SUCCESS STORIES

Kevin Anderson

Throughout the summer, you may have noticed him in OP with a sling on is arm, doing anything and everything he could to maintain his fitness level using his good arm, legs, and core! Kevin’s dedication to OP and his fitness has been inspiring and leaves us with no excuse to not come in each training day and give our best effort! Thank you for your positive contributions to OP, Kevin!

About Kevin

Occupation: Firefighter (Newport News Fire Department)
Fitness background: “ I played recreational baseball, football and basketball as a child. By high school, I had quit playing sports, due to chasing girls and other unimportant things. I started lifting weights when I began my career as a firefighter in 1987. After about 12 years of lifting, I began to get very bored with it and I stopped going to the gym. It just became very repetitive. For the next 16 years, I did no exercise at all, however, I do stay fairly active.”
Hobbies: “Woodworking, hunting, boating, waterskiing, backyard sports.”
When did you start Crossfit and why did you choose OP?
“I started Crossfit Sept.2016. OP was actually chosen for me. One day, Katie and Naomi said come on, we are going to workout. I don’t believe I really had a choice. I was so nervous, not because of being at a new place with new people, but because I knew that whatever the WOD was, it was going to hurt a lot. I guess I could not get enough of the pain, because I kept going back for more. Everyone I met at OP was so supportive and encouraging. It did not take me long to realize that this is the place for me. I absolutely love OP and the community that it is. I cannot imagine working out anywhere else. You are all awesome.”
What was your first workout/most memorable workout?
“I don’t really remember what my first Crossfit WOD was. Filthy Fifty is a very memorable WOD for me. I have done this WOD twice now and each time I just knew, without a doubt, that I was going to die. As we can all see, I am still here.”
How has Crossfit and the OP Community helped you accomplish your goals?
“When I first started Crossfit, I had been a smoker for about 30 years. After the very first WOD, I knew that I had to make a decision, continue smoking or Crossfit. I gladly chose Crossfit and I have been smoke-free since Oct.2016. Crossfit reminds me daily, or after each WOD, that a healthy lifestyle is definitely much better. I still have some weight to lose in the abdominal area, but I am still a work in progress.”
What are your favorite Crossfit movements & why?
“Although my PR is not really that high, I really like the Back Squat. I feel most stable doing back squats than other squats. I am just now getting back into being able to do them, so I hope to increase my PR very soon. I want to ring that bell again.”
What’s something memorable you’ve learned at OP?
“The most memorable thing that I have learned from the coaches and the members is that when I think I am out of gas, I can still push through and complete the wod. Everyone is so encouraging and supportive and will not let you quit, they are there for you, no matter what.”
More from Kevin:
“As most of you know, I had surgery on my shoulder on May 11. Just four days after surgery, Naomi came by my house and picked me up and brought me to the Box. I was determined to not just sit around and get fat. I had put in too much work to let it all turn to flab, so I decide that I would go in and do what I could. I became really good friends with the Assault Bike. I quickly learned that I could get in some really decent workouts with just one arm. I have learned the true meaning of scaling. I am looking forward to getting back to using both arms and not having to scale everything I do. With Jim’s guidance and assistance, I am at the point where each day my shoulder is getting stronger and more maneuverable. Thank you to all of the coaches and members for all of the support you have shone me. I love you all.”

Also a Special Thank You to Kevin for helping out Coach Bomba with the CrossfitKid’s camp we hosted this summer. His help was so appreciated!

Sarah Chappell

Sarah joined us through our New You program and hasn’t stopped since! You have probably caught her running in the door on her lunch break to get her workout in, hitting it hard & fast then cleaning up quick to head back to work – but not without a high-five with the rest of the class first! She is getting stronger, faster, and fitter and you have probably all noticed it on SugarWOD as she crushes those body weight workouts, deadlifts or overhead squats!

