Good evening to ya (Or Friday morning by the time you’re reading this) I’ve been slacking the past couple of weeks. Actually I haven’t been. I just haven’t been home much to write these things. Guys…college football is here! In fact I am finishing this post up while Daniel watches the Ohio State Indiana game. College football is the only reason why I am slightly ok with summertime coming to a close. I’m not happy about Summer ending soon, BUT knowing that we’re about to get almost 4 months of college football makes fall and colder weather a little more bearable. 

Ok, so I think I really like these end of the week posts about other people. I’m not sure how many people even read this blog ( I don’t know how to check?) but hopefully for the 5 or so of you who read it, these posts are pretty inspiring. Getting to ask people about CrossFit and all things health and fitness, has given me the opportunity to learn more about their overall life, their story, cool things they’ve been a part of, and obstacles they have overcome. 

While I love every single person that I’ve been able to share about with you, THIS post is one of my favorites…which is probably why I’ve put it off until this afternoon. I want to share this guy’s story in the best way I know how, because if you know him, you love him, and you’ve been inspired, challenged, and even maybe made fun of (in the nicest, most sarcastic way possible) by him. 

Today I wanted to tell all of you about my friend Jason. I met Jason last November ish at Concord Baptist in Brandon Cox’s (the man, the myth, the legend) Sunday school class.<—- I only call it that because Daniel says that I HAVE to call it that. But it was more like a hang out/bible study thing. BUT fast forward to a random Saturday at the end of February of this year (soooo….about 6 months ago) I saw Jason hanging out at CFEC way before class started. Unfortunately, it was early and the sun was in my eyes, so I didn’t recognize him at first. 

Here is a little bit of Jason’s story. Jason grew up an athlete. He played college baseball, but after college, he took on running, weightlifting, and cycling to stay in shape and competitive. He has a Master’s degree in Exercise Science, and has done a good bit of personal training. Jason loves Jesus, has a beautiful family – a wife named Shelli (who I am convinced will start CrossFit with all of us one of these days) and a little girl named Collins. I didn’t know Jason until this past year, but from the looks of it, and from what I’ve heard, his life was going about perfect.

However, in June of 2014, Jason was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I can’t even imagine what that initial doctor’s visit, or the tests and visits to follow, was like for Jason. MS is a progressive and potentially debilitating disease that can strip you of your physical abilities. 

That diagnosis wasn’t ideal – for Jason, his family, his job, his competitive drive, his fitness journey, and I’m sure it definitely rocked his faith. Jason uses a wheelchair and or crutches to get around. 

Fast forward to early this year…Jason was looking at starting a new fitness routine. For some, MS means living a life with very little fitness, or moving in general. But Jason wanted to do something to better his health. He met up with Nick, and seeing the potential of how CrossFit could help Jason, Nick invited him to come try out CrossFit at CFEC. Jason and Nick have known each other for awhile – through fitness and personal training. Jason said he originally wanted to do CrossFit as a competitive outlet, as well as an alternative to the physical therapy he was doing at the time. Nick brought Jason in, got him started, showed him some things, and I’m pretty sure that from Day 1, Jason was hooked. 

Since then, there’s a 90% chance that Jason is going to be at the gym at the 5:30 pm class – which is typically the busiest class at CFEC. He’ll sometimes go to other classes, but 5:30 is his jam. Colin has helped him to get stronger in and more efficient at his movements. But for the most part, Jason knows exactly what he is going to be doing for the workout that day. Jason said that CrossFit has helped him to find the competitive component in his life that he lost back in 2014 when he was diagnosed with MS.

Jason has done an exceptional job in putting up with me. One day I told the class to go for a warm up jog. I unfortunately looked right at Jason when I said that. He gave me a hard time about it. Shortly after that, I was trying to help Jason get his pullup bar set up. Unfortunately, I had it set up uneven, and then we couldn’t get it out to adjust it. He was about to do his pullups anyway, with an uneven bar (because that’s how he rolls) until Jason Wilson came by with his big biceps and adjusted the bar. Last, but not least, Jason allowed me to be his assault bike anchor/wheelchair mover for one of the In House Competition workouts. Unfortunately, I made the workout even more difficult for him by mismanaging the location of his chair. Thankfully, Jason is really cool, calm, and collected, and we can joke about all of those instances now. 

