Reset!

The Dreaded Email From My Doctor.
The Dreaded Email From My Doctor.

It’s the middle of April 2014 already! How does this happen? I’ve looked in my que and I can see posts from 2013 that I haven’t posted or even finished. Such a lagger, and I have no excuses! Yeesh! Let’s see how this goes … Everyone and their uncle knows that 2013 was not exactly the “Best Year Of My Life” kind of year.  I really wanted it to be, and I really thought it would be because “13” is my favorite number.  It started off well, and just sort of ended just before it even really began.  Towards the end, however, it started to pick back up and I started to get into a groove – I was starting to CrossFit again, and I even ran a half marathon, but I just never felt “right.” I still felt out of sorts and even discombobulated. I thought I would elicit the help of my doctor to help me.  So I emailed my doctor in December to ask her if I could have a simple blood test to see where my hormone levels were. I know that in times of stress, hormones can get out of whack. I knew that my adrenals were fatigued, so my cortisol levels were skyrocketing. My doctor did email me back, but her response was NOT what I was expecting. It was no where near sympathetic, not even close. She basically told me that she did not believe that what I had was Adrenal Fatigue, rather she told me that I was depressed! What. The. Hell?!?  Wow! Just like that. She wrote a prescription out for some sleeping pills, and referred me to Mental Health. Wow. Needless to say, it set me off on a tangent and it fueled me to seek my own answers and get help for myself.  I can only imagine other patients emailing her and getting the same response and BELIEVING her and buying into the bullshit that they’re depressed, and taking medications that they don’t need! Wow. Just wow! I have no words to describe the disappointment that I feel in my primary care provider. I can only offer you this advice: YOU are the expert on your body.  YOU know yourself better than anyone else regardless if they have a medical degree. YOU KNOW YOU. Seek your own answers, don’t take the word of an “expert” who’s supposed to be on your side helping you. Just because they went to years of school, doesn’t make them an expert on you! God, help us all. So … I did what I believed was best for me. I fired my doctor, and I went on a quest to find my own answers to help myself.

It's okay ...
It’s okay …

In January, I could feel that I wasn’t 100% … I felt as if I were half-assing the WODs at CrossFit. I also felt as if I wasn’t giving anywhere near 100%. My body may have been in the box, but I really I felt as if I were not really progressing. I felt as if I were just there, taking up space and going through the motions.  I wasn’t dropping the weight that I gained throughout out the last year. And I was fatigued – mentally, physically, spiritually … I was spent. Drained. (Hello, HIGH cortisol levels!) So I knew that something had to change, and it was up to me to make that change. After a little, okay A LOT of soul searching, a few talks with my husband, and some others whose opinions I highly value, I made a few decisions to start the process of “resetting” myself and set if on an quest to restore balance within myself.

Tiny Smile Half 2014
Tiny Smiles Half 2014

Two things happened in February … I ran my first half-marathon of the year, the Tiny Smiles Half in Galt, and then the next day I started Bikram Yoga. As much as I love the power that my body emits during a long run, that feeling of pushing my mind to get my body through to the finish line, I really love and enjoy the peace that Bikram gives my mind as it restores my body from the “punishment” I bestow upon it. I love that it’s a open eye meditation.  I was just getting back into practice last year when I got injured and had to put it, as well as everything else, on the back burner.  This time I made a commitment to myself to practice two to three times a week. Within the first week, I was hooked again and felt amazing. I love the heat, but what I really love is the intense focus that I give myself for the 60 to 90 minutes that I am there. As easy as it is for me to get into a zone while running, during Bikram yoga I am able to easily transcend while there, and I come out of that hot room a different person than when I walked in.

Bikram Buddies
Bikram Buddies
Addicted to needles.
Addicted to needles.
Manual Adjustment by my Chiro.
Manual Adjustment by my Chiro.

Initially, the plan was for me to take the month of February off from any and all “hardcore” training. I wanted to miss CrossFit, and I did, but as February came and went, I still didn’t feel “ready.” March was to be more of the same – yoga, kickboxing, and working out in my own home box which I dubbed the “STAT Box.” I met up and consulted with a Compounding Pharmacist who was able to verify that I did indeed have Adrenal Fatigue, and was able to prescribe some medications and supplements to help me in my quest to restore balance. In this time, I went to see my Chiropractor and my Acupuncturist regularly and just continued to relax and wait.