About Sarah

Age: 35
Occupation: “Registered Nurse; currently a Nurse Care Coordinator”
Fitness background: “Unfortunately I didn’t exercise much until later in my adult life. I would run a random 5k here or there and did some yoga and pilates on and off for a few years.”
Hobbies: “I like to travel and hang out with my family. I also enjoy hiking and DIY projects.”
When did you start Crossfit and why did you choose OP?
“I started Crossfit in July 2016. I chose OP because of the New You Program. It was a great program to start off with, especially with a newbie like me.”
What was your first workout/most memorable workout?
“Before becoming a member, I came on a Saturday with my husband to try out one of the free classes. All I remember are dumbbell snatches, Coach Roxy being super helpful and being sore the next day.”
How has Crossfit and the OP Community helped you accomplish your goals?
“I really like Crossfit because anyone can do it and everything can be modified. The OP community is very encouraging, no matter your fitness level. The coaches always challenge you, whether it’s by making you add more weight to the bar, telling you to try again or to do one more rep. They really believe in you and push you do to your best. The same can be said for the members of OP. I also appreciate and value OP’s focus on nutrition (thanks Coach Dani!). The nutrition challenges are always “fun” and help motivate me in between sessions too.”
What are your favorite Crossfit movements & why?
“The snatch might be one of my favorite movements even though we have a love/hate relationship with each other. It’s such a technical movement and when you hit it right you feel pretty pumped afterwards. I still have a lot of work to do with it but I’ve come a long way from when I started with just the PVC pipe.”
What’s something memorable you’ve realized or learned while being at OP?
“Having a medical background, the human body has always fascinated me and Crossfit has just reinforced that. It just amazes me what the body is capable of.”

RON CLARK

Ron joined OP a few months ago & has been a dedicated, committed member since day 1! He has been a consistent Noon-er and brings some great energy to the class and is also an inspiration to others as he is always striving to learn something new or tackle a weakness. The coolest thing we’ve seen him do so far is conquer the kipping pull-up! On Essentials class Day 1, he asked about how Crossfitters in their videos do the swing with the pull-ups. After some demonstration and explanation, he gave some attempts and looked like anyone does on their first try at kipping! Just a few months later, filled with lots of practice (first thing he would do every time he came in), and continually asking for help and guidance, HE CRUSHES THEM NOW!

ABOUT RON:

Age: 49
Occupation: Vice President of Warwick Mechanical Group
Fitness background: Surfed since I was 11 years old, Played basketball in high school, Completed 2 marathons and a few sprint Triathlons
Hobbies: Love to surf and enjoy being Board member of St Jude Childrens Hospital-raising money for the hospital through an annual Spring Fling and Golf tournament
When did you start Crossfit and why did you choose OP?
“My first essentials class with Danielle was Friday, June 23rd of this year. I live in Chesapeake, but work in Newport News. I saw my pictures at my daughter’s wedding in June and realized how out of shape I really had become. So I googled “work out plans near my office” and crossfit popped up so I inquired about an initial meeting and as soon as I met Danielle and watched the end of one of the classes, I knew I wanted to try it out.”

The photo from his daughter’s wedding that inspired him to change his lifestyle!
What was your first workout/most memorable workout?
“I think my first WOD was called “Quick Sand” and had lots of wall balls and my legs were sore for days. After my first essentials class in June, I am pretty sure I threw up in the bushes outside. I appreciated the fact that didn’t end up on Facebook.
My most memorable WOD was when I beat Coach Stephanie in the mile. Ha Ha just kidding. My most memorable was when I finally did 5 kipping pull ups in a row. I felt like I accomplished a goal and felt inspired to keep working.”
How has Crossfit and the OP Community helped you accomplish your goals?
“Since day one everyone has been friendly and encouraging. It makes it so much easier to make the effort of showing up and working out when you know the coaches and other members are as understanding and encouraging as they are at OP. When I told Danielle what my goals were, she was very open and honest. She has been tremendous. Answering all my newbie questions and continually working with me on improving all the new movements and learning the acronyms.”
What are your favorite Crossfit movements & why?
“Not sure if I have a favorite but I do enjoy most of the lifts. Also, the kipping pull up has been a challenge, but improving each time has been fun.”
What’s something memorable you’ve realized or learned while being at OP?
“I am one of the older ones and started VERY out of shape. Every coach has encouraged and challenged me for each WOD. I could actually list each coach and at least one thing they have taught me that has helped me improve. From grip on one type of move, to mental picture on completing an exercise, each suggestion has been very helpful.
Also, there are other members who have shared ways to push through on WOD’s without giving up. Their encouragement and advice has not only helped, but has made me feel like I am part of a larger team.”
More from Ron:
“Jim and Dianne have been great. I am very thankful for the OP crew and the opportunity to be a part of it while meeting my personal goals. I look forward to continually improving and hopefully being an encouragement to others!”

