“There are days when I swear I could fly like an eagle
And dark desperate hours that nobody sees
My arms stretched triumphant on top of the mountain
My head in my hands, down on my knees”
“Sometimes It’s a Bitch” – Stevie Nicks

I needed a few days to process the weekend. I think I’m done. Finally.

For some of you, the words I write today won’t hold much interest. I’ve always thought of my world as a giant set of concentric circles, sitting neatly within each other. My friends, family, acquaintances, and even strangers, all sit somewhere inside one of those circles with me positioned right in the middle –  the bullseye of my life. The closer your circle is to me, the more I’ll make sense. You in the outer rings? You might want to stay there 🙂 or you might be inspired to move to a closer circle to really see what I’m talking about.

I started something almost 6 years ago. It gave me hope, strength, power and freedom. And at the same time, it held me, pushed me, taunted me, and broke me  – only to build me back up again. It opened my eyes to what I could and should be. It went from being just a thing I do to being a thing I am. It became not a habit, but a necessity of life, and it took the place of sleeping pills, alcohol and anti-depressants. It reshaped my body, opened my mind and mended my heart. It changed my life.

This weekend, for the 5th year in a row I gathered with over 250 others who feel the same way I do.

It’s not a peaceful gathering. It’s loud. Loud music, loud people. People yell at each other. People slam things to the ground. They run. They sweat. Some cry. And out of this cacophony comes courage, inspiration and yes, even love. That’s what happens when you gather 250 Masters Athletes, ages 35 to well over 60 years of age and tell them to compete. It’s a CrossFit competition and it’s not like anything you’ve ever seen before.

The yelling? It’s the athletes who finish first, shouting words of encouragement to their competitors who are still trying to finish. Inspiration? It’s every single athlete who has already finished, gathered around the last competing athlete, refusing to leave until they finish. Love? It’s the group hug that ensues when the last athlete finishes and the pride in their eyes as they leave the competition floor, knowing they did their best and have earned the respect of everyone in the building. It’s the woman watching her grandmother push a 55 pound barbell over her head 30 times. It’s the son learning about true sportsmanship by watching his father on the competition floor, knowing he’s attempting something he’s never done before and seeing him never give up.

That’s not to say people don’t want to win. And that they aren’t occasionally disappointed in their performance. They do and they are. But there are no losers. None. There are people who pledge to work harder and be better next year. There are people who take responsibility for their performance and own it. But no losers. They go back to their home town gym and get back to work, doing what they need to to fix the holes in their game.

Right after the first of the year, we wrote goals on the board at the gym. They were supposed to be realistic and measureable goals, and you had to set a goal date for your achievement. I went a little outside my comfort zone and set a goal of Top 5 at NorCal Masters. Even as it came out of my mouth, I doubted I would make it.

This was my 5th year. The first 2 years, I was dead last or close to it. Those first few years I came home ready to work harder; to be better. And then I was. And I was again. But in the past 4 years, I’ve never been close to Top 5. And this year? This year I made the Finals. I came in 4th overall by the end of the weekend. I left the competition floor and found a quiet corner and cried. Joy, relief, disbelief…all of it flooded out. I then walked to the concession Bar and ordered a shot of bourbon and a beer. I figured I had earned it.

And even though I reached my goal, as I checked it off the board Monday morning after coaching my 6 am class, tired and sore from the days before, I found myself writing a new goal on the board. Top 200 in the world in the CrossFit Open. I came back from NorCal inspired still, to be better, to not quit, to work on my deficiencies and to step up my game. To be a role model to the athletes I coach in my classes and to prove to myself that I can be whatever I set my mind to. To honor the respect my fellow athletes gave me as they encouraged me to work hard and finish strong. And finally, to be a better version of me everyday in little ways. Be a better friend, a better daughter, sister, coworker – a better human.

Sometimes it’s a bitch – I wake up sore and tired and have trouble dragging myself to the gym. Then I get there – I watch one of my athletes try something new, like get up on the pull up bar without the band, or pull a heavy deadlift off the floor and suddenly I’m reminded why sometimes it’s a breeze.


“Sometimes the picture just ain’t what it seems
You get what you want, but it’s not what you need
Sometimes it’s a bitch…Sometimes it’s a breeze”