BUT Jason does like to give people a hard time. But it’s all in fun and games, and just another reason why he is a likable guy. 

Through CrossFit and cleaning up his diet, Jason has lost about 60 pounds since the beginning of the year…60 POUNDS! I have loved watching Jason fall right into the CFEC family. He is proof that CrossFit can be for anyone -no matter your age, what your physical capabilities are, and what your background is. I’ve had the opportunity to watch Jason flip tires, do pullups (including himself AND the weight of his chair), ride backwards up a hill, pull a sled, and numerous other feats that a lot of people try to stay away from. But not Jason. He’s going to figure it out.

And Jason doesn’t just come in the gym and do his own thing. He does the workouts with class. And why would he not? His workout may not look the exact same as others, but neither does mine, and neither does your’s. CrossFit is unique because no matter where you’re at, or what your body can do, you can still do every single workout. Each workout can be modified to fit an individual’s needs. Everyone still has the opportunity to workout together, no matter what. Nobody gets left out because of a perceived limitation. 

Jason is looking to participate in some adaptive competitions over the next few months, including Wodapalooza in Miami. He also just wrapped up his first In House Comp at CFEC, in which he did every workout. He also completed the Hero WOD “Murph” along with over 100 other people at CFEC this past Memorial Day Weekend. As the Adaptive Athlete community continues to grow, there will be even more opportunities for Jason, and athletes like Jason, to showcase their fitness.

One of the things I love most about Jason is that he doesn’t complain. I was just telling someone today that I have never heard him say ANYTHING negative. Like for real. I wanted to highlight this about Jason for two reasons:

  1. We all have something that may hold us back…a limitation if you will…This can be something small like a busy schedule, or something that we’ve had to overcome with our body, or a number of other things. How we handle what is thrown at us matters. Jason faced a HUGE curve ball several years ago. I cannot imagine how this has affected even his and his family’s daily schedule, but I assume that even little tedious tasks can be frustrating at times if Jason allows them to be. He has to put extra thought into everything he does. And in regards to the gym, setting up for a workout can be even more difficult than performing the workout. But Jason doesn’t let any of that stop him from living a life worth living, and being an example in the process. 
  2. People that choose not to complain are a breath of fresh air to be around. Besides his sarcasm, Jason is a joy to be around because he usually stays positive, gets his workout in, talks to people, makes some witty jokes, and then goes about the rest of his day. And his sarcasm really isn’t bad. I was JKing about that. 

Jason doesn’t feel sorry for himself. And not only that..he doesn’t want you to feel sorry for him either. In fact, I have heard him say numerous times that he wouldn’t want his life to be any other way right now. 

As you can see, Jason’s attitude has inspired me, and if you’ve had the opportunity to workout alongside him, you know what I’m talking about. As a coach, it’s very encouraging as well. CFEC wouldn’t be the same without him. I know I say that about everyone I talk about, but I truly feel that Jason’s presence in the gym has inspired everyone. 

In my opinion, the coolest thing about Jason’s CrossFit adventure is that it has provided a great way for him to share his story to other people. And through that, he is able to share about his faith in Jesus as well. 

In his own words: “Multiple Sclerosis has been one of the greatest blessings that I have ever received, and CrossFit has been an integral part of sharing my faith journey through my daily life and website – ” If you get a minute, check out his website and subscribe to his blog. He’s got some good posts on there –  like this one.

Shoutout to Jason for letting me share a little bit of his story. Check out his website I linked above, and follow him on instagram: jasondrutland. 

This weekend, and into next week, and in the future weeks for that matter…when you feel like you want to quit, or give up, or feel sorry for yourself, remember Jason’s story. That may change your perspective a little bit 🙂

Have a great weekend!!!!