Featured Athlete – Fay Morrison
Hi, my name is Fay Morrison. I am 36 and a stay-at-home mom of four. I started CrossFit on May 18, 2012, and it has changed my life and probably lengthened it too.
On May 16, 2012, I sat watching as three of my four children swam numerous laps in the Thomas Center Natatorium for swim team and felt guilty. I turned to my friend, Lucy Merrill, and told her how bad I felt making them do this while I wasn’t doing anything. Lucy said, “Well, you really need to do something. I CrossFit on MLK near Catherine and Company. I think you should do that.” I thank God that He sent me a friend that I could actually hear that from and not be completely offended. That night as soon as I got home, I emailed Neal to set-up my first on-ramp for two days later. The next day, Lucy mentioned CrossFit again, and I told her I had set-up an on-ramp with Neal for Friday. Lucy said, “Neal is super fit. He is pretty intimidating.” For a woman wearing size 20W yoga pants who got out of breath doing the stairs, it was not very comforting.
Meeting Neal for the first time, Lucy’s statements were proven true. He was very fit and slightly intimidating, but he was also super kind. We talked about eating Paleo and goals. I had really never set fitness goals; I had never stuck with anything fitness related long enough to reach a goal. It took me almost a week to come up with two. I would like to be able to do my stairs without getting out of breath, and it would be nice to shop in normal people clothing stores. Plus, a friend had challenged me to do the Red River Revel 5K in Shreveport, Louisiana in October. I had also decided at that time that I was not ready for classes and just wanted to do personal training sessions. Plus, it worked around my husband’s schedule so that he could help with the kids. (Thanks Enoch; I couldn’t have done this without you.) I started on a 2 to 3 days on 1 day off rotation depending on soreness that turned into a 5 day a week addiction. I am not perfect eating Paleo, but I probably get it right 80% of the time. Fortunately, I love meat and veggies.
I had no idea that I was going to become seriously addicted to CrossFit. There is nothing like your first WOD. It was 21-15-9 of some horrible things that a year later will be a warm-up. Neal ended up taking out the set of 15 for me to finish it. I just noticed that a couple weeks ago when we were going through my journal joking about what my one-year anniversary WOD should be. (That is something I love about CrossFit; everything is scalable to your fitness level even during your workout!) After that first on-ramp, I was so sore, and I made a comment about just getting here today was tough. Neal promised me that day if I just showed up that he would make me do the work. He kept that promise even on my most difficult days. (Something else that I love about CrossFit is that you don’t have to think. You just have to show up and follow instructions. I joke I get to leave my brain outside the gym, but it isn’t too far from the truth.)
In June 2012, I attempted to run my first very slow mile, but it still felt good “running” the whole thing in slightly under 15 minutes. About a month ago, I ran a 7:51 mile; that felt like flying. I remember somewhere during this process that I ran one day, and Neal said, “You actually looked like a runner today. When you first started, you didn’t even know how to run.” Since October 2012, I have run three 5K’s, a 10K, and a CrossFit 5K (which is nothing like a 5K and definitely more challenging than a 10K.) I was so proud of my reverse split on my 10K and finishing in 65 minutes and 59 seconds. I was exhausted running it, but the entire time I was thinking that at least this isn’t burpees. I am amazed at how something I hated doing (moving) has become something I enjoy. This past weekend, Lucy and I did the Houston Mud Run and had an awesome time. Before CrossFit, there would have been no way I could have even completed even a third of the obstacles much less the 3.1 miles in between them.
My brain has been the slowest part of this process. I was still wearing my original yoga pants with the drawstrings pulled tight back in February 2013. I griped to my husband that they were still fitting. Enoch, said, “You’re wearing your pants 6 inches above your belly button. They don’t fit; go buy some new ones.” With permission to shop, I headed to my favorite plus-sized clothing store… none of the clothes fit. Where was I supposed to shop now? I drove over to Dillard’s. I grabbed a pair of size 14 jeans. They were too big. I almost cried as I zipped the size 12’s. How had I gone from a size 20W to a regular size 12 and not noticed? Two weekends ago, I fit in a pair of size 8 Levi’s. You know you are excited when you are snapping photos of yourself in the mirror and sending it to your friends.
CrossFit has also become a family affair. My two oldest children have participated in CrossFit Kids and personal training with their amazing Coach Kara. My proudest CrossFit moment wasn’t even my own. Amber and Ethan ran a mile about a week ago, and they shaved 2 minutes 13 seconds and 3 minutes 15 seconds respectively off their previous PRs! That was an awesome day! They were so proud of themselves. My husband just started last week. I am so excited. We did our first WOD together, and we were both lying in a pile of sweat on the floor in front of a fan. That was a pretty awesome bonding experience.
I really cannot say enough positive words about CrossFit Beaumont and Neal. If you are reading this and are even thinking about trying CrossFit, just do it. The experience is life changing on the outside and the inside too. I just got my blood work back a couple weeks ago, and my cholesterol levels are back to normal. I’ve lost 35 pounds and gained lots of muscle. By-the-way, I can sprint up the stairs carrying either my 47 pound 4 year-old or my 55 pound 5 year-old. Goal surpassed! Yay! Someone recently asked me while my daughter was standing next to me, “When are you going to quit CrossFit?” My daughter responded passionately before I could, “She not! My mom is going to be the fittest that she can be.” She made me realize that I am setting a much better example of what a healthy lifestyle looks like for her brothers and her, and that is what makes CrossFit worth it for me.
As I finish typing this to head out the door for my session, I am pulling the drawstring tighter on my size 10 Lulus. Neal, I should have listened to you two months ago when you said, “Why buy expensive workout pants that you aren’t going to fit in two months from now.