I’ve always been an athlete – from gymnastics as a little girl, to year round sports in school, intramural sports in college, and triathlons and running as an adult. I was never an all star – always the 110% award or most spirited, but I loved the competition and camaraderie of being part of a group.
I had been running quite a bit and had recently changed my focus from finishing to racing. I had found the satisfaction of setting a goal, working at it, and getting faster. I knew strength training would make a difference but frankly didn’t know what I was doing. I was intimidated by the weight room and knew just enough to tool around on some machines. Focused on running, family, career, health, and former triathlete turned runner, I wanted to try something new! I was achieving goals I had set and was ready to make some new ones.
A few people I knew were either doing Crossfit or heavy lifting. I was intrigued by their strength and their confidence. So I thought I would give it a try! I was excited to be part of the atmosphere of having a bunch of focused, like-minded people around me helping push me to improve and learn a new way to workout. I thought I was in pretty good shape when I showed up for elements at 480. I had just set a PR in my last half marathon and was getting faster. I showed up and was totally humbled. I remember leaving elements the first night convinced Derek was going to tell me I was hopeless. We tested our pull ups on the last elements session, which consisted of the other guy knocking out a handful and me grimacing while hanging from the bar. I was frustrated – I could not do a single pull up, could not climb a rope, nor do a power clean… but I was hooked!
For my first few years of CrossFit 480, I was still really focused on running. CrossFit 480 helped make me stronger and faster, and after being inspired by another girl at the gym, I realized I might actually be able to qualify for the Boston Marathon. She talked me into giving it a shot, and on a short training cycle, a lot of base miles, and 3 days a week at 480, we raced together in California and I qualified with a time of 3:23. I ran my dream race, Boston, in the spring of 2014 and then capped it off with another marathon in California six days later.
I was happy to hang up my shoes after Boston. I had always wanted to get there but I knew there were better things for my body than the stress of all those miles. I had some catching up to do with the amazing 5:30 AM girls who just kept getting stronger. I wanted to be able to do double unders, pull ups, and get some more weight on the bar – there’s no shortage of things to improve on at Crossfit.
I am amazed with how much progress I have made since I have put in the focus and work at 480. Putting in a few extra minutes each day has made a world of difference – whether it’s double unders, pull ups, or getting to the RX weights. It’s exciting to find a new challenge (right now it’s hand-stand push ups), build a plan, put in the work and see your efforts pay off. More than anything, CrossFit 480 has helped me separate my self-esteem from the size and shape of my body. I think most people, but especially women, grow up focused what size they are or how much they weigh, or how much space they take up. It gets pounded in our head repeatedly – that the size and shape of our body determines our self worth.
Even when I was racing a lot, I was so focused on my weight. It’s now been about a year since I’ve weighed myself. I just don’t care. My body has carried me 26.2 miles. I can do 10+ pull ups. I can squat 200 lbs. I’m great at my job. I love the crap out of my family. I no longer let the size of my body determine how I feel about myself – I care so much more about how much of myself I’m bringing to that space. It took a long time, and surrounding myself with strong, determined people to get there, but it’s something I’m really passionate about. I think, CrossFit has gone a long way in helping women shift their perspective and I’m excited to be a part of that momentum.
There’s something to be said for showing up every morning, putting yourself in a slightly uncomfortable position, and just having to trust in yourself to perform. And everyday, with every success, and with every situation, you survive, you end up trusting yourself more and building more confidence. I have found that setting a goal, then working towards it every day helps translate to everything I do in life. I feel more comfortable with myself than I ever have. I feel strong, confident, independent, and I know I can trust and rely on myself. I bring more to my relationships.
Body fat 13.5, when I started Crossfit it was 18-19%
Since I joined crossfit, I have PR’d each race distance that I’ve run – 5K, Pat’s Run, 10K, half marathon, and a marathon. I couldn’t do a single pull up when I joined. I can do kipping pull ups now and last time I tested, 10 strict pull ups. I can do rope climbs. I’ve definitely PR’d my back squat – I’m not sure what it was before I joined crossfit but it’s at 200 for my 1 rep max now, which is about 1.5x my body weight. My deadlift has gone from 160 to 215 last time I tested a year ago. I’ve seen good gains in all of my olympic lifts since I switch from 3 days a week to 5 days a week. A few months ago it took me about 14 minutes to do Annie – I was barely able to string double unders together (first time I did it scaled was 9:49). Today I did it in 7:10. A few weeks ago was the first time I was able to RX Fran and did it in 5:42. The last time I did Fran (2 years ago!) it was with a 55 lb. bar and a blue band and it took me 5:17.