My CrossFit box is saving me right now.  It sounds like an exaggeration, but it is not.  Freakin’ CrossFit in Pembroke Pines is literally keeping me from falling apart.

You see, my husband is an active duty Coast Guard member.  This is our 8th duty station and we will be transferring to our 9th this summer.  Like all Coasties, he is working harder than ever before to keep his part of our country safe with less help than ever and zero funding, all while not being paid himself. It really does not matter which side of the debate you’re on; real people are hurting.

CrossFit is really the one thing keeping me sane right now.  It’s tough, working for no pay. It’s tough telling your kids that they can’t do things because you don’t know how long your dwindling savings will have to last.  The uncertainty just might be a heavier burden to carry than the withheld pay. But when I show up at Freakin’ CrossFit, none of that matters. Warming up, getting a barbell, counting reps, fixing my form; in the box this is all that matters. The fears I carry around outside are not allowed to follow me in. Trading the uncertainty that this government shutdown has caused for the certainty that I can handle anything is an unexpected reprieve that comes from showing up at CrossFit.

We have been through shutdowns before. We have weathered the storms. But this one is through uncharted waters.  With no end in sight, tough choices are being made. I made the decision that I needed to stop going to CrossFit.

Simply put, we need that money for other priorities. I did not expect this decision to be so emotional, but as I asked Maryln, the director of finance, to stop my membership, I broke down right there in front of her.  All the uncertainty, the stress, the effort of putting on a brave face melted away in two seconds and I was in tears. Although I had just left a particularly brutal WOD at the box, so I’m gonna say it was the burpees that landed me there.

Maryln refused. It was as if she understood that showing up for WODs and working as hard as I can for that one hour is the only thing keeping me tethered to shore.  She insisted that I keep showing up, keep working hard, and keep heading in the right direction. She also refused to accept payment from me until the shutdown is over and the Coast Guard is being paid again. They are carrying this one burden for me so that I can shoulder the rest.

She might not know it, but at that moment she saved me. That one act of kindness gave me hope.  We can get through these troubled waters; we will survive. But not without friends, family and community.  Freakin’ CrossFit is all of those for me. Show up at your local CrossFit box. You might not know you need them yet,  but this community can save you too.


Erin-Kate Aleksak is a military wife, mom of three crazy fun kids and ultra-marathon runner. She currently lives in Pembroke Pines, FL and is excited to learn all the lessons CrossFit has to teach. One WOD at a time.

By Erin Aleksak from Morning Chalk Up

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