Classes & Mindset Therapy.
Classes & Mindset Therapy.

I missed CrossFit. I missed my beloved box 209. I missed my trainer. I missed my body when it does CrossFit. But I wasn’t ready to go back. I was content to just keep on what I was doing. I felt rested. I felt better. I planted plants in my garden.  I watched my husband go to CrossFit and workout without me. I took a lot of classes that enriched my mind. It was ironic that the classes that I found and registered for were in line with my goals to stay focused, stay happy, and find balance. I love that I was directed to take a class on happiness entitled The Secrets of Happy People. There was a series at work that was offered as free for employees that I was able to register for. I was able to connect with a Psychotherapist who specialized in CrossFit Athletes, and I was able to sign up for online coaching to “reset” my mindset.  And the most interesting of all was a class on meditation that I was led to by complete accident.  Well, I don’t believe in “accidents.”  I believe that things happen for a reason, and that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Wow. Things were just all in alignment for me. Through all of these classes I was able to learn things that I felt in tune with. So it was an amazing two months of self-discovery and rest.

Running Of The Elk Half 2014.
Running Of The Elk Half 2014.

But here it is … April already, and I’m starting to get the itch. I’m ready to find my way back to my trainer and to my box. I feel mentally stronger. I feel as if mentally, I have always been strong, but the compounding stresses that I experienced in 2013 really took a toll on my and beat me up psychologically more than physically. It’s time to test the mind again, and I did that recently with another half marathon that I was totally unprepared for physically. The Elk Grove Running of The Elk Half Marathon. Ugh. Never have I wanted more to just stay home and in my warm bed.  Never have I gotten into my car and just thought, “I’m just going to sit here,” until 15 minutes to gun time. I seriously sat in my car and had to talk myself into walking to the start line. Wow. But I did it. I got out of my car and I walked to the starting line with NO time to spare after having to use the porta potty! Throughout the ENTIRE run, I kid you not, I prayed. I seriously believe that God wanted me to be in church that day because all I did was pray. I knew that my body knew what to do to get me through to the finish line, it was my mind that I had to tell to STFU! Time to move on. Time to get serious about training again. Time to let go of the past, and move forward with myself. I’ve hit the “reset” button and now it’s time to put what I’ve learned in motion. It’s time to start rebuilding Row.  I’m not going to say much about what I’m doing, rather I’m just going to let the results speak for themselves.  033121

Stronger than ever ...
Stronger than ever …

 

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Rhabdo Row.

CrossFit's Uncle Rhabdo
CrossFit’s Uncle Rhabdo
Rhabdo Row.
Rhabdo Row.

Rhabdo Row.  There’s a story behind this nickname of mine, and I know that you’re dying to hear it.  It’s not that exciting though, really.

It’s been a rough year for me.  I truly expected 2013 to be a great year for me. It was supposed to be a great year for me!  Actually, it’s a been a good year, just not the best year for me athletically. Well, it didn’t start off the best year for me athletically. It’s getting better, but I’ll get to that.

Where do I begin?

At the beginning of the year, I switched CrossFit boxes.  Not because I didn’t love the box that I was training at, or because I didn’t love my trainer. It was an issue of finances that started this domino effect. At the beginning of the year, I reinjured my shoulder – first rib, really, but aggravated it none the less.  It had been healing, however, because one of my new trainers was not familiar with me, despite my explanations of being unable to perform certain lifts even if it was lighter weight, I aggravated my right first rib.