Shari Stilley

Shari is an OP OG – some people may have never met her in person but they definitely recognize her name from the top of the SugarWOD leader board after a barbell dominant workout! She has been a member here since 2011 and the reason most haven’t seen her is because she has been a dedicated 5:30am-er consistently for years! She never complains and always works hard no matter how early or how cold some mornings can be. Shari is this month’s Athlete of the Month for her dedication to OP, years of hard work, and achievements in heavy workouts!

About Shari

Age: 39
Occupation: Retail Furniture Sales
Fitness background: Softball, Basketball, and cross-country
Hobbies: Golf, scrapbooking, puzzles, pool, and my kids
When did you start Crossfit and why did you choose OP?
I started in 2011 a year after my son was born. I had some serious back issues after I had him and I needed to get back in shape. Before I had him, I mainly ran, but at that time running was not an option. I chose OP because at the time it was one of the only crossfit gyms around and it was closest to where I live.
What was your first workout/most memorable workout?
I have no idea. I’ve done so many, but I love barbell workouts.
How has Crossfit and the OP Community helped you accomplish your goals?
I love my 5:30am crew. It’s a great accountability group and I’ve made some great friends. We have fun and get a great workout in before most people get out of bed. It really sets the tone for the rest of my day.
What are your favorite Crossfit movements & why?
Anything with a barbell. I love lifting heavy weights. I was a catcher in high school and college so squatting comes naturally to me.
What’s something memorable you’ve realized or learned while being at OP? Crossfit is a very humbling sport. You can kill a workout one day and finish dead last the next – everyone has a goat! The key is to just keep coming back and working hard on your weaknesses. I’m a super competitive person, but I’m also extremely shy around people I don’t know and/or large groups.

Jason Monk

Jason is a long time member of OP and has been an important piece to much of OP’s success! He is a strong voice for OP and has brought many new faces to us, giving us the opportunity to touch new lives! We are very grateful for him during the Team Grit Competition season for his assistance with organizing much of the weekend! Inside the gym, he quietly chips away at his goals and works to his best potential in each workout. When he sets a goal, he is steadfast and determined to achieve it – as seen during the Fit For Summer Nutrition Challenge where he earned the winning spot! OP has turned into a Monk Family affair (His wife, Karen, is a member, his son is part of the Hurricane Baseball training and his daughter has followed her Dad’s lead by offering a helping hand at events like Team Grit and the Christmas wrapping day). We are so happy to have Jason as part of our OP Community!

