Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Out of the Depths

Sometimes I wonder what it is I have to blog about anymore. When I started this blog; it was to document the adventures of being married. I originally think the title of it was something super cool like, "Milspouse Adventures" ... then it became a blog of my new found obsession for running and "fitness" (I loved the Nike+ app on iPhone!) And then about eating and making clean food. Mmm, food! And then as I got busier, life became crazier, I had less time in the kitchen to cook. Less recipes were posted. Less foodie photos. I was balancing school, CrossFit, still running and biking too many miles a week, being a military spouse (we PCS'ed (moved) several times over the course of 3 years) and working.

But then ... I went through my divorce. And I moved to Kuwait. 

When life is good, I always want to talk about it. When life gets hard, that's when you'll see my blog posts wane. I don't like to focus on the negative. I don't like to write that down, it makes it permanent. I don't want to look back at a period in my life where I was going through a hard time. Does that make me naive? To think that if I don't document it, maybe it didn't happen? I can forget about it. 

Last night I was looking through one of my WOD journals, from September 2011. I wrote in it "Swung my first kettle bell over my head today!"

Just let that soak in for a minute. I went to Regionals this year. 3 years ago, I couldn't swing a kettle bell over my head.

Last September (when I moved to Kuwait) is when I started following CrossFit competitively; quit the running, quit the biking, just focused solely on CrossFit and following a competitive program. 

Last night I did 30 burpee muscle ups for time. It had a 15 minute cap on it. I was nervous about this workout all day. Butterflies. Sweaty palms. I didn't have muscle ups during the Open this year, and I barely had them at Regionals (I did singles all the way through Nasty Girls V2). Muscle ups were the bane of my existence. They were painful (thanks to Snapping Triceps Syndrome). My training partners over there, bless their hearts, knew not to talk to me after getting off the rings, because when I'm in pain like that, I'm mean. BioFreeze and elbow sleeves were the only thing that kept me going. 

But I pushed through the pain. Because that's what I do. That's all I know. 

Suffering is what I've been doing since I can remember. Seeing things kids shouldn't have to see. At 9, watching my mom die. Being separated from my dad, then my sister, and eventually my brother. Moving like a nomad. Eventually, out on my own at 16. Working and going to school. Bad relationships after bad relationships. Drinking like a fish, smoking like a chimney. The understanding didn't come until recently that my shit hand of cards were not dealt to me because I was a bad person, but because life has an interesting way of unfolding.

Last night I did that workout. 30 burpee muscle ups for time. Well under the time cap. I didn't fail one muscle up, and I experienced no pain. Just euphoria. I realized I am a damn good poker player. Deal me the shittiest cards, and I'm still going to come at you with a royal flush.

This is why CrossFit works for me. The sad truth about being used to suffering your entire life; is that you come to expect it. You almost end up looking for it. It's a kind of dysfunction. Enter: bad relationships and bad life choices that eventually lead you down to a road of ... guess what? More pain.

CrossFit essentially saved me from making life decisions that would lead me to more suffering; because I'm getting all of the pain and dysfunction I want in the gym. I don't want to make CrossFit sound screwed up, because it's not. It's a completely safe and effective program, scalable for all ages and fitness levels. But CrossFit will make you dig into the deepest, darkest corners ... and if you want that suffering to be worth something, you can't quit. You have to be your own hero, every day. 

CrossFit taught me that through suffering, comes wisdom, comes the light. 

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross said, "the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths."

It's crazy to think that something as menial as a WOD with some silly muscle ups (that most competitive athletes have zero problem with), could have such great impact, but when I finished that last rep, I truly felt like I had found my way out of the depths. If someone had told me 3 years ago when I was swinging that kettle bell over my head that I'd be doing 30 burpee muscle ups for time in the future;  I would have maybe dropped that bell on their face.

Why do I blog? Because life is a journey worth being documented. Because even though I've suffered, it does not define who I am.

I am a coach, an affiliate owner, a rescue dog mom, a divorcee, an athlete ... I'm not perfect and I don't claim to be. But this is my walk. Thanks for following me along. 


  1. You are awesome....I have loved following your journey! Keep being honest - it's refreshing!

  2. Love you Courts! You have always inspired me through all the cards you've been dealt with the amount of strength and determination you have, even when you didn't realize it yourself! I still remember that first day we met, walking on the beach in Pacific City and just talking. It was that day that I truly realized the strength and amazing spirit you have! I miss those walks on the beach or the late night sleepover talks! I love following along on your blog and through your journey just knowing that you're doing well and exceeding! And I love that you've continued to inspire and motivate so many others, the way you always did for me. Without you knowing, I idolized you and always looked up to you. You're demeanor and personality make people want to be around you and be like you. Because no matter the cards or what you may be dealing with, you always had a way of making others feel inspired. Keep being you! Love you - Lobster :)

  3. You are so inspiring Courtney!! Thanks for sharing with us. We appreciate your blog. :)

  4. The times I'm most excited to be a reader of your blog are posts like this, when you claim yourself and your story. Thank you for that :) We love sharing your journey because we can recognize and empathize with pain and turning it inwards, and we also have come to see that real physical strength is one of the best ways to turn that pain back outward again.

    (This post is also a great example of how you can share without necessarily getting into specifics. I felt I could understand you without you having every painful cataloged moment detailed. Only mentioning this for others that would like to share but feel afraid to put it out there; there are ways to do it that leave you vulnerable perhaps but not exposed)

  5. This is a great post and I agree with everything you said. I just read Robin Roberts "Everybody's Got Something" and it really hit home with me. Similar to what you said above, and I found comfort in both. Thank you for sharing and I love following along.

  6. Well said. So inspiring. Thank you. :)

  7. I think this is the best thing you've written. I love when you peel back the pretty exterior and show your real depth. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the workout posts and recipes and puppy pictures too but this, this is a level above.

  8. you are very inspiring, i wish we could train together some day

  9. "She could never go back and make some of the details pretty. All she could do was movie forward and make the whole beautiful." -Terri St. Cloud

    I'm more of a lurker on your blog, but I read this quote right before your post. I think you've done a fabulous job making the bigger picture beautiful.

  10. This was awesome!!!! Thanks for such a powerful post.