When it came time for the CrossFit Open, I once again changed boxes.  This time, it was to a new box. It was literally a brand new box – fresh, clean.  I changed boxes because I needed to belong to an CrossFit Affiliate in order to perform in the Open, and I just needed a change from the current box I had been training at.  I loved this new box, it was fun, as was its energy.  I enjoyed training there.  I was doing well during the open until the 13.4 WOD – clean and jerks, and toe to bars.  I knew that the weight of the clean and jerks was heavy.  I hadn’t lifted that much ever, however, at the urging of my trainer who basically told me, “You’re doubting yourself before you even touch the bar,” I would do it.  And I did … I was okay until the second round.  I had cleaned the weight and was set up to jerk it, however something was not right … It felt almost as if the weight had come off my bar and hit me in the left knee.  I had no pain, my left knee just caved and brought me immediately to the ground and I was unable to stand. I’m not exactly sure how I made it home. I was lucky that I happened to have a knee sleeve in my bag that someone gave me. It provided enough support for me to drive my stick shift Mini Cooper home.

And so it began … my knee injury took me out for a good 4 months. I injured it at the end of March, and had surgery towards the end of May, and was cleared to return to work out at the end of June.  I was not able to do much of any kind of workout because of the fact that not only was my lower body injured, but my upper body was still healing from my shoulder/first rib problem. So when my orthopedic doc cleared me to workout, you better bet I was back in that gym faster than he could finish his sentence!

I started off “slowly.” Well, my version of “slow,” which was NOT exactly slow or easy.  I returned to my beloved Kick Boxing class, thinking I’d get my cardio in while working my upper body. Well, kick boxing and mixed martial arts involves a lot of lower body movements and even with my knee sleeves, it was still difficult to really maneuver. I could do a lot of the movements, but not all of them. I was able to improvise but it was frustrating and I tweaked my knee on more than one occasion.

My Physical Therapist was able to help me with a lot of strengthening exercises and movements.  My weekly Physical Therapy sessions that were an hour long had me sweating as if I’d run a 10K.  Jumping, stretching, running backwards, and performing the movement that put me out of comission. Every week something different. Every week was harder and harder, but more mentally challenging as well as physically challenging.  I believe that my injury cause more mental trauma than physical trauma. My Physical Therapist, Todd, really understood this and worked with me to help me overcome my fears of jumping.

The Workout!
The Workout!

I made my way back to CrossFit in July. I had scaled my workouts and the trainers at my box were understanding of my need to start slow. I had attended the 2013 CrossFit Games in Carson in late July.  That following Monday at noon, I returned to the box with a renewed spirit.  The WOD was one that was the final WODs at the Games – “Cinco,” which consisted of 800M Run, then 5 Rounds of 25 Pull-Ups, 7 Push Jerks, rest then 100 AbMat Sit Ups. No biggie, right? I was working out with my son and another girl, there was no pressure, and I scaled when I had to. Aside from working out in extreme heat (108F), I didn’t feel that the workout was difficult.   I finished and was sore, but that’s to be expected.

As the days passed, the soreness in my upper arms became intense, but tolerable, and I had expected that as I had done an workout which I had not done in a long time.  Com’mon, I’d expect anyone who did 125 pull-ups in a workout to be sore.  I didn’t panic, I just went about my life – working, and doing my daily household duties. It was on Friday though, 4 days post-workout,  that I noticed something slightly concerning … my urine was cola colored.  As a nurse, I knew.  I knew that I was experiencing rhabdomyolysis. I showered and dressed, let my husband know what was happening, and had my youngest son, Noah, drive me to the ER where I worked so that I could make sure that my kidney function was okay.  When I got there, I proceeded to tell them what I believed was happening, and had them work me up for rhabdo.

Beast Mode in the ER.
Beast Mode in the ER.
Popeye Arms!
Popeye Arms!
Liters #10 & #11! My eyeballs are swimming!
Liters #10 & #11! My eyeballs are swimming!

My IV was started, labs were drawn and sent for processing, and my bolus of IV fluids was running wide open. An hour later, I received the news … I was greeted by one of my favorite doctors who said, “What the fuck did you do? Your CK is the HIGHEST number that I have ever seen in my medical career!!!” I cautiously asked what it was … 197,500 mcg/L, normal is 10-120 mcg/L.  Yeah … Just a little off. There was no way I was going home that day, I needed to be admitted to the hospital for hydration and monitoring! My kidney function was always good, it’s the main reason why I went to the ER to get checked.  I am thankful that I knew all of the symptoms, and that I knew exactly what needed to be done. I really did surprise all of my docs though – from my ER doc, to my admitting MD, the nephrologist who came to see me, then my own MD! None had seen CK levels as high as mine. As the nephrologist said, “You are just compact, full of muscle. You had a lot of muscle to kill! But you’re young and healthy. You’re gonna be okay.” And that I am.  I am okay.  I was ALWAYS okay.

