Minibeast in the Making: Celebrating 3 Years of CrossFit

Apparently, time flies when you’re having fun. August 22 marked my 3 year anniversary at CrossFit Bridge City & it completely slipped by me. This might be, in part, to school starting, chaos ensuing and all hell breaking loose in general as we dive head first into yet another busy school year.

August 22, 2012 - my first social check-in for CrossFit!

August 22, 2012 – my first social check-in for CrossFit!

Plenty has happened in three years. My husband & I went through a lot of marriage counseling. After years of fighting, we finally met our goal together – crossing the finish line at the Spartan Beast to complete our Trifecta. (I would totally add that to the “let’s do it again” list!)

After 3 years, our Spartan Trifecta is complete.

After 3 years, our Spartan Trifecta is complete.

I’ve lifted a ton of heavy weight (pun intended), done 10,000 pull-ups and thought I might die on more than one occasion. I’ve had plenty of struggles and PRs (personal records) along the way. Like finally learning to do bar muscle-ups. That’s a moment I will never forget! I felt pure giddiness when I managed to get on top of the pull-up rig for the first time. (For real, I kicked & screamed with excitement like a little girl.) Ring muscle-ups are another story….but stay tuned, because I don’t give up easily.

Bar muscle-up practice!

Bar muscle-up practice!

Before CrossFit, I was just getting started on my fitness journey – which I’ve come to realize is my journey to self discovery. I was weak, uneducated about the human body, nutrition and my abilities. I was full of self doubt. I had no idea what I was getting myself into or the person I would become. I didn’t know CrossFit would change my life.

I know that sounds melodramatic, but that is exactly what happened. CrossFit changed my life because it changed my perspective. I hate failing. Funny thing is, failure is common in CrossFit. And I do it – a lot. I still don’t like it, but I’m learning it’s not a bad thing.

Failure is one step closer to success.

Failure gives you the opportunity to learn from your mistakes, to become better. Failure gives you the chance to refine your skills, to improve your technique. Failure encourages you to go back to the basics, to educate yourself further. It is in the process, where you ultimately find success.

Ring muscle-up drills.

Ring muscle-up drills after failing them in the CrossFit Open.

Because of CrossFit, I am a strong woman. I am a healthy body. I am a renewed soul. I am a changed perspective. I am a success. Because of CrossFit, I can accomplish anything if I’m willing to fail a few times first.

But CrossFit wouldn’t be possible without my support system. Thank you to my husband, Ryan​, for always supporting me – especially on those days when I didn’t believe in myself. Thank you for not letting me wallow in self pity when things didn’t come easily. Thank you for pushing me to be more, in all areas of my life. Thank you for believing in me. You’re still the strongest man I know & I love that you’re mine.

Thank you to my CFBC Rooster Crew who keep me accountable & make the journey fun. I couldn’t do it without your witty humor and unfailing support at 5:00 a.m. You girls still amaze me!

Thank you to my coaches for having patience with me as I gripe my way through learning a new skill or conquering a fear. Thank you for continuing to provide me with opportunities to learn specialized skills – like Olympic lifting & gymnastics – from the best in the business. Thank you for yelling at me when I needed it.

This is only the beginning!

5 Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself & the CrossFit House

CrossFit has gotten a bad rap for the amount of injuries it leads to. And to be fair, there is some validity in these claims. It’s hard to argue that doing CrossFit doesn’t push people to injury when the measure of success is faster time and heavier weight. It’s all about how hard you can push the limits. Right? The greater the risk the greater the reward. Isn’t that what they say?

But let’s be fair. Risk is involved in all things. Let me repeat that.

Risk is involved in all things.

If you are a runner, soccer player, power-lifter or couch potato, you’re at risk for something. The question is, what are you doing about it? And like I’ve said before, CrossFit doesn’t cause injuries. People do.

CrossFit is designed to push your limits. Most sports are. But it’s in those moments of greatness – when someone has surpassed what we thought possible – that we realize limits are worth pushing. When incredible power is achieved. When suddenly, new boundaries are set. When those willing to push hard enough are looked at with awe. With wonder. It’s in those moments where we find ourselves.

I would bet both Rich and Camille’s $275,000 every limit they pushed during their training was worth standing on that podium at the 2014 CrossFit Games as the Fittest Man and Fittest Woman on Earth.

Watch this video and tell me if you disagree.

So, you can hurt yourself in CrossFit (gasp!). Now what? What are you – what am I – doing about it? Because if we want to keep doing this sport we love, we need to start protecting our house.

