good byes.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – A.A. Milne

It’s a funny thing, saying good bye. As much as you try you can never quite prepare for it. At parties I like to be the person that hugs and says hello at the beginning and then quietly leaves without notice at the end.

With the most important and intimate of relationships though, the one on one stuff, as difficult as a face to face good bye can be I do believe they are necessary. Taking a moment to say good bye to one another in person provides a formal moment within which to say whatever might be necessary, a moment to pause and recognize what is happening before you turn and go. How ever you may react to the moment there is a beauty in the exchange, in the acknowledgement of what transpires.

A connection is created adding strength across the distance that is about to grow between you.

I’m going to have to say good bye to my beloved ACF community for several weeks. Much past attempting 13.4 and getting my final 1RM Back Squat and Dead Lift this Saturday, I’m going to be out for six weeks. I’m having minor surgery and unfortunately the recovery requires lifting nothing heavier than 5lbs. For six weeks! I’ve asked the doctor and the nurses in every which way possible if there’s anything I can do other than to NOT LIFT and the resounding answer has consistently come back to me, ‘No.’

You may not lift anything heavier than 5lbs for six weeks.

‘But…I CrossFit!’ I said.

‘Especially no CrossFit,’ was the response.

‘Do you know what this means to me?’ I asked.

‘Do you want to get better?’ They responded.

‘Fine,’ I said, feeling uncertain and defeated.

So here I am forced to sit on the sidelines. What an incredibly uncomfortable feeling. All I can think about is the gains that will be lost. All my hard work sidelined and left to atrophy. What will happen to my strength? Will I gain weight? This explains why I’ve been OD’ing on CF this past month, signing up for every seminar, volunteer opportunity and WOD as far as the eye can see. Just trying to get my fill. The goal being to step off into this next chapter from the healthiest possible plateau.

People come and go from the ACF community every day. It is a large group of diverse individuals checking their personal shit at the door for an hour or two and jumping in to get stripped to the core so that they can rebuild. An incredibly frightening and uncomfortable process but absolutely integral when building strength and character. Then they go home or back to work or to the grocery store or maybe buy a new pair of kicks.

So as much as I believe in the face to face good bye in the most important of your relationships, in this instance I’m simply going to slip out the back for a while. My hiatus in the scheme of it all is NBD. People walk in and out every day. Some return, some do not.

Of course it’s all no big deal except to me.

ACF has become such an integral part of my life and of who I am. The go to for all things good and bad. Bad day at work, hit a WOD to clear your head. Good day at work, hit a WOD to celebrate. Feeling tired, hit a WOD to get some energy. Feeling anxious, hit a WOD to calm your mood. CrossFit has become a part of who I am.

CrossFit is my sounding board.

So now how to fill those non-CrossFitting hours? Well, for starters being accepted to the New York State Writer’s Institute will help. Classes start this week and go for 9 weeks. Delete CrossFit, insert Writing. It will be good to have another passion to dial into. Then in six weeks if all goes well just as I’m coming out of recovery and able to start training again so the class will draw to a close and my window to WOD will once again open.

I wonder what I will learn during this shift in focus. I wonder where it will lead.

The Question of, Why?

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
The question at ACF was posed: Why do You Crossfit?
And here is my answer:

It was the last of my one on one training sessions with Dean. Outside of the usual WODs I have been working with him to simply get stronger. Strong enough to compete. I have a long way to go but Dean taught me much; resistance training with chains and bands, corrected my deadlift form to where I PR’d twice in the following two weeks. 

I’m pretty tall. Especially tall for a girl. Some say they really like a tall woman but the better part of my formative and college years might tell a different story. When in public people usually comment or ask questions about my height. You wouldn’t believe some of things people say. To some; tall equals big equals strong equals not very feminine.

It’s been over a year since starting Crossfit and this much I’ve learned: It all comes down to you. Crossfit is a stripping away of bullshit. Where all that’s left is you competing against yourself. The steel and bumpers and burpees a level playing field. Crossfit forces you to face what’s inside of you.

The process can be nerve wracking and downright scary. There have been moments where I’ve thought about quitting even before the WOD begins.  But the clock starts and you start to move and somehow you just keep going. And in that process of going, of pushing through what was thought impossible, you learn about yourself and what you’re truly capable of. It doesn’t always feel good but it is always worth it. And sometimes you gain a piece of yourself that you never even knew existed.

At the end of our last class together I asked Dean for a hug. A big hug. It was a lot to ask. I was sweaty.

He stood on the giant Strongman tire and reached down and hugged me tight. ‘Be confident in your strength,’ he said.

‘Ok.’ I said.

‘Mary,’ he continued, ‘be confident in who you are.’

It’s okay to be strong. It’s okay to be who you are. Crossfit gets you comfortable with being uncomfortable. Crossfit is a training ground for life.


What is Crossfit? Takes time to answer. Not due to uncertainty or commitment, but because it can be defined in so many different ways. You’d think by now I’d be able to rattle off some concise answer. But the truth is simply the opposite: The more I learn, the more I learn. The more it encompasses, and expands.

According to HQ, the CrossFit prescription is “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement.” No aspect of functional movements is more important than their capacity to move large loads over long distances, and to do so quickly.

But then, just came across this video of my favorite CF Competitor, Lucas Parker.  His words describe what ‘it’ means best.  Here’s a snipit:

“Crossfit means to me: Opportunity.

For someone just starting out in Crossfit, Crossfit is an opportunity to change your life for the better; from a physical standpoint, from an emotional standpoint, learning how to deal with stress, and discomfort.

You know I think we take for granted, once we’ve been in Crossffit for a few years, the inherent discomfort in what we do.

For a lot of people Crossfit is a big shock to the system, and that can be either a big wake up call, or deterrent. Some people get kind of turned off by that, but if you have that little bit of a spark inside you that says, ‘Hey, I recognize that I’m putting myself into an uncomfortable situation and I’m going to benefit from that.’ There’s a huge opportunity because you can apply that to nearly every situation you come across in life. So that would be the word that I would use (to describe Crossfit), Opportunity.”