CrossFit Team Series: Week 1 is in the Books
CrossFit Team Series: Week 1 is in the Books
The first week of CrossFit training was just like any other. You were supposed to do your normal workout routine, but there was one thing different. On Tuesday you had been told not to lift anything heavier than what you normally would have lifted during the day on Wednesday. Your coach explained that it’s all part of a new program called “Team Series.” You were going to start off with very light weights, then gradually build up until you could no longer lift at all.
You were pretty excited when you heard about this new program. You didn’t think you’d ever get to lift something lighter than what you usually did! But after hearing the details of the plan, it sounded so good that you agreed right away.
When you arrived at the gym, you saw a bunch of guys already waiting to begin their workouts. They looked really tired too, which made you feel even better about starting out with them. You were glad to see that they all had some sort of shirt or jacket over their shirts, because it was cold outside. The place smelled kind of funky though; maybe its from the sweat hanging off everyone’s bodies. You were lucky that you had showered after work, so you only had to put on deodorant and light cologne before you left.
“Alright men, take five!” one of the coaches shouts as they all take a seat on the floor. The coach sitting next to you shares some of his energy bar, while the other coach goes over the plan for the day.
“We’re going to do something a little different today, just to mix things up,” he explains. “Normally we start off slow, but today we’re going to start things off with a bang! In about ten minutes, we’re all going to run a mile. After that, we’ll come back here and start the real workout.”
When the coach says “run a mile,” you get excited. You were just at your high school reunion last weekend, and people couldn’t stop talking about how fit you are—especially your old track coach! Everyone was asking if you still run, and you were just about to tell them you haven’t since high school, but then you remembered that you do now! That’s why you’re here: to run.
The coach starts his stopwatch as the ten minutes approach, then blows the whistle to start. You take off down the street at a slow trot, trying not to go too fast. You don’t want to tire yourself out before the workout even begins!
After a couple minutes, you find your pace. You feel good. Really good. In fact, this jog is almost relaxing! It feels so good, in fact, that you start imagining yourself running down a beach at sunset.
The cool sand is beneath your feet, and the soft breeze pushes gently against your face. You can almost taste the salt of the ocean as it washes up onto the shore.
“Alright men, we’re back here!” yells the coach, interrupting your thoughts. “Let’s get to work!”
You look around. Somehow, you had run nearly a mile—you were so lost in the moment that you didn’t even notice!
How long had you been running?
You pull out your phone and see that you’ve been gone for a half hour!
A half hour? How is that possible?
You were just sitting on a bench ten minutes ago!
“Hurry up and change! We’re starting SUPERSET ONE,” the coach yells as you walk inside.
! You thought we were supposed to start light, not do supersets on the very first day!
As you get ready for your first exercise—prone hip extensions with 90-degree knee bends—you remind yourself of why you’re here: to get fit. And to do that, you need to push yourself harder than you’ve ever pushed yourself before. That means doing things you may not want to do.
You’ve got this.
Not just your muscles, though your quads and glutes are screaming at you, but internally too. It’s been non-stop action since you walked through the door of the gym, and you’re barely keeping ahead of the pain. You thought that by doing the run and getting warmed up earlier, you’d be ready for this, but you’re really feeling it today.
To make matters worse, the coaches don’t let you ease into any of these exercises. You’re straight into doing the exercise at full speed and weight. You don’t even have time to set the weight down between reps, you just do them as fast as you can.
The warm-ups alone leave you soaked in sweat, and your muscles feel like they’re going to collapse. You see a lot of people leaving after the warm-ups, saying that they can’t handle this level of intensity.
It’s tough, but if you stick with it you know you’ll get through this, so you press on. The coaches take pity on you and give you short breaks between exercises, which allows you to recover a little.
The next hour or so is a blur of activity. You try your best, but you’re usually struggling to keep up. The coaches really know what they’re doing, as they are able to motivate and push you further than you thought you could go.
After the third superset your knees begin to ache from all the bending and straightening, and your back starts to spasm as you try to squeeze out those last few reps.
The last hour is mostly a blur. You’re struggling to keep your head above water, and you’re mostly just focusing on the pain and trying to will yourself to move. You even begin to hallucinate a bit and find yourself laughing during some of the exercises.
At long last, it’s all over. You collapse onto your back and try to catch your breath. The coaches return and hand you a sports drink, which you chug greedily.
“That was great!” you exclaim. “I want to do it again tomorrow!”
Coach Gloom stares at you, a mixture of pity and guilt on his face.
“I’m sorry, but we’re not training you anymore,” he says.
What? Why not?
I can keep going!”
“I’m sorry, but I’ve seen enough. You’re obviously gifted physically, but you lack the mental fortitude to be a soldier.”
You stare at him, too tired to even argue.
“Alright, I guess I’ll see you around.”
You walk outside and find yourself reeling from the heat. It’s only been a few hours, but you already feel like you’ve gotten used to this place. You jog home and collapse onto your bed, sleeping the sleep of the dead.
