To Jade and the members of Champlain Valley CrossFit,
…as I stepped from the boat adorned with my caveman frock, sweaty smelly life-jacket, paddle in slightly trembling hands from the all-out exertion, I knew we had come together through our limited experience (first timers), given it our all, and done so in as unified an effort as we could manage. This had been the final of three heats which had commenced early in the morning, and finished with the finals race at 4:30. Having been nipped at the line twice by Confluence CrossFit from Montpelier in earlier heats, and having the 5th fastest time going into the final, none of us had any idea where we stood since all our intent was focused in the boat as we paddled as hard as we could. When the official ran over and informed us that we had won, my feet left the ground. They never touched down till well after we made our way to the makeshift podium to receive the grand trophy. This was a feeling I shall never forget.

Remarkable in many ways. Our incredible Captain, Kristi Lunny, started making inquiries for participants in the gym many months ago. In the most friendly and supportive way she made it known that any Crossfitter was welcome. She wasn’t concerned with getting the fastest, strongest, most experienced CrossFitters….but rather, those that had an interest in participating in the Dragon Boat event and being part of a CrossFit boat. As it turned out the team ended up being comprised of 13 women and 8 men. What stands out about this is that the other teams in the final heat were almost unanimously comprised of the minimum 8 women and 12 men. Remarkable also is that the second place boat was Confluence CrossFit from Montpelier.

CrossFit works, make no mistake about it. Throughout the day, members of past winning and championship teams approached me (various friends and acquaintances) and wished me luck but made it clear that they had the experience and there was no question that we would be bested. I said good luck back and went about my business. We flushed out the mistakes we made as a team, did some paddling practices, discussed technique endlessly, and quietly made it happen. We pay our dues in the gym. We work hard and it pays off. For any of you new Crossfitters who have any doubts about the benefits versus the effort….it’s not even close.

A couple years ago as I began to get dangerously close to a 60th birthday, I was seriously feeling my age for the first time in my life. My back hurt most of the time, my waistline was expanding, and I no longer felt the impetus to go and do like I once had. Fortunately, Jade is my son, and he opened the door to CrossFit and the Paleo diet. I just passed my 60th birthday, and am just coming up on a year of being a consistent CrossFitter (average 3.5 times per week). My back no longer hurts, it feels strong, and getting steadily stronger. My knee maladies are being addressed, and I am able to complete workouts that once appeared humanly impossible. More importantly is the eagerness for a life with vigor that has been restored and amplified. I raced my mountain bike a couple weeks ago (on a Crossfit 6 hour race team), became part of a championship Dragon Boat team, and look forward to each day with expectation and joy (and of course a certain nervousness before super-tough WODS!). Granted, I am blessed with an incredible wife, three supernaturally wonderful sons, (all of whom will be CrossFitters as soon as the Crossfit Kids program wraps it’s arms around little Cedric…and damn, is he ready!), but CrossFit has even inspired a deeper appreciation of my family, friends, and life outside the gym.

Thanks for making me part of the boat, part of the gym, and our amazing CrossFit community that has developed. I admire each and every one of you that stands next to me, cheers me on, and inspires me to work harder, become stronger, and experience that which might be possible. Hopefully I can do the same for you sometime. With humble appreciation and affection for all my fellow CrossFitters and coaches,