Ok, I try not to get mushy or talk too much about feelings on here. But I’m gonna break that rule this one time.
Last night I got an email saying that I had earned a spot at the Atlantic Regional — The Top 20 out of 10,076 girls in the South East Region were invited, along with The Top 20 girls out of I dunno, but probably around the same number, from the Mid Atlantic region. I finished the 2016 Open at 29th place. But somehow, JUST enough girls from the South East decided to go to Regionals as a team, which left the door wide open for me to be invited. Call it what you want. But for me, it’s a miracle.

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The Atlantic Regional is May 20-22 in Atlanta, at the Georgia World Congress Center. It’s crazy to think that last year Daniel and I went that very weekend for a day to watch the best of the South East and the Mid Atlantic compete. I never even dreamed that the very next year I would be given the same opportunity as these girls. I remember someone we were with saying, “Ok, so are you going to be out there next year?” While that’s nice and all, I knew that I wasn’t that kind of athlete. Yeah I don’t stop when I workout. I can make myself keep going. But I don’t have all those skillz. I couldn’t do a muscle up- on the rings or bar, I couldn’t walk on my hands (still questionable), and I couldn’t do other things like pistols and strict handstand pushups. There’s just no way. And I was ok with that…at the time. In fact, since I’m a dork, and because Julie Foucher is so cool, I legitimately did this little Reebok burpee thing at the Atlantic Regional last year. The point is, at the time, I hadn’t even dreamed about competing with these kinds of athletes – instead, I was perfectly content just doing burpees with a fake version of them. Amateur.

For the past 6 months, I’ve prayed for God to be more real to me than ever. For a couple of years before 2016, I felt like I had something to prove. I felt like I had to look the same as everyone I worked with, talk like everyone else, and even say dumb, fluffy stuff on instagram – like post dumb pics of sunsets and fields with a bible verse attached to it to make myself look better than others. When I prayed or read the Bible, was I really seeking to hear from Jesus? Absolutely. But I do know that I was always striving to keep up with others, and in the midst of that I couldn’t be myselfIt’s hard to actually be yourself when you are too busy trying to prove yourself to others. There’s a lot more to this story, but basically, I felt myself slowly drifting into a person I didn’t want to be. I got to a miserable place, and I believe that God allowed me to get there because He had so much better for me. But until I listened and removed myself from where I was at, I couldn’t experience what I’m getting to experience now… All because He loves little, ole, imperfect me.

See, Daniel is smart. He sees the best in people. And I’m glad he sees the best in me. He was like – “Hey, you should quit what you’re doing because you’re miserable. I’m miserable. We’re miserable. I think you should just take a month, figure out what you’re passionate about, and go make it happen.” So I decided at the end of 2015, in a confusing time, to just be available— to Dan, to my friends, and to the gym.

Well, thanks to the opportunity Nick and Cindy gave me, I started just being available at CFEC. But I had no idea what I was doing ( I still don’t really know, but it’s 9,8543 times better). I went and took the Level 1 course, got my Level 1, despite being humbled completely for my lack of skill and range of motion (I would have cried as they kept calling me out, but thanks to Nick for the heads up, I was able to just smile and have fun and learn). However, I did beat everyone in the workout, and I’ll never forget 2 separate coaches that weekend telling me that I had the potential to be a Regional athlete, BUT I just needed to work on my skills…and my mobility. I’ll never forget being told that, but I shrugged their kind words off because that wasn’t a goal of mine and I didn’t see me being able to compete at that kind of level.

