It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

…. Unless you’re doing Fran. Then it’s definitely a sprint.

Speaking of marathons, let’s talk about our marathon runners. We have a few of them. They run, run, run. Running’s their favorite.

However, MY favorite thing is witnessing their “aha!” moments, as stated in my previous posts. I have told stories of specific “aha” moments in various different scenarios. But with the runners, I truly enjoy seeing them lift something they never believed they could lift before. Then seeing the behavior thereafter – it’s literally like we lit up something inside of them and they truly believe in themselves for the first time.

One specific memory I have was January of this year, at our annual Beast of Big Lick Competition. And what would you know, little Amy Wolford, marathon and EWOD extraordinaire, was front and center in her first competition. Something we all thought we’d never see. AND, this chick PR’d her power clean that day. However, according to Amy, her biggest accomplishment was just breaking that barrier of being brave enough to participate. Other goals of hers for 2017 have been: getting strict and kipping pull-ups and back squatting more than her body weight. She has been working on dropping under the bar for a squat snatch for the first time, using 14lb wall balls, and using 35lb kettlebells. After the Beast of Big Lick Competition in January, she was brave enough to sign up and participate in The Open for the first time. She is so modest in sharing her goals, but these are no small feats!

And as awesome as all of the above is, it certainly didn’t come easy. As a marathon runner by trade, Amy was used to the world of “pacing” and had a tough transition into the world of “21-15-9 sprints” at CrossFit. When one devotes so much time and energy (and, muscle memory!) to one specific skillset, it is hard to re-train your body to be flexible. BUT, throughout all of this, Amy persisted and ALWAYS had a smile on her face during each class and workout. She had a great attitude, pushed others while also pushing herself. Eventually, she began to see the fruits of her labor – strength and progress.

It’s tough to try something new—something scary. But Amy is a prime example of someone who stepped out of her comfort zone to try something that she felt would benefit her lifestyle. And I can guarantee you that her strength training has helped improve her running and race times… nearly knocking AN HOUR (that’s 60 minutes, people) off of her marathon time. Trust us, CrossFit works! Sometimes, CrossFit offers benefits beyond what you would assume just from the advertisements. CrossFit helps you in your other passions and life activities, for example: marathons and races, yardwork gets easier, you’re able to run around with your kids and grandkids with ease, and so much more.

So whether it’s a transition from couch to CrossFit, or a transition from a specific sport to CrossFit, there are guaranteed benefits. You get out of it what you put in. Put in the time and effort, give it a chance, and you can use the results and extra energy you gain to be better at whatever you set your mind to. If you’re ever in doubt, read Amy’s story again – it sure is inspiring.

Congratulations, Amy! You are Big Lick CrossFit’s Athlete Spotlight for July 2017! We are so grateful you took a chance with us and stuck with it. We have loved watching you grow stronger, progress in your lifts, and become a standout leader here at the gym, helping other newcomers overcome their fears and doubts. You represent the best benefit and profit Big Lick has to offer – happy, healthy athletes helping others. We cannot wait to see all you accomplish in the months and years to come at Big Lick.

Here’s a little more about Amy:

(Big Lick CrossFit): Give me 3 words that would describe how you felt about CrossFit before joining BLCF:
(Amy): Intimidated, intrigued, apprehensive

(BLCF): Give me 1 word that would describe how YOU felt right before your first WOD?
(A): Anxious – I sat out in the parking lot my first day, texting my husband, considering not even going inside. But then Doug Polumbo walked out onto the deck and saw me, so I HAD to go in. Thank goodness!

(BLCF): What is your favorite WOD(s) or Skill(s)?
(A): I think everyone knows that EWODs are my absolute favorite! Any WODs with running in them make me happy, happy. I also love rope climbs, toes to bar, pull-ups, kettlebell swings, and power cleans. Murph is another favorite.

(BLCF): What’s on your “Suck List”? What are you doing to take it off your “Suck List”?
(A): Double Unders and Snatching are currently at the forefront of my “suck list.” I recently bought a new jump rope and plan to start my own “double under bootcamp” after class each day as soon as it ships. It worked for pull-ups so hopefully it will work for double unders! As for snatching, I used to skip snatch days because I just struggled with them so much, but I’ve been making an effort to always go to class those days and can see so much progress already!

(BLCF): How did you hear about Big Lick CrossFit?
(A): I went to church with Doug and Traci and remember when Traci told me about her new business. I remember thinking “Doug and Traci are beasts! I could never do that.” They were the catalyst for me becoming a runner when they asked me to participate in a church sponsored 5k in 2012. I completed my first 5k and went on to run 5 full marathons after that. I reached a point in my running where I knew I needed to build more strength so I reached out to Traci about coming to a class at BLCF. I believe Doug strategically put some running in the warm-up that day. I was hooked after the first class!

(BLCF): How long have you been doing CrossFit?
(A): 2.5 years and counting!

(BLCF): What do you do for a living?
(A): I am a reading specialist at an elementary school.

(BLCF): Married? Kids?
(A): I have been married to my perfect match, Tony, for almost 12 years. He is my biggest fan and incredibly supportive. We have two kids, Riley and Braylen, who enjoy making up their own WODs to complete while I am working out.

(BLCF): Describe your biggest milestone, achievement, or “A-ha” moment?
(A): I’m always finding that I can do something a little better than I could before, whether it’s adding more weight or better form or more reps, etc. But I’d have to say my biggest milestone was participating in the Beast of Big Lick competition in January. It’s something I thought I’d never do, but it ended up being an amazing experience!

(BLCF): What is Big Lick CrossFit’s best attribute?
(A): The people, hands down. No matter where you are in your fitness journey, everyone is incredibly encouraging and supportive. We sweat together, we lift together, we fall to the floor after tough WODs together, we high five when passing on a run, we cheer for one another, we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, we help each other clean up equipment, we do accessory work together, and we have fun together. When I did the first Ragnar relay race with BLCF, someone close to me said, “ I can’t believe YOU are going to ride around in a van with a bunch of people.” My response was, “You don’t understand. These people are like my family.”

(BLCF): What encouragement or advice would you give to new people coming in?
(A): Take it day by day and learn from the amazing coaches. They have awesome tips and advice to help you with movements and skills. You will make progress if you stick with it and don’t compare yourself to others. Some days it is really, really, really hard! But you’ll always leave feeling like a total beast for what you’ve just accomplished.