About Jason

Age: 44
Occupation: Interim Fire Chief (Hampton Division of Fire and Rescue)
Fitness background: Grew up playing baseball (JV), soccer (Select), and tennis (JV and Varsity) into high school. Continued intramural sports through college. My wife, a successful triathlete when I met her 15 years ago, got me into distance running. Because of her I have several 5k, 10K, half, and full marathons under my belt. It was a forced love, so I’m only open to short distances now. CF L-1 trainer for about seven years
Hobbies: You mean people have hobbies outside of CrossFit? Kidding aside, sort of, I enjoy camping, outdoor activities, watching my kids play sports, time with close friends and family, and the ever-elusive alone time.
When did you start Crossfit and why did you choose OP?
I have had various workout regimens throughout my life. But, none of them held my interest. Back in the day, there was “leg day,” “chest and arms day,” etc. That got old, and machines got older. But, it was all I knew and I made it work. As a member of the police department’s SWAT team, one of the officers approached me about trying his new routine – CrossFit. Knowing I was stagnant, I took him up on the offer about eight years ago. Like many start-ups, he had a garage gym. Only three or four of us could do a WOD at once, but it was a good introduction. I was hooked.

To this day, I still get butterflies during that 10-second countdown.

Because I was hooked, I wanted to reel others in. He and I began working to determine what it would take to create an affiliate for police and fire. Through a long process, a little bit of money, and some perseverance, we created one of the first non-profit, public safety affiliates with 10 new L-1 trainers – CrossFit Guns N’ Hoses. I’ll let you guess the references in the name. It is still an affiliate to this day, but due to the location, athletes are limited in what they can do and having it on the second floor of a building doesn’t allow for bar dropping…I know, right?!
So, why did I choose OP? Like many, I tried out a few gyms. Every location has its pros and cons. I wasn’t searching for a gym that would turn me into Ben Smith (staying local) or Patrick Vellner (that was for Kat). To be honest, it really came down to feel and family. My first interaction with OP was with Di. I assisted her as a judge for Team Grit several years ago, and have continued ever since. I knew I needed to find a more stable environment, so I gave a few a try. I knew where I wanted to be, but I had to respect the process. That day came and I chose CFOP. Much like a familiar fairy tale, it wasn’t too small, and it wasn’t too big…it was just right – for me. The coaching is exemplary and the members/athletes are like family. Many friends talk about the coaching at their respective gyms and mention that one really good coach. At OP, I can argue that we don’t have that ONE really good coach – they all work towards a consistent standard with enthusiasm and portray a feeling that you matter. If an athlete doesn’t feel welcomed, you won’t keep most. I know it’s a business, but it doesn’t have to feel like that while you are there – and it doesn’t. It takes a lot to run a successful box that many don’t see. They don’t need to. But, if you think things are going as you had hoped, or see people coming back day after day, that’s proof enough that the hard work is being done behind the scenes to make you feel that way.

To be honest, knowing I can leave my ego (sometimes) at the door and my sweat on the floor with my friends and family is what gets me through many days at work.

As a staff member of Team Grit and the inaugural Grit Fitness Festival, if the amount of work required to make that event successful so that everyone participating sees a polished product involves as much work as it does, I can only imagine the time it takes on a weekly, or even daily, basis to make OP the polished product it is. I would be remiss if I also didn’t put a shout out to Coach Dani as manager. If you have been at OP long enough, you have seen several changes over the last year or more – some obvious and some subtle. Regardless, even though some changes can be tough, you can’t grow without them. As a member, I appreciate the effort that goes in to making OP a better experience for its members, rather its family. If you know Jim and Di at all, OP is family, and so are you.
What was your first workout/most memorable workout?
Within my first week of trying CrossFit, I was introduced to Filthy Fifty. Horrible, right? And within the same month, it was Murph. What made it memorable was doing it alongside fellow firefighters and police officers who also served in the military. That made it that much more meaningful. Since then, I always try my best to make every hero workout. It is during those moments that I seem to push the hardest as I am “forced” to remember the sacrifices made, and still being endured, by so many to allow me the freedom to participate in anything.
How has Crossfit and the OP Community helped you accomplish your goals?
I’m not sure I can single out any one thing other than it has given me the opportunity to train for life. It seems cliché. Call it what you want. None of us are getting any younger and life’s little pitfalls are always around the corner. We can’t evade all of them, and some will make us fall. But why not do what you can now to either allow you to hurdle them, or help you get back up more quickly when you’re snagged? In my profession, good mental health is paramount. Unfortunately, much like PTSD, some of those scenes replay in your head when you least expect it – sometimes years down the road. For me, CrossFit helps battle those demons. For those times we do fall, I am a firsthand advocate of what it can do to help you get back up. In December 2014, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It was pure fluke that it was even identified. I won’t go into the details of how because obviously someone much higher than me knew my plan, even if I wasn’t aware. Fittingly, on January 2, 2015, this Hokie became a Wahoo fan after having surgery by the best in the Commonwealth at UVA, thanks to my wife, Karen. If I was an equine, I would have chosen Virginia Tech for certain! I’m not one to share personal details often. However, I only mention this as a testament because the recovery time was supposed to be three to four weeks before I was supposed to attempt any strenuous activity. Well, I couldn’t wait that long. Within in a week of surgery, I was back at CFOP. Furthermore, not having a thyroid causes you to depend on a replacement hormone the rest of your life which in and of itself can pose various challenges.

