So let me begin by saying what a joy it is to have met and grown close with Andrea and her family. Her story combined with her driven nature is nothing less than inspiring to me as a coach and to our community. I am really excited for everyone to get to know Andrea a little more and be inspired as well by seeing just how strong and powerful women are and can be. We have all heard of the saying 'cancer survivor', but from where I stand as a coach and a friend, Andrea is a conquerer... and cancer had no chance. So without further adieu, here is her story! Enjoy!
"CrossFit wasn’t something even on my radar. I grew up being active and always was up for taking a class or two at the gym. Then at the age of 20 I was diagnosed with stage 3 muscular cancer. Boom, all that was more norm, going to the gym every day, college, an active lifestyle was out the window for a while. Fast forward to almost a year ago. I was trying to find something to challenge me again. Get me active and get me out of the house. I work from home 10+ hours a day and needed not only to get out but to interact with people. Not really interested in much there was to offer in my area, a girl I knew through a friend has suggested I try CrossFit. Um, yea... NO. One, I have no idea what that really was, and two, what I do know of it I could NEVER do. That is not for me. I can’t do that because of my limitations from having cancer…. Blah blah blah, you know, all the excuses we like to tell ourselves to keep us from doing scary things. Well, one day, when I guess I was just crazy enough to try, I posted a question on our community blog and everyone was giving me the same answer: CrossFit Ampersand.
A few clicks, some research, and reading a few clients stories I set up a meeting. I am not a weight lifting kind of gal. Throw me in a cardio class I am ready! But showing up for CrossFit I thought, what am I doing, can I even do this?! All the weights and medicine balls and chalk!? Why do we need chalk?! But the other thing driving me was, behind all the lifting and sweat and learning, was the challenge. I needed a challenge. I had become distracted from life with work and kids, and all the adult things that make us responsible. I needed something that was mine and was going to challenge me. That was what I set out for and that was what I got.
Some of the toughest times in the beginning and still today, are recognizing that I can’t always do what everyone else is doing. Not because I wasn’t or am not strong enough, yet, but because of something from my past. Cancer. That was a part of my life, my story, I tucked away, I conquered, and moved passed. But here I was, in the gym, trying to lift something my hand didn’t have the strength to hold. But then with the help of the amazing support, community and coaches at CrossFit Ampersand I saw that there is a way to get through every lift, every jump, every challenge. The coaches encouraged me to do what I could and taught me how to modify movements so that I could build strength and keep going. That is one thing I was most amazed about. The coaches never made me feel like I was inadequate or “broken”. They just said “ok, then do this instead” and that was that.
One of my proudest moments to date was conquering box jumps. Yep! I can jump on a box and do it over an over again. When I first started CrossFit I would jump on stacks on weights. Then over time I just worked my way to feeling more confident and trusting my body and I did it! It’s not just the physical aspect of growth you find in CrossFit, it’s the mental. I have gained so much more trust in my body and what it is capable of. Confidence, yes that too, but knowing that months before I couldn’t do something and to work and see myself lifting more weight, improving in many different aspect and also having all the awesome coaches and other members at Crossfit Ampersand cheering you on. Helping you see you really can do more than you think you are capable of, you can’t help but try harder and be better.
At the end of the day I look forward to every workout. I want to see my friends, who have become more like family, because that’s how it is at CrossFit Ampersand, a family. I want to be with my tribe, pushing myself to see how far I can go. Is CrossFit tough, yes! I would be lying if I said it was easy. But pushing yourself and being with people who want to see you reach your goals and support you makes every sore muscle worth it. If you have ever questioned trying CrossFit I would say do it. We all have things that can create excuses not to try, but honestly, do it, please try. You may just find your not as broken as you once thought you were. You may become stronger, happier, more focused, less anxious, or more determined then you have been in a long time. What have you got to lose? I am so thankful one crazy day posting something on a community page lead me to a much healthier and better place. One sore workout at a time…GAME ON!"
"Some days I am more wolf than woman and I am still learning how to stop apologizing for my wild." -Nikita Gill