When you let go of who you are, you find who you can be…

When I walked into Crossfit Scottsdale (CFS) in October of 2011 I simply needed a new “gym” to meet my needs of a challenging workout, little did I know how much more I would gain.  I had worked in fitness for several years, trained many of my previous police partners and SWAT officers, and met my own fitness goals including marathons, triathlons, figure competitions, obstacle courses, sparring, etc, so all I thought I needed was a new place to work out.  I left the police department the month prior after five years to pursue medical school and when I left the department I also left a lot of my motivation, workout partners, and a “gym” I called home.

My initial appointment was with Coach Erin who first showed me around and explained what took place during classes.  I remember her showing me the wall of member pictures and explaining that CFS was more than a place to work out, it was a community, a family.  As she explained, I nodded and smiled as I thought to myself “I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to work out.”  Then came the baseline workout.  When Erin showed me what it was I thought, “well that’s easy”, but after the workout kicked my butt, I was tired, angry, confused, motivated and sold!


As I began taking classes, I quickly learned what Erin meant by “community”.  Every class I attended, people weren’t just friendly, they were actually happy to have me there. They wanted to know me, they wanted me to succeed at every WOD, and they were excited about any and every accomplishment.  This was strange for me, and it happened everyday!  Every class I attended kicked my butt in a new way…I had become addicted!  It wasn’t until January 14th, Martin Luther King Day, when I finally learned what it felt like to be “one of the family”. That day was the infamous “Murph” WOD.  I had seen what the workout was and thought to myself “This is going to be hard as hell, and how will everyone possibly finish?”    Even though I was struggling with the 2 miles of running, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups and 300 air squats, I still found myself working with and cheering on others at the same time.  Not just cheering on others but seeing their struggle, feeling mine, and desperately wanting them to finish and achieve.  When everyone finished, I found myself more excited about everyone else’s accomplishments than my own. It was then that I realized I had joined a family, not a gym.

Over the months at CFS I had watched segments of the Sealfit classes every Friday and was intrigued, but intimidated.  Sealfit appeared to be the extreme of all physical and mental feats and “only the strong could survive”.  I had been missing the mental strength training component of police life and observed it in Sealfit.  As I had already set up my appointment with Luke Kayyem to go over my goals and aspirations, I decided I would inquire about Sealfit.  The smile on Luke’s face when I asked if he thought I could do Sealfit was one I will never forget.  His smile said “so she finally wants me to really kick her ass!”  Luke never did answer my question if he thought I could do it, he simply kept on smiling and said “just don’t be late.”  That was it.  I was motivated, excited, and SCARED!

No one knew at that time I had signed on with the US Navy and that I was scheduled to be shipped to boot camp and training in a few months.  The Navy would help me with medical school, medical experience and most of all the structure I had been missing.  When I began Sealfit I knew it would be physically difficult and would help me brush up on my mental strength needed to prepare for the Navy.  It did more than that.  Every week after Sealfit, my friends would see all the bruises, cuts and scrapes and ask “Are you crazy?” “Yes”, I would answer and continue to rant and rave about all the difficult tasks the Sealfit team overcame that week.  Running for miles with weighted weapons above our heads, hundreds of burpees, push-ups and flutter kicks, running with water soaked BDU pants and boots, and what felt like a fire hose spraying us in the face while still expecting us to call out cadence, we had become a team.  Every week, in spite of all the bruises, cuts, scrapes, sore muscles and fatigue, I still smiled.  I was one of them, one of the team.

When I came to Crossfit Scottsdale, I believed I only needed a new place to work out.  I am leaving for the Navy within the month and I am leaving not only with a new unexpected family and support, but I am mentally and physically stronger than I could have ever imagined.  I feel as though I can take on any challenge the Navy throws at me. I appreciate so much the support and friendships I have gained through CFS.  Most of all, thank you Luke and Najla for everything you have done for me and making it possible for me to stay. You are amazing!

~Michelle Crumb