After that weekend, I knew that I wanted to help people through fitness, more specifically CrossFit. Through watching coaches like Colin at CFEC, I was able to see that being a coach or trainer is about way more than kicking somebody’s butt into shape. There’s a relational aspect there too- an opportunity to make an impact in someone’s life. And if you’re a part of CFEC in any way, you know what I’m talking about. But in order to do that, I had to get better. You can care and love people all you want, but if you can’t properly teach them to squat or deadlift, you’re missing the point. So, I decided that I needed to get better- not necessarily to have better times or be able to lift heavier — but instead, to go back to the basics and get better at functional movements so I could help people I’m training improve the quality of their life. I also became aware that I desperately needed to fix my technique in certain movements, like the clean and jerk, so that I could help people in class. While I’m still not anywhere close to where I want to be, Ive come a long way since December. I’ve wanted it to pay off for other people, but I’ve learned in the process that it’s constantly helping me and making me better. I never dreamed that I would be given the opportunity to coach people and train people through CrossFit – especially at a place like CFEC.

January 2, 2016- I made a list of goals- mostly personal, but definitely a few CrossFit goals in there too. One of those goals was to compete in the Open and come out Top 100 in the South East Region. The only other two people I told were Daniel and Cindy. Daniel hears my crazy thoughts 24/7, but I remember feeling so dumb when I told Cindy. I felt over ambitious, BUT I guess it did give me something to shoot for.

Here’s a pic I just found in my journal from 1/2/16 with this goal.

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So, at the end of February, the 2016 Open began. I was mostly excited about our gym coming together on Friday nights to cheer and compete against each other. I even posted this blog post about what the Open means to the 99.9% of us people not going to Regionals.  But after each of the 5 weekends was over, I would check my placement on the Leaderboard, and I constantly stayed in the 30’s. I thought it was pretty cool, and I hoped I would stay there. Since there was a chance I could come out Top 50, I had to humbly ask people to record me doing these workouts, and the entire gym had to be quiet as I said my intro. I hated it. Like cringing hated it. And my discomfort showed in each of those videos. But after the workout was over, I would feel so much better, pop open a beer (or 2) with my friends from CFEC, and judge or cheer everyone else on.

Well, the last week of the Open was approaching, and there was so much speculation as to what the workout would be. We had already done burpees, but I was like, “Hey, anything can happen. We could do burpees again. In fact, that would actually be great. I’m gonna pray for it. In fact, I’m gonna pray for a repeat of 14.5- burpees and thrusters). For 16.5, I legitimately prayed for burpees and thrusters — (Sorry y’all- I’m probably in that 1% of people who was actually excited about redoing 14.5). I really just didn’t want to move down too far in ranking.

Well, 16.5 ended up being….A repeat, 14.5 – BURPEES AND THRUSTERS. Ha. And at that moment I realized that I needed to change up my goals and that going to the Atlantic Regional should be one of them. But, it would take a miracle. So, I kept praying. If you follow me on snapchat, you know (Sorry). I gave my all for 16.5. Although I was about 3 and a half minutes faster than 2014, I still didn’t  think my time would be good enough to bump me up into that Top 20. And I was ok with that. I ended up at 29th. I heard that as people declare they are going on a Team, spots could open up. So, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working hard. Like really hard. I told myself that I could do this. And I decided that it would be a goal for next year. But I would also HOPE for this year. Spots opened up. I waited. I decided to still work hard and pretended I was going until I heard otherwise. I got better in the process. Andddddd…..

I ended up being the next to last girl to get invited. 

I don’t take this invite for granted. I try not to be all mushy on here and talk about feelings a lot, BUT it’s been a great year. I’m calling it a miracle. And I can only hope that as I compete, people will know that I’m only out there because of a God who has been proving Himself to be very real to me- along with some hard work, a supportive husband, CFEC, and because of people who have believed in me more than I could even believe in myself. I’m thankful for my coaches, especially the man with a plan- Colin Leonard, who has not only put in a lot of time and work to help me get better, but has also beat me in most of the workouts we have done over the past 3 weeks. So, there’s that.

Hope this encourages you to chase dreams, love people, and figure out what you’re passionate about, and run hard after it.

Thank y’all for all the kind words and encouragement. I can’t wait to compete in Atlanta!