Liz Harrison is one of the first stories we’ve had from folks I haven’t yet met directly, so thanks Liz for joining the fun! Let’s learn a bit more about her…
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a 35 year old military wife of 14 years. I am a mom the three smart, rambunctious kiddos, and foster mom to a baby girl. I love to be outside, riding my horse, serving my community, cooking, and of course doing CrossFit. I am stubborn, independent, driven, and strong in my faith.
Q: What brought you to CrossFit as an athlete?
I have been an athlete my entire life. I was a competitive swimmer for 13+ years, ran cross-country in high school, and competed with the equestrian team in college. Three years ago I was looking for a gymnastics program for my kids and had some difficulty. After talking with my husband, who has followed the main site for several years, he suggested I find a CrossFit kids program. I found a great box in Georgia (CrossFit Sacrifice) and after a few weeks of running several miles while the kids worked out one of the owners said I should give CF a try. I did and drank the Kool-aid right away.
Q: Why did you become a trainer?
I enjoy helping people and I love the box. Coaching offered me another way to help my community but also keep my schedule flexible with the Army and four kids at home.
Q: What is your main focus or goal as a trainer?
To help people achieve their physical goals. Support them as athletes and as friends.
Q: If you could start over as a crossfitter, what would trainer-you tell athlete-you?
Slow progress is still progress. I have a tendency to get impatient with myself or compare myself to others. Gains are much less frustrating if you enjoy the journey. Stop being so hard on yourself and be content with how far you have come.
Q: What’s your favorite piece of equipment or movement at the box? And least favorite?
I love HSPUs (handstand push ups) and push press. My least favorite is probably the snatch, probably because I stink at it. 😉
Q: Where do you train? And where do you teach?
CrossFit Pandora’s Box in Colorado Springs for both.
Q: What do you think is the secret to CrossFit’s crazy success and growth?
I think several factors are involved. One is it’s hard to get bored. You are doing different things every day instead of just hitting the same cardio or weight routine.
Second, the community. Several close friends of mine are fellow athletes at the box. They hold you accountable plus the social aspect of the box is so nice. It’s like coming home and everybody is happy to see you and cares about you.
Third, progress is so easy to see. When I started I couldn’t do an unassisted pull up and my back squat was about 85lbs. Now I can do weighted strict pull ups and back squat 205lbs. Hard to deny those results.
Finally, CrossFit is literally for everyone. Is is scalable to age, injury, pregnancy, whatever.
I had a degenerative spinal disorder as a kid which landed me with two spinal fusions, hardware, and two hip graphs to help my back. This also put me in a wheelchair for two years as a teenager. I remember the doctor telling my mother, “She’ll be lucky if she can walk. Don’t bother with competitive swimming anymore.” And as tears rolled down my face he looked at me and said, “There will be other things.” I was devastated. And it was terribly hard to swim when your legs don’t do what you ask them to.
So my stubborn self picked myself up and worked my way back into the pool. And just to drive my point further to the doctor, I joined the cross country team.
Unfortunately I was never the same athlete again. I never competed at the same level and just felt done.
When I joined the box it didn’t matter my starting point. My coaches just said “OK let’s do this.” And that’s what I needed: a sport where my past didn’t haunt me in my progress. And yes, there are still movements where I have to work a little harder mentally and physically, but look how far I’ve come!
Q: Who is your favorite CrossFit athlete and why?
Recently my favorite became Kevin Ogar and I think it’s pretty obvious by my history above.
Q: If you could ask your favorite CrossFit athlete a question – what would it be?
What do you do when you slip into those doubting/down times? When it just feels too hard?
Q: What’s your favorite story from your time with CrossFit so far?
I went to the doctor for a physical to become a foster parent and she was amazed by my flexibility and how good my xrays looked of my spine. She asked me to touch my toes. I did. And she said I shouldn’t be able to do that. She said my spinal fusion was the best she had ever seen and asked what I do. I said “I pick up heavy stuff…and often.” She smiled and said to keep it up.
Thank you Liz for answering these questions and sharing a bit of your story! One more great reminder of how much CrossFit can affect some amazing changes for the better!
Are you interested in being featured as a box owner, trainer/coach, or athlete? I’d love to hear from you! Click “Contact Us” at the top of the WOD Tales page (or in the right-hand column) and I’ll get in touch!