CrossFit is a company, a lifestyle and its core, a workout regimen. If we don’t start taking responsibility for ourselves, we may not have a house worth coming home to. Maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but ultimately, it’s about doing the right thing. We need to start holding ourselves and each other accountable – for using proper technique, scaling when necessary, pushing the limits responsibly. Because I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of defending CrossFit when it comes to injuries. I’m tired of the hate articles and the petty “my sport is better than yours” crap.

The bottom line, folks, is we’re all doing something we love while getting fit – be it powerlifting, running, triathlons, CrossFit, Zumba or Pilates. Shouldn’t that be enough? As CrossFitters who are passionate about what we do, it’s high time we start protecting our house – the CrossFit name and our bodies.

Here are 5 Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself & the CrossFit House

Disclaimer: I’m not certified in CrossFit, kinesiology, chiropractic care or any other medical degree for that matter. I’m just a normal person who loves CrossFit and has learned my fair share about the need for injury prevention. These are a few things I feel will further your love for CrossFit (or whatever sport you love) and allow you to continuing doing it for as long as possible because you’re taking care of your body.

1)  Use proper technique and hold others accountable for doing the same.
Just like runners need to learn the difference between pronation and supination and how it effects them, CrossFitters need to learn the proper technique for the variety of different movements our sport requires. Take the time to watch videos online, attend training camps and practice. You’ve heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect.” And, while I’m not one to believe perfection can be attained, I do believe in getting as close as possible. So learn the technique and commit to it. Don’t be afraid to hold others accountable as well. Personally, I absolutely want someone to tell me if I’m doing it wrong. Otherwise, we’re all just setting ourselves up for failure – and continuing to give CrossFit a bad name.

2) Embrace your weaknesses.
The Fittest don’t get that way without hours and hours of training. If you watched this year’s Games, you heard Camille say, “Every year, you get better at finding your weaknesses.” Figure out what they are and attack them. After all, that’s what’s standing in your way of victory – and what’s likely causing you injuries if you aren’t taking the time to get the technique right. (Refer back to number 1.)

3) Educate yourself on mobility and recovery.
This is something that came out of nowhere for me. One day, I woke up and my back hurt. I knew it wasn’t due to an injury, but I also knew that it would lead to one quickly if I didn’t do something about it. After a few trips to the chiropractor, I became highly aware of how efficient our bodies can be if we’re taking care of them properly. Recovery isn’t just a supplement you drink after working out. It’s physically helping your body recover from everything you’ve put it through and mobility plays a key role in this. This involves regular (if not, daily) stretching and mobilizing – your muscles, your joints. This is not something to be taken lightly. If you fail to do this, you are setting yourself up for an injury. Period.

4) Get the right amount of sleep and the proper nutrition.
Sleep. Here lately, I haven’t been getting enough of it. And it shows in my daily WODs. There’s plenty of evidence to support why getting the right amount of sleep is important. So, 8 hours – minimum – get it. As for nutrition, this is something I’m most definitely not qualified to talk about. But, I’ve worked with a personal nutritionist as well learned from some of the best when it comes to this. And, there are a few easy things you can be doing to improve your body’s overall health. Fish oil, zinc & magnesium and vitamin D should all be a part of your daily supplements. (More on this below.)

5) Listen to your body and check your ego at the door.
This hits home majorly for me. Nearly two years ago I was hospitalized for pulmonary embolisms. For those unfamiliar, a pulmonary embolism is a blood clot in the lungs – and highly fatal. For a clot to reach your pulmonary artery, it has to have already traveled through one side of your heart. Listening to my body saved my life. Your body is way smarter than you ever thought about being. It knows when something is wrong and it’s usually giving you more than enough signs if that’s the case. Listen. And if there is in fact something wrong, don’t let your ego get in the way of your safety and the safety of those around you.

It’s my hope that by taking these small steps, we can help prevent CrossFit-related injuries and protect the CrossFit name as well as everything it represents. By doing this, we can also make sure what it represents is something we’re proud of.

There are numerous resources readily available online (and from real experts). So instead of pretending to be something I’m not, I’ll just leave a few of these gems for you below.

