****Author's note- As of 12/6/09 parts of this blog have been changed from the original posting on the main page in June '08, however the original message is still intact.****
You know, I've been thinking. I know I know, I already put the fire out, and don't worry, I didn't really damage anything, but anyhoo. Seriously. I got to thinking the other day about my CrossFit story. The other day, someone told me that I could be an "unabashed poster child" for CrossFit. And that got me to thinking. Moi? A poster child for CrossFit? No. I'm not good enough. I don't know all the moves, I can't complete several of them (muscle ups, Full ROM HSPU's etc), and therefore there was no way that statement was true. But then he said something else. He said, "Define good enough. You're constantly improving, routinely hitting the WOD. Dedicated to CrossFit. I call that good enough."
Now, let me be the first to say, that when it comes to the actual movements of CrossFit, I still don't think I'm good at CrossFit. My form isn't perfect, and I'm certainly not strong enough to be considered good. But what this person said about the poster child got me to thinking. What if MY story could help someone else? What if MY story could help someone else see that they too can do it? What if my story inspired someone else to hang in there? My CrossFit story isn't necessarily pretty. In fact, there are parts of it that are downright unpleasant, but I think, I THINK that it's a good story to tell, because I think it shows the power that CrossFit can have. How forging that elite community can bring to you more than just a fun workout. How in essence, CrossFit saved me. I am going to air a lot of dirty laundry in this post, several things I'm sure that some of you would never have imagined of me, so please accept my cautions in advance. But hopefully, if you stick with me and read this long mess, you may be inspired to post your own story, and you may realize just how strong this program is. So, here's My CrossFit Story.
Through a very strange twist of fate in May '07, I met a wonderful man. I worked with his cousin at my old school, and while he was in Iraq, she was looking for people to correspond with him. My students were in between writing projects at the time, so I used the opportunity to review writing friendly letters and we began to correspond with him. Well, it seemed that he and I had quite a bit to talk about and it wasn't long until our class project had taken a different turn. When he came home on leave in mid-July we decided to meet up and spend a few days together. It was great. A terrific few days. While he was here, he mentioned that he had a friend who had just moved to Alexandria and started his own CrossFit program. Now, Bobby showed me Jerry's website and truly deserves the credit for first opening my eyes to CrossFit. Bobby had every intention of visiting Jerry while he was in town, however, I fed him one too many beers the night before we were going to go and thus we did not wake up in time the next morning. (Sorry Jerry, I take the blame for that one)
Well, Bobby of course had to return to Iraq and it broke my heart to watch him go, but I was really hopeful that when he came back things would work themselves out. Well, almost immediately following Bobby's return, trouble arose at my job and I was basically left with one option: quit. So I did. In my adult life I had never really quit a job. I had moved on, but there was never a severing of ties that was so unpleasant. My old principal was a jerk basically. I was swimming at this time, 3 days a week, but it wasn't doing much to help me. My stress was through the roof, I was panicking about finding a new job, and the end of the summer was drawing very close. I wasn't sleeping through the night, in fact I was barely sleeping three hours. I was not happy at all. Not with my situation, and certainly not with myself. I have always had weight issues. In fact for the middle of my high school years, by clinical definition you probably could have defined me as anoerexic. I didn't eat. It was a control issue. I hated my weight, and not eating was my control over it. Never mind the fact that I was a high school athelete and worked out at whatever sport it was that I did for at least 2 hours a day, usually more during soccer season. My high school sweetheart was a high school wrestler (and football player, and baseball player... yes, I was a good student, honor society lead in the show, and we were disgustingly cute) and eating was a no no back then. So moving into August of last year, some of those bad habits resurfaced, and I really wasn't happy.
