First things first…Are you watching Stranger Things?!??! I think we may just go ahead and finish Season 2 tonight. I hope we do. One reason is so we can get back to watching The Office. I actually am not a big fan of anything remotely scary, as I get scurred easily. I’m the girl that sprints to her car on the mornings I leave the house before the sun comes up. I avoid anything and everything scary. BUT Stranger Things – as creepy as it is – is different. I can take it. As long as I have someone next to me who can explain what is going on every now and then… And that is one reason why Dan is the man. The music in it is great. The kids are great…especially Dustin. He’s my fav. I mean…you can’t help but just love him. 

Next… Hopefully you’ve detoxed a little by now from the Halloween candy and treats. 

And last –  and the reason for this post in the first place – Today I want to tell all of you about my friend Cat Parker. If you know Cat, you can’t help but love her. She is one of the most kind people out there, and she has impressed me with her hard work and drive since she started CrossFit back in late Winter/early Spring of 2016. I’ve loved watching her grow as a person…maybe not worrying about some of the things she used to. She’s an essential part of the 8:30 class at CFEC. She’s there no matter what every day (with the exception of Wednesday mornings because she attends a small group/Bible study. But when she’s not there, her presence is missed. She’s queen of the (secret, but not really) hand shakes. She gives her all while she’s at the gym. You may also know her as the girl who did ALLLLLLLLLLLLL the sled pulls when we had that sled pull challenge that time. 

I’ve had the opportunity to watch Cat transform in several different ways over the past 20 months, and I figured it was worth it to share her story will all of you – as well as how she has battled with a pretty crazy injury, how she overcame that injury, and how it has made her stronger today! 

When I do these posts, I always try to ask everyone (or at least the CrossFit people) the same two questions. (I know… I know.. This seems so basic and repetitive, but everyone has a totally different fitness story, and I love that they throw it out there for other people to read, and hopefully be inspired by). 

Why CrossFit?

“I tried everything I could think of (like whatever the latest and greatest home Dvd workout was, Zumba classes, cycling classes, 9 round, machines in the weight room, trying to figure my own lifting plan at the gym or just running miles and miles each week) Nothing was feeling completely what I needed or wanted.  I would grow bored with them, had no accountability and usually was on to something else in a few months.
Then, one day after a bike ride on the swamp rabbit trail, I saw a group of people doing a workout that looked insanely fun with weights and bars and jumping all over the place, high-fiving each other, cheering and yet they looked like they were about to pass out.  I was like oh my word I want some of that!” <——
shoutout to the people at SRCC 🙂
 

What is your favorite thing about CrossFit?

“There are so many things I could say about this, but if I have to pick one…
I love the camaraderie! I feel like I have this huge extended family! Even though we may have totally different walks of life we have this big common bond called Crossfit, or more specifically the workout of the day!
The group that goes to the 8:30 class are very special to me because we go through the pains and gains of CrossFit together almost every week day.  Like the WOD recently, we do all those 100 thrusters and then go lay on the turf after class and see if we can still move our legs!
That is bonding at its finest!”

—–

But what I really wanted to talk about today is Cat’s injury, how it affected her, changed her perspective on a few things, and has overtime made her even stronger today! This time last year Cat was going through a pretty rough time. Long story short, she had to have back surgery. She was in A LOT of pain, and she wasn’t able to workout at all for several months after surgery. For Cat, this was brutal because of how active she was. I remember her telling me how CrossFit, or going for a walk, or hiking, or biking was how she stayed sane. It was her outlet, and she wasn’t able to do any of it for awhile.

We missed Cat in the gym, but I remember when she messaged me back in January and said she was ready to come back to class, however, she had some limitations and needed help maneuvering around them. 

My back surgery slowed my CrossFit to an ubrupt halt!  Its one thing to take a day off or however much time you want but to be forced to by physical limitations is a whole nother thing!  It gave me a lot of time to think about my life, my training and where I was going with all of it.  It made me really miss CrossFit, everything down to the fist bumps even!
However when I finally got my go papers from the surgeon I came back with a whole different approach.
I had lost a lot of muscle and I had to start back super light and super slow.  But it gave me so much of an appreciation of how CrossFit can be modified to wherever you are in your personal progress and a new appreciation of the knowledgeable and care of our trainers. I would see the workouts posted online, and even looking at the wellness option, and thinking how am I even going to be able to do that?  But Alison had a plan for me every workout that was well suited to my limitations and also allowed me to work just as hard and right along with the class workout!  My return began back in January, so its been almost 11 months now.  For one thing, my back pain is gone. But also, I am doing better than before because during the time when I could not go heavy, I worked hard on technique which has in return helped me so much with my PRs and everything else we do!  I know it might sound crazy but I feel much stronger now than I did before my injury!”

Cat took a sucky situation, and came out on the other side even better. I remember THE DAY she came back to the gym. We had to change up a lot of the workout so she could do it. But she didn’t cry, or feel sorry for herself. She got on that assault bike, and did everything with “just a pvc pipe” with a smile on her face…all because she was just happy to be back moving, and with her friends.

As a coach, I love watching Cat workout. She’s strong, and I love watching her think through anything she is doing with a barbell. Are her movements perfect? No. Mine aren’t either, and neither are your’s. But figuring out how to move better – with the help of other people – is something really special. Cat has taken the time to work on her movements, and because of that, she has come so far since this past January. She doesn’t want to end up where she was a year ago, so there are certain movements that she avoids. There have been a few times where I’ve noticed her stop a workout if her back starts to tighten up. Cat stretches and/or rolls out after class (and even sometimes before 🙂

Her toughness, her ability to adapt, and her attitude have all been examples to me during this current time where I’m not able to workout and move the way I want to. 

Hopefully her story encourages you too!