Technique, Mobility & Recovery Resources:

  • Bruce Barbell – Loads of free videos on gymnastics & Olympic weightlifting.
  • Mike Cazayoux: Joint by Joint Approach – A great introduction to mobilizing your joints.
  • Breaking Muscle – This site has articles for everything from endurance and weightlifting to nutrition and exercises for your kids. Here’s what they have on mobility & recovery.
  • Movement, The Book – If you’re seriously into learning how your joints work, start here.
  • Mobility WOD – While there is a paid version of this site, the free version offers some pretty great content as well. And, worth every penny – I highly recommend buying Kelly’s book, Becoming a Supple Leopard.

Supplement Recommendations:

  • Pure Pharma – High quality supplements that should be part of your daily routine.
  • Top 7 Supplements for Athletes  – Supplement recommendations from CrossFit Invictus, Fittest Team in the 2014 CrossFit Games. (They might know what they’re talking about.)
  • Eat to Perform – Meal planning guide and calculator as well as an online support system. I don’t personally subscribe to this website, but I’ve heard good things.
  • SFH Supplements – Recommendation by Games athlete, Mike Cazayoux.
  • RSP Nutrition – High quality pre and post-workout supplements. I use Fast Fuel, ReGen, AgmaGen and GlutaGen.

*Note: I have not been paid to endorse any of these products or services. These are just some resources I’ve come across during my time as a CrossFitter, either personally or through fellow athletes. Have a resource you love? Share it in the comments below.


Bruce Barbell Taught Me Respect

This past Saturday, I had the privilege of attending a Bruce Barbell training program with 7-time World Team member Matt Bruce and CrossFit Games Champion and Hack’s Pack UTE member, Mike Cazayoux. For 8-1/2 hours we covered Olympic weightlifting and gymnastics movements as well as endurance, nutrition and injury prevention.

To say my mind is on overload is an understatement.

Over and over we practiced different lifts, focusing specifically on the snatch and the clean & jerk. Matt Bruce and his crew would walk around us like hawks as we cleaned, jerked & snatched, critiquing our every move. “Shoulders back. Butt up. Tight core. Straight arms on the pull. Come up on your toes for the shrug. Drop under the bar. Elbows up. Fast jerk.”

How am I supposed to do all that and still remember to breathe at the same time? And as if that wasn’t hard enough, they also videoed our every move….and then proceeded to plaster it on the tv in front of everyone and tell us what we did wrong.

And I loved every minute of it.

When Mike Cazayoux took over the gymnastics portion of the program, we drilled through progressions for handstand push-ups, pull-ups, toes-to-bar and muscle-ups. All the while, he basically made these seem like child’s play as he eased into a muscle-up while talking us through the technique. Wait. You can talk & muscle-up at the same time? That’s impressive.

CrossFit Bridge City members with the Bruce Barbell crew.

CrossFit Bridge City members with the Bruce Barbell crew.

And then came nutrition and endurance. Two words: Mind. Blown.

I seriously need to get it together when it comes to my diet. This is something I’ve known for awhile now. Something I know I need to get a handle on if I want to be a real competitor. But after everything Mike had to say about nutrition and eating to perform, it became a little more clear how far off base I really am. How do people continue to live on all the crap we put into our bodies? On stuff that offers zero nutritional value?

That aside, when you get down to the nuts and bolts of the science behind the body’s three different energy systems, it’s truly mind blowing. Throw in metabolic flexibility and you may as well as well be speaking Chinese to me. Luckily, Mike broke it down on a level I could understand. Bottom line: our bodies are amazing machines and we have unbelievable power at our fingertips.

Overall, I give Bruce Barbell a 10 in all aspects of the program. It was easily the best money I’ve spent in a long time. That being said, I learned far more than technique and nutrition this past weekend.

Bruce Barbell taught me respect.

I learned how much respect Olympic weightlifters have for their craft – the barbell, the programming and the technique. I learned how a Games athlete prepares to be the fittest with hours of training and strict nutrition. I learned how much CrossFitters and Olympic Weightlifters respect one another. How much each sport has done for the other. What they continue to do.

To be the best requires intense dedication and commitment – to your training, your nutrition, your technique. It requires humbling yourself to learn from those who have been where you want to be. It requires pushing yourself beyond the limits your mind and body have created. It requires respect.

The CrossFit Games Open: Roosters Went to Work

If you’ve read my blog lately, you know that I’ve been [a little] obsessed with The CrossFit Games Open for the past 5 weeks. It’s been an emotional ride. And, if I’m being honest, a tough one. But, I guess that’s the point. Work hard. Reap the rewards.

Good news, we survived!

*Party Dance* Moving on…

Over the past year and a half, I’ve grown really close to the girls I WOD with. We like to call ourselves the Rooster Crew. Because, well, we get our butts up before real roosters do. Everyday. 5am is no joke. (Especially if you’re not a morning person, like me.)

