Tag Archives: CrossFit Sacrifice

Athlete Interview – Hilda Padron

My adventures with WODTales.com have been fantastic and I’ve heard some absolutely amazing stories so far, but this one is one of the most powerful so far.

Athlete Hilda Padron contacted us from CrossFit 719 and I think using CrossFit as a way to combat suicidal thoughts is a pretty motivating story… But I’ll let her tell her tale…

Q: What brought you to CrossFit as an athlete?

I was suicidal. No point on beating around the bush, right?

Back in 2013, just two years ago, I struggled with deep depression. It came from traumas I tried to not deal with from my childhood. You might have guessed already… child abuse. I still struggle with the deep wounds left behind by those experiences, even though I have faced them.

To make things worse, I lost my grandmother, then I lost my uncle who was like a father to me, and then I lost my mother to a freak accident. I was in and out of hospitals, seeing different doctors, and taking whatever medications they gave me.

I also have a bad back: two bulging, deteriorating disks in my lower spine. So I was also given meds for that. At one point I was taking up to 10 different prescriptions, with three of them being controlled substances. Very addicting stuff!

During that time I gained a lot of weight. I hit an all time high of 190 lbs – the heaviest I’ve ever been, and that’s including pregnancies. At the end of 2013 I was told that if nothing changed I’d end up dead.

At that point I knew I had to do something. My back pain was so bad that I couldn’t stand long enough to cook dinner for my family. Something had to be done, and all those meds weren’t helping at all.

I was a runner in my early 20s and I remember that “runners high” you get. But given my back problems, I knew I needed help, so I decided to see a personal trainer.

She was very helpful. I lost some weight and was finally able to walk without being in too much pain. At that point I stopped seeing her and tried going to the local gym on my own, but I wasn’t really doing much of anything.

Depression was coming back along with suicidal thoughts.

Hilda with her son shortly before starting CrossFit

My husband had taken the coach training back when CrossFit had just started and told me I should try it.

My first reaction was, “WHAT? Me? do Crossfit? NO NO NO.” All I had ever seen were the competitor athletes and there was no way I could ever do something like that.

I have this sweet friend, Jill Henry, who at the time was a coach at CrossFit Sacrifice in Columbus GA. She and her husband were the on-ramp coaches and she said I should go and just give it a try. Nothing to lose, right?

So, I went. Very hesitant, very scared… mostly just scared! I tried it and have been doing it ever since. Best decision I ever made.

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am 35 and the mother of four: Tony, Matthew, Briana and Adam. I am married to a US soldier. I was born in Mexico and was sent to South Central LA to live with an aunt at age 11. Growing up was difficult – there was abuse and tough times – but I’d like to think I’m a stronger person because of it. And I am starting at PPCC this fall!

Q: What’s surprised you about your CrossFit journey so far?

How it has changed me in every possible way.

Early on I was very independent and had no trouble making decisions. It comes from being married to a soldier since they are gone quite a bit. But I lost all of that during my struggles.



I became very unsure of myself and had frequent panic attacks. I lost all that confidence.

CrossFit has given it back. Now I know that “I’ve got this!” and I’m back to the old me. Or like my kids like to say “weird/crazy”.

And the best thing about all this… I am medication free and pain free. My back hasn’t felt this good in a long, long time. That has also surprised me.

There are a lot of people out there that look at CrossFit and tell you that you’ll get injured. When I first thought about trying CrossFit, I was so scared of injuring my back and making it worse, but that has not been the case. I went in with a lot of back pain, and getting stronger and fitter has made my back feel better than ever!

Q: Where do you train?

Crossfit 719

Q: What are your favorite and least favorite CrossFit movements so far and why?


  • Deadlifts. They make me feel freakishly strong!
  • Front squats. not only do they work out my legs but also my back and my core which keeps my lower back healthier.


  • Snatches… I can’t get them right even if they paid me! There is just so much technique!
  • Burpees… The world would be a better happier place if they didn’t exist… the end!

Q: What’s your favorite piece of equipment at the box?

The floor mat, I get to lay on it at the end of a WOD…

Just kidding! I’m going to go with the barbell.


Q: If you had one word to sum up the experience of an athlete at your box, what would it be?

Life changing and life saving!

I only did CrossFit at Sacrifice for 3 or 4 weeks before my husband got orders to Fort Carson. When we got here, I was still struggling. I knew I needed to find a gym but I didn’t want to go to a “globo gym” but I knew I wasn’t going to get anything done on my own. I needed coaching. I needed structure.

When I started at 719 I was coming off Vicodin and ambien. I was having bad withdrawals! Suicide was still very real at that point. Going to CrossFit kept me out of my house long enough to where I wasn’t tempted at home to do anything I’d regret.

I feel I need to apologize to the coaches who had to deal with me back then… it was bad! I’m sorry Jennifer “JRo” Roesch and Mychael Swenning for having to deal with my bitchiness! Honestly, I love my box!

Q: What do you think is the secret to CrossFit’s crazy success and growth?

The community, of course – from that moment you walk in and everyone welcomes you. We all get to know each other. And everyone cheers each other on!

Q: What’s your favorite story from your time with CrossFit so far?

When I first got your email and went through the questions, I think this one is the one I had to think about it most. I kept going back and wondering what could it be. I thought for a while and what I came up with was this…

It isn’t a specific lift or finally getting a movement down. I think it’s the feeling of accomplishment that comes from that after all this time, hard work, and sweat, I finally did it! The “high” you get from that is simply amazing! And being able to see your friends do something they’ve been working hard on makes you so happy for them because you know what it’s like to work hard for it.

I think THAT is my favorite, and THAT makes it all worth it!


Thank you Hilda for answering these questions and sharing your amazing story! I hope your tale motivates other folks who think they can’t do CrossFit to get up and give it a try! And congratulations on starting at PPCC! Best of luck with your studies!


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!

Trainer Interview – Liz Harrison

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.

CrossFit Trainer Liz Harrison, Image 1

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.

CrossFit Pandora's Box - Colorado Springs, Colorado

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!

CrossFit Trainer Liz Harrison, Image 2

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!