by Trish Slade
I started my journey 3 years ago to find my community and face my fears. I made a decision to do something to better myself, to make friends in a new city, and to try to be a healthier person on the outside… but what has come from this journey (so far) is the greatest strength internally.
After setting up a simple chat with Coach Rob and getting a taste of a “baseline” workout, I knew I was meant to be a part of Solid Ground. This was the beginning of my journey. I joined the CFSG family on the same day I met Rob and committed to training 3x/ week. In a few short months, I increased my commitment to 6x/ week and never looked back.
During this time, I began to see changes in my body, created amazing friendships, developed a sense of independence, and made better choices for my health.
These were all great, but I knew I wanted more…
If you’ve ever had Coach JT for a class, chances are he’s encouraged you to put more weight on the bar or challenged you to push your limits. This was no different for me. He saw my potential and constantly encouraged me to test my boundaries. It was, and still is, the greatest feeling to have someone, like JT, remind me that I was capable of more than my mind would tell me.
In addition to CrossFit classes, I mixed up my routine with personal training sessions with JT, and attended Barbell Club to fine-tune my olympic lifts. All of these choices contributed to me getting on track with my performance goals- I was able to lift heavier, move smoother, and improve my cardiovascular endurance.
With some time, I grew confident enough to compete in my first CrossFit competition with a friend I’d made at Solid Ground… to this day, we continue to push each other and compete as a team. Competing really opened my eyes to the CrossFit community and is what made me realize one of my biggest life goals: to have a career that allowed me to train hard and be a part of my community… and that’s how I ended up on my path to becoming a firefighter.
Thankfully, the sport of CrossFit allowed me to develop a solid foundation of good movement patterns, which carried over into my training to become a firefighter. I had the endurance to run longer and the know-how to lift and carry awkwardly heavy objects. These things gave me the confidence to tackle my biggest fear- to dance where the devil walks.
To complete my training, I moved to Texas for a month to train with the best of the best at TEEX-A&M Engineering. Being a para-military organization, the course proved to be my biggest challenge to date. Twenty-one days of 4:30 a.m. wake-ups, 6:30 a.m. runs, 7:00 a.m. workouts… in 75 pounds of full gear… and always being at attention and ready for anything. The experience was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting, but I persevered.
At the end of the month, I was made the only female Lieutenant and finished at the top of my class being awarded “Most Outstanding”. I was also asked to give our Class Address speech, and honoured to be recognized as the cadet who never stopped working and worked hard until the end.
Having completed my official training, I feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and am very proud to say, “I did it”. Now, I look forward to training each day knowing every session will only put me in a better position- physically and mentally- to perform my duties. CrossFit constantly challenges me and keeps me focused.
I want to be clear- my journey has not been easy. In the last year alone, I’ve undergone 3 eye surgeries, suffered ankle and back injuries, and fell behind in a few courses. Despite these obstacles, I was committed to my training and did everything I could to come back stronger. Whenever I grew tired, I would hear the coaches and members saying, “Just keep moving. It doesn’t matter how fast, just don’t stop.”
I know I’m a greater person because of the Solid Ground community, and the support they’ve given me throughout this journey has meant the world to me… so THANK YOU to each and every coach/ member who has helped me, and who continue to help me, as I challenge myself and grow.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all of this is that progress can be slow, but if you are patient and trust in the process, the results will speak for themselves.