We all face different obstacles as we trundle on through life – some are work related or home and family related and some have to do with our own battles with our own self esteem – and this can sometime be one of the hardest battles. Getting life in perspective is sometime a huge challenge, but Jane “fun-fun-fun” Elledge has come through one such battle and has kindly shared her story with Raising the Bar.
I’m Jane, TankGirl or Badwolf, depending on which role you meet me in. I’m 43 and mum to three kids, wife and have a full time job as a freelance IT Trainer as well as teaching group fitness classes and Personal Training. I also battle with CrossFit – it’s a love:hate relationship. The last six months have been a bit of a roller coaster but my family and my CrossFit family have kept me going
Four years ago my best friend setup a gym. I trained, studied and qualified as a fitness instructor and started working with her. It was always difficult as a small private gym trying to keep everything going and her struggling to pay bills each month but we all mucked in and helped, staff and customers all working together especially over the winter of 2010/11 when they moved to new premises and we worked into the early hours getting it ready to open. Around that time we were introduced to CrossFit by our awesome PT, an ex marine who got the nickname marine boy – soon after one of my PT clients started calling me tank girl which seemed to fit ! We did our CrossFit Level and one opened as a CrossFit Affiliate.
A few months later things started to go wrong, after falling out with my friend I lost my job. A few weeks earlier we had all been doing the qualifiers for the London Throwdown and I’d made it through to the individual event in February and suddenly I had nowhere to train and no one to turn to for support. I pulled out.
I joined Birmingham Functional Fitness (now affiliated as Second City CrossFit) but initially I only went a couple of times a week as I was still feeling a bit lost. I spent a lot of time with family and reassessing what was important in my life, and I was on the verge of packing it all in and giving up but the fantastic coaches and members at SCCF soon made me feel part of their team.
Eventually a couple of us “oldies” decided to enter the Raising the Bar Masters Comp in Cardiff. I was really worried as my fitness had dropped as I wasn’t training as much as I used to I felt a lot of my fighting spirit had left me. I agonised over entering but in the end I was determined to face my fears and not only compete but meet lots of new people and have fun, as for me it’s not just about getting fitter and stronger but about the whole community and I refused to let my bad experience over new year stop me progressing with my CrossFit journey.
The Master’s comp was scary, challenging but great fun and it didn’t matter that I didn’t even come close to winning as I faced my demons, completed the wods and had a great day meeting lots of lovely people. It was great finally meeting up with people I’d met on Facebook.
I came away realising I could do this – CrossFit for me is about competing against myself … not against others, but the competitions give me things to aim for and go to in order to push myself harder.
After Cardiff I started to focus more on my nutrition – trying to eat well rather than going all day forgetting to eat then stuffing my face with junk in the evenings. Having been a vegetarian for 26 years I also started eating chicken and fish along with protein shakes to trying and increase my strength. I realised that as someone in their mid-40′s with a job and family I shouldn’t be comparing myself with youngsters – my cross fit journey is unique to me. Rather than constantly trying to improve quickly and getting stressed, tired and injured, I am going to take a slowly but surely approach. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter if I suck at pull-ups whilst it seems everyone around me is getting better – I just need to keep practicing pull-ups, there is no short cut and so what if I’ve yet to get 50Kg over my headl I can do 45kg which I couldn’t do a few months ago and eventually if I keep at it I know I will do it.
A couple of weeks ago I was in the Reebok CrossFit fitness championships in Birminghamwith people from all over the UK and again was terrified of making an idiot of myself. I tried to ignore the big arena and hundreds of people and focused on what I was doing and pushed myself to MY limits. I heard all the SCCF-ers and friends from other boxes cheering me on as well as my family and that kept me going. It has fired me up for more competitions and feels like I’m part of one huge cross fit family across the UK and beyond, not just SCCF.
I now train 3-4 times a week (about a third of what I used to). I listen to my coaches – even though I know what I should be doing I’m awful at doing what I tell my clients to do and really need them to reign me in when I attempt too much or try to train on a rest day! I have fewer injuries and am gradually increasing my PBs on most things.
I spend much more time with my kids instead of striving to be the best and wearing myself into the ground. So what if others are stronger, faster, fitter; they don’t live my life and what’s right for others isn’t right for me. I’m giving the Manchester games a miss – I have a family Olympic party to attend in London which a year ago I would have missed as CrossFit came first. But the following week we have a Throwdown at CrossFit Cannock – so, as I have realised – there’s always another Comp