Oddly enough, CrossFit made me a morning person. For real.

There’s no way I’d be waking up at 4:30 am. EVER. And then I’m like, “Oh, but this looks like a fun WOD. Getting up it is!” And really, if I’m not getting up to go to CrossFit, I’m not getting up . (Just ask my husband…)


Roosters are always read to work.

Roosters are always ready to work.

As Roosters, we’re dedicated. Not only do we get up and show up, we work hard. As is to be expected, some days are better than others. Some days, we’re all feeling it & others, we probably should have stayed in bed. But for the most part, we’ve found our groove and we’re rockin’ and rollin’.

Personally, I love seeing my Rooster girls every day. I’ll spare you the mush & just highlight a few reasons why these girls rock. A) I’m not the only crazy person getting up that early to get my butt kicked. B) I’ve never met a more encouraging & positive group of people. C) They’re all pretty freaking hilarious.

But mostly, these girls impress me. Every. Single. Day.

Throughout The CrossFit Open, I definitely heard some negative talk. When double unders were introduced, I’m pretty sure more than one of them cursed. (Ok, maybe I did too.) And then came chest to bar pull-ups. And then some serious weight on deadlifts. And so on and so forth.

But you know what? These girls put on their big girl panties and went to work. I’m talking, going from “I’m not competitive,” to “I’m going to redo that WOD because I know I have more in me.”

Can I tell you how happy that makes me? Seriously.

And so, because I think they’re worth bragging about, I put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – to bring you the following PRs from my favorite group of girls, the CrossFit Bridge City Rooster Crew:


  1. “Got” double unders (a.k.a. – Did them in a WOD for the first time ever).
  2. PR’d her deadlift – AND did 20 reps with the weight in Open WOD 14.3.
  3. Used a 20″ box for the first time.


  1. PR’d her deadlift at 155# pounds in 14.3.
  2. Did toes to bar for the first time in 14.4.
  3. Did 65# in an overhead squat for the first time for Open WOD 14.2.


  1. Did her first ever chest to bar pull-up in Open WOD 14.2.
  2. Did toes to bar for the first time in 14.4.
  3. PR’d her deadlift by 20#.


  1. Improved her score by 32 reps on her redo of 14.1.
  2. Received an invitation to participate in the SETX Invitational & Open Championship for placing in the top 30 out of the 8 area CrossFit affiliates in Southeast Texas.
  3. Did all 50 toes to bar (and she says this is her goat) & managed to knock out 18 cleans at 95# in 14.4.


  1. Did deadlifts at 155# in a WOD for the first time in 14.3.
  2. Did toes to bar for the first time in 14.4.
  3. Showed a competitive side I’ve never seen before, coming in 7th out of all of the girls who competed in The Open from CrossFit Bridge City.


  1. Did deadlifts for the first time in a WOD since injuring her back just 3 months prior to The Open. And rocked them, coming in 6th overall for that WOD here in SETX.
  2. Placed in the top 200 in the South Central Region for Open WOD 14.5 at 178.
  3. Finished The Open in the top 14% of the South Central Region.

If you see them, be sure to give them a high five. It’s well deserved. And, a special shout-out to some of our other girls who didn’t participate in The Open but who make our day each morning with their smiling faces – Brandi, Amy, Sheri. Keep kicking butt girls!

For the rest of you who competed, what are you proud of? What PRs did you hit?

Introducing the SETX Invitational & Open Championship

I signed up for The CrossFit Games Open with zero expectations. I just wanted to track my progress. And knowing competitions always make me better, I knew The Open would give me another reason to push myself.

With three WODs down and two to go, I have to say, I’m surprising myself. That being said, I’m not celebrating just yet. I can feel toes to bar or wall ball shots coming. But for now, I’ll enjoy my ranking…

In related news, the 8 CrossFit boxes in our area are hosting a competition on April 26th based on The Open rankings. It’s the first ever Southeast Texas (SETX) Invitational and Open Championship and it goes down at Ford Park in Beaumont, Texas.

The 1st ever SETX Invitational & Open takes place April 26, 2014.

The 1st ever SETX Invitational & Open takes place April 26, 2014.

For the “invitational” portion of the competition, the top 2 male and female competitors from each hosting CrossFit affiliate will receive a special invite to compete, and the remaining 28 spots will be filled by the highest ranking males and females after week 5 of the CrossFit Open competition.