Shortly after this episode, it was ironic that CrossFit took a huge hit in that several articles regarding how bad CrossFit was and how it caused this serious illness called rhabdo! (You can read various articles here.) I was livid.  People were coming out of the woodwork, telling me that I was lucky, that I should quit now, and that I should never go back to CrossFitting ever again! What. The. Fuck?!

CrossFit did NOT cause my rhabdomyolysis! My body was fine, I was okay. I knew what was happening. I don’t blame anyone for what happened.  I especially do NOT blame CrossFit.  There were several things working against me when I did that workout, Cinco … 1) I am an experienced, previously conditioned athlete who had been out of commission for several months. Although the workout was not “intense,” it was for me because I had not worked out that intensely for several months. 2) The weather was HOT. 108 degrees at noon.  This was not the most opportune time to workout. 3) I was slightly dehydrated.  I had not kept properly hydrated over the weekend, nor was I properly hydrated for that workout despite me drinking water during the workout. 4) Although I was a conditioned athlete prior to my injury, my body was not exactly in the same shape, but my mind was. My mind knows to push, and when it should’ve said, “Slow down, Row., this is your first intense workout.” It said, “You’re okay. Keep going.” So I did. Should my trainers have known? Yes, perhaps, but by all accounts, I was on the road to recovery, and I scaled had scaled the workout. So, I don’t blame anyone for my injury.  I take personal responsibility for what happened.

Subry loves me!
Subry loves me!

It took about 3 weeks for my CK levels to return to normal.  Once I was cleared, probably about two weeks later, I was not doing any form of CrossFit exercises, just kick boxing and spinning.   I was forbidden by my husband to return to the box in which I sustained my knee injury and where I my sustained my illness.  In my recovery time, my old trainer, Gabe Subry, had reached out to me to see how I was doing, and to offer me encouragement. He talked me off the ledge more than once.  I had attended one of his seminars on CrossFit for Competitors during my recovery time, but I was going crazy not being in a box! My husband knew this, and had been talking to my Gabe also. After much convincing by Gabe that I would be okay, it was then that I was given the okay to return to the box with Gabe only, no other box. The rest is history …

I ran my first half mary in Nov.
I ran my first half mary in Nov.
Mechanics ONLY for the first few months.
Mechanics ONLY for the first few months.

It’s now been 4 months since that fateful event, 6 months since my knee surgery. In the beginning, Gabe had me working mechanics only during my workouts at 209 (the box). Mechanics ONLY, no deviations, and every trainer – EVERY trainer at 209 was on board with the plan. I am now at about 80% capacity – squatting more and without any pain, and performing movements that I haven’t done in soooooo long, including cleaning and jerking more weight than what took my knee out last March. I got my CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certification!!! And I’ve even run my first half marathon post knee surgery. The only thing is, I can’t box jump … YET. I still have a little trouble with jumping down from the box, and I’m slightly afraid because I’ve tweaked it before jumping down. It’s such a mind f*@%! Progress. It’s all progress. I’ve come a long way, and every little, tiny bit counts. I’ll take that.

Stronger than ever ...
Stronger than ever …

As for the nick name, Rhabdo Row., it was given to me by one of my beloved ER Docs, Dr. H. He heard my story and thought I was insane to return to the scene of the crime. Insane, but brave. He was dumbfounded when he heard my CK results, so when he sees me down the hallway, he yells out, “Hey, Rhabdo Row.!!!” I know it shouldn’t be a badge of honor, but I like it. I like it because I have survived! I am a survivor! I like it because I am so much STRONGER than any illness or injury. It shows you that I can kick it’s ass!!! Take that!

As much as 2013 has taught me, I am sorry to see it come to an end.  I am looking forward to a “fresh” new start in 2014. Come at me, 2014. Show me what you got! I’m ready … Here we gooooooo!

No. Fucking. Way!
No. Fucking. Way!
#Truth right here!
#Truth right here!
It makes sense already ...
It makes sense already …

March Madness … Row. Row. Style

March. March. March. When did you sneak up on me?  Seems like just yesterday it was 2012 and I was wondering where the year had gone, looking forward to the new year, and penning out my 2013 intentions.  Now here we are with the first quarter of the year gone by and I’m still wondering where the hell is time going?

206When they say that March roars in like a lion they weren’t lying!  If we were hoping for a slight reprieve from our insane month of February, March wasn’t going to let up at all.  Two more birthdays – for my middle boys who are way into their teenage years now. As nice as it is to celebrate their special days, it’s somewhat bittersweet at the same time knowing that they’re both getting older, bigger, stronger, and that much closer to going away to college. I love my boys!

"Official!"
“Official!”

March 6th also denoted the beginning of the CrossFit Games Open! I signed myself up to participate because I knew that wherever I was to workout, we’d be doing all of the Open WODs (workout of the day) anyway, and because I really wanted to see how and where I ranked fitness-wise amongst other women my age who were also participating. I needed a challenge and thought that this would be perfect!

Here’s how the Open Workouts goes … For 5 weeks, every new workout is posted on Wednesday.  No one except for those at CrossFit Headquarters knows what the workouts consist of, so it’s a surprise to everyone as we all learn about it at the same exact time, no sooner.  The Open Workouts are open for everyone to participate in, but only those who register for a $20 fee can post their scores on the Leader Board and see how they rank in their age group Regionally and World Wide.

201
13.1 – Today I Will Kill It!

3/6 Open Workout 13.1 – Burpees and Statch Ladder. 40 burpees, 30 snatches at 45#; 30 burpees, 30 snatches at 75#; 20 burpees, 30 snatches at 100#; 10 burpees, 30 snatches at 120#. The weight for the snatches are the women’s weight, for the men, it was 75#, 135#, 165#, and 210#.  Your total score equals the number of reps that you complete in the alloted time of 17 minutes.  My score = 132 (40, 30, 30, 30, +2).

13.2 Oh My WOD!!!
13.2 Oh My WOD!!!

3/13 Open Workout 13.2 – An AMRAP (as many reps/rounds as possible) in the alloted time of 10 minutes: 55# Shoulder to Overhead x 5 reps, 55# Deadlift x 10 reps, then 15 box jumps onto a 20″ box.  I did this workout twice. The first time I totaled up a score of 208, the second time around I bettered my scored by 15 taking it up to 223.  This workout was taxing for me.

Photobombed before the start!
Photobombed before the start!

In the meantime … Sacramento’s annual ShamRock’n Half was scheduled on 3/17.  I headed up to Sac with my friend, Anitra, and we ran thru the streets of Sacramento.  The course was different this year again. It was better, nicer, as we ran on all the bridges! I enjoyed the run. I had a good time, just running. I caught up to my friend, Claudia at around mile 6 and we ran together to at or around mile 8.5 where I lost her. The run seemed effortless for me, but I wasn’t really pushing it at all,  just cruising, lolligagging. 10 minute potty break in the middle really cut into my time! I still desire to hit the sub-2 goal, but this wasn’t the race for it. As much as I love this run and the weather was perfect, there’s still time to catch that goal!

13.3 take one - Wallballin'
13.3 take one – Wallballin’
13.3 take 2 - with my friend, Sarah.
13.3 take 2 – with my friend, Sarah.

3/20 Open Workout 13.3 – in 12 minutes, complete as many rounds/reps as possible of: 150 WallBalls 14#, 90 Double Unders, and 30 muscle ups.  As much as I hated this workout, I did this one twice also – back to back.  The first time taxed me so much that I gassed out by 50 wallballs and wanted so much to die! But I gutted it out and got thru it with a score of 224. I knew I could do better so I went back the next day and bettered my score by 12 taking me up to 236. I wanted so much to finish up all my double unders! Gah!  Oh well.