My testament is this – even though not everyone is identical, I truly believe my fitness leading up to surgery is what allowed me to normalize more quickly and return to a life that was as normal as it could be.

Insert any physical or mental issue into this scenario. To further work to make me a better me, Karen and I participated in one of Coach Dani’s nutrition challenges that started on Memorial Day 2017. It changed the way we ate, tracked, and it provided mutual accountability. It’s likely the one time I will ever find myself on a CrossFit-related podium, but I’ll take it. The challenge created a healthy nutrition habit that has stuck with both of us. Karen is the real success story as she has stood on that podium twice and continues to look towards the next goal. Plus, I’m OK with her being stronger than me. You only have one you, and genes and life sometimes get in the way of being the best you. Why not armor up a little. Everyone has demons – choose your Kryptonite.
What are your favorite Crossfit movements & why?
My favorite movements are those I can do. Right? That rules out OHS for sure! If I had to single one out, it would be the clean – any variation. I can’t explain why other than it’s satisfying. Anything beyond 200 pounds still remains elusive as I try to teach my mind and body to work on the same page. I enjoy KB, box jumps, pull-ups, double-unders, and some of the other more technical gymnastics movements. I should work more on my weaknesses, but I also still want to enjoy what I’m doing without stressing over it – which I do. As most know, I really enjoy partner WODs – it’s a different level of accountability. I’m not one to want to let anyone down or be the weakest link, so I push a little harder.
What’s something memorable you’ve realized or learned while being at OP?
I’ve been at OP long enough to have experienced many memorable moments. Some good, and some, well, frustrating. The frustrating ones are self-inflicted but always provide a lesson. The good ones happen most every day. It goes back to the feel, family, and friendly competition aspect. I can almost always be assured I will find Coach Jim setting up next to me during a WOD just to antagonize, I mean, push me a little harder by his mere presence. I can always expect to see Coach Court smiling. I can always rely on a hug, a “Hi, friend,” and a new ASL sign from Coach Bomba. I can appreciate that all of the OP coaches are visibly working to be consistent in their coaching, lessons, and attitude, even when I’m not being a good listener or am doing my own thing until I hear 3, 2, 1. As a self-proclaimed introvert (I’ll save the Myers-Briggs references), OP helps me step out of that shell a little more. I appreciate those closest to me, especially fellow introverts, knowing what motivates me, and knowing when not to motivate me all the same. OP is a second family and I appreciate all those that sweat alongside me, regardless of age or ability. I’m grateful for the sport that helped create the family we know as OP.
More from Jason:
In public safety, it’s important to have quality, dedicated members to ensure the longevity and excellence of its services. Everyone has some responsibility in recruitment and retention. In my opinion, it is no different at the box. No, it’s not our job to recruit members or even work to retain them. However, if you love CrossFit, love what it has done for you, and love to see what is has done for others, be an advocate. Tell your friends. Have them drop in on a Saturday. Share some success stories. Let them see the family. It may be just what they were looking for, even if they weren’t looking. Remember, I wasn’t looking eight years ago.

