” tantrum. A bit like a child really!

  19. Natalie Church
    July 13, 2013

    I must admit Kat, I had a little tear in my eye when reading this. I see how hard you try and how much effort you put in, in the gym every time you walk through the door and it breaks my heart that you felt this way. I’m glad you could look at the other results and see how you faired in each one not just overall.
    BUT from my point of view, as one of the coaches at 4017 is that I wish you could see what we see… Honestly! What results don’t tell you is that when you first came in you couldn’t get your chest to the ground in a push up, you could squat to save yourself, you could barely put the 15kg bar over your head…. NOW, your push ups are full chest to ground, your squats are almost at full range now and the 15kg bar is just your warm up. This is all in a few months (while you work, take care of the family and everything else that comes with it.
    Michael and I are so proud of how far you have come, so what you aren’t the fastest, you aren’t the strongest but that doesn’t mean you don’t give it your absoiute best everytime you walk in, you don’t slack off and the others certainly are not working harder than you.
    Hold your head bloody high girl in a few short months you have come so so far, stick with it and watch out at next years comp.

  20. Pip (bub sweat and tears)
    August 13, 2013

    YUP okay read both posts and you’re still bloody impressive. The BEST thing is you can only get BETTER in your placing next Crossfit comp 😉 x

I love hearing your opinions and experiences, so please comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on July 9, 2013 by in Work/Life Balance and tagged , , , , .

Follow me on Twitter

Blogs and PR
%d bloggers like this: