Sunday, September 29, 2013

Goodbyes are Not the End II

Two years ago, I wrote a blog saying goodbye to a friend and owner of CrossFit Queens, Paul Coviello.  In it, I reflected on the moment I realized CFQ was our family.  This morning I woke up crying, I dreamt of this exact moment, but even in my dream, I knew it was no longer a reality.  Nick and I will no longer be a part of the CrossFit Queens community.  Out of respect for Nick and the people I still respect there, I will let them share the details if they so choose.

However, I will tell you that this does not break my heart as it did in my dream.  CrossFit Queens is a box. It has doors, a roof, and a floor.  It, like all CrossFit gyms, started as a black box.  Glassman, many years ago, would explain that CrossFit can be done anywhere.  The Black Box Theory, was that one can take any space, fill it with the proper tools, and build a successful CrossFit Gym.  I would like to extend this theory to my favorite aspect of the sport of fitness, Community (yes, I capitalized community because it deserves it). Nick and I, and many people like us, have held fast to our beliefs.  We use social media to broaden our knowledge and interests within the theme of CrossFit.  We visit different boxes, talk to coaches, and members.  We cheer on our friends during WODs, but we cheer on those we do not know even louder.

Our walls are gone, there is no floor under our feet or roof over our head, but we still have Community.  But you see, if you have a box without walls, you can fill that box with limitless resources.  We can squat, sit up, burpee, and jump rope anywhere.  We will visit our friends around NYC and pick things up and put them down.  Nick and I have plenty of places to get sweaty.

Last weekend, I had a moment, similar to the day of my friend Tomy's birthday.  I looked around while at the Pump Games and realized how much our family had grown in the last three years.  Our friends wore shirts from Virtuosity, Dynamix, Poughkeepsie CrossFit (Nick's brother's box), Brick NY, Black Box, and Reebok CrossFit 5th Ave. We spent time talking to owners and employees at Kettle Bell Kitchen, Tea-Rex Paleo Cookies, NYC Affilitate League, Afro Brutality, and Lurong Living.  I massaged sore shoulders and forearms.  I tended to wounds after ripping on pull ups. Some of the people were not my friends six months ago, some not the week before.  However, we came together to cheer on the competitors, talk strategy, and peel those that couldn't do it themselves off the ground after a WOD.

This weekend solidified that feeling, but closer to home.  Nick and I had the pleasure of supporting Lift4Lymph, a WOD to benefit the Lymphatic Research Foundation.  This event is the brain child of one of my closest friend's Mamie Frank.  She brought a few close friends together that had the know-how to put on a successful fundraising event, year after year.  In addition, Lift4Lymph did something else yesterday.  It knocked the walls down at CrossFit Queens.  We had over seven boxes represented at L4L, rival gyms, former CFQ members, our friends from the far West (a little town called Manhattan).  They all came to support this cause, a cause that is very close to my heart, because my friend Mamie suffers from this chronic disease and I don't want her to suffer ever.  There were some people missing, the people that couldn't break down their own walls.  They could not look past their personal issues to see the beauty, but that was their loss.  They may be a part of CrossFit Queens, but they are not a part of my Community.

After being informed that Nick was fired immediately following this very successful event, our Community shared new opportunities, they gave really great hugs, and words of support.  Nick and I left the after party feeling confident that our box without walls, a floor, or a roof, did indeed have a safety net.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Goodbyes are not the End

It was recently announced that founder and co-owner of CrossFit Queens, Paul Coviello, is pursuing other ventures in Florida.  His departure is a loss since our box is such a tight knit community of members and trainers.  CFQ seems to also be at a new height of success- holding competitions, events, new classes, adding equipment, and introducing new programming.  Paul's absence will be obvious in the gym and he will be sorely missed.  Upon the announcement of Paul's departure, I was prompted to share a few kind words about my coach.  I wanted to share these here as well...

Like my friends, I cannot say you taught me how to burpee or back squat, but I can say you have added so much to both of our lives. Recently, at Tomy’s birthday party, I had to take a moment to reflect on this past year. Just over a year ago we walked through your door, not knowing a soul. We landed in Astoria, despite having friends and familiar boxes in most of the other boroughs, because we immediately felt as if we were home. A year later, we are surrounded by friends where ever we go. We are inundated with events, invitations, and get togethers with our CFQ friends. You can get strong, flexible, and healthy on your own. But CrossFit builds families, friendships, self esteem, and memories. Community is what I consider the prime benefit of CrossFit. Paul, you formed this community. And you did it juggling two jobs and a family. We wish you the best of luck in your new adventure. And where ever this path takes you make sure you are always part of our community."
You may know an athlete in Cali's fran time, dog's name, and new favorite Life as Rx tee, but you have never "met".  Our world is much smaller than it feels sometimes.  CrossFit brings thousands of people together to celebrate fitness.  We cheer each other on in the box and in life.  We also pick each other off the floor when weight and life get too heavy.  No matter how far away, stay wodding and stay connected.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ignorance is decrepitness

