Three months. That’s how long I’ve been doing CrossFit. I remember my first meeting with my coaches Cody and R.E. at CTOWN West. Before I stepped into “the box” on that frigid February afternoon, I felt like I was, for the most part, in pretty damn good shape. “You rated yourself at a 7,” R.E. pointed out to me, all of my personal evaluation information scrawled on the dry erase wall. I couldn’t help but think there was a sassy subtext lurking in what he said. “Yup,” I shot back confidently. A week later I would eat that Yup like it was my job. Though I was coming off a slight post half-marathon injury, I was in the best shape of my life…or so I thought. I had some muscle definition from going to the gym about three times a week, and my running was fairly solid, you know…for February. One hour later, at the end of our meeting and when I realized what was in store for me, I was scared out of my mind. I briskly walked out the door, practically ran to my car, and instantly thought to myself, What in the hell did I just get myself into?
Six personal training sessions later, I was ready to join the big girl and boy classes. Once again, I was petrified. During my PT sessions with Cody, I would watch the classes; I would see all of these amazingly strong athletes completing all of these amazingly challenging workouts. Sure, I had gone through the lessons (and they were hard); I knew how to do the moves, but to put it all together in an actual class was on a whole other level. However, Cody was positive I was ready, and he encouraged me every step of the way. I cautiously walked up to the crowd gathering around the screen that displayed the WOD. Right away, everyone turned to introduce him or herself and welcome me. Were these the same uber intimidating athletes I had seen in the weeks past? They were all so warm and gregarious. What’s more, when I was working out, they encouraged and cheered me on; when it was over, they told me I did a great job. WHAT WAS THIS MADNESS! A “normal” gym experience usually entailed walking in, doing my thing, avoiding eye contact with all other humans, and quietly leaving. This was new and weird…and I loved it.
Now, three months later, I can’t believe how far I’ve come. I’ve hit so many milestones that I’ve lost count, but I know I have so many more to go. Typically in my training, I try hard to lose weight, but not this time. I’ve managed to put on a very healthy five pounds while shaving an inch off of my waistline. I was comfortable with the way that I looked three months ago, but now I’m elated! I’ve never had this much muscle definition in my life; moreover, I’ve never been physically stronger. My energy levels have climbed, and I don’t get bored with workouts, something I previously struggled with when I was doing the same moves on the same machines over and over again. But perhaps most importantly, my running game has vastly improved. A couple of weeks ago, I ran a 4-mile race at a 7:30 mile pace. The two weeks leading up the race were insanely hectic for me. I wasn’t getting in the mileage that I typically would leading up to a race, nor did I taper very well. However, I can say with ease that it was due to my newfound strength and stamina that I was able to complete the race in that fantastic time. Side note: I am so friggin’ excited to test out this new body (and mindset) in brick workouts and triathlons this summer!
So, to all of the naysayers out there who knock CrossFit, make faces at me when I tell them how I strength train, or scoff at the methods by which CF runs itself, all I’ve got to say is this: I’m sorry for you. That’s right. I’m not mad or even bothered; I just pity you. I feel badly for you that you think putting down any form of fitness that makes a person look good, feel confident, and live strong is “dumb.” I feel badly for you that you believe you need to mock a thing about which you know absolutely nothing. Sure, I could get hurt. I could also get hurt working out at a regular gym, or during one of my cycling training sessions, or getting out of my bed! My point is this: ignorance isn’t bliss; it’s just another word for stupid.
Thank you to Cody, R.E., and Tyler for being amazing coaches, for always encouraging, for always pushing, and for always being the voices of reason. Thank you to my newfound CTOWN peeps who are just as fun in the gym as they are outside of it; I am completely smitten with you weirdos. And thank you to all of the people in my life who don’t do CrossFit, or triathlons, or run, but who have supported my training every step of the way. You have all contributed to the person and athlete I am today, and for that, I am tremendously grateful. I very much look forward to what the next three months brings.