“We have an incredible group of 40 and 50 year old women at the gym. I started doing CrossFit shortly before my 48th birthday and didn’t expect to find peers of my age.”
How long have you been a member at CrossFit Morgantown?
I believe I joined CFM in summer of 2016. So 3.5 years!
Why did you join?
I used to be a runner and triathlete. In summer of 2012 I had hip surgery to repair a frayed labrum. The surgeon told me that I was never to run again. The recovery from the surgery was long and difficult and I gained weight and lost fitness. When my good friend and neighbor, Jen Ross, invited me to a Saturday community workout with her, I jumped at the opportunity. I was hooked from that day on. I believe that workout was Mountain Mama, which was a fundraiser for the floods in southern WV. It had been a long time since I had been so sore from a workout! It was a good lesson in why we should scale movements to match our current level of fitness!
What do you love most about CFM? / What keeps you coming back each month?
Without a doubt, the community keeps me coming. I also love that each class has its own personality. I challenge everyone to attend a different time slot to their regular time slot, on occasion! Once upon a time, I didn’t know anyone at any class other than 5:30 a.m. Now I can attend any class and feel at home.
“The recovery from my first surgery was around 9 months, so I expected to be sidelined for another 9 months. However, I was able to get back to un-restricted CrossFit around 12 weeks after my second surgery. I was so much stronger than the first time around…“
4) What is your current occupation? And/or what are some hobbies, clubs, groups, or activities you participate in?
I am a teaching Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, which is within the School of Medicine at WVU. I teach pharmacology. It is not uncommon for me to share gym space with my students! I enjoy all things “sport”, either as a participant or spectator. I love to read in my spare time. I have two sons who keep me busy. I take piano lessons (I’m not very good). I love animals. I have 3 cats, a dog, a blue tongued skink, two fish, and an aquatic frog living at my house.
5) Who inspires you?
Over the years, I have been inspired by many people, but there is one group that has stood out to me since I first started working out at CrossFit Morgantown and that is the amazing group of masters women we have at CFM. We have an incredible group of 40 and 50 year old women at the gym. I started doing CrossFit shortly before my 48th birthday and didn’t expect to find peers of my age. Many of us still have kids living at home. Many of us work full-time. I get a sense that many gyms don’t have a large number of masters-aged athletes and I think this is something special about CFM. The women in this group are incredibly strong and they inspire me every single day. I know I am a better athlete because of these women who are such amazing role models.
6) How has improved fitness impacted your life?
About a year and a half into CrossFit, my hip started to play up again. I knew I would require another surgery and it was devastating to take the time off to have the surgery. At the time, I was the fittest and strongest I had been in years. Having experienced it once before, I knew how long the recovery was and how painful it could be. The recovery from my first surgery was around 9 months, so I expected to be sidelined for another 9 months. However, I was able to get back to un-restricted CrossFit around 12 weeks after my second surgery. I was so much stronger than the first time around and I didn’t stop exercising except for 1 week immediate post-surgery. I am a member of an online group for people who have the same injury and it astounded me just how much better off I was than most of them. I handled my crutches so much better because my upper body was strong. I could do an amazing amount on my one good leg, because I had done so many single-leg exercises. I truly believe that my mindset was also a lot better. I went in to the second surgery planning my road to recovery and instead of dwelling on the pain, I focused on what I could do and I did it. I had my second surgery on May 14, 2018. I was non-weight bearing for 6 entire weeks. No driving because it was my right hip. I participated in Murph on Memorial Day that year, barely two weeks post-op! Did my workout look anything like everyone else’s – no. But I did what I could and reaped the benefits of strong community support.
7) What’s one thing – either fitness related or not – you learned in the last month?
I am a constant learner. My job requires it. If I was to summarize my job, I would say it is like studying for an exam every single day! I love it! I learn new facts, I learn about people, I learn how to be a better teacher and a better person. As far as the gym goes, we are currently doing a 2 week assessment of the many aspects of fitness. I have learned that I am not as “unbalanced” as I thought I was. I had expected to be very strong in some areas and very weak in others. It turns out that I am pretty consistent across the board and that my weaknesses are not as weak as I had thought them to be. I am also reminded of just how supportive our CrossFit Morgantown community is. In all walks of life, I think if we could all learn to understand that another person’s success does not equate to your own personal failure, we would all be a lot happier.
8) What would you say to someone you love to encourage them to try out CFM?
I recently read a description of the CrossFit experience written by someone who has always been physically active. They said that they went to their first CrossFit class because they needed to do some sort of regular exercise. They thought they were really just joining a globo gym. Instead, what they found was an entire community of support, a new family. Those words resonated with me because this was exactly my experience as well. This is how I try to promote CrossFit Morgantown. I love going to class and seeing babies in Pack ‘n’ Plays, kids in the kiddie section. Tired moms running between reps to check on their kids. Someone stopping their own work out to help another person adjust their weights on their barbell or to help a newbie who is unsure what they are doing. The fist bumps at the end of a tough workout, the cheering for someone who just mastered a skill or who got a new personal best on a lift. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing a small child run with their parent during a workout, or mimicking their parent using toy weights or PVC pipes. I have been physically active my entire life and have never before experienced this level of community.