I received the photo of me above in an envelope in the mail today. It was from Adee, my nutrition coach and good friend from Working Against Gravity. She coaches a solid line of elite level Games athletes from Katrin to Camille to a long list of other “celebrities”. So, when she asked me to sign this photo and mail it back to her for an athlete book that she’s putting together, I was beyond honored.
A few months ago when she came up with the idea for the project, she emailed me giving me a heads up that she’d be needing some photos to choose from. I sent her a handful of them so she’s have some decent options, but I didn’t know which one she’d pick.
I love Adee so much because she chose one of my favorite photos of all time, taken by another good friend of mine, Jordan Samuel (Chabinsky).
This lift happened in this year’s 2017 CrossFit Open, an event that sets the stage for all kinds of magic to happen. The Open is a time when you will repeatedly hear athletes, across all levels, thrilled beyond words that they hit a PR or completed their first rep of a movement like a muscle-up or a double-under…and, then went on to complete many more, just proving that they needed an event like the Open to bring it out of them. It’s in there, but something happens when even just a little more is on the line that having to write your name and training results on the gym white board.
This was an important year for me.
I spent an enormous amount of time this competition season working on my mental game. I committed to spending time every day towards meditating, techniques on controlling my breathing that gets out of control when I start to panic for different reasons, and adopting a mindset where I was competing with myself instead of measuring my success based upon how I stacked up to other athletes in the field or the room.
As if that wasn’t enough, chest-to-bar pull-ups and squat snatches are two of my least competitive movements in this sport. But, when they were announced as the workout for 17.3, I was excited. I couldn’t wait to finally show myself, and my “team”, what I had been doing with all of my time.
I wasn’t all talk about this like I’ve been in years past. I learned about it, I practiced it, and I eventually genuinely believed in all of it. That’s when I really saw a difference in my athletic capacity and, more importantly, my overall happiness as an athlete and a human being with a life outside of the gym.
After 8 years of competing in the sport of CrossFit, I had finally…at that very moment that Jordan was able to capture on his camera…gotten to a place in my head and heart where I was truly satisfied with whatever my score was, and wherever I ended up on the leaderboard, because my athletic experience had grown and evolved into an internal experience…that I just happened to be sharing with others.
You can’t see it in this photo, but I was also able to share this particular experience with my husband and coach, my daughter, and one of my best friends on the planet. I, honest to God, think that Maya and Katrin felt the magic of this moment just as much as I did. We all say that we will never, ever forget the feeling when I finally stood this bar up, got that smile on my face that you get when you realize your lift is good, and the three of us locked eyes on each other just waiting for the moment we could finally pig pile and celebrate like only the best of friends can when one of you accomplishes something and feels that level of happiness.
It truly was one of the most magical, euphoric feelings I’ve ever experienced in my life.
Yet, it wasn’t on the floor of the CrossFit Games. It was in the gym and on the floor that I train on every single day.
It wasn’t a PR snatch for me, but it was in recent times because of how injured my shoulders have become over time.
And, it wasn’t because I felt like I was going to jump me up on the leaderboard and get me to qualify for the Masters Division. It was because I had trusted the process, fully committed myself to something I believed in, and I knew how much my family and friends had invested in me over the last year and that this was a team effort on so many levels.
So, when I opened that white envelope and saw this photo all blown up, and the marker that she so thoughtfully included in there for me to use, I skipped a breath. I love being taken back to this moment because it makes me happy. So happy.
Thank you, Adee. Thank you for knowing me enough to make me this happy all over again.