37 Days Later, My Life Is Measurably Better

This weekend bore the results of a decision to return to The Discipline in my life.

I won 2nd place in my division of my first ever CrossFit competition, the Rumble By The River in Columbus, GA. I did not expect that. In fact, when I signed up, I fully expected to finish near the bottom of the list. The event included swimming and running, which I am FAR slower than most other CrossFit athletes at. It also included work that required a lot more finesse and endurance than I've ever put into any other event, even when I wrestled and played Judo as a youngster.

After the first round, the two mile run with a swim at the 1.5 mile mark, I was 13th out of 20 places. That's a full 7 places ahead of where I honestly thought I would be. In the second event, the ground-to-overhead press + burpees (21 reps of each, then 15 reps of each, then 9 of each, with weight going up on the bar for the press by 20lbs each round), I was the only person to finish under the ten minute cap.

The only one. I did not expect that either. At the end of two events, I was in 2nd place.

I knew the third event, the Thruster Ladder, was something I'd do very well at. A Thruster is when you bring the bar from the ground to your chest, squat with it while holding it in front of you, then pressing it overhead and locking it out. It's NOT easy, but it's something I am pretty good at given my years of focusing on power lifting. In the Thruster Ladder, you have to start with 95lbs and every minute on the minute, you go up 10 lbs. So by the time I came in 2nd in that round, pushing 245lbs up, I'd done nearly 20 rounds. I was beat by only one other man who got 255lbs, and he was a MONSTER.

Then came the fourth round -- 20 Wall Ball shots (where you take a 20lb medicine ball, squat down, and then shoot up and throw the ball at a target 10ft overhead, which you must hit or they don't count it), then a 20 meter Farmer's Carry of a 53lb kettle bell, then 20 kettlebell swings with that kettlebell, then 20 meters farmer's carry back to the wall balls. You had to do as many rounds as possible in 8 minutes.

I won that round. Amidst all the skinny fast guys, I got the most rounds, 3 full rounds and only one rep short of a 4th.

I was shocked. I won second. I had some very fierce competition, and somehow, I outscored nearly everyone 3 out of 4 rounds. It was amazing. And it was very validating. Every single second spent training came out that day. Every single meal I ate clean helped fuel me. My mental acuity kept me focused for the entire duration and I refused to allow myself to collapse until the very end. I left everything I had out there. The guy who came in first was a superior athlete who had an incredible run time, and he outscored me. I did not lose to him, I kept up with him. I won that day.

That's not the only thing walking this path has done for me. I'm also down nearly 20lbs, two pants sizes and 4 belt holes. I also had 9 features on Huffington Post, two on the front page of AOL.com, a pickup by the Oprah Winfrey Network, and I've produced a new book (which will be announced shortly).  As a result of all that writing getting all that attention, I reconnected with one of the most amazing people I've ever met in my life after she found an article of mine that went to HuffPo. She even made me dehydrated fruits and beef jerky for my competition, which I credit putting me a whole place ahead, because them shits was good, yo.

Everything I've experienced this weekend feels like victory. And it can all be directly tied back to the decision I made 37 days ago.

This is what The Discipline has done for me, in just 37 days. My life is measurably better. I can point back to a day when 38 days ago, and 39 and 40 and months before that, I talked about change. I wished things were different, I lamented my bad luck, and I cursed the name of anyone I presumed was at fault. Then I made a decision to return to The Discipline:

Write a note to myself every morning.
Blog every day.
Workout every day, twice a day if I can.
Eat clean every day.

That's my name for it. I call it The Discipline. My friend Casey calls it "walking the path." My friend Mark calls it "following the plan." My friend Jeremy calls it "getting your shit together." Whatever you want to call it, the bottom line is that 37 days ago, I changed. And all of that change has been rewarded. I cannot wait to see what happens next.

And I thank ALL OF YOU for your support. It means everything. You have no idea. I wish that I was able to communicate in a way that wasn't simply words on a screen; I wish I could somehow directly connect my heart to your brain so you could feel just how much I mean this. But for now, this will have to suffice:

Thank you.