Maybe you haven’t actually met him, but I’m sure you’ve seen him in the box. He’s the one who comes in and does lots of jump roping, crazy jump roping, kind of like he’s dancing while he jumps. 🙂

Well here you go, meet…

Chris Rawlins, 43,
Father of 3 teenagers (who all CrossFit as well)
5 Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, training/teaching for 33 years
Ultra Runner Since 2013

and Here’s His Story……….

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“I first tried CrossFit in late 2013.   I’ve known Darcy and Bob for many years and Darcy was kind enough to let me try the gym for a few months, in exchange for putting on a Self Defense Class as part of her Saturday Clinic program.   I enjoyed it every much, as weight lifting is something I’ve never really done.   Right after the new year, I stopped going due to time constraints, as I was focused on building my running distance and I had already entered into a number of long races for 2014.  

Around August of 2014, after my racing season had ended, I was experiencing terrible lower back and hip pain that I couldn’t get a handle on.    I tried extensive yoga, stretching, dietary changes, rest from any activity, and nothing seemed to work.   Around the first of December I’d had enough and went to see an orthopedic surgeon, who informed me that I had a common case of arthritis in my lumbar spine.   His recommendation was to do everything I could to strengthen my core muscles and take the load from my spine to the muscles around it.    He suggested more yoga, which I was already doing at least 3 days per week, and some weight training.  So back to CrossFit I went.

I was nervous at first given the amount of pain I was dealing with, but I stepped back into the box and decided to embrace the barbells and do everything I could to make myself stronger.   I was pleasantly surprised that the weight lifting actually didn’t aggravate the pain and in fact, I felt BETTER after slinging weight than before I entered the gym on any given day. There was one specific day in March that I’ll never forget, because I walked into the gym and on the whiteboard I saw “1 RM Deadlift” and went into a panic.   Bob was coaching that day, and I told him my concern given my back problems.   He assured me that he’d help me with form and to just start slow and build up until I had pain or discomfort.   I’ll never forget that moment…a little later in the work out I pulled 362 lbs off the ground as a 1 RM and in the middle of that lift, I literally felt something let go in my lower back, as if the movement of the deadlift had caused something in my lumbar spine to release and stop pinching.    I have NOT HAD A SECOND OF PAIN SINCE THAT DAY.   My arthritis symptoms are gone.

Since then I’ve made incredible gains with all of my lifts, learned butterfly and kipping pull ups, hand stand push-ups, and taken my jump rope to a completely new level.    Every time I walk in the box, I walk out a better athlete and person.   Sounds like a cliché, but that’s MY truth.

On November 7, I ran the inaugural Daytona 100 Ultramarathon, which is a 100 mile race that starts in Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville, and ends on the beach at Daytona.   This was my first attempt at the 100 mile distance, and the majority of my training has been based on the CrossFit Endurance model. In a nutshell I didn’t finish, but I beat my prior distance PR. I made it to 70 miles and was still running quite strong when my right Achilles tendon flared up and slowed me down. It was a bummer that I didn’t get to finish, but I was so pumped with how good I felt and how strong I was running, especially late in the race. I was not having back pain, hip pain, core stress, and my legs felt great! It was unseasonably hot that day, and I got behind on electrolytes early on in the day and event got a little dehydrated.  But the bottom line is I ran 70 miles which was my longest run. I couldn’t have made it that far if I hadn’t had the core strength training from CrossFit.

I’m so thankful for Crossfit Groundspeed, Darcy, Gio, Bob, Heather, Rick, Rob, and all the current and former coaches.    They have all put time and effort into helping me be the best possible version of myself and I cannot thank them enough.   In 2016 I have 2 major goals; one is to enter a full distance Ironman Triathlon (it will be my first ever Tri…if you’re gonna do it, by God do it big) and the other is to obtain my L1 CrossFit Coaching Certificate and a CrossFit Endurance Certification so I can give back to new athletes what has been given to me.   

See you at the box!

Help us in Congratulating Chris on his BIG accomplishments since starting at CrossFit GroundSpeed!  We are Thankful to have him as part of our Box!

Your Friend,

The Blog-Fitter