Here are the latest female rankings and male rankings for the SETX Invitational & Open.

Those wishing to compete in the “open” portion are welcome to register after the 2014 CrossFit Games Open is completed on March 27th. There will be Standard, Masters and Team divisions available for both males and females.

Register online or learn more about becoming a sponsor/vendor on their website.

Two WODs of The CrossFit Open Down & I’m Not Done Yet

We’re officially two WODs into the 2014 CrossFit Open in preparation for the CrossFit Games to be held later this year.

When 14. 1 was released, some rejoiced. Others, not so much. I can remember thinking to myself, “Well, maybe I’ll get lucky & it’ll be a good day for me when it comes to double unders.” Truth be told, mine are hit or miss. Some days, I’m able to knock out 30+ unbroken. And some, I’m lucky to get two. Needless-to-say, I’m still working on those.

It’s probably safe to assume the vast majority of athletes who are new to CrossFit, had to be convinced to sign up for The Open to begin with. (I was one of those myself.) And, a pretty good amount of them are probably thinking to themselves right about now, “What a waste of my money.”

If this is you, STOP.

Take a step back and remember what CrossFit is about. It’s about you and your goals. It’s about always pushing yourself to that next level – whatever that may be for you. Is your goal to RX everything? Or is it to just become proficient at double unders? Whatever it is, rest assured The Open is helping you accomplish those goals, even if you can’t see that right now.

Did you manage to complete 14.1? Did your double unders improve? Did you at the very least work your butt off practicing them? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it was worth your $20. Period.

14.2 was announced last night. As usual, I attended 5:00 am this morning & gave it a shot. You know what? I only scored 37. But you know what else? That was 27 more than I expected. I can do pull-ups. For me, that’s a strong point. But, I’ve never done chest to bar pull-ups before today. Progress!

Before The Open, each time chest to bar was introduced into a WOD as RX, I would immediately count myself out, saying, “Well, I know I can’t do those. Guess I’m not RXing today.”

Wrong attitude.

Maybe you can’t RX chest to bar. Maybe you can’t RX standard kipping pull-ups. Does that mean you should stop working on them? Stop striving for progress? Hell no. It simply means you try. You push yourself.

My first CrossFit competition.

My first CrossFit competition.

The thing about The Open and CrossFit competitions in general is that it does push you. It breaks your mental barrier to allow your physical body to do far more than you ever thought possible.

I’m new to CrossFit, but I speak from experience. My first time to ever try max pull-ups was in a competition. I did 21 & placed 2nd in that particular WOD. I had no clue I had it in me to do that many pull-ups. Hell, my coach had to tell me one day to stop using a band because, I could do pull-ups. I, of course, quickly told him, “No I can’t.” After class, he made me try pull-ups unassisted and I did 5. Mentally, my mind was made up. Physically, my body said, “Look out girl, I got this.”

That’s what CrossFit is about. Breaking physical and mental barriers.

CrossFit is far more than physical limitations. It’s mental grit. Whether that’s having the dedication to get up at 4:30 am 5 days a week to have a WOD kick your butt, or one day becoming an elite athlete. We all have barriers. We all have goats. How you choose to obliterate those is up to you. Bottom line: CrossFit is Tough. You’re Tougher.

For me, I’m pushing through this thing. We’re two WODs down & I’m not ranking anywhere near where I want to be. All that tells me is I need to push harder and strategize differently. I plan to re-do 14.2. Maybe I’ll do better, maybe not. But one thing I do know – I can always use practice on overhead squats and chest to bar pull-ups.

10 Things All CrossFitters Should Know

When it comes to forging elite fitness, I don’t quite measure up. (Yet.) But, I’ve been attending our local box religiously for about a year and a half. During that time, I’ve overcome plenty of obstacles and put in a lot of hours to achieve the level of fitness I currently possess.

Along the way, I’ve met all walks of life – both inside and outside the box. Those for and against CrossFit. My favorite haters are the ones who say, “Oh don’t do that CrossFit stuff. You’ll hurt yourself.” Do you have any idea how often I hurt myself simply walking through my house? No lie. I’ll be on a mom mission, likely putting away clean clothes & toys and then I’m like, “Oh hey wall. Where did you come from?!” Seriously.

The thing is, CrossFit can be for everyone. But in truth, it’s not for everyone. Sure, it’s scale-able. I’ve seen all ages, weights, heights and everything in between (pregos included) do CrossFit. I highly encourage any one who’s never done it to at least give it a try before casting their judgement. That being said, there are a few things you need to be prepared for. And, for all you adventurous people who are new to the CrossFit trenches, here are 10 Things All CrossFitters Should Know.

