March Athlete of the Month
Ms. Sara L-A
Having lost something was one of the best things that happened to me.
For two years I was depressed. Attending a college I couldn’t stand, stuck in a rut with no answers and no direction. When I finally decided to leave my school, I turned to the one thing I knew I enjoyed: running. Though previously I was an avid runner, I now found myself entirely hooked. I was enamored; the feeling of being outside, moving, sweating, finally sensing that I was unleashed. I pushed myself harder, faster, longer and longer. Ever the competitor, I entered road races left and right, everything from 5ks to half marathons. I was going strong, and growing stronger.
It was a drive for fitness, for health, and even perfection. After all, I was no exception. Like many girls, I was self-conscious and confused. The thin models spanning those glossy covers, the constant media messages of beauty and weight loss—they drove me to no end. I couldn’t escape.
Perhaps, I couldn’t escape myself.
But then it was gone. My outlet, my physical passion of running snatched away, replaced with a limp and the two words, “stress fracture.” After my father finally dragged me to a doctor, I was stunned. They wanted to put metal in my bone, pins in my leg, until the damage presumably healed and all was well.
But I resisted. I just couldn’t, it was too invasive. Unnatural. Far from right.
I had no choice but to search. I soon found that others just like me had found a way to avoid surgery. They recovered, using only swimming as their conditioning. And so I embarked, plunging myself full-on into swimming for one year. Although I was admittedly a mediocre swimmer, I continued to press. And I continued to improve.
After a year of that high-intensity, low-impact conditioning, I was finally ready to return. I was finally ready to run again.
Except I wasn’t. It was different, I found myself hesitant, afraid, fearful that one too many steps, one too many miles, might end it all.
Forever driven, I turned to alternatives. I sought workout regimens and programs that could deliver the conditioning I sought. Yet time and time again, I was disappointed. They were too easy.
Until one day when a friend brought me to Crossfit. After the first practice where I practically puked, I immediately knew: this was the place for me.
Over the days and years, I grew. From frustrated with a 15-lb barbell to tearing through workouts like a seasoned vet, I saw what Crossfit could do. It was more than a fitness plan. It inspired me, flooding all aspects of my life. Most importantly I became more confident, with myself, with others, in goals both individual and collective. My competitive fire was stoked, and I fed those flames hour by hour, day by day, with food. No longer a thing to be feared or hated, food became my fuel. I came to see myself as strong, valuable. And I came to see diet as the pathway to a new me; cherished not chastised.
Truth be told, Crossfit has changed me. It’s helped to shape my outlook in so many ways I never imagined. It’s made me stronger, so far beyond the physical. And for that alone, I owe complete credit to those who’ve paved the way; to my own struggles and to the lessons I’ve learned, gaining through losing.
It’s been quite the journey, more than the sum of my steps.