I got to thinking about Jerry. Bobby had told me that Jerry's classes would make me fit, but that they were packaged in "hard work and sweat". So, I decided to email Jerry, and give this CrossFit thing a try. Well, I tried CrossFit, and wow. Was it hard. But I figured if I wanted to get better, I had to sign on the dotted line. So I did. I was lifting 15lb dumbbells for everything. TGU's were a nightmare for me. Push presses were difficult with 35 pounds. I loved the movements, but felt terrible about my output. Compared to others, I sucked! At the time, I was doing Tuesdays and Thursdays with only about 5 other people in the room. I started with Jerry only 2 days a week, and continued with master's swimming 3 days a week. I will fully admit that during this time I was a train wreck. I had found a new job, and had started at my new school, only to find that no one at my old school would speak to me any longer. I had esentially lost every friend I had made in VA, and at the same time, I was stressed out trying to learn a new grade level, and things with Bobby began to go downhill. Maintaining a long distance relationship was hard enough, but throw in my life complications and the fact that he was in the middle of Iraq and things became even more complex. I had a lot going on in my life and was having a hard time being supportive while he was in Iraq. It wasn't easy, and I commend the people who can do that because I couldn't get my head out of my own backside to do it. I failed miserably. But to me, the ending of that relationship just seemed like one more thing in my life that was falling apart. To me, it seemed everything in my life was falling apart at once. It seemed that life was certainly kicking me in my proverbial nuts. I certainly don't blame Bobby for it, a lot of it WAS on me, but all the same, the timing of it really stunk.
But, through all these things, I stuck with CrossFit. I was miserable, but I did it. I will admit to everyone that I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was at the bottom of the barrel. I could not have sunk any lower. CrossFit at times was the only reason I drug myself out of bed in the morning. Now, was I using CrossFit in a way it was not designed to be used, yes, but did it keep me up and alive? Yes. And that's where the power of CrossFit is amazing. When I was at my very lowest, I still wanted to CrossFit. I was slowly seeing improvements, and slowly was making friends in that elite ocmmunity. I can't tell you how much getting to know those people in that room and going through things with the people in that room helped me. Coach Glassman's idea of Elite Community doesn't end at the workout site. The elite community goes beyond the walls and beyond the doors. Once you have fought through things together at CrossFit, you feel as if you can rely on those people to help you with other things, and slowly but surely I did. And with those people, I was slowly able to pull myself up from the bottom of the barrel, and eventually slowly climb out. I won't lie. It wasn't easy. Letting people go hurt. I probably cried more betwen October and February then I would like to admit. There were days that I know Jerry looked at me with much concern. (hands down, talk about a wonderful trainer who cared that much!) But I was finding the more CrossFit I did, the stronger I became. When I felt physically more fit, I felt mentally more fit. I felt that if I could pick up a 60 lb bar, I should be able to deal with debt, or my weight, or losing a man or friends. And you know what? I was RIGHT.
CrossFit brought back a part of me that I thought I lost several years ago. My strength. Now, I don't want you to get confused. I don't mean my physical stregth, I mean my tenacity, my drive, my strength to be able to keep going and persevere when things in life get rough. I had gotten so wound up in everything, I couldn't see it. I didn't think I had it. CrossFit showed me the way. CrossFit taught me how to be physically strong, and it also taught me how to mentally be strong. I finally had to give up swimming because CrossFit two days a week just wasn't enough. I wanted more. I wanted to be around those people more. And as CrossFit helped me realize and remember all these things about myself, I knew that there was one final hurdle I needed to overcome. My weight. I have always had weight issues since those days in high school. CrossFit showed me how the Zone combined with exercise can work. It's showed me how the will power to eat right, instead of the will power NOT to eat, is a far better thing. CrossFit has not only helped to make me healthy mentally, it has FINNALLY showed me how to be healthy physically, and accept myself. For the first time in 26 years, I am comfortable with how I look. I like ME. And for a girl who used to cry because she hated how she looked, you can't possibly imagine the journey that has been. And I owe every ounce of that to CrossFit, and to Jerry. CrossFit can give you the tools to be a healthy person. I've gladly accepted the tools. I now CrossFit 4-6 days a week depending, and I love it and I pray to God that I never have to give it up, and that someday maybe I can have the money to do a cert and maybe be as contagious as Jerry and pass my love along. Remember me saying that when I started I used 15lb dumbbells for everything? Imagine yourself going from 15lb thrusters to 65. Squat cleaning 110lbs from not knowing what a squat clean was. Front squating 115lbs. Doing a PR 15 chins when before you couldn't even pull yourself over the bar. And that room that only had 5 other people? Now has somewhere between 12-15 other people depending. Obviously, they've caught onto the power of CrossFit too.
Perhaps this story makes me a poster child. Eh, I don't know. Nor is it really important if I am or not. But I know that my story shows the power of CrossFit. If this is what I can do, it can work for you. It can be more than just a workout for you. If you are feeling frustrated, that's ok. We've been there. If you are down, we've been there too. Hang with it. It will come and you will be amazed at how different you have become. But let's not get off track, this is MY CrossFit story.