Amy MacDougall
I am not a “gym person”.  I don’t like joining groups, I don’t really care for group exercise as a participant, I like to do my own thing and compete only with myself.  I had worked with a trainer at a gym once before to try and increase my strength and fitness, but didn’t see the results I wanted.  I exercised a lot on my own–running, cycling, yoga.  I was pretty fit and felt good about how I looked and how I felt.In June of 2011 someone found me in the middle of North St. in the middle of the afternoon.  I must have flipped off my bike and landed on my shoulder and head.  My helmet saved my life, but I have no memories of that day until 10pmthat evening when I became aware I was in the ER.  With 3 broken ribs, a ripped shoulder tendon and a concussion, I was out of commission for about 6 months, and had PT for nearly a year on my shoulder.  I tried riding again the following summer, but was a DNF in the Pan-Mass Challenge bike ride and believed I was done as a runner, cyclist and generally fit person.In August of 2012 I saw that CrossFit Prototype was opening.  I went in with some friends because I didn’t know much about what CrossFitt was, but someone told me it was varied exercise and that sounded interesting to me.  I tried one class, liked it, and then did Elements in September. After that I joined and committed to going twice a week through the winter.It was really hard at first, muscles hurt that I hadn’t used in quite a while, the movements were awkward, and I was so afraid that I would re-injure my shoulder.  Mike would show us how to do something and I’d think “I’ll never be able to do that”.  Or I’d get the bar and not be able to put any weight on it because the bar itself felt so heavy.  But I kept going, because it felt good to move and challenge myself, even though I didn’t think it would really make a difference.
Eight months later I ran a 10K with my best time ever.  Last summer I breezed through the Pan-Mass Challenge bike ride and rode 192 miles without being sore or tired.  I’ve run 2 half-marathons and posted my best time in the latest one.  And all that without changing anything except adding CFP to my week.  I never expected that my fitness level could change so much, that my arms would be tighter, that I really could lift heavier weights, that my legs could become stronger, that my body could change its shape at the ripe old age of 51.  But most important to me is that I regained confidence.  Confidence in my body that I could be strong again and not worried that I would fall and hurt myself.  Confidence on my bike and in my running and in my yoga practice.  Confidence in myself and what I am capable of.
What I didn’t expect at all and have come to love the most–the community of people I’ve met at CFP.  As a Hopkinton transplant to Westborough when my last child was in 6th grade, I didn’t really meet a lot of moms.  The women I’ve met at CFP have become friends, real friends, as well as people to laugh with, ache with, and inspire.  It is one thing to go to a gym to get a workout over with, it is much better to go because you look forward to seeing your friends there and you know they’ll push you and cheer you on if you get tired or unsure.
I only compete with myself at CFP, and that’s how I like it.  Others can lift much more than me, or are faster at doing the workout of the day, or can jump rope twice as fast as me.  I know that when I started, I could do an assisted pull-up using the biggest, most supportive band possible, and a few weeks ago I did one pull-up unassisted.  It was just one, but it was MY one.  I am amazed and proud that I could do even that, and my goal this year is to try for more.  I don’t want to compete in “The CrossFit Games” or do the hardest possible workout on any given day–at the age of 52, I want to be able to move well when I’m in my 80s, and I believe that CrossFit and yoga together will make that happen.
So, what do I love most about CrossFit?  That it taught me you can always re-write the story you tell yourself about yourself.  I am not a gym person.  I don’t like joining groups, I don’t like group exercise, my shoulder is weak, I can’t trust my own body, I’ll never be strong or comfortable doing hard things again.  Every one of those statements has changed because of CFP.  I love this “gym”, I love my “group” and workout out with them, my shoulder is strong, and so am I.  In my head, where it counts the most.  That’s what CFP has done for me.