This blog is in response to comments made on an article "The Most Dangerous Man in American Healthcare".   Here is a blog written by a doctor telling people that we have found the cure to all your diseases.  We have found the fountain of youth.  Immediately after reading, comments are made focusing on the few and rare injuries in CrossFit.  Now, in my experience I have made excuses for these negative reactions. Sometimes it's jealousy, sometimes fear, but mostly ignorance.  CrossFit is extremely difficult to explain.  How does one put into words the comradeship, the internal drive to improve one's physical ability, the pride in our battle scars.  CrossFit is a unique experience that doesn't latch on immediately.  It took me a year to "get it".  Before that pinnacle moment in 2009 sitting on the bleachers in Aromas I did my workouts, recorded my times, weights, and reps in my journal, I bought my t-shirts; but when I got it, I got it.  Explaining CrossFit is like explaining love to a frying pan.  One has to experience it and not just once, but over a long period of time.

Here is my response to the comments made on the aforementioned article regarding CrossFit injuries:

"Just like main stream society, there are idiots in CF too.  Injuries happen with every sport and CF is no different.  A CF athlete may push his or her body beyond its capacity for the sake of the win (wikipedia NFL athletes, college baseball players, etc.).  These types of human beings are the elite, the few, in all of our society. Then there are people who are simply dumb about fitness.  They don't listen to their trainer.  They ignore the warnings and show up to their CF gym 7 days a week, then run a marathon, or play 3 games of soccer on a 100 degree day.  The average, below average, or intelligent CFer will NOT get rhabdo.  They may get hurt every once in a while, but I'd rather break my skin on a 24""" jump than fall while getting out of the shower because I have no balance or strength to hold my body up.  This is a sport that EVERYONE can do.  It makes you breathe, sweat, and sometimes bleed.  BUT it also saves lives.  CrossFit gives people a reason to live and reminds us that getting old doesn't have to equal a life in a nursing home.   Is Glassman the most dangerous man in American Healthcare?  I don't know.  What I do know is his fitness model has gotten me off every Rx drug I was on.  No more asthma, no more eczema, no more chronic upper respiratory infections, no more seasonal allergies.  It works for me and it just might work for you if you give it a chance."

Now, go out there and sign up for a class, buy a ticket to your regional CrossFit competition, fly out to CA and watch my 54 year old father-in-law sweat in the sun as he competes in the CrossFit Games Master's Division.  Or don't.  But don't tell me it doesn't work until you've tried it and REALLY tried it. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Highs and Lows

Katie of CrossFit Invictus
With less than 50 days until our wedding day I am looking forward to seeing our friends and family come together to celebrate our love.  However, I don't think I am alone in this, but this crunch time has got to be the most stressful time in my life.  I'm wrapping up the semester (my worst scholastic performance yet) while trying to think up all the little things I haven't considered doing yet for the big day.  On top of this, Nick and I are both putting in more hours at work and our bank accounts are PRing in debit transactions.

Our wedding day has been planned to exude a comfortable, laid back atmosphere and so far I have felt the same way about the planning process.  From invites to attire to wedding cake I have left many of the decisions to the professionals and greatly appreciate being relieved of having to choose fabrics, colors, and salt and pepper shakers.

With all this stress I know the one thing I should be doing is throwing weight around.  It clears my mind and gives me the confidence to tackle any obstacle thrown at me (including flowers).  But like most of us, the gym falls short on the list of priorities.  I made the very difficult decision to forgo the box during the month of May.  Saying I am not wodding, lifting, sweating for a month is simply put depressing.  This is especially true now, when my physical appearance will be documented by photographers in just a few short weeks.

What's a girl with limited funds and time to do with her deteriorating muscles?  Well, I've graciously accepted the offer to use my friends gym in her building.  It has one bar, 300# of bumper plates, no locks, and no dropping.  But I have been able to put together some short body weight/light weight wods for myself.  If nothing else the act has improved my self-esteem while I'm at this low in my CF "career".  Happy wodding in and out of the box!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Love Pollen

67 days til the big day...
Spring. The weather is warmer, the trees are budding, the birds are chirping... This is the time of year when life returns to the Northeast.

