Let me begin my admitting, I have never considered myself an athlete, unless an 8- year old little league (sometimes substitute) right fielder counts. I’ll admit, it’s likely they stuck me in right field because, statistically speaking, right fielders are less likely to be involved in any plays, and therefore less likely to negatively impact the team. Even as a young adult, I was passionate about the outdoors climbing, and yet it was never about fitness. I began my venture into health and wellness via a local globo-gym and felt that I was in good shape - above average, maybe.
Three years ago, after telling Jurney that crossfit might be good for her endurance training, she went to a local CF gym with a good reputation for an introductory evening, and signed us both up. I went through the beginning training two weeks after her because, yes, I was out of the country.
At my initial introduction, I met a petite young gal who told me she would be leading us through the 3 week ‘on ramp’ training. In those classes we would learn the various techniques, and proper form, after which we would test out of the training and be OK’d to join a “real” WOD. Liz Carter and Ian McLaughlin were right there with me.At first, I didn’t feel as though I needed an on-ramp, but I’m a team player and didn’t want my ego to get in the way. After the first session, two things happened: 1) Reality smacked me in the face and immediately converted my perspective on fitness, and was hit with the fact this training was going to be next-level; and 2) I was inspired by this – dare I say, tiny (and amazing) woman/coach - who could do pull ups, push ups and lifts with absolutely perfect form and she made everything look… oh so… easy?!? In that moment, I wanted to be just like Leah someday. I was happy she focused on technique before we were allowed to add any intensity or weight.
Coming out of the on ramp class with a new respect for how challenging the group WOD’s would be, I went into that first day a bit timidly. After a few months, I found I appreciated the style and chill manner of the soft-spoken early morning coach, and asked him for some help on the side. I told him I had a goal (insert absolutely crazy deadlift goal for any newbie here) and would like his help to get there within 6 months. Instead of laughing at me (which would be forgivable knowing how out of reach that goal probably was) he embraced my enthusiasm and gave me a reading assignment “5/3/1:” by Jim Wendler and told me he would think about the side-work in the meantime. Within a week, Dan had seized that teaching moment and provided a valuable lesson on having to “work hard” for one’s goals.
As time went on, Saturday became a fun day as we often did benchmarks and I had the opportunity to meet people that went to the noon or evening classes. One sunny Saturday a cheery young coach introduced us to a benchmark named “Kelly”. This seemed like one I would like, since I was able to lift the weight, and do movements of this ‘simple’ wod. Nothing like the Hero workouts with heavy weights.Ten minutes later - after the 2nd round - I was pretty sure I couldn’t finish this WOD, and might have to quit after 3. Some encouragement from the coach helped take my mind off of it - for about 5 seconds.
After the third round of wall balls & box jumps, I thought I might benefit from a jog to think about this quitting idea a little more. After the 400M jog, gaining some confidence, I thought I’d see how the 4th round would go for me. After those WB & BJ’s, I was dragging hard and desperate for an excuse. I did the math and figured I was 80% done, and should try to finish. I don’t really remember that last round. With the workout complete (I didn’t die), the young, smiling coach told me that this was her all-time favorite workout. Say what?!?The ever-cheerful Sam taught me a few things - a.) Never trust a simple WOD, b.) Never give up, and c.) It is possible to love something that hurts. When these 3 coaches said they were opening their own gym, I simply asked where, and when do I sign up? There was no question. The thought of a smaller gym and a whole new group of people was secondary.
These years later, the community our gym has become is the most rewarding part. The camaraderie of sweating (and sometimes bleeding) together, the encouragement yelled during workouts, and the enthusiasm shared as anyone meets a goal or exceeds a benchmark/PR is what defines this community for me. Meeting new people for the first time, embracing long-time members breaking through plateaus, and cheering on our regionals team are equally important. As to the next 3 years – I look forward to a new building to call home, more members, more friends, more kids running around, more goal boards with big fat check marks, more fun and enthusiastic Friday night fights, continuing to escape the pressures of work (even if it is just from 5:30-7:00 AM) and continuing to strive to achieve a higher level of real fitness/wellness.