After having reflected many hours on my journey to Crossfit Rockwall, I am reminded of the lyrics to an old Grateful Dead song called “Truckin”. In that song, Jerry Garcia sings “what a long strange trip this has been”. Mary and Crossfit Rockwall were just waiting for me to find their unique experience after having searched for it all my life.
My earliest recollection of a desire to be physically fit was at the young age of five. A Charles Atlas advertisement in a comic book caught my attention; it promised that if I would buy the course, bullies would no longer torment me or kick sand in my face. Girls would flock to my door, and I would have a perfectly sculpted body complete with a leopard skin speedo. Charles Atlas was my new hero and soon to become my liberator. The dream evaporated when my dad intercepted the course at the mailbox and made certain that I understood that I wasn’t old enough for such “manly” things yet.
The years went sailing by along with countless health club memberships for me and my family that all ended in boredom and lost interest.
Then I bought home exercise equipment - the more sophisticated the better; that too eventually fell into disuse and turned into new places to hang our clothes.
I will admit that I had a lasting relationship with a Landis treadmill that I did 4-5 miles a day on as long as I had a good book to go with it, but I eventually lost interest in it as well. It was boring and not very challenging. That can never be said of a CrossFit WOD!!
The light went on in the darkness somewhere around January or February of 2008 while reading an article about kayaking, I had a real moment of “clarity” or a "moment of crystallization", as theologians put it. It became clear to me that kayaking was something fun and physical at the same time. While researching different Kayak designs, I came across a web site, www.texaswatersafari.org. And my life will thankfully never, never, never ever be the same again. I began a plan to help me cover their 276 mile course. I cultured relationships with participants who excelled in their classes, and I have been motivated and inspired by their accomplishments, wisdom and drive. They all encouraged me at every turn.
As I started to assemble a plan to attack this grueling experience, I paddled daily starting with 10-15 minute sessions and gradually increased to 3 hours. Then it was on to faster, higher performance rowing boats which constantly kept me excited and energized. I felt I was on my way to a safari completion if I just kept up the hard work. At least that is how I felt until my first race. I had the endurance to go 20 miles but it took me 7 1/2 hours and everyone else was off the course in 3 hours. I could “hang” but I didn’t have the strength to compete without a powerful paddle stroke.
When I began CrossFit classes in February 2009, my average documented speed in a kayak was 3.5 mph. Within 6 weeks of consistently following the CrossFit regimen, that speed was raised to a solid 4.5 mph with a burst to 5.8mph. I have never in my entire life had anything produce such positive or dramatic results on my body, mind, or spirit.
Mary and her guidance have changed my life in too many ways to count.
All being said, it is back to the lyrics of “Truckin”. I have been searching for a CrossFit experience all my life. I may never win a water safari, I may never set any records in the paddle sports, but CrossFit will always be a part of my future life because it gives me the tools of good health, performance, and mental attitude to face any daily challenge. And without that triad the rest of life is all with out meaning.
My thanks to you Mary and Crossfit Rockwall.