My favorite thing to do on a beautiful spring day is run.  Running reminds me of what I did not have before.  My lungs fill with oxygen, laced with the sweet aroma of grass and flowers.  My skin forms beads of sweat that do not burn or itch.  And finally, my greatest pleasure in running is not having to puff an inhaler to keep going.  My muscles dictate my speed and longevity, not the pollen.  

Not that long ago, spring was my most dreaded season.  This was the time of year my allergies were at their worst.  When I was a kid my sister and brother would tease me by counting my sneezes.  I could get 20+ "ahhh choo's" in just a few minutes. Allergies meant stuffy nose, swollen eyes, wheezing gasps for air, and itchy ezcema.  I avoided flowers, grass, and budding trees like they bred the plague.   This was my life for as long as I can remember.  No kickball with friends in the field, or picking wild flowers for this kid.  Everyone hoped I would grow out of my allergies as I grew up, but no, they actually got worse.

It wasn't until I met my fiance's family that I even considered a holistic means of relief.  Even before CrossFit and Paleo, I was never keen on choking down benedryl and rubbing steroids on my rashes.  I did the best I could to get through each day with a box of tissues and cortisone cream. 

Nick's dad, Steve Lobotsky, suggested a paleo diet to help remedy my seasonal and food allergies (I'll save food for another time).  To my astonishment, meats, veggies, nuts, and fruit were my cure!  For two years I have welcomed spring.  Because I lived so long locked inside, hiding from spring, I appreciate each sunny day more than anyone could imagine.

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


It's been way too long since the last time I filled y'all in on "CrossFit Bride".  Thank you for your patience, it is greatly appreciated.  As Nick and I count down to the big day the stress level has skyrocketed for me.  I am now just realizing why my friend, Heather, took off a semester from school to plan her wedding.  I know, I know a wedding is only one day and my education lasts a lifetime, but it is so hard to not think about shoes, flowers, and my bridal bod on a daily basis.  With the big day getting closer these things have become more important than Differential Equations and Intermediate Symbolic Logic.  I'm sorry!  I just can't help it!

Lot's of things are happening at this month.  Probably the biggest life change for Nick and me is selling our car.  I hardly ever drive it, and when I do, I get a ticket or get hit.  So iadios! Civic and HELLLOOO public transportation.  Down in NYC a car is an unnecessary luxury, but our home away from home commands driving from point A to point B.  What does that translate to?  It's a true test of our relationships with others.  Who cares enough to see us to meet us at the train or come to the city to visit?  But really selling the car is a symbol of our marriage to New York (at least until we start our careers).  We'll climb or descend the stairs to the N and 6 "in sickness and in health" (the sickness part sucks, I had a sprained ankle and had to hobble the steps sans crutches for 2 weeks).  

What else is happening?  The CrossFit Games of course!!!  Nick is currently at the 70th position halfway through the Northeast sectionals, Papa "Master" Lobo is 21st in the world, and Greg (my brother from another mother) is in 76th.  What does this mean for me?  Well, all three athletes are still in the race.  But none of them are comfortable.   Which means I'm not comfortable. 

82 days til the big day!
The 2009 Games were a huge inspiration to me.  I consider that my "bug" moment.  There are CFers that have the bug and those that do not.  Unfortunately, I have not been as dedicated to the sport of CF these last few weeks, but I look forward to my upcoming spring break and the end of the semester this May as my time to shine in the gym.  Even only attending classes 2 or 3 times a week my pull ups, double unders, and gymnastics work have all improved.  I know May and June will refine my skills and turn me into a lean and strong CrossFit Bride. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm not in

2009 Regionals, Nick Lobotsky and Dave Lipson
It's officially the start to the CrossFit Games 2011 season.  All I'll hear about are WODs, scores, times, and big name atheletes for the next 4 months.  Oh, and the big question I'm hearing is: "Are you in?" The answer: no, I am not in.  When I commit to a goal, like competition, that goal is my priority.  Maybe in a year or two, when I have double unders, hand stands, hand stand push ups, dead hang pull ups, and the list goes on... I may consider competing.  But right now, I need to focus on simply getting strong and being healthy.

As the CrossFit Games grows in scale each year, I see CrossFit members divided into two categories: health and fitness, and competition.  I think all us "in it to get fit and healthy" people look up to CF athletes.  They are the motivation to be better.  The crux of CF workouts is to push yourself to the extreme.  Beat yesterday's me.  Beat the girl next to me.  Get it done faster.

For now, I'll cheer on the side lines, one of my favorite past times.  I'll watch my fellow CFers sweat, bleed, and survive the CrossFit Games and be proud that I can be a part of such an amazing sport.  This is motivation and success.  This is CrossFit.