3/27 Open Workout 13.4 … here’s where it gets ugly … Clean and Jerks and Toes To Bar Ladder. 3 clean and jerks x 95#, 3 Toes to Bar, then 6 C & Js, 6 T2Bs, then 9, 12, 15, 18 in 7 minutes, if you are able to hit all 18 in 7 minutes, you can go to 21. If you hit 21, you can go to 24, etc. Okay … I did this workout, but I “failed” at the same time. You see, I could do the clean and jerks at 95#. It’s a little heavy for me, but I tried and I did. I got my 3/3 reps in. I was working on the second round when … “POP!” I went down! It felt as if some thing hit me … HARD to the left side of my knee. I thought that my weight came off and hit me, but it was intact, so I gathered myself up and tried to get up, but my leg would not let me. My trainer, Jeff, came over to me and yelled at me to stay down. I wanted to cry because I didn’t know what was happening. All I knew was that I was seriously injured. I gathered my things, and thankfully had thrown the knee sleeves that my friend, Bill, had given to me in my workout bag. I’m not sure why I did, I just remember that I saw them on the table and I grabbed them. Thank God I did because otherwise I would not have been able to drive home. My leg was that unstable.

I got home that evening, walked to my bedroom, and cried. Yep, I cried. I never cry. I didn’t cry because I hurt, because I was in no pain. I cried because I knew that whatever had just happened was serious and I was down and out of everything for a long time. I knew.

In the morning, I had a Physical Therapy appointment with my PT for my shoulder that was still bugging me. While there, I asked him to just look at my knee and tell me what he thought. He looked and “tested” it out and by the look on his face, I knew I was really in deep doo doo! He didn’t have to say anything, but I could tell. He told me that he wanted me to get in to see Ortho immediately, get an x-ray, etc. I knew it wasn’t broken, and I knew that an x-ray wouldn’t show any soft tissue damage. I was thankful to have gotten in the “earliest” appointment which was on the following Tuesday. Meanwhile, I had to work the entire weekend with this injured knee! Poor knee.

March Madness … literally madness.  Just know that I was NOT able to finish out the CrossFit Open.  Here’s how it went down though … World Wide in my age group, I finished 1,494 (6,675 overall in women up to age 54).  Regionally, that’s Nor Cal, I finished 96 (452 overall in women up to age 54). My goal was top 100, so I did reach this goal even without completing the entire 13.4 WOD, or doing any of the 13.5 WOD.  Chris said that I should’ve at least tried to get one rep in for 13.5, but that one rep could’ve just tore my entire knee up so … NO! I’m pretty impressed with myself. I did well for someone who is full of self-doubt and has been plagued with injuries. I can only imagine where I would have finished had I remained injury free. If you want to see my complete stats, you can view them here.

The saga of my knee continues … March Madness has come to an end, and hopefully takes the madness along with it and replaces it with some goodness in the form of April showers. They do say that showers (rain) is a form of cleansing … That’s exactly what I’m looking for.

While my training is at a standstill, I ask that you still continue to Train HARD. Train SMART. Eat WELL. And most of all have FUN!!! Train for those who cannot. Train for me because you know that I want so much to be out there gettin’ it done!

Losing Myself, Finding My Inner Beast

SF 1st Half Marathon 7/2011.

One year ago almost to to the day, I was broken. I had run a crappy race in San Francisco, and I was in such an ugly funk that I didn’t know what to do. Coupled with the SF Half “fiasco”, I had been overtraining, and felt as if I had fallen into such a deep, deep hole and couldn’t find the will climb my way out. I never felt so defeated! After I was done crying and feeling sorry for myself, I remembered that a friend had given me something months ago that I should use before it expired.  A Groupon. Yep, my friend, Ly, had given me a Groupon months before to CrossFit 209 Sport, a local “box” here in Stockton. She had tried it, however, did not enjoy the type of workout that was offered there, so therefore she passed it on to me, and I tucked it away in my planner, not knowing just how valuable it would be for me.

That day a year ago, I dug out that Groupon and called the number listed and timidly spoke to the man who answered on the other end. He introduced himself as Gabe, and over the phone he seemed non-threatening.  I explained that I was given a Groupon, and that I was interested in making, that I NEEDED to make a change in what I was doing in my training. Gabe was patient with me and my questions. He assured me that I would not die, that he would work to my ability, and that it would change my life. He gave me the schedule and we made a plan to meet. He assured me over and over that I would be okay.  I said that I was intimidated and afraid. He said be excited, that I’d have a good time, and he promised again that I would be okay.

