I joined CrossFit Chicago in March of 2011 after having been interested in it for about a year or so. I would occasionally watch videos and read the CFHQ site with intrigue, not a little confusion and much intimidation. Whatwere these people doing? Lots of grunting, insane looking pull-ups, dropping heavy weights and then collapsing in abroken heap. Looked like fun!
My fitness background involved some cross-country in high school, drinking and smoking competitively throughout my twenties and then quitting smoking at thirty to run my first marathon. I went on to run a total of six marathons (3:17 PR), 13 or so half-marathons and numerous 10ks throughout my thirties and was feeling pretty good about my fitness level until the injuries started sidelining me for longer and longer periods. During these times I would “lift” weights at the gym or attempt some swimming. By lift, I mean sitting at an awful weight machine in a room full of mirrors, blaring TVs and miserable looking people wearing earbuds while wishing the entire time I was outside running, or anywhere else for that matter. After recovering from plantar fasciitis (4 months of non-activity) I decided I needed something new and it was time to get head to toe strong. Time to give CrossFit a go.
I did research on different CrossFit boxes in Chicago and all good reviews pointed to CrossFit Chicago. I had my baseline intro of 500m row, 40 squats, 30 sit-ups, 20 push-ups and 10 pull-ups with Coach Kelly on that fateful day in March. Before we began I thought, “How hard could this be?” Well, easy if you do leisurely, junk-style squats, sit-ups, etc., which is what I was used to. I was about to get schooled in the CF way of doing it, which meant getting the most out of each rep with no rest in between for daydreaming or trying to remember where I parked. Afterwards, it was all I could do to make it up the stairs when I got home. How could 5 minutes (probably more, I honestly have no recollection) of work hurt so much and why did I look forward to doing it again as soon as possible?
Jump ahead a year plus and I am still at it and still anxious to do it again as soon as possible. Why? Good question, reader. First off is the coaching. I had never done Olympic style lifting before CF and my first attempts must have been masterpieces of physical comedy. The coaches at CFC have taken my first chicken-legged, noodle-armed attempts and, instead of laughing like they should have, led me to a 170 pound overhead squat, 125 pound strict press and 135 pound snatch. I didn’t know those were even things that existed a year ago and now I not only can’t wait to work on them, but I know what I reed to improve in that 1.5 seconds it takes to move the bar overhead. I also know I can go heavier with more more work. Also, as injuries go I have a current knee issue, but the coaches are always able to modify a WOD so that I can still come into the box and work my ass off.
Which leads me to the members of CFC. Everyone who comes through CrossFit Chicago’s doors on a regular basis is there to get stronger, faster and better than they were the day before. No shirkers in this group. CFC attracts and breeds some pretty terrific people and no matter what the WOD is you know there is going to be some friendly competition and encouragement from fellow members. I have also, under penalty of burpees, gotten pretty good at remembering names.