Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. Sometimes I think the world is against me. Sometimes I think you would not believe the storm I have endured. And then sometimes I can’t believe what a wimp I am for thinking for one second that what I have endured is different from anything anyone else has endured. It’s all perspective, you know. We all have a story to tell….

A few years ago after my divorce I learned a lot about my self. I was on my own with 3 kids and I decided to open a CrossFit box with my trainer. In the beginning a lot of things didn’t go our way. Our deal with our location fell through and we were paying a LOT more than we had initially planned. We had a slow start and money was scarce. I was also living with my mom and my three kids and running them all over the place. To top it all off I was sent to the hospital with an epidural abscess the same summer that John went to the CrossFit Games. The doctors told me I was less than a millimeter away from being paralyzed from my neck down and possibly dying. I didn’t have insurance and my bills were over the top – over $400,000 in multiple doctors. I also missed going to the CrossFit Games to see John compete and my kids were going through a really hard time with the divorce, feeling very scared, angry and sad. I felt like it was all too much and like my world was crashing down around me. I often wondered, “why me?” and I even sometimes wished I had not made it through that illness.

I quickly learned how incredibly lucky I really was. I was lucky enough that the doctors caught the illness (they were about to send me home when one of the doctors decided to do an MRI) and they were willing to heal me even though I didn’t have money to pay them. I was lucky enough that it happened in the summer when my kids were visiting their dad and that I had a business partner who was willing to deal with all of my issues and pull us through that crazy time. I was lucky enough that I could fully recover and come back stronger. I was lucky enough that most of my bills were written off to charity and the rest I was allowed to pay out over time. I was lucky enough to be alive to see John compete and kick ass at The Games on TV and have him come back and compete some more. And I was lucky enough to have three perfect, beautiful children who love me and work hard as well as an incredible family of people who stayed by my side through every moment taking care of me and helping me recover. Perspective is an eye opener.

At the time, I knew how lucky I was, but sometimes it was very hard to see it that way. My body hurt, my mind hurt, I was scared and I didn’t know how I was going to make it. When I told my story I was incredulous at all that I had had to overcome. But what I have learned since then is that everyone has a story and mine isn’t that incredible. “Strength through Adversity” is a saying for good reason. Since we have started this CrossFit Box we have heard and been a part of SO many amazing stories of survival and gratitude and optimism and kindness and diligence against all odds. I am constantly astonished at the stories around here, and I’d like to share a few of them with you…

As you may know, CrossFit is not for wimps and our members are some of the strongest people I have ever met. For example, we have Danielle, who suffered a severe postpartum heart condition where her heart capacity dropped to 4% and she nearly died. She, however, has continued to workout and prove all of her doctors wrong at what she is capable of doing. She even ran a marathon! We have JJ, who recently lost over 110lbs and became an athlete for the first time in her life and now even helps others lose weight (for free I might add). Cancer has taken the lives of several of our members’ parents as well as Dr. Podeszwa’s sweet son and we even have one member battling through it herself right now (but she is in the process of destroying it!). We also have a few members who have beaten Cancer and live to tell their stories and help others through it.

But the list goes on… We have Max L, who recovered from a major heart attack (triple bypass), Jeff M., who just recovered from an extremely rare disease that covered his body in “purpura” for 7 weeks (Henoch-Schonlein Purpura), Natalie who was in a horrible car wreck in South Africa 7 years ago that crushed her pelvis and left her questioning whether she would ever walk or run again, and Michele, whose daughter has recently suffered from a rare food poisoning that lasted months. We have Rick D, Bill K, and even our own John Mariotti who have all had injuries resulting in surgery – all of which didn’t work the first time and left them unable to move correctly or without pain. However, they are all three working through the injuries, fighting the good fight and getting better every day. We also have Tiffany, Julie B., and Eric, who have all had back surgeries due to injury. We have had members with Shingles, kidney stones, Diabetes and members recovering from addiction. We even have members going through something as simple, but as traumatizing as divorce and learning who they are again.

I’m sure there are more stories that I haven’t heard yet or that I’m forgetting. The point here is, any one of these things could drive a person to say, “Why me?”. Any of these things could leave you feeling defeated and beaten and broken. But we CrossFitters are a tough brood and we don’t let just anything take us down. That’s what we are really doing in here, you know… practicing fighting the good fight. To quote Rocky, “You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.” Anything we do in CrossFit is nothing compared to what we have to deal with in the real world. But in here we learn to power through the difficult times with our friends cheering us on and encouraging us to be our best.

So the question I have for you now is, What is YOUR story? And more importantly, how are you going to make it the greatest story ever?