Friday, January 1, 2010

Thank You 2009

Kyle and Me and Mary Lou
Sam, Cliff, and Me

CrossFit West April 2009

CrossFit West December 2009

It's funny the way life works. Every move you make, every decision, choice, thought, changes the course of everything and leads you to the present. After leaving Pennsylvania and a well payed prestigious job, against the advice of most of the people close to me ("you're going to quit your job in the middle of a recession?" my Dad was concerned upon which my response was, "I'd rather be a bag lady in Santa Cruz than a well payed professional in PA" I really missed home) I landed myself in Santa Cruz. I had no job, not much opportunity, and just about every last penny to my name spent on getting here.

I was practically just that, a bag lady. But I had my priorities and working out was one of them. I found CrossFit the first day I walked into Gold's gym about 3 days after I got to California. That was when Sam ran CrossFit West Santa Cruz out of the back. And it was instant love.

With a competitive athletic back ground I took to it quickly and began to dominate our record boards (although I had about 10 people to compete with!) Meanwhile, I met Kyle who had been CrossFitting for just 5 months. He had a deep love for CrossFit too and had his sights set on the 2009 Games qualifier. He urged me, along with Sam, to train with him for the qualifier. This marked the beginning of a very special friendship.

My involvement with CrossFit West Santa Cruz grew, I began teaching classes and Sam eventually asked me if I would like to partner with him. He had visions of something bigger and better than a group of 10 people CrossFitting in the back of a Gold's gym. And so did I. I wasn't sure how this would play out, but I wanted in. We needed someone with more business savvy than us to help us on the business end of things. That's when we brought in Cliff, owner of Adventure Out. He had been CrossFitting with us for months and seemed to share the same love of CrossFit. Not to mention, he was already a successful business owner and incredibly bright.

I could barely make my car payment or rent. I had no real job but worked part time in retail at a silver store. I was in the process of building a pitching student clientele, but that takes time and I was still new in town. I had even been looking for waitress jobs or hostessing jobs, but no one would even call me back for an interview. I wasn't sure how I was going to do this CrossFit thing, but I could feel it in my bones- this was meant to be, and somehow it would work out.

Then a light went off in my head. I had worked at my previous job for two years before I decided to come back to California. I had an excellent retirement plan that I had never even checked the statement on. I knew that with the economy in such a bad state, and having been there just two years that it wouldn't be much but I decided to check into it anyway. To my surprise I had built up close to 10,000 dollars! I really needed the money, and even though at the time it was theoretically a bad move I decided to cash it out. I lost nearly half of it to taxes but still had about 5 grand in my pocket. This was my chance to buy into the CrossFit business with Sam and Cliff. I was incredibly scared. Broke, and with no real job I was getting ready to buy into a small business using every last penny to my name, during a recession. When I expressed my fear to Cliff he eased my concerns, "Joc, nothing great comes from playing it too safe. Sometimes you have to take big risks to get big rewards." This was all I needed to hear.

Meanwhile, our sights set high, Kyle and I continued to workout together. We met regularly with our coach and my soon to be business partner Sam who put together a training schedule for us to get ready for the qualifiers. Kyle, who we joke about being a walking CrossFit encyclopedia, encouraged me all the time, spouting off other girls' numbers confident that I could make it to the Games. He only wished I'd started CrossFit a few months sooner.

It was nice to have a training partner and friend who was so supportive and excited for me in my training. Most competitive athletes/fitness gurus can relate when I say it is tough to get support from people around you. Most people don't understand the dedication and hard work that goes into something like this and quite frankly think it is strange. It's tough to avoid comments at dinner time when you pass on the bread and pasta and opt for extra meat or when you leave the party early, glass of water in hand, because you don't want to be wiped out for your workout in the morning. But I had finally met my partner in crime and it was something special.

With our new partnership formed, Cliff, Sam, and I began looking for Warehouse space. After seeing a handful of places we finally found the perfect space. But there was just one problem. It was slightly out of our price range. Now here's the part of the story that will be fun to tell my kids one day: I happened to be in the midst of apartment hunting, an escape from an unhealthy living situation. Cliff and Sam made a comment that the loft in the warehouse could be a liveable space- but this "kind of" joke quickly became a serious possibility. If we could make a living space right there at the gym, I could pay my personal rent and thus the gym would now be an affordable place to start our business. That's right, I literally moved in and lived at our new gym.

