Since before I could form full sentences, I have been an athlete—an endurance athlete in particular. My grandmother, who raised me, still complains about those days when I was just 3 or 4 and she would open up the car door and there I’d go—running full force down the street.
I was a runner and swimmer all throughout high school, then a marathon runner and collegiate triathlete. I found that the longer the distance, the better my performance, and I had concluded that I just wasn’t built for sprints—or anything that involved speed or agility for that matter. In fact I had built quite a horrible reputation for coordination in general—so I just stuck to sports where you just, well, “go.”
When I started CrossFit in June 2011, I had to rethink all my preconceptions of ‘ability.’ As I started eliminating long, slow distance workouts from my routine, and implementing a lot more speed, strength, balance, skill, and agility training, I found an entirely different athlete in myself. I started beating my high school times at shorter distance races. I reached a whole new gear in my speed and felt stronger than ever. I found myself able to shoot free-throws into my workplace recycling bin. It’s not that I wasn’t “built for speed,” it’s just that I hadn’t trained for it.
That is perhaps the most fundamental lesson that CrossFit has taught me: That I am always more capable than I think I am, and that I can never fully tap into that potential unless I jump in without fear or reservations. CrossFit’s training approach, along with the countless tools it offers (e.g., dieting, community, competition, confidence, teamwork) has made me approach health, fitness, and life in an entirely different way.