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I made the decision going into this season to break things off with the leaderboard.  Our relationship over the years was a very unhealthy one- I allowed it to dictate my emotions and feelings.  I even based my self-worth on that darn thing.  

As with any break-up it was messy, hard and I was tempted to go back several times.  My first test was going through the WZA qualifier. Initially, I experienced the symptoms similar to an addict going cold turkey.  I experienced feelings of restlessness, anxiety and irritability.  It was scary having no idea where I stood or how I matched up to the other competitors.  

But then over time I started to feel a sense of peace I had never experienced during a qualification period or competition.  Yes, it was unsettling not knowing where I was sitting but I discovered when I wasn’t checking that dang board every 5 minutes there were other things I could do with my life.

I could read, write, go to the beach and spend time with my friends and family.  And even more valuable, I was able to be present in the moment because I wasn’t worried about my placement.  I wasn’t thinking that I would have beaten so-and- so if only I had gotten two more reps.  I couldn’t obsess over the qualifier because there was nothing to obsess over.  

I did the workout, gave my best effort and then left it at that with no regrets and no what-ifs.  I don’t think I fully appreciated how much energy I wasted over the years obsessing over the leaderboard, beating myself up because of where I was placed or because I didn’t beat an athlete I thought I should have beaten in a workout. I WASTED ENERGY ON THINGS I COULD NOT CONTROL.

The greatest benefit I discovered while competing in WZA this past January was that the leaderboard no longer had control or power over my emotions.  What I mean by that is, over the years when asked during a competition where I was currently placed, my responses were always along the lines of…  “I am sitting in so-and-so, hoping for a better day so I can keep moving up.”  The feelings associated with that response were disappointment, embarrassment, frustration and fear.  

However, at WZA it was a different story- my response was…  “I have no idea, I am just going out there and doing my very best and based on that I feel great.”  And you know what?  Not one time did I feel defeated or anxious talking about the LB.  Rather, it boosted my confidence and made me feel empowered.

When I use my effort as a gauge for my performance,  I have the power to to control what I can control, (sticking to my strategy, giving my best effort and keeping a positive attitude) AND to affect change. I have the power, I am in control.  I become a much stronger and confident athlete.   


April Lowe is a competitive CrossFit Athlete (Master’s 40-44) who’s been pushing her limits in the sport for the past 8 years. She’s been to the CrossFit Games 1 time on a team, and 2 times as an individual. April loves sharing her life experiences and passion for fitness by blogging.

You can connect with her @cfaklowe on instagram and!