Little did I know that that one 30 day Groupon, and that one phone call that I was too intimidated to make would really change my life. You see, I had heard of CrossFit and CrossFit 209 Sport.  I had seen these athletes who worked out there.  I watched them from afar, in awe, working out diligently, running up and down Thornton Road, and never believed myself to be of their caliber.  I was too afraid to step outside of my little box, thinking that I would just be scowled at, and the joke of the gym.  My friend, Gina, worked out there, and encouraged me over and over throughout the years to try. I did make it out there once when she invited me, however, she didn’t show up, so instead of me walking in, I stayed in my car and eventually left.

I showed up the next day, looking for the man I spoken to on the phone. I didn’t know what to expect. Over the phone he seemed non-threatening, but what would he be like in real life I wondered?! Walking into the box overwhelmed me. The music was loud, and there were fit bodies EVERYWHERE! It took everything I had to not run back into the safety of my car. I asked the first person I thought might be Gabe if he was Gabe – he was not. Instead I was directed to an individual who was standing at the opposite end of the building. He scared me at first … buff, fit, bald guy. I knew I’d be okay though after he smiled and reintroduced himself.  After a quick tour of the facilities, he had me fill out the waiver which I jokingly remarked, “Oh, you mean the ‘If I die here it’s not your fault’ waiver.” Then it was time to get moving. He directed me to a rower, showed me how to use it, said he needed to go eat because he was on a strict schedule, and left me alone to warm up.  Just like anything new – new job, new school, etc. – I felt sooooo out of my element, but lucky for me someone that knew me spotted me and reassured me that I would definitely be okay.  After a few minutes of the warm up, Gabe returned and led me to the area where workout would be held. There were quite a few people in that class and I remember thinking, “What the hell did I get myself into?” I don’t remember the strength portion of that day, or the WOD for that matter.  Gabe assessed my fitness and scaled my workouts to me. What I do remember of that day was that I didn’t feel that out of place. People were working out to their own ability and Gabe oversaw all of us. He explained everything thoroughly, demonstrated appropriately, and helped all of us. When it came to the WOD (Workout Of the Day), I felt as if I were part of a team. I didn’t expect the encouragement, especially from people who I had barely introduced myself to, but I got it … and it made me feel “at home.” I couldn’t wait to go back. I was hooked after the first workout.

Love Prowler Pushes!

Those 30 days flew by like *that.* In that short amount of time, I learned that I was not in the best shape that I thought I was in, that there’s always something more to learn, that there’s heavier weight to be lifted, that I had muscles in places that I didn’t know I had muscles in, that I am so much stronger than I ever believed myself to be, and that I wanted MORE! I wasn’t happy just running anymore … I had burnt myself out on that. And I loved MMA (mixed martial arts), but I knew I needed to mix it up. I knew that I needed a new challenge. That “challenge” found me when Ly handed me her unused Groupon. Exercise for me is like crack for a drug addict. I had found my crack, and I signed up for a three month commitment, then three more, then three more, and so it goes.

Deadlifts! My FAVORITE!
Me with my trainer, Gabe Subry and with the “special” birthday WOD he made for my birthday!

It’s been a year now. I’ve climbed out of that hole I fell into and buried that sucker!  I can tell you that I have grown and gained much in this last year – both literally and figuratively.  It’s been a year of ups and downs – I injured my shoulder in December, and Gabe had to modify a lot of my workouts/lifts/WODS for a few months until it healed. I’ve made a lot of new friends who all inspire me everyday! I workout with some really, FUN, awe-spiring, motivating, kick ass individuals. I could sit here and tell you my 1RM for the deadlift or the squats, or I could write down my times for the various “Girl” WODS, but it’s all irrelevant. They’re irrelevant because what I’ve gained is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than the numbers … My self, my sanity, my sense of belonging.  I’ve gained a little weight in the form of muscle – I’ve got a little more muscle mass and a lot more definition than I’ve had in the past. I’m eating better, and I feel better.  I can tell you that I walk a little different – more with my head held high, and with a little more confidence. I’ve impressed myself with the amount of weight I can lift/squat/snatch/whatever, my first pull-up, my first hand stand push up, and how much I can endure without throwing up.  I can also tell you that I feel sooooo much better about myself, not so self-conscious as I have been in the past.  I view and see myself so differently. I am truly much happier with my little body. I’m far from close to being finished. I have so much more work ahead of me. Different goals to hit. Life is good.

