Hey! Long time, no talk. As in, I didn’t blog last week. And this is the first post I’ve done in OVER a week. Bummer. I am in the process of revamping this little blog thing – making it bigger and better. My friend, Jerry has been kind enough to help me. I’ve talked about him on here some. He’s the one who originally made this blog/site for me. He’s the one who named it ChasingStall.com. I felt weird about it at first, but I’ve just been rolling with it, and now I love it and claim it. Jerry is a great guy. He’s a little short man with a beard. And he can squat 510 lb or something like that.
With this new and improved site…comes more focus on other people. I ultimately love blogging for myself, and I’ll continue to do that. However, I want to start conversations(and keep them going) about fitness and whatever else y’all want to talk about. Thanks for the feedback on my insta story the other night!
And, last but not least… I’m probably going to do away with the #MondayMotivation as like a weekly thing. It’s just too forced sometimes. I want every single person (as in hopefully more than 5 of you by this point) to feel like I am being genuine. Anyway…good stuff in the future, but I am always down for more ideas of some things you want to talk about. OR if you want to write something or share something on here, that would be totally RAD too. <——pretty sure that’s like the third time I’ve ever used that word.
Ok, we still reading?!?
I posed something on instagram last week. It got a lot of feedback, and a few messages from people who were able to relate to it in some way??.. SO, I figured I could just write out a little more of what I was trying to say.
AND WARNING **This post ended up being WAY longer than I anticipated. I almost went back and put chapters. I thought it would take 30 minutes to write. I think it took about 2 hours total – over the course of 3 days. Yikes. As always, I was like, “hey, I’ll write this post. Maybe it will impact someone.” But once again, I saw that I really do this for myself too! It was good to write this out. Maybe it will encourage you to do the same. If you do, share it with me, because I would LOVE to post other people’s stories on here.
Ok, back to the post…The point is…It’s way too easy to look at someone and assume that they’ve had an easy road, or that they are just “naturally gifted. THANKS INSTAGRAM. But, 9.34 times out of 10, that’s definitely not the case. I have been caught up way too many times comparing my journey, or my abilities, or my strengths and/or weaknesses to others. I do it with people on the internet, and I do it to people I interact with daily, and I do it with people I don’t even know. And news flash: I do it with things other than fitness, or more specifically CrossFit. (because at the end of the day, there’s more to life than that).
BUT, let’s talk about the gym (and if you’re not into the whole fitness thing like I am) hopefully you can still find a way to relate.
I’m thankful that my parents basically raised me on the ball field/court. From age 5- age 10, I was kept busy with soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, and soccer and softball in the spring. When I was 10, I realized I actually was not a stellar third base(wo)man like I thought, and I really wasn’t into wearing those dumb pants, so I quit softball. I really liked soccer, and was decent at it, I guess… so I tried out for the club team in Savannah, Georgia, and made my parents travel all over with me to watch me kick a ball around. I played a little volleyball in high school as well, and ended up running cross country because that helped with soccer. I LOVED playing center midfield because I loved running in circles, non stop for 45 min at a time. (not much has changed). I chose not to play soccer in college because I made some really bad decisions in high school, and I had lost all motivation to do anything productive in life, until I left for college at THE good ole Georgia Southern University (GATA).
In college, I knew nothing about CrossFit. BUT, I loved to run longish distances, and mindlessly workout at the student rec center, a good ole’ local gym named 180 fitness (where I also worked part time). I also had a habit of making my roommates do P90x and Insanity and other Beachbody workouts with me in our living room. I didn’t miss many days of working out.
I married my best friend, Daniel Joseph Stall, shortly after graduating college, and I moved to Anderson, SC where I continued with the same mindless workout routine. I’ve talked about these details WAY too many times on here, so I’ll spare ya the details for now!
But in January 2013, Daniel and I decided to start CrossFit aT CrossFit Electric City in Anderson, SC. I was SO excited to start something new because I saw how awesome it had been for my friends Kelly and Jason Wilson. Kelly was/is my hero, and I thought if she could do it and see great results from it and get strong, so could I! And at this time, she was about to go take her Level 1 Cert to become the coach she is today.