Sarah Tucker

Sarah is celebrating her 1 year Crossfit-Anniversary this month! She has tackled many obstacles that any new-Crossfitter faces and has still never stopped striving to tackle the next challenge – with a smile! She is an active participant in the OP Community; by helping to volunteer at events (like running the Rowing portion of Team Grit for us!), dedicating her evenings to the Gymnastics Specialty Course for 6 weeks (which she totally excelled in), and being all-in for the Fit For Fall OP Nutrition Challenge (where she went out of her comfort zone & overcame some more obstacles)! She has been open minded, coach-able and willing to try new things which makes her a fun athlete to work with as a coach and never hesitates to cheer for her fellow classmates or lift someone up! We are proud of Sarah’s accomplishments so far & excited what is in store for her 2nd year, especially as she kicks it off with her very first Crossfit Open!

About Sarah

Age: 39
Occupation: Physical therapist at Riverside Rehabilitation Hospital—I work with patients who have had strokes, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputations, etc.
Fitness background: Not much! I played high school sports (a LONG time ago!). I started running again about 2 years ago, short distances only. I’ve never run in a race. I haven’t been in a gym since college, when I used to go use the elliptical while studying my Anatomy notes
Hobbies: Soccer mom, Archery mom, Girl Scout leader (anyone need cookies? 😉)
When did you start Crossfit and why did you choose OP?
February is my 1-year Crossfit Anniversary! One of the reasons I chose OP was because one of it’s owners is a physical therapist! I hoped that meant that OP would prioritize safety and form in all movements…and they do!
What was your first workout/most memorable workout?
Two favorite memories:
1. Soon after I started Crossfit I tried a handstand…one of the most terrifying things ever! Coach Roxy said, “go ahead and just kick your feet up”. With visions of brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and Roxy being irreparably harmed, I replied, “I’ve never done one before and I’m not sure 38 years old is a good time to start!”. With her help that day I succeeded and now I love handstands!
2. Learning to rope climb with Coach Court—truly the awesomest feeling ever!!
How has Crossfit and the OP Community helped you accomplish your goals?
For a long time after I started Crossfit, I didn’t know how to answer when people asked why I would do something so crazy! I want to be able to do a pull-up. Being stronger will help keep me safe in my job (lifting patients). Mid-life crisis? Now I’ve had a year to think about why I do Crossfit, and I think there are two quotes that explain it best.

1. “No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” -Socrates (substitute “woman” for man…Socrates didn’t know women are equal!!)

I had enviously looked at people doing Crossfit for several years. I realized I really did want to see if I could do one pull-up, or do a handstand or just be stronger. I wanted to be less fragile, more resilient. While I enjoyed running and yoga, those things alone weren’t really going to show me what my body was capable of achieving. However, Crossfit could certainly help me achieve that goal!

2. “Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to help you grow.”-Caroline Myss