1) CrossFit is tough. You’re tougher.

Without a doubt, CrossFit is the hardest work out regimen I’ve ever done. It will break you down physically and mentally if you let it. There WILL be times when your mind says no more and somehow your body manages to go through the motions and finish the WOD. On the other hand, there will also be times your body says, I’ve had enough & your mind says, “I didn’t come all this way for nothing. We’re finishing this thing.” You will have good days, bad days and even some great days when you manage to hit that personal record you’ve been working for. That being said, learn to love every minute of it. Know that your bad days are getting you one step closer to your good days. And those, to your great days.

2) Slow & steady wins the race. 

Sure, there’s a clock. And, you can bet your last dollar we’re pushing through every rep with hopes of setting a new PR and being faster than our last FRAN time. We’re counting reps and knocking out thrusters or pull-ups as fast as we can. But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned the hard way, it’s that slow and steady wins the race. And I’m not talking tortoise & the hare slow guys (remember the clock?). I’m talking don’t forget to breathe because otherwise you might pass out slow. We’ve all been there. Struggling to get through that last set of 9 thrusters that seemed so easy 5 minutes ago before the WOD started and we were just practicing. There’s something about that clock that makes our brains stop working. For some reason, we tend to forget the important things – like breathing & technique. For me, it’s wall ball shots. In my mind, they’re the devil. But, like one of my coaches said, you have no control over how long it takes that ball to fall back down to you. So breathe damn it. Relax. Revel in that split second of air you will be longing for in .2 seconds. Get your mind right and remember your technique. And do it again, consistently, every time you pick up a wall ball, bar bell or kettle bell.

3) You make progress. 

Period. The cool thing about CrossFit is that one day you may suck at something & the next, the heavens open up, angels sing & BAM! you’re knocking out toes to bar like a boss…..or three at a time. Bottom line: go into with the mindset that while yes, it is hard, every time you step in the box you are making progress. Some days that progress is simply managing to finish the WOD. Some days it’s RX’ing the WOD or just a portion of it. Success and progress is different for everyone. Learn to be okay with that. Runners are good at running. Weight lifters are good at lifting weights. CrossFitters are good at both – and they all take practice. Novel, right? (Thanks to my coach for this piece of genius.)

Here's me finally doing toes to bar in a competition.

Here’s me finally doing toes to bar in a competition.

4) CrossFitters need accountability.

You’ve seen the daily Facebook check-ins. You’re probably guilty of them yourself. The “I’m at the box! Look at how awesome I am.” posts. (And let’s not forget those CrossFit terms we love to use that no one outside of the box can ever hope to understand.) Oh yes, we know what people think of us. And you know what? That’s okay. You see, those posts are just an accountability measuring tool. It’s our moment to say, “Hey, I managed to make it to the box today,” & give a little shout-out to our fellow CrossFitters who did the same. Notice I didn’t say RX’d or any other badass term. You could have managed to show up with your shorts on inside out and your shirt on backwards at 5am. (True story.) But hey, you were there and you did work. You’re one step closer to that progress we’ve been talking about. The flip side to our social check-ins is that others will totally call us out for not making it to the box. (But we secretly love this.) A) They’re keeping us accountable. B) They must have missed our smiling face, right? And finally, as CrossFitters, we obsess about reps, weights, time and every other measuring tool associated with CrossFit. If we happen to put it on Facebook, we might just remember what our time was on a particular WOD because we forgot to write it in our books. (It may not seem like it to “normal” people, but there is a method to our madness.)

5) CrossFit doesn’t cause injuries. People do. 

Frankly, I’m tired of hearing that CrossFit is bad for you and causes injuries. CrossFit is still a relatively new sport. It’s easy for people to raise flags when it comes to new things. And even easier for them to place blame on a particular sport instead of the athletes themselves. And truthfully, I could write an entire rant about people and their lack of accountability in today’s society. Instead, I’ll just say this: It’s your body. Take care of it. Let’s face it, no one is going to look out for you the way you can look out for you. If your body hurts, listen. If something doesn’t feel right, talk to a coach. There are movement standards for a reason. Learn them. Live them. Love them. Ultimately, it’s up to you to do the movements safely and correctly. With the abundance of CrossFit resources available online or from a coach at a local box, there’s really no excuse for you to be doing things wrong. That being said, rest assured that the only way you’re going to eventually get it right is practice. Don’t expect that because someone showed you the right way, you’re mind and body just accept that input and produce the right output. Be willing to put in the work to get it right – every time you step into the box.