Ok, HERE.WE.GO…Daniel and I went through “foundations” (classes you go through to start CrossFit). It was a two week long process, and we did it with 12-13 other people..pretty serious. Going into “foundations” I really thought I was going to breeze through everything. BUT I couldn’t do a push press without looking like a wannabe cheerleader. I couldn’t do pushups (the correct way). I was scared of a 20 inch box (I still am 🙂 I couldn’t squat below parallel. I was wearing Brooks running shoes. Let’s see, what else? Oh, I couldn’t do a pullup – even with the thick green band. I had no rhythm, so I couldn’t even begin to kip or use my hips for any movements. Oh, kettlebell swings…I just swung with my arms as much as I could, hence no hips. And deadlifts/cleans/anything like that..I thought you were supposed to just bend down, round your back, and pick up the bar. You think I’m making all of this up? Go ask. This is why nothing surprises me when I do Foundations now. I legitimately want to give each and every person a hug and be like, “if you only knew…if you could have seen me…”
Anyway, I LOVED class, BUT I didn’t want to give up my running just yet. I also made up my own long workouts during “open gym” The whole 7 min AMRAP wasn’t good enough for me… yet.
July 2013 rolled around, and I wanted to do my first competition- The Greenville Games! Thankfully my friend, Kelly did it with me. One of the workouts had 65 lb overhead squats in them but she had to do them ALL. I miraculously cleaned 115 lb. that day. I also could not jump over an abmat to save my life. BUT I LOVED cheering on my friends from CFEC and CrossFit Clemson, and competing that day in the scaled division made me want to compete again soon!
Around this time, I was finally able to do a pullup without a band. One at a time. 7 months. And if you know me, you know I WORKED on them two-three times a week on my own. I also began to get a little braver and actually tried to kick upside down to a headstand/handstand. I coudn’t do a handstand pushup, but I started working on them.
One year of CrossFit passed, and the 2014 Open was coming up! The first workout was that 12 min (I think?) AMRAP of 15 power snatches (75/55) and 30 double unders. I ended up doing WAY better than I think anyone, including myself thought I would. I don’t remember my score, but it was up there. The next workout had chest to bar pullups in it, and I stuffed all of the sports bra/tank top inserts I could find from my lululemon and old navy workout tops to make my boobs way bigger than they were. Then I would FOR SURE get my chest to the bar. It turns out, that didn’t help at all. BUT I found out that day, 13 months into CrossFit, that I could do a chest to bar pullup. Anyway, the Open ended after 5 weeks. I didn’t do too bad! All the workouts were Rx (only because there was no scaled division that year). I remember Nick telling me that I should think about competing more. He was even extra generous by saying that maybe one day, if I worked really hard and got better at like 745 different things, I could maybe make Regionals.
The next month, I remember snatching 95 lb and thinking I had made it! I did the workout “Isabel” and it took me 17 minutes to do it. 30 ugly power snatches. 17 ugly minutes. IDK who was coaching that day, and why they let me keep going, but they did. But the only important thing was…I could snatch 95 lb. LET’S GO!
I started working even harder. BUT the next month, in May 2014, I tore my Achilles’ tendon in my right leg. Full rupture. Shredded. I had surgery a week later, and because it was pretty much all torn apart (instead of a clean tear) the surgeon decided to cut everything out and just give me someone else’s tendon (a graph or cadaver, or something like that). He didn’t allow me to walk for a good 3 and a half months. I had a little knee scooter and everything. I used that opportunity of not being able to walk or use my right leg to make me practice things like pullups, dips, and handstand pushups (off a box, of course.. stay safe!) AND, I got better at those things I was terrible at. I didn’t do everything right with my recovery, but I do feel like I took advantage of an injury, showed it who was boss, and worked on what I could.
The following February (2015) I did a competition at the Greenville YMCA with my friend HaleySanders, now Lasley (CHASING HALESTORM). I wasn’t fully recovered from surgery, and I forgot how to do double unders. Once I finally remembered how to do said double unders, I peed my pants in the middle of the workout trying to do them. (Just wanted those who didn’t know that already, know). I did the Open that year and I maxed out my clean and jerk at 145 lb. post surgery PR, yo! That same workout (part A) had 15 TTB at a time, and I still couldn’t link together my TTB, so I just swung my legs up there 15 times each round. Then, I think it was week 3 of the Open, there were ring muscle ups at the beginning of the workout. All the girls in the gym FOUGHT SO HARD to get a muscle up all weekend (literally) and none of us ever got one. Except Kelly.. she was close. I was so flippin’ mad. Over two years into CrossFit, but it just didn’t click.
