Chelsea W – On Becoming Unbreakable

Posted: October 5, 2012 by Admin in Testimonials

Many times in health and fitness programs, the emphasis is placed on physical transformation. In CrossFit, a psychological transformation can also occur as athletes push their mental and emotional threshhold to its limit. Chelsea took a big step toward becoming Unbreakable by participating in this year’s Pensacola Beach Brawl.

On Becoming Unbreakable, by Infragilis Athlete Chelsea W.

I am no stranger to overcoming adversity. More times that I can count in my 27 years, I have been backed into a corner and forced to fight my way out of it; forced to stand up for something I believe in and defend it.  I usually look back on these experiences with respect and reminisce about the lessons I have learned, how much I have grown as a person because of them, and  how much stronger of a woman I am because of the situations I have been faced with in which I fought and didn’t  back down.

In the past, I have fought these battles privately, without an audience, or with the small audience of my mother.  I am a very private person; I don’t divulge anything about my personal struggles and internal battles.  We all face adversity at some point in life, right? No need to share; no need to put my weaknesses on display for others to witness, right? Wrong. Dead wrong, in fact. I learned just how wrong I was this past weekend at my first ever CrossFit competition in Pensacola, Florida, the Pensacola Beach Brawl.  It changed my life.  I unintentionally and unknowingly displayed my weaknesses in a parking lot by the beach, to the backdrop of a Penske truck and a sea of red Team Infragilis t-shirts. I fought my weaknesses in front of a crowd and didn’t break.  I defied the voice in my own head that said “you can’t,” “give it up” and I overcame the obstacles in my path.

Before the tears welled up in my eyes halfway through my third team workout, I didn’t know how the most difficult WOD of my life would end.  I didn’t know if I should be ashamed that I was displaying my very soul, standing in front of a Penske truck with a 10 pound med ball in my hand and rain slapping me in my face; or if I would ever be able to live down the tears that were most likely streaming from my eyes.  But first, let me start at the beginning with how I ended up in this situation.

After a 5:30 a.m. workout a few weeks ago, Jim Moore, my trainer, suggested that I sign up to compete in the upcoming Pensacola Beach Brawl; as usual I rolled my eyes and said “yeah… right.”  Jim evokes this response from me on a daily basis, as he continuously pushes me past my comfort zone; he calls such eye-rolls “terms of endearment.”  Hoping there would never be mention of me competing in anything CrossFit related EVER again, I pushed this scary thought out of my head, until Jim called me out on Facebook a week and a half before the competition.  This was more like the Jim I have become accustomed to training for.  I wanted to crawl under my desk at work when I saw this “call out” and cry like a four year old version of myself.  Fast forward to Saturday, September 29, 2012 and I found myself riding, along with my two teammates, to Pensacola, Florida for the “brawl” to compete along with seven other teams of three from CrossFit Infragilis.

And so there I was, half way through my third of four team workouts, in the rain no less, staring down 30 wall balls and 35 dead lifts that were presenting themselves as pretty serious obstacles in the way of me finishing. I was physically exhausted and mentally drained, I didn’t think I could finish. The voice inside my head said “you can’t” “give it up,” “you will never be good enough,” “you will never be strong enough” and that’s when I felt the tears coming.  It had to be obvious that I was struggling to pound out 30 wall balls on the side of that Penske truck, and so when the first tear rolled down my cheek, the cheering started.  You see, my fellow CIA athletes had descended on the make-shift arena where this workout was taking place in droves, and they were cheering for me, all of them. They were screaming as hard for me as I fighting to finish those wall balls; which I did.  Then I moved to the dead lifts, which I finished, slowly, rep by rep.  In those moments, crouched over that barbell, I defied the voice inside my head that said “you can’t” “give it up.”  I defied every person who has ever told me I couldn’t do something or I wasn’t good enough, I even defied the tears coming from my eyes.  And every time I lowered the barbell down to the ground, I faced a demon and struck it down.

What is so great and different about this experience is that I didn’t face this battle alone. I wasn’t even close to alone. I was on the opposite end of the spectrum from alone.  I placed my heart on my sleeve and displayed my weaknesses on the sandy beaches of Pensacola, Florida, and I overcame them, up against a Penske truck, over a barbell, and to a blur of red t-shirts cheering me on.  I wouldn’t have finished the workout or the competition had it not been for the CrossFit family I had in my corner.  I would have thrown the med ball on the ground and walked away. They gave me the courage to tackle the obstacles that presented themselves in my life that day, and for their cheers and faith in me, I will be forever grateful.

I am unbelievable proud of what not only my team, but every Infragilis team accomplished on the sandy beaches of Pensacola. I wish everyone could have an experience like mine.  I wish that everyone could experience being surrounded by a sea of red; trainers, fellow athletes, and friends, screaming for me to defy the voice in my head and the barbell at my feet.  Cheering, chanting, and encouraging me.  I wish everyone could have a trainer like Jim Moore, who pushes me to be a better version of myself and never stops believing in me, even when I have stopped believing in myself.  I wish everyone who has ever thought they couldn’t do something, wall ball or not, to have Katie Graversen in their corner like she was for me, screaming her heart out for me, telling me not to give up, that I am stronger than that obstacle.  And lastly, I wish for everyone to experience a community like my CrossFit Infragilis community.  A community of athletes, so diverse, but knit together by a common, unbreakable bond.  That delights in me being a

Team Fortis with Jim

better person, a better athlete. That rallied around me when I was entrenched in battle with myself and cheered their hearts out for me until I won.  If you haven’t ever had a community of people stand up for you at your weakest moment, in the battle of your life, and cheer you through it you may not know how this feels; but I wish for everyone who has ever felt like they couldn’t do something, a CrossFit family as amazing as mine.

I have learned so much about faith, hope, community, persevering, and defying odds from this experience and I am intent on applying these lessons to all areas and facets of my life.  I hope to face that WOD again in our gym, except next time I will be ready; and I will face it and annihilate it.  I also have every intention of going back to Pensacola next year for the beach brawl, except next year I will be stronger and wiser.  I will train harder and with a new determination.  I will lay everything I have  on the gym floor every time I workout, and leave nothing left to give; I will do two a days, I will lift so many barbells that my hands bleed, I will run until I can’t breathe, and then I will run some more.  I am going to strive to bring to fruition in my own life the words of one of my favorite athletes, San Francisco 49er, Patrick Willis, “you might be bigger than me, you might be faster than me, but you won’t outwork me.”

So here is to taking on every obstacle life throws your way, barbell or not, CrossFit related or not, head first, and NEVER BACKING DOWN. Here is to uncovering your weaknesses, embracing them, and overcoming them.  Here is to waking up every day determined to be a better person than you were yesterday.  Here is to beating the clock on the wall or your last one rep max, and defying the odds.  Here is to pushing the limit, facing your fears and obliterating them, and never, ever breaking; because we are unbreakable.  And maybe, just maybe, if you are as fortunate as I am, you will have a team of CrossFit Infragilis athletes in your corner, cheering for you to succeed.

At CrossFit Infragilis, you are NEVER alone

  1. Steve Massey says:

    Terrific article Chelsea, very well written and thoughtful! It takes as much guts to bare your soul like you did in this piece as to finish that WOD. You are an inspiration!

  2. Dawn Aultman says:

    I am so unbelievably proud of you, of all of you 🙂 thank you for sharing your story, such an inspiration!

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