This August, #PreenFitSpo stories run around the topic of fitness, while striding in related matters of athleisure, pop culture, and romantic relationships.
Just when I didn’t want to be in a game, mind you.
It was June 2013. In cold Korea, I was with other passionate, strong individuals sweating it out at a regional CrossFit game I didn’t think I’d be in the first place.
Here I was, the editor-slash-stylist who simply wanted to lose weight back in the summer of 2012, about to play my game strong like I worked for this my whole life. As if I wasn’t traumatized by my grueling first time in 2011 when I couldn’t walk straight for four days. As if it didn’t take me 10 sessions from DealGrocer to realize that wow, I can actually do this.
It took a lot of pep talk from my coach to get me here. “But..but..I did it for the exercise! I don’t want to be pressured! I’m not as strong as the other girls!” I stammered. He answered by asking me to join in the Open Qualifiers. What a bro.
In the end, he took me to where I needed to be.
After months of training, physically and mentally, my team made it to the Regionals and competed with the fittest teams in Asia.
I loved watching the events and seeing the athletes fight it out with all their strength. I watched more experienced players—one of them being Nate, a tall, blonde guy from Singapore with longish hair and just enough scruff to look rugged and sexy.
He came over to give one of the guys from our home team a high-five and I remember thinking he was cute. (And half-wishing I was on that WOD floor also so he could high-five me too). Of course, I had to tell my friend he was cute. Okay, maybe I told everyone. My bad. Much diyahe.
But who cares, no one knew him anyway.
The following year, 2014, he and I were in the games again. By this time, we talked—if you consider a generic “good luck” greeting as a conversation. I knew him, he knew my teammates. As much as I tried convincing people that I was done crushing on him, they weren’t done teasing.
We finally talked casually in the afterparty.
Things went well—we were having fun, his teammates left him, he stayed, he got my number. And he started texting every day after that.
“We just landed,” he texted, when we’ve all left for home. I mean, what do I reply to that when I know that 1.) he lives elsewhere, and 2.) who knew* if and when I would see him again? You’re in the same region anyway! Make friends in the CrossFit community! Fine, friends. “Cool! Hope you had a good flight,” I texted back, I think a little bit too eagerly.
Social media is a godsend. Thousands of miles from each other have been bridged by a simple text. Being in the same time zone made things easier.
I had early on asked him what all the effort was for, to which he readily answered that he was attracted to me and interested to know me more. See? Easy. No mind games, just plain straightforward.
It’s not every day you get a guy who tells you upfront just why they do the things they do. Even if that means dating virtually, meeting via screens a few times a week (a day), patiently waiting for the next opportunity (or excuse) to see each other in person.
Things started to progress.
I looked past the endearing scruff, and valued his kindness, his being considerate. A few flights—most of which were last-minute—many conversations, and a lot of patience later, we found ourselves spontaneously joining a throwdown in Singapore where he was. This time, on the same team.
It was bound to happen: a couple who met in a competition will compete together eventually. I had my apprehensions. What if I end up getting annoyed at him? What if I get so pressured to perform with him? What if I wasn’t strong enough? I ditched all those thoughts, and just decided to go all out. This is where all those training days at the box and all of our talk about having a great understanding between us come to the test.
It turns out—we were good.
It was our first time to win a competition, thanks to great coordination, smooth communication, and teamwork. First-time teammates and first-time taking first place, baby!
Just when I thought that was our sweetest moment, he proposed to me a couple of months later. We’re now in the last few months of our wedding prep, getting ready to finally end our LDR this December.
I don’t thank CrossFit for getting me out of the single zone. But I thank it because I found something to love. Something that’s beyond weight loss, something that’s beyond an adrenaline rush. It taught me the discipline to work and thrive in something—whether it be a CrossFit skill or the ins and outs of sustaining a long-distance relationship.
Both needed as much time and effort. I can’t think of anything with more satisfying returns. “No excuses, just results,” they say. And I agree.
(As told to Preen)
Art by Dorothy Guya