That July, I did Independence Games with my friend, Colin. I really didn’t want to let him down. He made us split all the pullups evenly. I thought that was a terrible idea because I couldn’t butterfly my pullups. He said he didn’t care. I still had to do them. I also had to push Colin on a sled that day. It was hard. He had to push me too. I’m sure it was equally as hard. I PR’d my clean at 165 lb that day. We got 2nd (this was when the Independence Games was still just a little, local competition. Look at them now:) Shortly after, I got my first bar muscle up! I also got a sketchy strict ring muscle up — one that would have NEVER passed as a good rep at Regionals in 2016 🙂 but to me, it was a GOOD, SMOOTH STRICT muscle up.
That fall, my friend, Ryan Kirkland asked me to do The Hunger Games competition in Lexington with him. I knew this competition would be tough, and I was surprised he wanted me to be on his team. I said, “Sure, I can do a ‘muscle up’ now, so hopefully I won’t hold you back too much! We somehow ended up in the finals after the bracket tournament face off thing they did. We had a feeling the finals would have muscle ups in it. Since I still couldn’t do a legit, kipping muscle up, he tried to teach me (in front of EVERYONE watching – which to me, felt like a lot of people!) I saw a group of people in the corner laughing at me as he tried to teach me(probably waayyyy better CrossFitters than I am 🙂 although I was in the finals, not them….just saying…). Ryan no joke, related the muscle up to the whip and ney ney. That dance had just recently come out. Wow this was a long time ago. Anyway, he’s a GREAT coach. And sure enough, there were muscle ups in the finals. Ryan did his part. I had to do some overhead squats at 115 lb, and then make my way to the rig. Well, I remembered what he said about the whip and ney ney. I literally just didn’t think too hard about it, threw myself up there, and somehow caught myself in a dip that I could fairly easily dip out of. We lost. My fault. But I didn’t care. I got a legit ring muscle up. Almost 3 years into CrossFit. Alright.
Around this time, I quit my full time job. Long story, but it had nothing to do with CrossFit or coaching or anything like that. I just felt unhappy. I felt like I wasn’t using the gifts God gave me in the best way. Daniel is a kind, patient human, and he encouraged me to quit. We already had plans to go to Charlotte to get my Level 1 CrossFit cert. I wanted to do this for myself. Before this time, I was pretty ditsy in the gym, BUT I was starting to care a little bit more about my own overall health and wellness. I also secretly liked it when coaches at my gym would ask me how I would correct someone in their movements. I’m a TOTAL DORK, but getting my Level 1 (as basic as it is) was one of the best weekends of my life! I mean, my squat got crushed by the trainers there (thanks to Nick for the heads up) but I smiled the entire time, did my best on the workouts, learned a lot, and I thought the seminar staff coaches were the coolest people I had ever met. One of them pulled me aside and asked me what kind of competitions I had done. She asked is Regionals was a goal of mine. I said, “Nope. I’m not good enough.”
Anyway, after passing the test and getting my Level 1, I was hooked. I wanted to be at the gym all the time to help however I could – although I really probably was no help at all at first. But I kept showing up. Nick and Cindy own CFEC, and they were really great about letting me hang out and learn. I knew nothing about coaching. I ended up deciding that I didn’t want a 9-5 job. I made it a goal to train 5 people (personal training) and I had 5 clients within the first two months. It was hard to throw myself out there so much at first. I had some amazing friends that shared my post on social media and connected me with people. Personal training is a GREAT way to get better and more comfortable with coaching a class. But you have to care. You can’ t just run through the motions with one person. You have to bust your butt to make sure they feel 100% cared for and attended to. They are paying you a good bit of money to do that too.
I’ve had the opportunity to “coach” for two and a half years now, and I’m far from perfect. I’ll never have it all together. I jumble my words together all the time. I see people move and don’t always know the BEST way to correct them to help them in the moment. But I can tell you that if you care about people, that goes a long way! Everything else comes with experience, and asking questions, and not giving up. I’ve had some great coaches to learn from, and I’ve been able to coach some kind, hardworking people.