When you wake up, it’s pitch black outside. You have no idea what time it is, but it feels late. You open your window and find that all the lights in your neighborhood are off. This confuses you, since people in this neighborhood are typically August sleepers, like yourself.
Suddenly, you hear a thumping from outside. You hop out of bed and approach your window, peeking out the blinds. Down below, you see a dark figure. It’s circling around the neighborhood, and every now and then it will let out a howl. From your vantage point, it almost looks like this figure is floating just above the ground.
This is enough to wake you up fully, and you start to doubt if what you’re seeing is real.
Have you been working yourself too hard? Are you falling victim to an increased exposure to the supernatural?
You shake your head and throw on some clothes. Maybe a walk in the cool night air will help you to think clearly again.
You exit your house and begin to stroll down the street, staring at the dark sky. The stars are out in full force, and if you look directly up you can almost see the veil of the sky torn open, revealing a vast emptiness that stretches beyond comprehension. Your breath catches in your throat as you stare upwards. The stars have always calmed you, ever since you were a little kid. They’re like the glowing orbs of an old lamp, a window to a place that’s just out of reach.
You continue staring upwards until you realize that there’s something else out here with you. You turn your head and spot a pair of eyes glaring at you from the shadows of a nearby yard. Your breath catches in your throat and you stand perfectly still, trying to will yourself invisible.
The creature lets out a low growl and begins prowling towards you. It’s some sort of canine, with green eyes that catch the light and gleam like lanterns. Its ears are perked up and it creeps forward slowly, almost as if it’s trying not to spook a frightened animal.
You consider running or, barring that, screaming for help. Before you can do either, the beast pounces.
To its credit, it manages to hit you exactly where it was aiming: right in the chest. However, while your body went down, your head stayed up, so instead of tackling you to the ground, it merely knocked you into the air.
You land with a thud and skid across the concrete, stopping at the base of someone’s driveway gate. You groan and pick yourself up, thankfully having escaped any major physical injury.
Your heart pounds in your chest and adrenaline floods your veins, but you feel safe for the moment. The beast hasn’t followed you, and you haven’t heard any sign of it since you got up.
It takes you a few minutes to steady yourself. After a few minutes of breathing in and out, you’re feeling more in control of yourself. You decide to head back home and get some sleep. If another one of those creatures comes after you, you’re fairly certain you can outrun it.
You make it back home without further incident and collapse into bed. You sleep a deep and dreamless sleep, and wake up feeling well-rested and refreshed.
You spend the next week going through your normal routine. You go to class, work at the pet store, and come home. You never see the creatures again, but you still keep your guard up.
It’s a full week after your first sighting that something unusual happens. You’re at work when one of the other employees comes up to you and asks if you have a second.
“I just got asked to watch this parrot while the old lady who owns it goes to the doctor,” she tells you.
you ask. “I didn’t know we had a parrot.”
“We got her last week,” the employee says. “This old lady has been releasing these birds in some park, and we’ve been taking care of them.”
“That’s nice,” you say, wondering where this is going.
“Well, we’ve gotten enough to release now, but we need a few more volunteers to watch them until the rest of the birds are ready for release.
Would you be able to help out?”
It occurs to you that this would be a perfect cover. The parrot could easily be one of the creatures you’ve been seeing, and if you were watching it, you could get it when no one was around…
An hour later, you’re in a small room at the zoo with a large cage. A very colorful bird with a large curved beak sits within.
“Watch him,” the employee tells you. “The owner will be back in a few hours to pick him up.”
The employee leaves, leaving you alone with the bird. You spend a few minutes just watching it, but nothing seems out of the ordinary.
Maybe the creatures only transform if they’re outdoors, you think. You won’t know for sure unless you take a chance, though.
You leave the room, entering another behind it. This room is empty except for a few chairs. It seems to be for watching the animals when you need to, but your zoo doesn’t have any other animals right now.
You go back into the watching room and get the bird’s attention. He watches you closely with bright eyes. “Hello,” you say as you open the cage door and enter.
The bird doesn’t seem to have any fear. As soon as the door opens, it hops over to you and hops up and down on your arm, demanding attention. You reach your other hand out to it, and it gently puts its beak on your index finger. You slowly move your hand downward, scratching its chest lightly.
Suddenly, a pain shoots through your arm. The bird snaps its beak closed, piercing your arm. You yank it back in pain and see blood trickling down your arm. The bird hops away from you slightly, as if wary of your sudden movement.
“Shit!” you say, standing up and trying to stop the bleeding. The bird snaps its beak at you a few times, as if confused by your sudden fear. “I thought you were friendly,” you say to it as you see the beginnings of scars form around its beak. It’s probably had this done to it before.
You quickly leave the room and find some bandages, returning to wrap your wound. As you do, you realize the folly of your ways.
What if the creature is just naïve, and doesn’t mean any harm?
You just freaked out on it and left. It probably won’t come back now.
You finish bandaging your wound and sit down to think. The creature was aggressive enough that it hurt you, but it didn’t seem vicious.
The parrot seemed to be enjoying your attention at first, so why did it attack?
Was it just scared?
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