It all started for me back in September 2016, Ambrose invited us to Allentown PA. for the Gap Gallop bike ride, including a bonus hill called Fiddlers Elbow, which if you ride to top, you get a fabulous prize. The ride headed out through the rolling hills of Amish country, Fiddler Elbow was at mile 40, 1.1 miles of steep wet road, Ambrose took the lead up the hill, and I followed as normal, about ¾ of the way to the top, my chest felt like it was going to explode. Fitbit was reporting my heart rate was 195, so I stopped pedaling, got off to walk the rest of the hill. That was the first hill I have ever walked on a bike ride, and I have been riding since 1981! It was a Colonel Steve Austin moment!

Winter season started, and my research task was to figure out my new fitness regime. I met with a nutritionist, who ask me what is my main goal, I opted with increasing my fitness level, and weight loss would follow a little behind that goal. I started looking at gyms to start training, at least to get me through winter. Most of the places I looked at offer a free class, and since I have not done anything but cycling since 1997, I knew I was asking for a setback injury with a “free” class!

I had seen CrossFit Clintonville, right across from our favorite Vet Hospital, and looked into the program, a 4 session 101 class teaching you about form (hmmmm, what a novel idea), so I signed up January 2017.

JP (no need for coffee, he is brimming with energy) was my 101 instructor on Tuesday & Thursday morning. I was amazed, what little I remembered about weightlifting I could just forget it all, my perception was beginning anew. Who says you cannot teach an old dog new tricks!

I finished my 101 in 2 weeks on a Thursday, felt really good about all the workout basics, so I decided to show up for the 7am Friday real class. Since the 6am class had seen me on a regular basis, several of the class members came up to me, and asked if anyone told me that Friday’s are the hardest workout of the week, which I replied “If it kills me, I never have to do it again!”

Right about the same time I started at CFC, another group of friends who like to plan wonderful vacations started planning for Spring 2018 in Barcelona Spain and Portugal. When researching things to do in Barcelona, I came across a tour group led by former pro cyclists, who take you up into the Pyrenees Mountains for a day in the saddle, I was gearing up for the challenge! Having ridden challenge rides in the past, New Mexico, Colorado, and completed the Mt. Washington Hill Climb Challenge. I understand the need for training since we really have no mountains (overpasses do not count) in Ohio, though we do have some nasty steep climbs, CrossFit was looking to be the perfect complement to my training routine, guess you are stuck with me!

In March, Pat approached me about getting some running shoes at Front Runner so I could start training for MURPH, which I did later that same day, I am such a lemming! Since this was before the Sunday Endurance class, I had to venture out on my own to find my groove for running. The good thing is we have lots of sparkly objects in Clintonville to look at while running, bad thing my old rule for running was ”Something scary is coming, you should run too!”.

MURPH really showed the sense of community the CFC has to offer. I was really impressed when I saw Ahmed finish MURPH, then go back to the gym to run with the last person out, that is a real sense of the people we surround ourselves and strive to be at CFC, I applaud you all!

Hannah ask me sometime around the end of summer, how CrossFit has changed my life. Over the past couple of years, we had a big section of our yard set aside as garden, though the spot was really shady, and lately rain is not the norm during summer months in Ohio, so we wanted to turn it back into lawn. I attempted this exercise several times in the past, would spend 15 minutes with a shovel turning over the dirt, get excessively tired, and hang it up. This year I attacked it with zeal, through the area was now a weed field, I pulled out all the trees, turn over the 12’ x 18’ area with a shovel, had to dig out several old root systems, then rake all the other debris out of the area. Knocked this out in a couple of hours of steady work, then went back through the reworking the soil with the shovel the following week, and planted it in grass. I was shocked that only a short time of CrossFit allowed me to have the stamina and core muscle to power through this home WOD with ease.

Enjoying the fact that someone else plans the daily workouts, and the instructor are all about checking your form, giving pointers, and rallying your gumption so you can push a little more to finish a routine! You have the added bonus the Instructors like to challenge your focus; I have had Pat fake block my path on the inbound running green line, so he could award me with a 5-burpee penalty, Travis with his Bear Crawl Hair Band Air Guitar Penalty, which I completed several times, nothing like a good Judas Priest Air Guitar session!

I remember the first week I tried 5 classes in a row, after Tuesday I was waking up in the morning with different parts of my body sore to the point they would not work right, but I went back, exercising caution on the soft softs of my body. Due to soreness, I dropped back to 3 classes per week. I too have never included stretching before heading out on the bike, but now I had to rethink this. I started to find out that taking my time after the workouts to stretch and adding stretches to my evening time helped to relieve most of the pain I was having. Currently I attend 4 weekday classes, and pull the double duty Kettlebell & Endurance on Sunday, along with picking up leading a cycling club ride on Saturday or Sunday, can’t beat being outdoors anytime of the year!!

It has been a great year so far; I have lost 30 lbs., and have increased my average mile time from 12: 30 in April to a current sub 9-minute mile. Not sure what my next feat of strength will be, may a handstand, or a chin up, I have many things left to master, and looking forward sharing accomplishments with my new gym mates!

Looking back on my journey with CrossFit, I made the right decision! Everyone has been welcoming, offering their own insight into their journey, giving helpful tips, surprising me on the bike trail, and y’all like to have fun outside the gym, though I might not count the burpee phone penalty as fun….