When I started just showing up at the gym more, I decided that it was finally time to make a drastic lifestyle change. I always ate somewhat healthy, and it was cool to watch my body slowly transform over the years of CrossFit. But I needed a routine. I started following the “Zone Diet”.” I learned about it during my Level 1, and I followed it pretty exact for about 2 months. I leaned out. A LOT. Hopefully this isn’t TMI, but before I started doing the Zone Diet. (Google: CrossFit Zone Diet) I didn’t have a period. Although I wasn’t NEARLY as lean as I am now, I was told that it was probably because I worked out a lot and didn’t have enough body fat. WELL, doing Zone (focused on a low glycemic carb intake, a lot of veggies, lean meats, and not a lot of processed foods) I actually got my hormones in check, and I got my period back WHILE leaning out more. Who does this? Food, y’all. It’s everything. I’m thankful that for the exception of one month, I have had a normal period since January 2016. <—-Sorry, again, if that was TMI.
Anyway, getting my nutrition in check and spending a little more time in the gym led me to doing very well in the Open in 2016. (I think not having ring muscle ups and no massive 1 rep max lift or super heavy barbell that year helped too 🙂 After the first workout (allllll those overhead lunges, burpees over the bar, and thankfully, not a lot of chest to bar pullups) I found myself sitting at 27th in the Southeast region. I didn’t know what “attempting to go to regionals” looked like, but I had some smart, selfless friends that did. They told me I needed to show up at the gym on Sunday, redo the workout, and film myself. People showed up to watch, and I think we had 3 people film that workout…like walking around with an Ipad and everything. Colin hates burpees and long workouts in general, but he even showed up to do the workout again so I wouldn’t have to do it by myself. Those five weeks of the Open was a miracle time in my life, for sure. I somehow ended up getting a second round invite to Regionals. I couldn’t believe it. I also couldn’t handstand walk. And I also could barely string two muscle ups together. And I also was not strong. At all. I had actually just Pr’d my clean at 175 lb during the Open in that squat clean TTB double unders workout. BUT, my friend Colin saved the day, came alongside me, COACHED me (I was only doing our gym’s class programing and random pointless, long, dumb workouts I made up on my own). Colin helped me figure out how much protein to take (I wasn’t currently taking ANY supplements). I went from none to three different protein shakes a day, if you include the casein shake I drank at night. It was glorious.Whey Shake in the morning. Recovery Whey shake after a workout. Progenex Cocoon (casein) at night. Colin worked with me to get strong. He did his best. I did my best too, but I was still so weak. I could snatch 120-125 on a good day. And it was UGLY. Like, picture ugly, and I was worse than that. He helped me so much. I had about 3 different people help me with handstand walking. I even went to my friend, Jackie’s gym where she coaches gymnastics. My friend, Nate, designed a shirt for me to raise money, and a TON of people bought them. My friend, Lindsey pretty much organized EVERYTHING, and put a lot of time into it too. It was so nice. I raised so much money that helped me feel like a real athlete heading into Regionals. CFEC is truly the best gym because of the people there.
I went to Regionals, and I ended up placing 30th out of 40 girls there. (some of the best in the world). I was happy with that. I ended up being able to snatch 135 in the ladder. It took me about 7 minutes to walk 100 feet on my hands (in front of a lot of people), and I still kipped my pullups because every time I tried butterflying them, my shoulder would hurt. KIPPN AIN’T EASY. I got first in my heat in one event though (and 5th overall). I was proud of that. It was an amazing experience! Thanks to everyone who made it possible. Hopefully you saw that if I could do it, so can you! (or some other goal, just as big!)
I kept working hard in the gym. The next year, I was able to compete at The Crush Games in the women’s pro division in Miami. I also competed with my friends Jackie and Marlie at Wodapalooza in the Rx Girls Division. In our first workout, I had to complete basically “Fran” but with a heavier barbell and chest to bar pullups. I blacked out in the workout, and had to be helped off with the medical team. They said I was dehydrated. Looking back, maybe it was a panic attack. IDK. It was weird. I wasn’t the strongest teammate that weekend, but we had fun and WZA was so cool to compete at!
The next year (2017) I wanted to make Regionals again so bad. I fought against putting my identity in it. I didn’t like who I was then. I wanted to prove to people that the year before wasn’t a fluke. I missed it by a few spots. I was bummed, but like anything else, I later realized that God had a much bigger plan for me during that time. I fell more and more in love with coaching and 1-1 personal training. I learned not to put my identity in competing, or my overall ability to workout.
