We started eating Paleo/Primal which fits easily into an Alaskan hunting and fishing lifestyle. We also grow our own greens and veggies as much as possible with our short growing season.
I never lost focus on my reason for Cross fitting. As spring finally broke I continued at the box but also added hikes in the mountains behind my house with progressively heavier pack weights.
Some folks may question the usefulness of different exercises done in a Crossfit box. What the heck are you ever going to use the ability to do a sandbag get up for? Joyce calls them “turtle ups” because the first time she tried them she was stuck on the floor looking like a turtle lying on the back of its shell. If you want to know how useful they are then put some Sheep meat, a wet Cape and skull with horns in addition to your gear in a backpack, strap it on and try to get up.
The support and encouragement of our fitness family transcended the box. Brett and Jena, my two hunting partners on this trip, both half my age, joined Crossfit Alaska a few months before the trip. Essentially they supported me throughout the adventure and selflessly gave me first dibs on a legal Ram.
On the long two day trek back to base camp with a 100+ pound pack on my back descending uneven ground from 5,300 feet where I had shot the Sheep, I heard voices in my head. They were not auditory hallucinations from fatigue. The voices were recognizable. Tony was explaining that Rich Froning does not think about the pain or how many more reps he can get. He simply thinks about making every rep as efficient as possible. I made that two day trek out by taking one step at a time and I made the most of those steps.
Even when you hit the flat ground on the way from the mountain to base camp the tundra is like walking on deep wet sand. It sucks the strength from your legs and it challenges you to keep your balance. I heard the voice of Ashley Bates, one of my favorite trainers telling me to keep going. I also heard a chorus of encouragement from the rest of my fitness family. I almost felt like I had to finish that walk for all of them. They knew why I started in the box and once the Sheep went down where it stood with one clean shot there was no turning back. This WOD had to be completed.
Now that my successful Dall Sheep hunt is over and the meat is cut up and nicely vacuum packed in my freezer, I have no plans on stopping Crossfit. On the contrary, there are still movements I have not mastered and I will work on them one at a time.
Double unders eluded me for months. I found it extremely frustrating when the WOD included them. I have no ego problem about the amount of weight I can lift but not being able to perform part of a WOD disappoints me. I would get to class early and work with my speed rope. I had the slash marks on my arms to prove it. Finally when one of the trainers, who saw my frustration, volunteered that she too could not get them for a long time I relaxed about it. One day the sweet sound of that rope whistling under my feet and a personal rhythm brought success. I’m still inconsistent with them but I know as I practice them that one day double unders with be second nature.
I love a challenge and since Crossfit is about personal improvement, the philosophy works perfectly for me.
Joyce and I will finish a class go home, relax, and eat and then find ourselves talking about class. We have become cheerleaders for this great exercise program. One Sunday Joyce’s sister Raetta from Pennsylvania, who has been using a personal trainer at home for years and is in excellent shape, called to say hi. Two hours later we realized the sole topic of our three way conversation was Crossfit and how addicted we were. I think Raetta believed we joined a cult.
She found a box two blocks from her house and gave it a try. She’s hooked. Daily emails relate tales of her aches, achievements, and frustrations. We joined her at her box on a trip back East and found the same warm welcome there and a bit of “celebrity status” from wearing our Crossfit Alaska shirts. I suppose folks are a bit shocked that the “Last Frontier” might also know about Crossfit. We have also had the pleasure of doing a WOD in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico at an affiliate while on vacation.
The Crossfit family transcends language and geography and we are all fortunate to be part of that family. The hard work day in and day out in that box makes life outside the box easier. Our motto at Crossfit Alaska is a simple one and applies well to the “Last Frontier”.
Die in here – survive out there!!