6) It’s addictive. 

Okay, maybe someone did warn me of this. I just didn’t listen. I mean, how can punishment be addictive? But ask any of us, and we’ll all tell you the same. Nothing quite compares to that feeling when you finally hit that PR you’ve been working so hard for – be it double unders, RX’ing a named WOD or conquering your snatch. It’s what keeps us going back for more.

My first time doing clean and jerk in a competition.

My first time doing clean and jerk in a competition.

7) Technique is everything.

This ties into the whole CrossFit not causing injuries thing. When your coach is going over technique, listen. A good coach will break it down for you step by step. If you’re still not getting what you need, look online or ask around. It’s a close community. I can guarantee you’re going to find that one coach who’s passionate about you learning it right because he or she cares about your safety and success. The safety aspect aside, technique exists to make your life easier. Ask anyone that has ever done a clean incorrectly and then turned around and done it correctly. The weight feels lighter, right? There’s a reason! When it comes to technique, don’t forget that little jewel called breathing. Simple though it may be, this is a big one for me personally. With each movement, learn the proper time to breathe. For example, when doing squats, we’re taught to exhale on the way up. When it comes to technique, the bottom line is that small things are a big deal.

8) CrossFit is an evil mix of punishment and reward. 

You just killed the last three WODs and have proven yourself worthy of the top 5 teams? Good for you! As a reward, here’s more punishment. Check out this hellacious 4th finals WOD you have to do now. (Disclaimer: I haven’t made it to the top 5 teams of a competition – yet.) The thing is, CrossFitters get that punishment = reward. We don’t bust our asses at the box everyday with hopes of “maybe” making it onto the podium. We do it because we know that the only way to get to that reward is through punishment. Lots and lots of punishment.

I'm still working on conquering the peg wall, but I'm getting there.

I’m still working on conquering the peg wall, but I’m getting there.

9) CrossFitters aren’t vain. We’re excited. 

What may sound like bragging to someone else, is just excitement to us. Let’s face it, we never think we can do as much as we really can. So when we do, hell yes we are going to celebrate! We’ve been working for months on pull-ups or double unders and one day, we can magically do them? You can bet we’re going to shout it from the rooftops. Or when you lift 2-3 times your body weight because you’re a beast? Yep, if you don’t tell someone first, you can bet we’re going to do it for you. Because we’re proud of you dang it.

10) We’re family. 

I can’t think of any other sport where athletes are genuinely rooting for their competition to hit their goal. That max deadlift you’re working on pulling? We’re here with you every step of the way, cheering you on & ready to congratulate you when you lift it – even if it means you knocked us down a rank in the competition. Can you imagine if opposing football teams applauded when the other team caught the winning touchdown? Blasphemy! But that’s how the CrossFit family works. You’re struggling? We’re here and you got this.

My Spartan Journey: I Lived

My Spartan journey began in March of 2012 at The Gusher 5K. (You guys may remember Iram Leon who won The Gusher Marathon earlier this year & is also a recent Spartan finisher.) Having never run more than a mile in my life – if that – I signed up to run my first 5K at The Gusher since our office had a participating team. As it tends to do, life got in the way & I never prepared for the run. And, as luck would have it, a team member from our office ended up having to back out at the last minute leaving an open spot on the team. Genuinely thinking of backing out myself, I convinced my husband to join our team as a walker. Having had back surgery 3 months prior, I knew I was asking a lot of him, but I also knew it would be my “easy way out.” He would start the race running – that’s the stubborn man he is – but, I was convinced there was no way he would run the entire 5K. Which, of course, meant I’d “have” to walk the rest of it with him to show my support. *cough, cough*

Race day came and I was petrified. As we took off among the horde of people and my legs began to hurt almost instantly, it became clear there was no way I was finishing that race running. With only a ½ mile down, I looked over at my husband who was calmly running along and looked for some sign of him slowing down. Zero chance. (Must have been all those years in the Army paying off.) So, I continued to plod along trying to decide if I could somehow fake an injury. As we approached the 1 mile marker, I began to tell myself I just had to make it to the mile marker and then I could walk. (After all, that in itself was an accomplishment for me.) The mile marker came and went. My husband continued to run. Oh how I hated (and adored) that man. So we ran. And ran. And ran. As I crossed the finish line for my very first 5K, I felt like I had just run a marathon – mentally and physically. I was ecstatic! It was in that moment that a thought crossed my mind, “What if.” I hadn’t prepared and yet, I had finished my task. What if I had actually trained? What if I could really do this?

