While I did not know anyone personally who was affected by these most recent tornadoes or have been involved in the relief efforts this time, I was up close and personal to the event last April. I lost 2 dear friends that day and my husband's grandfather lost everything he owned. After I had some time to collect my thoughts, and ponder on the positive things that came from this tragic event, I wrote this last year as a way to share my story about how my CrossFit training helped me to help others. I thought I would share it with you.
This is my testimony on how CrossFit is truly FUNCTIONAL fitness.
On April 27, 2011, one of the nation’s worst natural disasters struck Alabama. Over 38 tornadoes tore through my state, an EF-4 going right through the city where my in-laws lived.
We had no idea how bad it was until the next morning. On Facebook, my cousin was sending out messages “we are okay, but people are trapped here in Pleasant Grove”, “no rescue, no news, nobody knows we’ve been hit!” and “no water, no way out”.
My husband, Mike, and I were worried and desperate to get out there! His 90-year old grandfather, we discovered, had lost his home, but thankfully he and the rest of our family were okay. Now it was time to get them out! Finally, the news started giving reports on Pleasant Grove that no one could enter the city or leave. Because of downed power lines, they were not allowing cars, four-wheelers, or trucks into the town. Despite of what the news was saying, we hit the road. We were getting into that city damn it, and getting water to his family!
From Left to Right: Robby, Granddaddy and my husband Mikestanding in what remains of Granddaddy's Kitchen.
They stopped us at the city limit sign, about 10 miles from Grandaddy’s house. We were stuck in a long line of cars trying to get in, thinking the whole time, “We have to get to Grandaddy, now!” I was on the phone with my father-in-law, explaining the situation and he asked me “What are you going to do? Just walk to his house from there?!”
I was a bit surprised, “Well, yeah! We are pulling over now.”
He asked, “Are you carrying water in, too?”
“Of course!” I said.
It wasn’t until later that it occured to me that walking 10 miles with a cooler of water is not something a lot of people can do. But my husband and I never thought twice. Thankfully, we didn’t have to walk the 10 miles. Once in the city limits, one of the residents gave us and many others a ride into the city and cut our walk in half. We were so ready to get there and help Grandaddy!
Again, we could only ride in so far. Trees, power lines and house debris were everywhere. As we walked down Grandaddy’s street I was honestly amazed to see people alive. It was absolute devastation! Walking over debris, climbing over downed trees, around live downed power lines, glass, detroyed cars, refrigerators...it was chaos!
As we walked up to Grandaddy’s house, my husband was convinced it was 3 more houses down. “No”, I said, “there’s your uncle and Grandaddy right there”. Mike had been looking for the house next door to Grandaddy’s as a point of reference, but that house was completely gone...just a slab!
Robbie, Mike’s uncle, and Grandaddy were just standing there among all the debris, still in shock. It was something I never want to see again. All that was left of his home were two walls, a hallway and a closet. (Yes, the pictures were still hung in the hall!) If Robbie had not gotten Grandaddy at the last minute before the tornado hit, he wouldn’t be standing there in front of us.
After a lot of hugs and tears were shed, Mike and I started getting busy. We needed to help Grandaddy salvage whatever was possible. We had just come with water, no gloves, no tools, just our able bodies.
My immediate goal was to find Grandaddys medicine, but the cabinet that held the medicine and the wall it was connected to, were laying facedown on top of the kitchen counter. It took three of us, but we got that wall up. As I was standing on the countertops lifting that wall, it occured to me, “this is like flipping a heavy tire!”
Here it is, I thought, CrossFit translated into real life!
Over the next days, everything I did at our box aided me in doing as much as possible to help. I was able to really see how CrossFit can prepare you for the unknown.
Lowering a tree limb that had been cut down, and holding on to the other end of the rope with Robbie, I thought, “This is like tug of war, with a falling 500 pound log on the other end, but if we lose, somebody could get hurt.”
Grandaddy's home before and after. Photo is taken from the same location.
Hauling debris to the road. Deadlifting and flipping huge tree stumps and rolling them out of the yard. Picking up logs like Atlas Stones and carrying them to the debris pile.
Having Mike’s uncle say, “Dawn, you can’t lift ...WOW!”
This is why I’m a CrossFitter. So I can be ready for anything life throws at me.
I have always told my athletes the best thing about CrossFit is we perform movements that we perform in real life. Movements that we use everyday.
Today I am more grateful than ever for my training. Why workout 5 days a week if it doesn’t help you when it is most important?
21-15-9 Power Cleans (95lbs)
Bar Facing Burpees
21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps of
Hand Release Pushups
Back Squat- worked to heavy single of 190lbs (NEW PR!!), then 175lbs (95%) x 2, 160lbs (85%) x 2 x 5
Squat Clean - 83lbs x 5, 88lbs x 4, 103 lbs x 4, 113lbs x 4 x 2
Split Jerk - 85lbs x 5, 85lbs x 5, 115lbs x 3 x 3
4 rounds of 2:30 each
20 pushpresses (65lbs)
in remainder time do max number of pullups
rest 1 minute between each round. Score is total number of pullups completed
No WOD on Friday- home waiting on delivery people :-/