I have felt compelled to share my journey with the people of Crossit Spokane. For the sake of this not turning out to be an entire book, I will just give the short and dirty.
Almost 9 years ago we decided to open the doors of Crossfit Spokane in a little 500 square foot facility off the beaten path in the small town of Medical Lake, WA just outside of Spokane. It was tiny and extremely dirty, but with a little elbow grease and some fancy new barbells and pull up bars it made a nice little spot. That was 2006 and I think it’s safe to say that Crossfit hadn’t made any kind of name for itself yet. Mike and I had been training people for years and knew that we loved training this way and that we could change people’s lives through this incredible program. After about a year, we had grown enough to feel that we were ready to take our space to the larger area of Spokane. So with the help of the several very dedicated clients we had at the time, we stepped out in faith, moved all our equipment and opened our doors of the new facility. We really had no idea of the journey we were about to embark on.
Putting into words what this journey looked like will probably never give it justice. It has been a roller coaster of a ride to say the least. When we opened our doors I had one baby still breastfeeding, one in diapers and another just going off to kindergarten. Mike was a full time SERE instructor for the AF and gone for many days out of the month. I cannot even begin to describe what our relationship has gone through during those years. To say we are still together and have the love that we have for one another is nothing short of a miracle.
I would work from open to close on the days Mike was in the field. This would include not only coaching, but cooking meals for the kids that came with me everyday, breastfeeding while standing up and coaching (ultimate multi tasking), changing diapers, calming temper tantrums, making runs to the bank or accountant’s, mopping sweaty gym floors and then to top it off; washing all the sweaty towels that had to come home with me at the end of the day. We did great for about 3 years while all this was going on. We kept up well with our busy pace and loved it. We were propelled from day to day through the passion that we have for what we do. However as much as I loved what we do, I would be so thankful when Mike came home and would relieve me of my coaching duties so I could just go sit for a minute. All the while though, he wasn’t getting any rest either. When we finally were in a position to hire help, I ran as fast out of those doors as I could for my few hours of break every couple days.
It was then, January 2009, that we were blessed to find out I was pregnant with a fourth baby girl. (yes it was a bit of a surprise at the time) I made it through the entire pregnancy on this crazy schedule and loved (almost) every minute of it, but it was after she was born that I couldn’t handle the chaos anymore. I was tired, I was worn down, and my life felt like it had spiraled out of control. All I could do was sit and cry for hours. I was to the point that I wanted nothing more than to close our doors and run far away and never open a business again. I was overwhelmed and had lost all my hope and passion. I have always been one to work hard and be successful at whatever I do and this time I couldn’t keep up. I felt like a failure.
By this time Mike had gotten out of the Air Force and we were relying only on the small income CFS provided us. He was working a lot more hours now and I could take some time off. This was nice, but I had let myself go too far. When you hit rock bottom, which I had, it is hard to pick up the pieces. I had a long road of repairing myself. Our relationship was taking a turn for the worse and I felt like I could hardly keep my head up every day. I decided to step away from training clients and our gym and regain balance in my life. I knew that if I didn’t completely step away, and allow time for healing and balance in our life our relationship would completely fall apart. I also knew that I was leaving a big piece of myself back inside those gym doors where my passion was and my clients (or I would call them friends) came in every day. I knew that was going to hurt, but sometimes to heal we have to put other things on hold so that the MOST important parts of your life don’t fall apart.
It’s funny, because I hid behind a smile. I was good at being happy around people and they never knew the pain I felt. I couldn’t share that, after all we (Mike and I ) are the face of health and happiness within our doors. Truth is, we were so far from that! There were a couple of good friends that knew what I was going through and they stood by my side through it all.
I learned a lot about myself over the next few years that followed that. I joined the guard and found some happiness in helping others there. We got benefits from that to help ease our mind should any of us end up in the hospital or need medical care that we weren’t able to afford, while only having to work a couple days a month and spend the rest of time dedicated to taking care of our family.
Why am I sharing all this???
Well, I feel that through all of the chaos, the hurt, the emotions, we never lost site of our vision and future together. We never gave up, as much as I wanted to at the time. We found out that working out and eating healthy was just a piece of what true health looks like. I realized that we are all human and have our breaking point. Our lives need to have balance and times for stress free moments. We need to reach out for help when we need it and find those who care enough to help put your broken pieces back together again.
I encourage any of you out there that might be struggling with balance and stress in their life, to stop and reflect on what needs to change before it goes too far. They say if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life. I believe this is true, but no matter how much you love what you are doing, you still need to stop and take some time for your self and those that you love. Life is so much better when you can breathe and not lose sight of yourself and your dreams.
I am so thankful for the trainers and staff that have stuck with us and helped us. It’s because of the great trainers, staff and clients we have now (and the those from the past) that have allowed me to heal (although they probably don’t know how much of a part they were in saving our marriage and our family) and allowed Mike to continue doing what he does, which is changing people’s lives. I hope you all know who you are!!!
I miss being inside those doors on a daily basis training our clients and helping them find happiness again. I will never lose that passion, even if all I can do from here is share my story for now. Thank you to all of you that were there from the get go and all of you that are there now that believe in what we do. I love you all!!! It’s because of all of you that I can say I don’t hide behind a fake smile anymore.