Long, strange trip

Somebody once told me, if you’re going to start a blog, don’t launch it till you’ve got 2 months worth of content already written. Otherwise it goes dead and nobody takes you seriously.

Well, here I am, nearly 4 months since my last post. I’ve got a vacation coming up, and I think I’ll do some writing.

In the mean time, I thought I’d share this. I was asked to write myself a bio for an interview I’ve been asked to give, and I found the experience extremely emotional. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and not realize how far you’ve come or how cool your story might actually sound, till you sit down and put it all in words. And then, when you see all those words together in one place, you think “hey, that just might be a story worth sharing.”

So here goes:

I started my “athletic” life as a 15-year ballet dancer and casual tennis player. In college (as a graphic design major), I got introduced to weightlifting through a phys ed class, and stuck with a standard “globo-gym” routine off and on for several years after that. In 2006, I moved to Columbus, OH and found myself wondering how to make friends as an adult. I also had been bitten by the competitive bug and was looking for a way to start training for triathlons. And, I was nearing 180 lbs and didn’t know how to fix it. I was convinced to try a Krav Maga intro one Saturday morning in early 2007. I said “Krav Ma-what??” and my friend said, “it’ll be fun. I swear.”

I had no idea what I was in for.

I got to punch, elbow, kick and knee some girl I’d never met before, and she returned the favor. Forcefully. I couldn’t believe how exhausting this was! I signed up on the spot for a yearlong membership. Immediately, I started attending classes 5-6 days a week. Soon after I started, one of the Krav Maga instructors started attending a CrossFit gym down the road, and bringing the evil ideas he learned there, back to our gym. He held a once-a-week class called Crazy Fit, because it was only for people crazy enough to try this bizarre type of workout.

By November 2007, I was enrolled to become a Krav Maga instructor. And in August of 2008, I earned my CFL1. There was no turning back.

I still had my full-time graphic design job, and I remember writing in a journal one night, “I love the gym! I wish I could find a way to make fitness my profession and design my hobby, instead of the other way around.”

In May of 2009, I took that leap. I’d been designing flyers and posters for the gym for a while, as well as teaching classes. The owner was going to be semi-retiring out of state, and he was looking for someone to take over his wife’s position of Marketing Director. I left my full-time, very secure job as an Art Director, and accepted a position making $500 a month base salary plus commission for intros and enrollments. Yikes!

I’d lost 30 lbs, gotten a TON stronger, and was more confident and capable than I could ever remember being. A journey of self-discovery had begun. In October of 2009, I earned my Yoga Alliance 200-hour certification, and I was all-in as a fitness professional.

In the mean time…I found that CrossFit was able to satisfy that competitive bug. I volunteered at the 2009 CrossFit Regionals (which, at the time, was held in the Rogue Fitness parking lot on a Saturday morning) and committed to becoming a competitive CrossFit athlete in 2010. I finished in the top 50% of Sectionals athletes in 2010 and advanced to Regionals that same year. And not to forget my progress in Krav Maga, I earned my Black Belt in January of 2011. I was the second female in the United States Krav Maga Association to earn such a rank, and one of only a handful in the world.

Answering phones and signing members up quickly turned into running the day-to-day operations while the boss was down south. In December of 2010, he approached me about fully retiring and asked if I wanted to buy the business. I crunched every number I could, borrowed some money from family, and in July of 2011, I became the owner of Ohio Krav Maga & Fitness.

I continue to compete on a local level (including the not-so-local Heraean Games in 2013), teach, and advance my own studies. On top of owning a 3-location Krav Maga and CrossFit gym, this is a 24/7 commitment to myself and my community. In October of 2013, I earned my 2nd Degree Black Belt in Krav Maga from Foundation Krav Maga, an organization for whom I am one of the lead instructors. We are a national organization of Krav Maga and CrossFit gym owners, dedicated to helping other business owners grow their gyms and build a community of like-minded people.

And lest any reader out there assume that I’m a type-A, buried-in-my-career, miserable single person who’s going to die alone and rich (isn’t that what we silently assume about all successful women??) I can tell you this: what happens when I step on the floor as a coach, makes all the bad days worth it. Owning a business is not fun. It’s hard work. It’s easy to get run down, taken advantage of, lose money, lose hope, lose friends. But for a few hours a day, I get to help make a difference in people’s lives. The same difference that a select few men and women made in my life since that fateful day in January 2007. And when the day is bad, I still get to come home to my awesome supportive girlfriend (who is also a Krav Maga machine!), my adorable pit bull puppy, and the breath of relief that comes only from being surrounded by the people who love you and know first-hand why you get up every morning and try it all again.

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