Later that year, I had the opportunity to compete at the Granite Games in the Women’s Pro Division. I definitely received a second round invite (unexpectedly). It was too good of an opportunity to miss out on, so I went to Minnesota in Septmeber (by myself) to compete. And I got my butt kicked. Like last place. There was a trail run in a 5.11 weighted vest for the first event. I bombed it, had my leg lock up (old achilles probs), fell, and never recovered. I almost passed out trying to sprint up a hill, and I panicked big time in the swim. I was still proud to compete alongside some really great people, but I knew I was better than that.
A week after Granite Games, I went to an Ortho Ankle Specialist in Greenville. I had the appointment for a couple of months because I knew something still wasn’t right from my achilles surgery 3 years prior. My leg never grew back, and something just felt off with it. I had no strength, no activation, which led to a pretty rough hip problem on the same side. I thought he would give me some PT to do. It turned out that it was still torn, filled with fluid, and basically the cadaiver that the original surgeon used was no more. My body rejected it. I had surgery a week later. He cut the scar tissue out, opened up my big toe, stole some tendon from it, and used it to repair my achilles tendon. Recovery was AMAZING – thanks to Dr. Womack. He had me in a walking boot 3 weeks after surgery. I was in a boot for 3-4 weeks (somewhere in there), and I was starting PT and squatting to a box within 2 months after surgery! I had an amazing girl do my PT – Elisa Turner. She was so helpful and patient with me! I also had some help from my friend, Robin Koenig. She is a chiro in Anderson and she goes to CFEC. She scraped my ankle a lot, which helped with the scar tissue and fluid after surgery. I’m just getting all thankful again typing this!
I had no pressure heading into the Open in 2018. I knew there was no chance of making it to the next level. Everyone told me that. I think some people were scared I was going to push it too hard. I tried not to. I had fun competing and judging and cheering my friends on. I mean, I STILL wanted to do my best, but my body just wasn’t ready to be 100%. I can’t even believe I was able to make it through all those double unders in week 3 or 4 of whatever week that was! The 1RM clean got me bad. I cleaned 190 lb. <—- definitely not good enough to make it to the next level. BUT I hadn’t cleaned that since before surgery, so I was happy. I ended up getting 50th in the region!
Since then, I’ve felt better and better! I qualified for the Granite Games again. While I still didn’t do so hot in every workout, and I didn’t end up on the podium, or even the Top 5, I surprised myself with that I was capable of. I redeemed myself from the year before (taking 3rd or 4th in the triathlon that included an 800 meter swim – yikes…and getting 1st in the hill sprint this time around (although this time, we had to run with a 50 lb wreckbag, after 50 GHDSU and 30 sandbag cleans with that wreckbag). I ended up in 10th after the 4 days were done..which is WAY better than LAST from the year before. I worked hard leading up to it. I sought help from a girl named Katelyn, in Indiana with my nutrition. She had me eating way more than I currently was. That helped me to feel great going into the weekend. I ran up some mountains. I put myself in uncomfortable workouts in the gym. And I swam a decent amount!
Since then, I feel like I’m in a good place — spending most of my time at the gym. I LOVE coaching and helping Colin make the gym function. He’s working his butt off, and that pushes me to do my best for the people at CFEC. I love working out and competing. However, neither one of those things make up my identity. I have to remind myself of this still (just being real). I am so thankful to be able to do what I do every single day. I’ve met some amazing people through fitness, and CrossFit in general. And I believe that my life and the way I view ideal, and not ideal situations in the world, wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for what I’ve learned in the gym. It’s a gift from God that I don’t take for granted.
Wow, you made it. I didn’t anticipate this being that long, BUT I couldn’t sleep last night, so I just got up, started typing, and ended up here. If something has impacted you like CrossFit has for me, I encourage you to write about it. Like I said, I would still blog even if people didn’t read it. This was for me. But hopefully it encourages you to get real with your feelings and type out your journey. I am thankful that God continues to allow me to live this great life. I’m thankful for Daniel- husband who works really hard (and is also pretty strong) and I’m thankful for all of the great people who have made these experiences what they are today. Never take for granted the ability to move (whatever that looks like for you 🙂 And never underestimate the journey!