Anxiety and depression are things I’ve struggled with for most of my life. I’ve addressed them in lots of ways over the years; some have helped, others not as much. Unlike episodic depression (which often occurs related to a specific life event, like the death of a loved one), mine is chronic. Although I have better days/months/years, I’ve also had long stretches of time where my life is defined by my depression and anxiety. There is lots of research that has shown that exercise can be a treatment for depression and can help with brain rewiring. I had never tried consistent exercise to see if it had an impact on my mental health. I decided to go with the choice that scared me the most, Crossfit, to see if it could help. At the beginning it was difficult to tell whether it was helping. As I said, Crossfit was the choice that scared me most. Some days just convincing myself to get out of my car and walk in the door took a tremendous amount of effort. My depression and anxiety are strongly tied to my perception of myself, and my fear of failing or being the slowest or having to modify the most each WOD were mentally exhausting (never mind that I was also physically more exhausted than I’d ever been too!). With the support of the amazing coaches and OP community, I eventually began to trust the process, to see improvements physically, and realize that Crossfit is definitely good for my mental health!
What are your favorite Crossfit movements & why?
Pull-ups! I have far surpassed my goal of being able to one pull-up! Coach Dani lead an amazing Gymnastics class and I’m proud of my strict, kipping and butterfly pull-ups!
I also secretly like wallballs!
What’s something memorable you’ve realized or learned while being at OP?
There really are probably hundreds of things I’ve learned at OP, but I’ll just share a few!
First, as a physical therapist, I think it’s amazing what movements my body has been able to learn in a year. Barbell work, gymnastic movements…so many things I’ve never tried before, so many firsts in a year!
Another thing that has been fascinating to watch is the change in my kinesiophobia (fear of movement…it’s a thing!). I read a physical therapy article a few years ago, talking about how sometimes the therapists’ kinesiophobia impacts the patient’s recovery. The therapist may limit the type or intensity of a treatment if they have fear themselves about the movement or about helping the patient perform a movement. At the time, I realized that it definitely applied to me, although I didn’t really know what to do to change it. Fast forward to Crossfit. Initially so many movements terrified me…throwing my body through space, whether for a box jump or handstand or even for kipping pull-ups challenged my kinesiophobic tendencies. The good news is that repeated exposure to my fear has decreased it significantly!
I’ve also been working on failing, and I’m getting better at it! One of my Instagram posts from November sums it up best: “11/25/17 Thankful for bailing the lift and falling on my butt—hard. In front of a group of people. Wait…I mean: Grateful for Crossfit and its many life lessons. This screen shot (it was a confetti PR screen from SugarWOD) in particular sums up a huge lesson for me: learning to fail. See the red thumbs down, and my comment about failing x3? The pessimistic perfectionist in me wants to only see those things. But the app reminds me, “I am awesome” too. I got one squat clean at 105lbs…5lbs more than I’ve ever done before. So apparently you can fail, and still be awesome!”
Well, I failed the retest for power cleans recently…I still don’t like it, there were still tears, but I’m better at recovering. I focused on being happy about my squat snatch PR the day before. I recognized that I slept terribly the night before the power clean retest, and that sleep (and nutrition) impact my performance. Being successful at failing is definitely a process, but I feel like I’m making progress.
I’ve talked a lot about myself so far. However, the most memorable and important thing I’ve learned at OP isn’t about me. It’s about all of you and the power of the OP community. When I started Crossfit I was genuinely bewildered by people encouraging me and cheering for me. I couldn’t understand it…I was the slowest, lifted the lightest weights, couldn’t do pull ups or push ups. Why would these people, who I didn’t know at all, support me? Why would these coaches spend extra time with me, when they could be helping real athletes? It turned out that, at least at OP, Crossfit is as much about community as it is about weight-lifting and gymnastic skills. I’ve learned that even if I’m having a bad day, if I can get myself to OP, you guys will help me get through the WOD. And I might even be smiling and laughing through the sweat by the time I drive home. No matter what time of day I attend (I think I’ve been to every class except 6:30pm!), there are people there I look forward to seeing. I’ve learned that many of you, even people I admire as role model Crossfitters, still worry about certain lifts, skip a day if you think you won’t do well, don’t write your PRs on the board since the weight is so little compared to others. So now I know I’m not alone in my worries, further cementing that feeling of community. When I was chosen as athlete of the month, I decided to not only embrace the fact that I am an athlete, but to also share my whole story. Because mental health issues matter and need to be talked about. Because whether it’s personal or someone you care about, everyone is affected by mental health issues. Because maybe Crossfit should be prescribed as treatment for mental health issues!! Because doing Crossfit has made me braver, brave enough to share the important parts of my story. And because all of you, from Jim and Di, to the supportive coaches and all the OP members, are an important part of my story. From the bottom of heart, thank you for sharing the amazing gift of Crossfit with me.

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