Above are pictures of my journey of fitness, finding myself, and ultimately being happy.

I grew up in a house of competitive athletes. My dad was big into marathons. My older brother was a big time runner.  And I ran track in high school and college. I was captain of these teams for multiple seasons. I was an All-State runner for Connecticut, earning this award more than any other athlete in my  school’s athletic history. I was an All-New England runner; multiple times. I was MVP for both cross-country and track. I was a Colonial Athletic Association bronze medalist for Steeplechase my junior year.

I say all this to paint the picture of this almost “high” I was on for about 10 years. I was confident. I had lots of friends. I was enjoying the ride. I was happy.

The summer before my senior year, I ran my second half marathon. I didn’t train enough. My knees gave out from years of competitive running. I now have two small meniscus tears in both knees. I knew I could no longer run. I needed to find something else to fill my athletic void.

I had heard about CrossFit. I said it was stupid. It was a cult. I don’t need to lift weights, I’m already strong enough.  But, I gave it a shot. My very first class was a 3000 meter row. I have no idea why I ever showed up again.

During the start of this whole “CrossFit” thing, I began a new relationship. I’ll fast forward to the five years it took me to get out of the relationship to realize how unhappy I was. How unsupported I was. How I didn’t even enjoy working out, I think I just used it as some time away. I separated from my husband and slowly started telling people. Opening myself to those around me who had known me for years, without actually knowing me.

I remember the day I told Kevin. He was one of the first people I told. He was so supportive. He said he could see the life being brought back into me. I started coaching. I started staying after class to talk to other members. I started hanging out with people I had worked out with for years, who I had previously misjudged.

CrossFit became an outlet for me. My “safe-haven,” as I called it. I spent my days at the gym. Working out, putting my best into every workout, hanging out at the gym and on weekends, and coaching. I gained new friends. Best friends. A baby boy who I call my nephew. I started a new relationship. It wasn’t until recently, that I realized how unhappy I was. How unhealthy I was living my life.

Today, I am happier than I have ever been. I am at the gym 5-6 days week either working out, coaching, or both. I gained muscles I didn’t think were possible. I am able to do more athletically than I ever have before.  I still run here and there, mainly when coaching my running classes.  All my closest friends are also members of the gym. And I am in a healthy relationship with my best friend.

Life truly is a journey. You never know what path is going to take you to true happiness. Be yourself. Get out of your comfort zone. Try something new, for it could change your whole life.

-Coach Emma