sled push

sled push

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

WODism For Autism, the Beginning

About five years ago I went to an event hosted by Sean Dickson (owner of  Riverchase CrossFit). This event was called Backpack for Buddies and was held at a local park on a Saturday afternoon.

Sean and a select few set up a tent and then did a day-long, grueling workout as people came by to watch and make donations for this charity. My three boys were caught up in it also, very proud of their donations as they handed each can of vegetables one at a time to the lady who was collecting them.  It was obvious to me that my youngest two wanted to jump in and start working out with them. They watched with respect as these strong guys worked through their grinding workout for a good cause and as I stood there next to them, I was inspired.

I spent the whole drive home in deep thought, my mind going a thousand miles an hour. The more I thought about it the more I realized that I could do something like this, too. I was energized! I had an idea and I couldn't wait to get home and tell my husband about it.

See, my oldest son, Taylor, has high functioning autism. He is now 17 years-old, and the resources available to him today are many, but when he was a toddler and I was a young mom, there were not many at all. No "internet highway" for me to find everything we needed for Taylor. There were many long days in the beginning that we felt like we were on our own, treading water. I am grateful to say that we found the perfect school for him with amazing teachers and therapist but I know that this is not the story for a lot of families. I wanted to help.

Taylor started CrossFit Kids not long after I began CrossFit in 2010 and he did really, really well at it. He really seemed to like it and I felt like I had finally found something for him that would keep him active, and more importantly to me, engaged with his peers.

On the drive home from Backpack for Buddies that day, I started to envision it. I could combine my love for CrossFit and my desire to help other families who are living with autism. I  decided that I wanted to create an event, similar to the one Sean had hosted with the big difference being that anyone could participate in it. An event that would introduce CrossFit to children and adults with autism or other special needs and as a result raise money for our local Autism charity.

I had no idea where to even begin but I took a step out in faith and just went with it.I thought maybe we would raise a couple of thousand dollars, I really didn't know what to expect.

Taylor's favorite movements in CrossFit are the gymnastic movements. The idea was to create a workout in his honor using movements that he likes to do. I knew the perfect person to program the perfect WOD (Workout of the Day). I asked my friend, Jeff Tucker with GSX CrossFit and he was happy to help!

The event would be called WODism for Autism and the format was simple. Do the WOD, "Taylor", which is a short AMRAP (As many rounds as possible) and pay a donation to participate. If you just wanted to buy a t-shirt, the proceeds from those also went to the charity.

I think we had around 60-70 people participate that first year and we raised a little over $7,000. I was elated!

Since that first year, we have had hundreds of people come out to support WODism for Autism. In 2013 we year raised over $17,000 for the Autism Society of Alabama.

This year will mark the fourth year for the WODism for Autism and I can't wait to see what we will achieve this year. Our charity this year is KultureCity and they are making a huge difference in so many lives! Taylor looks forward to WODism for Autism every year now. He marks it down on the calendar as soon as we hang up the new yearly calendar for him.

WODism for Autism is close to my heart. Every year, my cup runneth over but I know that there is no way any of this could be pulled off without all the amazing people that put in their time to help and support it. I am surrounded by so many incredible people with enormous hearts!

I learned some very important things through this little journey.

The CrossFit Community is AMAZING!

People WANT to make a difference.

Autism touches the lives of just about every person you and I know.

Watching a child with special needs, ANY special needs, participate in a group event like this and seeing the smiles on their faces makes it all worth it.

Monday, January 19, 2015

It's Time

Four years ago I began this blog for many reasons. The first and most obvious of reasons was to document my journey that I was just beginning with CrossFit. I have always been very clear about that, but there were other my private and personal reasons. I have found that as time has gone by, they are still valid, but life has a way of just happening, doesn't it?

Here is a secret I will share with you. It is time to confess. The real, true, deep down reason I decided to start this blog those years ago was because I have always wanted to write a book. More specifically I wanted to write a book about raising a child with Autism.

That sounds like a great goal, right? Shoot for the stars is how the saying goes, My only problem was confidence. I wasn't sure how well I could convey my message through the written word. I have so much to tell, where would I even start. The thought of writing a book was, and still is, completely overwhelming. I wasn't sure if anyone would even read it and certainly did not think that anyone would care. My solution was simple. Write a blog and just put it out there. If no one reads it, no harm done. Make it about something that means a lot to me but isn't too personal. Stay safe. Stay in my box.

That is how "Just Another CrossFit Mom" was started. To my surprise, some amazing things happened. People began to read it. People began to share it. People began to comment on it and I felt my confidence rise, even if just a little.

Then, an even more amazing thing happened. I opened a CrossFit gym and that same year was asked to be a writer and write about, you guessed it, CrossFit. I couldn't believe it! I was constantly pinching myself and enjoying every moment. I was busy all the time and as a result, my blogging slowed to a minimal. You would have thought that being an "official writer" would have helped propel me towards my goal of writing my book but I was always finding an excuse not to begin. Too busy, too tired, not motivated, not inspired, ect.

I talked to my husband about it not too long ago and he brought up this blog. He suggested I begin using it as a starting point for my book. I thought his idea was great but I seem to always find reasons not to do that as well. After really thinking this through I know what my problem really is. Here is the truth of it. There is only one thing that has kept me from writing that book. Just one.


There! I finally admit it. Deep down I still have all those negative thoughts that I have tried so hard to fight. The very same ones I had four years ago.
Will anyone read it?
Does anyone even care?
Can I even do it?

Last week, my friend Lisbeth shared this "Your Turn Challenge" and I knew it was time. It's time to start writing again and the best way to get the juices flowing again is to blog everyday for the next week.

 It's time to address my fears. It is time to get back in the saddle, reset my sights and conquer this quest.

Who cares if anyone reads it? I NEED to write it. As for the other fears, I realize they don't matter. Sometimes the words just need to be written.