My husband, Ryan, & I after our first Spartan in Burnet, TX.

My husband, Ryan, & I after our first Spartan in Burnet, TX.

Fast forward 2 months and I found myself standing at the starting line of my first Spartan – the Sprint in Burnet, TX. Once again, I felt like I had made a very bad decision agreeing to endure such torture. The race started and I trudged along the course. My husband was with me every step of the way helping me over the walls, talking me through the running. I managed to only have to do burpees twice – the rope climb and the spear throw. Covered in mud from head to toe and completely exhausted, we crossed the finish line. As they placed a Spartan medal around my neck, I decided I could most definitely do this.

My husband and I agreed we wanted to go after the coveted Trifecta medal. We began to train and prepare by participating in as many races, bike rides and runs as we could. We even completed our first Tough Mudder and joined a local CrossFit box (shout-out to CrossFit Bridge City). We often joked that these races and training were our marriage counseling. (How true that turned out to be!)

We completed our 2nd Spartan – the Beast – in Glen Rose, TX that December. The day after returning home, I began to experience severe chest pain. Within a week, I found myself hospitalized and diagnosed with two pulmonary embolisms, commonly known as PEs – or blood clots in the lungs. The remedy? Blood thinners for a minimum of 6 months with the possibility of being on them permanently if they determined I had a blood clotting disorder.

Ryan & I jumping the fire to finish the Spartan Beast in Glen Rose, TX together.

Ryan & I jumping the fire to finish the Spartan Beast in Glen Rose, TX together.

As I lay in my hospital bed, the doctor tried to reiterate how much of a “big deal” my situation was. (Not being familiar with PEs, I didn’t grasp why they were acting like I was dying.) All the doctors and nurses seemed to say was, “It’s a really big deal.” Finally, the doctor decided to shoot straight with me. With a sincere look of concern on his face, he said, “You had two chronic PEs. One in the right that was completely blocking the artery and the left almost completely blocking the artery. We’re lucky we caught it. That’s usually fatal.” Later that afternoon, they sent in the hospital chaplain to discuss my will. (Let me just say from experience that nothing quite brings your life into perspective like the words fatal and will.)

These people are crazy! I am SO not dying today – I found myself screaming inside. What about my children? My husband? What about everything I haven’t gotten to do yet? “Can I still do obstacle racing?” I asked. With a look of surprise on his face, the doctor replied, “Well, I wouldn’t go climbing through barbed wire or anything.” Uncontrollably, the tears flowed. The idea of waiting my entire life to finally discover I loved something only to have it ripped away was devastating. Maybe I was dying. My husband stayed by my side, reassuring me that we would get through this together. And, get through it we did.

With only a month off from CrossFit and adjusting to life on my trusty blood thinners, I returned to the local box and began to push harder than before. In the beginning, every time I struggled to breathe, I experienced anxiety. In time, I began to distinguish the difference between the PEs causing me problems and me just getting my butt kicked by the WOD. But, with overwhelming support from my fellow CrossFitters and my husband and with my children as inspiration, I began to set personal records. Every day I grew stronger and more fit. Every day I got one day closer to that 6 month mark of required blood thinners.

My inspiration, Bryce (8) & Kade (4).

My inspiration, Bryce (8) & Kade (4).

Some days, reality liked to slap me a little harder than others. Like the morning I received a text from my co-worker telling me her sister’s husband died from a PE and that I’m “the only person she knows who’s survived it.” Or when we got the call that my husband’s great uncle had passed away from a PE. No one knows why God does things the way He does, or what His plan is for us. All I know, is that it wasn’t my time to die. For the time being, I still get to wake up next my husband and kiss my children goodnight. And for that, I am very grateful.

What feels like a million vials of blood later, we still don’t have an answer. The doctors have a few leads, but nothing solid. For now, I’m free of Coumadin and clear to conquer what I set out to do over a year ago – get the Spartan Trifecta medal. My husband and I are signed up for the Spartan Sprint in Kiln, MS. I have no doubt that when I find myself standing at the starting line, I’ll experience fear and anxiety. But I also know one thing for certain. I will finish the race. I will add another Spartan medal to my collection. And one day very soon, that will be the Trifecta medal.

Until then…..AROO!