It's crazy to think about now. Weights smashing at 6AM, classes going until 7:30PM. People in and out all day long, all while being a permanent resident. But this was the start of our amazing CrossFit West.

The rest of 2009 flew by, only bringing more excitement. One month after opening our gym I won the Nor Cal Qualifier and earned a spot to the 2009 CrossFit Games. And whats more exciting? 3 months after that Kyle and I got engaged! (I love my gym but thankfully I've since moved into a house with him:) A true friend, now the love of my life.

After the games (and a bit of overtraining and burnout) I began working out with Aimee Everett (formerly Anaya) and in such a short time saw such huge gains. I was only sorry I hadn't met her sooner (but hey, I know from experience that everything works out the way it is supposed to). Aimee is now officially my coach. She has made training so exciting and has already made me stronger in so many ways. I am so incredibly excited about competing this year because quite frankly, all modesty aside, I'm going to be a freakin beast!


Wow. That's quite a 2009. And that's the condensed version.

Here's some of the numbers I put up this year:

C&J- 191lbs/86.8kg
Snatch- 148lbs/67.2kg- 4lbs over body weight
Split Jerk- 205lbs/93.1kg
Rack Jerk- 223lbs/101.3kg
F.Squat- 235lbs/106.8kg
OH Squat-173lbs/78.6kg
Deadlift- 325lbs/ 147.7kg

Learned to Muscle Up, just in time for the qualifiers:)
Mastered double unders
Man Grace time of 7:14
Among other things

Thank you 2009.

And as my old college strength coach used to say, "it just gets better."

Hello 2010.


  1. Jocelyn you are amazing! It really is a privelege to know you. I made up a lullaby for Xander when he was a babe (that I still sing to him most nights) and your recount of 2009 reminds me of one of the lines. "Follow your heart it knows the way, love will guide you every day." Love, Kirsten

  2. i second kirsten's post, you are amazing, joc! you are such a great and supportive trainer and teacher, i'm so glad that you stumbled upon crossfit to coach us all. i can't believe that you started so recently, given that you are an expert in everything. :-) crossfit is definitely one of the best things that happened to me in 2009, thanks in no small part to you. happy 2010 and see you soon!

  3. Thanks girls! You guys are amazing. I love the lullaby Kirsten- so very true. A place like this couldn't exist without hard working, committed individuals like yourselves! Keep up the good work and may 2010 bring you everything you hope for.

  4. Wow! I loved reading this story, and I look forward to seeing all of the amazing things you are going to do in 2010. I can't say enough how thankful I am for all you have invested into my life. I am so honored to have you as a coach and friend!

  5. Jocelyn-Thanks for sharing your story...on more than just Crossfit...about taking risks, jobs, money, etc. You have been so fun to follow on here and i'm a Jocelyn fan from hundred of miles away! Looking at the posts on here and your site, it is evident that you have a gift and are using it well!

  6. Thanks Leah, I am honored that I've found people like you who are willing to commit themselves fully to bettering their lives. It's inspiring to see and fun to be a part of!
    Kelly, thanks for the incouraging words from a far. It's so much fun to be a part of something that connects so many people who share the same love. Keep working hard!

  7. Nice work Jocelyn!!

    Kathy C

  8. Jocelyn,
    What a remarkable story... I had no idea that you were so new to Crossfit, and you won the NorCal Qualifier and did so amazing in the 2009 Games!

    I started out training with Selene, and I remember when you were sleeping at the box. I never realized you had this narrative to go along with it. I didn't get to your classes until the summer, and I just want to thank you for being so entrepreneurial and cashing out your 401k. I shudder to think of my life without you and Kyle, and Sam and Cliff, and the whole CrossFit West Santa Cruz community.

  9. Joc - it was so fun to read this, you have a really personal style of writing that I really enjoy! 2009 certainly was a big year for you, you've made sacrifices and faced challenge and came up ahead! I am so happy for you.