That Year When I Was A CrossFit Badass…

So yeah, I was really into CrossFit.

I was dive-in-head-first, balls-to-the-wall, super gung-ho obsessed about CrossFit for a year. Only a year.

That seems strange to say. Because it seems like it took up more space in my life than that! And I guess it did if you’re talking about the effect of powerful experiences.

I recently shared in my last blog post that finding CrossFit helped bring me back from a temporarily poor relationship with food.  And it did that by filling a void. The void that many former high-level gymnasts experience after leaving a sport that has defined their lives since early childhood.

That very first “trial” workout brought me back to those super challenging gymnastics workouts that pushed us to our limits. And I felt alive! THIS is what I had been missing! Not arbitrary lifting of weights. Not a competition where you need to learn how to pose in order to flex certain muscles. Where you need to LOOK strong but not necessarily show any sort of strength.

No. THIS daily test of strength, endurance, and physical skill was what got me going. I was good at the challenges, but I had room to be much better. There was always a weakness to work on. There was always progress to be made. There was always a battle between mind and body.

And the strong community pushing you to perform… Assuring you that you weren’t alone in your insane quest toward your ultimate physical potential… THAT was the clincher.

I joined CrossFit right after the Summer Olympics in 2008. And then I left it right after performing in the CrossFit Games in Aromas, California in the summer of 2009. This is what happened during that year…

Just a glance at my Games performance

Just a glance at my Games performance

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That Time When I Forgot How to Eat…

In August of 2007, I competed in a Figure Competition. A physique competition, if you will. It was the culmination of 8 months of effort. My new challenge for a new year.

I could never have attempted this type of stringent challenge before 2007. Not because of the physical aspect. No way. Fifteen years of 20+ hour weeks training as a high level gymnast made these workouts seem incredibly palatable. No, it was actually the diet that was scary for me.

#1- I had never been strict with my eating habits. And my love of sweets and baked goods was strong.

#2- Ever since college, alcohol was a steady source of weekend entertainment in my life. I couldn’t imagine dropping it altogether.

But when 2007 came around, I had made a decision. I was going to attack a new and difficult challenge. I was going to experiment with food in a new and different way. I was going to PROVE that I could complete this daunting challenge. And when I want to prove something, ain’t NOTHING gonna stop this girl!

The first four months of the year were enjoyable. Dropping alcohol, eating more nutrient dense whole foods, and avoiding crappy, empty-calorie foods was treating me right. I felt and looked great!

For the second four months, I had hired an online coach who specializes in helping physique competitors. The real challenge had begun.

By this point, I could only eat my measured/weighed foods and nothing more. It was thrilling and doable at first – I was making it happen! And those weights/measurements slowly got smaller as time went by. I could only have ONE cheat meal per WEEK (except for the last month… when I was allowed NO cheat meals… Ouch). This kept me excited and motivated for a good long while… and then it got hard. Read More

The story of Dave

I was having a particularly difficult night with the kids. It’s challenging to get two kids under 4 to sleep successfully by yourself. Especially night after night for a whole week.

But that was what I decided to do, in order to help my husband JD reach toward a huge personal goal. The goal of rock climbing the East face of Mount Whitney with his climbing buddies – his two best friends – after MONTHS of training and planning and prepping together. And he was out there in the wilderness doing just that… Back country camping, hiking, climbing… Living his dream!

We hardly had any contact. But I was cheering all three guys on in my thoughts. And I found out through the grapevine that they had reached the summit – Hooray!

So when I saw that JD was calling late that night, I forgot all about that long-winded, stressful, chaotic bedtime and excitedly answered the phone!

His voice wasn’t that of a person who had just summitted Mount Whitney with his two best friends. I thought he might just be tired. But it was way worse than that. Inconceivably worse.

We lost Dave today…” is what I heard. I didn’t understand. I just didn’t understand. “He died in my arms at the top of the mountain“, JD uttered, a palpable exhaustion seeping from his voice. My excitement turned to confusion, and then to shock and horror.

Only one minute after I had happily said hello, I was saying goodbye. Without ANY information about what had happened or what was currently happening with JD and Paul.

I felt sick. I was in complete shock. And I spent the next 24 hours (on the exact day of our 10th wedding anniversary, no less!) not knowing if I would ever see my husband again – and playing around with my two young kids as if everything was just hunky dory. I was worried – I mean, if the strongest, most capable guy in the group was suffering badly enough not to make it down the mountain, then surely the remaining two were struggling?? Read More