Let me be clear, in general, I’m a competitive person. I grew up with a college Hall of Fame football player dad, and champion, wrestler older brother, and an extended family with six cousins, 5 of whom were boys. So, friendly and unfriendly competition has been a part of my life from a young age through the end of my college sport career.
But that was not my main motivator for starting and continuing CrossFit.
When I started CrossFit at age 30, I had begun to realize and accept (some days more easily than others) some truths about life. 1. My parents were aging. Up until then, I hadn’t really considered that my parents were getting older at the same time I was too. Noticing how they were changing with age was a reality and mortality check. Additionally, I had lost two grandparents and my brother was in a pretty serious relationship and could no longer be expected to be the “go to man” in my life when I needed “manly” help.
I remember thinking, even panicking a bit: “I am a 5’ tall, single, female who lives alone with a 100 lb dog. The reality is, I may remain single and be my own sole caretaker. S#@$. I better be able to take care of myself.”
“I better be able to take care of myself.”
That was my lightbulb moment. Toss in a rough breakup and being the heaviest I’d ever been in my life and I knew it was time to do something. I needed to know that I could take care of myself and my dog without being dependant on others for physical assistance.
THAT is why I started CrossFit. I needed to be strong enough to always pick myself up when I was sick or hurt. I need to be strong enough to toss the 40 lb bag of dog food into my shopping cart or back of my car and carry it into my house.
I needed to be stronger.
Over the years CrossFit has become a competitive outlet for me, for the good and bad. There are plenty of times when I have let the drive to be better or the best get in the way of being productive, but such is the life of a type A individual with perfection and control issues, haha. That’s an ongoing battle for me and many who share the same characteristics.
But the recent past weeks have been a humbling reminder of my original intent with starting CrossFit.
I better be able to take care of myself. I need to be strong.
My beloved German Shepherd (Rosalee), fairly suddenly, lost the use of her back legs. Overnight, the need to be stronger became a necessity and not a competitive prize to win. Her every action requires assistance: walking from any Point A to Point B; bathroom walks; getting in and out of my SUV; moving throughout the day around the gym; and multiple trips in and out of the Veterinary clinic. All of it, we must do together.
Thank goodness I got stronger.
It was at our first appointment to the Charleston Veterinary Referral Center, Rosa walking in on her front legs with me lifting up her entire hind quarters thanks to the assistance of a pair of workout tights laced under her hips, when the vet tech immediately said, “thank goodness you’re in shape!”
There it was. A real-life, in my face, black and white example of my worst fear; and I was conquering it. I was strong enough. I was physically capable of taking care of myself and Rosa.
In fact, it never occured to me that I wouldn’t be able to take care of Rosa; that I wouldn’t be able to get her to the vet, to take her on walks, or manage her in and out of the gym. I never considered that I wouldn’t be able to continue with our daily 14 – 16 hr work/gym routine.
I never thought that I wasn’t strong enough to manage. I knew I was.
And that’s the beautiful thing about CrossFit. You get stronger. Every. Single. Day. You get stronger. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally.
Throughout my journey, I lost sight of how far I had come and how much I had accomplished; I want more! I want to be better! I lost sight of my achievements and became greedy with the desires of wanting more, more, more.
But, I AM more. I have become MORE. Thanks to CrossFit. Thanks to my hard work.
So, as with all moments of darkness, Rosa’s recent medical needs have brought me back to the beginning of my now full time life/career passion, and why I REALLY CrossFit.
My 5’, 118 lb body is more than capable of lifting Rosa’s hind quarters; this body can pick all 90+ lbs of her up and put her in the car and can get her back out. This body can hold and carry Rosa from one room to another without pain, injury to myself, or her.
I am strong enough.
I always want to be able to take care of myself and my loved ones; fur baby, human, or otherwise. I never want physical limitations to keep me from living life. Thanks to CrossFit, that is no longer a concern for me.
I still want more: to be more; do more; hell, to lift more. But, I have been so graciously reminded by God and the Universe of how far I’ve come and how much I have accomplished. I have been given the gift of seeing that I have worked to make myself strong enough to support myself and my loved ones, and that – THAT – is priceless.