Nini Hafoka at the top of San Miguel Mountain.
Nini Hafoka at the top of San Miguel Mountain.

DFL (Dead Freaking Last) and Proud of It!
Written by Melissa Hurley

There is no shame in being the last one working.
There is no shame in scaling.
There is no shame in finishing Dead-Frustrating-Last.

Because to DFL means you started, and better yet, it means you finished.

My mom is in her 60s and she is a CrossFitter. Some days she’ll text me saying, “I’ve had my workout clothes on all morning…does that count?” Other days she texts me a before and after picture with the caption “Showed up and finished – dead last but I finished.” She is my inspiration! She reminds me that taking the little steps makes us a winner. Without the little steps, we don’t get anywhere; sometimes the big steps are overwhelming, but little steps back to back make big gains.

Another inspiration to me in the gym is one of our Invictus athletes, Nini Hafoka. Nini started CrossFit at the beginning of the year with the goal to do 30 minutes. Come to class, warm-up, do the first portion of the programming and go back to work. Now she is challenging herself to attend the total hour class on Saturdays and one additional during the week. Nini took a small step and was probably a little scared. She started CrossFit, set a goal plan and is making huge gains and success. She got started, she shows up and she is finishing strong everyday.

Even if you finish with a single second left on the clock – you had a choice. You had the choice to try and crank out those last wall balls until the buzzer rang, or to give up and let the time slip away. You endured the pain longer than anyone. Your pain and your fatigue is no less significant than the person who finished first, and yet, you endured it for minutes longer.

Look up, stand tall, be proud. You finished! You chose to break through the barrier of self-doubt and muscle failure to create a new benchmark within yourself. You chose to reach deep and finish when there was no one left to beat.

DFL is not a mark of shame – it is a mark of pride, an acknowledgement of the courage it took to keep going when it was just you against the clock, a battle that you won. Show up, dig deep, give 100% of whatever your 100% is for the day, and finish strong.

DFL? Right On!

Notify me of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Marian Pease
Marian Pease
August 14, 2014 10:09 pm

oh…and by the way….I have always finished my rides. I have never “phoned home” for someone to come and get me!

Marian Pease
Marian Pease
August 14, 2014 10:06 pm

Thank you for writing this. I am a women, mid-50’s. Most of my life I have been overweight/obese and not physical active. About 5 years ago, I lost a large amount of weight and about 3 years ago began road cycling. I am often “DFL”. Sometimes, it really bugs me, even though I know that most of the cyclists around me are younger and/or have been doing this for many, many years. I have had excellent training and made friendships through this. I have to work very hard to even begin to try to keep up. I work with a… Read more »

Katherine Eitel
Katherine Eitel
August 14, 2014 7:50 pm

This was beautiful, Melissa! Could I repost a portion in an upcoming Monday Morning Stretch (with full credit of course!)?

Janice Hurley-Trailor
Janice Hurley-Trailor
August 14, 2014 7:08 pm

Awwwww. You made me cry. Love you You are my inspiration and many others.

Scroll to Top