Hi Fearless Family,
This is the first installment of the Athlete Spotlights series. Once a month (or so), I will be highlighting one athlete in our gym.
Our first athlete is Shawn Mauser!
Shawn is one of the greatest examples of how CrossFit can benefit you at any stage of your life. One day a couple of months ago, Shawn and I were having a conversation and she said something that has stuck with me: “I was foam rolling when I noticed that it wasn’t an issue. When I started CrossFit, I couldn’t even hold myself up to do a foam roller. Now, I can hold myself on my elbow without any problem. That’s awesome!!” That statement serves as a constant reminder how fitness can benefit every part of your life, and how it can benefit anyone and EVERYONE.
Let’s hear some thoughts from Shawn in her own words.
How long have you been doing CrossFit?
I have been sweating with you guys since the end of June 2018. So, about a year and three months.
What made you decide to start?
Seriously. The first half of my life was spent being fairly active in team sports, especially volleyball. Once I hit 30 or so, I worked out on and off, but never to the extent I had when I was on a team. The downhill slide started there.
When I turned 45, my left hip began a serious and painful decline. Turns out I had a congenital birth defect called acetabular dysplasia (a shallow hip socket that causes the joint to become unstable) that had finally called in its due. I had issues with my left hip even when I was in my teens and twenties, but I always assumed I had just worked it too hard and thought nothing more of it. Turns out, I was wrong.
I ended up on a cane for two years with a constant pain level of about an 8 or a 9 out of 10. It completely derailed my life. I became almost completely sedentary because it hurt too much to move. I would go to work and endure the pain throughout the day. Then, I would come home and collapse. And that was my life.
After two years, I finally took a deep breath and had a full hip replacement at the age of 47. If you have never lived with severe chronic pain, you cannot understand how it affects every moment of every day. You lose the ability to concentrate and think deeply. You lose the ability to sleep well and to communicate effectively. As a result, it’s so easy to lose the things that make life worth it, like your social life, your hobbies, and your dreams — because your entire mind is focused on just managing the pain.
Three days after the surgery I saw my life begin to return. I was up and walking without a cane and the pain was completely gone. The was a relief was so deep and the change so profound I cried…repeatedly.
Once rehab was complete, however, I became very protective of my new bionics. I wanted it to last as long as possible and I was terrified of screwing it up. As a result, I didn’t push myself to get into shape, and, while I wasn’t sedentary like I had been during the pain, I still wasn’t really living.
About a year and a half ago, it hit me that I had begun to make decisions about the things I could do and enjoy based on what I thought my body could manage. At the same time I realized I was repeating a pattern that had begun with my grandmother. She spent the last 25 years of her life sitting in a recliner in front of a television because her body could not be trusted to support her. That was my wake-up call.
So, when Griff, that guy I married 27 years ago, said, “We should try Crossfit.” I took a deep breath and said okay…and here we are.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen since starting CrossFit?
Strength to do what I want when I want to do it. Without hesitation.
What is your favorite part of Crossfit?
The Community. And the lifting.
What makes you come back every day?
I have finally figured out that cherishing the body you have means attending to it and putting it to real use. I feel like I’ve taken advantage of the life I’ve been given when I go to Crossfit.
Shout out to Shawn Mauser for being the most Fearless Librarian any of us know! Next time you see her, let her know how awesome you think she is. I know I sure do.