I’ve lived in Pittsburgh, PA my entire life and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. I feel like I had a typical average childhood, and playing sports was a big part of my youth. I played baseball and football growing up until I got to high school (my size was a big disadvantage), but the sport I loved the most was tennis. I started playing when I was 8 and played competitively until my mid-20s. I also dabbled in volleyball in high school and college. Once my teaching career started I let sports and fitness take a back seat.
One of the great things about being a teacher is working with all ages of students. During my summers I work for an organization called People to People. With this program, I chaperone high school students around the world. I’ve been blessed to do this for over 20 years and have seen many amazing places.
In 2009, I ate my way across a 3-week trip to Australia with students and a week at an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic. By the time I started back to work at the end of August I had put on 20 pounds and was not in good shape. When I had my bloodwork done a month later, I got a phone call from my doctor while I was in Madison airport to call him right away. My cholesterol had skyrocketed, and he was not happy with other parts of my bloodwork. I went in for my physical and I was put on medication for cholesterol. It gave me the wake-up call I needed; I had always been able to eat what I wanted and never gain weight. There is a history of heart issues and cholesterol in my family, but I thought I was going to be the exception. My laziness and lack of fitness had finally caught up to me.
I started going to Fitness 19 to start exercising. I had no idea what I was doing because when I played tennis, the only thing we did was run. After 3 months of boredom from elliptical machines and treadmills, I started googling fitness videos. I came across Crossfit videos, and I was amazed at what they were doing. I researched for Crossfit gyms in Pittsburgh, and I found R.A.W. Training. I went in for my introductory class, and I was terrified. I had never lifted weights in my life and I saw these athletes doing crazy stuff with weights and kettlebells. I almost walked out, but the owner/trainer caught me and got me going. Within 6 months I had taken off the weight I put on, and 1 year later I was off my cholesterol medication. It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing Crossfit for almost 9 years now – you would think I’d be good at something with it by now! What I love about Crossfit is that there are days that you feel great and days you are humbled. As I get older, it’s not about the PRs or really heavy weights, it’s more about my health and the community that keeps me coming back. Now I’m throwing running back into the mix because of the LHRL community. I’m not sure where this journey will take me, but it won’t take me back to where I was 9 years ago.