Subry at the 2012 CrossFit Games!

My trainer, Gabe Subry, is NO joke. He is the REAL DEAL.  As a CrossFit Games Competitor – The 18th Fittest Man on Earth! – he trains us as he would want to be trained.  He treats us all as athletes, and pushes us so that we can see that we can always do more, lift heavier, run faster, etc. All of the trainers/coaches at CrossFit209 Sport– Gabe, Vince, Xavier  “X”, and Zach – are exceptional. I see them encouraging and pushing their athletes/clients to help them better themselves and to help them reach their goals and surpass their expectations. No workout is the same. Every day is something different and I love that.

Amazing Grace!

CrossFit 209 is a family-like atmosphere – they treat you like family there. Not only that, but my family works out with me, including my special needs daughter, Grace, who LOVES CrossFit Kids Coach Tara! She is excited about her CrossFit sessions and talks about it constantly. I’m really proud of her and love her enthusiasm! I never believed that she would be so passionate, but she is and it makes me happy!

My CrossFit 209 Family!

Would I do it over again? Hell yeah. Would I still be as intimidated as I was? Oh yeah. CrossFit has taken me out of my comfort zone over and over and over again. Every day.  However no matter how many times I ask, “Is it going to get easier?” My trainer says, “No. It will not get any easier. You should always push yourself to where you feel uncomfortable. It will not get easier, but you will get stronger.”  And he tells me, “Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.” I know that it’s the only way that I will improve so on most workouts I dig deep and push thru until I’m done.

Feeling awesome after our workout!

What would I say to those just starting? Remember that everything new takes time. Don’t be afraid.  Ask questions. Always ask questions, especially if you don’t understand the movements.  Don’t be intimidated by those people that you see when you first walk into that box.  I had to remind myself that these individuals have been training for 1, 2, 3, or maybe even more years and that I couldn’t expect myself to do the moves or lift the weight that they could lift after just a few months.  I had to humble myself and not be so hard on myself when I couldn’t finish WODs in a certain amount of time, or that I couldn’t lift the weight at Rx.  What I have learned is that these people that are my Box-mates, they all work and train very hard. They’re people just like you and I – mothers, fathers, those with full-time jobs, or extra responsibilities, etc. But they’re all down to Earth, very motivating, and always helpful. I have never experienced being laughed or scowled at.

Learn the terminology. I wish I had done more homework prior to starting CrossFit. I didn’t understand a lot of the terminology when I first started.  I had lifted weights and weight trained, however I really hadn’t performed a lot of the movements that they were doing.  There were a lot of named WODs – Fran, Grace, Elizabeth, Hero WODs – that I had no clue of the significance. The movements of the WOD were all written out on the white board so I always knew what the WOD consisted of, therefore I never worried about that. In the beginning I felt out of place and fumbled a lot. With time though, I have improved and have started to settle in.  I found these two articles recently that would have helped me immensely had I read them before I started: Know Before You Go: CrossFit by Laura Schwecherl, and The Ultimate Guide To CrossFit Lingo by David Tao, both of which can be found on the Great List website. (Click the titles to access them.)

Seeing changes.

When you walk into that Box, regardless if it’s just your first workout  … Consider yourself an “athlete” because you are. You have accomplished what many people only think about and wish for by walking thru those doors, and when you finish that first workout I promise you that you WILL feel accomplished and leave you feeling like a million bucks despite the fact that you may felt as if you thought you would die. Yes, it is scary and intimidating, but after some time, you will find that it is not. The battle is half won once you walk thru those doors and finish that first workout.  To be able to say, “I did that!” is an AMAZING feeling.  I promise you that!

You ready?  3 … 2 … 1 … Gooooooo!

What Am I? I am BEAST MODE!