In the summer of 2008 I went out to work at a summer camp in Maine. I had just graduated from Teachers College after going through Kinesiology and I would be working with the Fitness Staff.
This was no ordinary summer camp. It was the richest of the rich. We were treated in everything we did, and I was with the oldest cohort. Kids that had been attending for a number of years, and were being sent out in style.
Lots of cool people, lots of great experiences. And one that still stands out to me as a pretty awful feeling.
It’s kind of ironic that during the lowest point of fitness in my life, I was working on the fitness staff. I was still able to help the kids and teach them all sorts of things, but I’ve always thought it up upmost importance to “walk the walk”.
I mean, I guess I was in a way. I was working out every day in the weight room, I was going for long runs. I was swimming and learning new things on campus like windsurfing, and playing some tennis here and there. All in all it was a very active summer.
Near the end of the summer there was a huge day we put on that was essentially like the camp Olympics. It ran for a couple days and the kids had all sorts of events and tasks to complete and compete in. The kids were split into NCAA universities. Our team was West Virginia, Texas was there…and I can’t quite remember the other two.
There was also an event right near the end of all the fun- the staff 4x400m relay.
You kidding me!? Throw me one right down the middle…
A little background, I spent over a decade as a 400m runner. Three years prior, however, I got a stress fracture in my foot which ended my season. It was early in the season, but things were looking very promising. I was faster at that point in the season than ever before.
That season ended, and 5th year came around (teachers college). Fractured foot again, and that was that. Athletics were gone. Fitness started to dip. It was depressing. And I started to eat quite poorly, which just exacerbated the problem.
Enter the 4x400m race.
I still thought for some reason I was going to be able to crush people. Set myself up pretty hard for a big slice of humble pie.
I got the baton and took off hard. I actually felt pretty good for a bit- probably the adrenaline. Then the bear jumped on my back. That feeling that should happen around 350m came roughly around 200m. Things were about to get ugly. Rather than coming around the final bend swiftly and powering into the home stretch, I would use the term “rumbling around the corner”. Everything felt heavy. It felt like I was running into a stiff wind, yet there was none.
Pics came up from the event. Shit… That’s what I looked like.It took some time to get out of this feeling.
This would have been in August of 2008.
I came back home and kept hitting the weights and going for long runs, and eating not so great. Nothing was really changing.
It wasn’t until the next spring that I found CrossFit, and starting hitting some of the workouts from crossfit.com. Even from there, it wasn’t until the next fall that I truly committed myself to it.
Everyone hits their low point at one time or another, and it looks different for everyone. The view from the bottom isn’t fun. It can be confusing to figure out where that first step is to start the climb back up.
I was able to do so, and now that’s what I dedicate my life’s work to.