In less than a month I will have been at CrossFit Raw Appeal (CFRA) for a whole year. If you had told me at this time last year that I would be a member of a CrossFit box, I would have laughed at you. Not because I didn’t work out, but because I thought I knew what ‘fitness’ was all on my own. Plus, I’ll be the first to admit that I had preconceived notions about CrossFit, mostly based on hearsay, that it was bad for you. I thought CrossFit caused injuries and that I would lose the little strength I had regained after getting hurt nearly 3 years ago. I have never been so happy to be wrong.
I came into CFRA with my friend Jessica, who invited me to the ‘Free Week’, saying that if I hated it, at least I wouldn’t be out any money. That first day I walked in, the place was packed, and my anxiety spiked. I almost left right then, especially when I found out the workout of the day (WOD) had running. Thankfully, Jessica was able to keep me calm enough that I stayed for the workout. Little did I know, that was just the beginning.
That first week flew by, and I signed up at the conclusion of the free week. I. Was. Hooked. At the time, my goal was to get back into powerlifting, and being surrounded by strong men and women felt like the push I needed. I threw myself into CrossFit, only missing a couple of WODs that first month. I lost about 10 pounds, had more energy and felt more like the person I was before I had been hurt. Not only that, but I hit several personal records (PRs), including back squatting more than one hundred pounds without the use of my belt. That was huge for me, because I thought I would never get back to that point again.
Just one month into my CrossFit journey, my ex-husband and I decided to separate. I filed for divorce 4 months later and the divorce became final in March – in the midst of my first CrossFit Open. Because of the people at CFRA and my newfound confidence, I was not going through it alone. I had found the support system I needed. I started training clients again. I registered and completed my first half marathon. For the first time in my life, I hadn’t given up on myself or my goal, and I felt like I could do anything.
After the half marathon, I decided that I would next set my sights on being a better CrossFitter in general. I knew that I had a lot of weaknesses, especially since I had just gotten started at CFRA. However, Dennis (owner and coach of CFRA) presented the perfect opportunity to challenge myself when he told us to write down our goals and what we wanted to accomplish before the CrossFit Open. (He also put forth a 5k challenge, and since I just ran 5k number fifteen this weekend, I think we all know I took that one seriously.) I set my goals high, wanting to be able to move heavier weight, get double unders and I wanted to be better at gymnastics. I trained every day to reach those goals, and with the help of Dennis and Coach Lindsay, I was able to accomplish almost all of them. Just in time to push myself in my first CrossFit Open.
It was around the time that the open started that I began to reflect back on my time with y’all (the wonderful people of CFRA). I realized that because of my anxiety I had really held back, and I vowed to push myself past that and make friends with as many of you as possible. Being put on a team for the open, and our ‘Friday Night Lights’ parties created the perfect environment. Making friends came easily, because you are some of the greatest people I have ever met. And I might have had a little liquid courage the first few times I talked to you, but I did it. And that in itself was a victory.
Since then I have found unique friendships with everyone I have come into contact with at CFRA. I think that each of you is amazing in your own right, and I am very proud of how far all of you have come, even if this is your day one. Sometimes I sit back and watch everyone interact with each other and it makes me feel good inside to know that I am one of you, that I’m one of the many great people who make up our community.
I will forever be grateful for CFRA. Walking in that first day, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that I would meet people I would call my best friends. I went from being a loner, anxiety-ridden girl to never having to be alone and loving it. I can always count on at least one of you to tag along on an adventure. I had a birthday recently, and I don’t know if I told any of you this, but seeing the number of you who celebrated with me blew my mind. I had no idea y’all cared about me, as much as I care about you. Thanks to CFRA, I have a completely new and empowering girl gang who are ready and willing to give me hugs, advice or even touch my butt. Conversely, I’ll never forget my 7 am family and all of their smack talk, because they keep me humble. You were the first people I felt comfortable with being myself.
As I finish writing this, I can’t help but wonder if the Mollie that joined CFRA last June would recognize the Mollie that is coming up on her year mark. I am finally back to my old self. I have become more and more confident in my athleticism, my body and myself in general. I run 3.1 miles every weekend, almost always straight through, and generally faster than I ever have. I am happy to be here, happy to be around all of you, and happy to share my journey. I find myself smiling and laughing all of the time, and I was actually taken off my anxiety medication for the first time since I was diagnosed 9 years ago. I still remember the days when I would sit in the grocery store parking lot, afraid of going in because there were too many people. Now I walk into the gym everyday and make friends with strangers. And soon I’ll be standing in front of the CFRA athletes as a CF-L1 Trainer. I really don’t think I can thank everyone enough for helping me along the way.
I believe that, thanks to CFRA, I have my life back. Without y’all, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I am ready to follow this path, and share it with you.
If I could offer you one piece of advice it would be to never give up on yourself, because your potential is truly infinite if you just believe.