Meg Cincotta

Dear Amy and Goose:

On our drive home from a 20.5 mile training run (with fellow CrossFitter, Petra), we reflected on the impact that CF Southie has had in our lives and so I feel compelled to share with you my perspective and, more importantly, to thank you for the community you’ve created in South Boston.

Fitness
First off, you’ve taken my fitness to a level that I never could have dreamed of. In January 2011, I embarked on an arduous journey of training for my first marathon (Boston). It was a lonely winter as I struggled to clock the mileage and when race day came, I questioned whether the Hal Higdon training program would be sufficient to get me through the Newton Hills and Heartbreak Hill. I finished the marathon and vowed that I would do another.

So, this past April, I decided to train for the 2012 NY Marathon. I procrastinated with kicking off my training, but when August rolled around and the 12-week mark hit, I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer. The first few weeks were painful and mentally defeating. At that time, I was doing CrossFit a solid 4 days per week and was in denial about my body’s inability to recover while following a traditional marathon training program (this time, I’m following Hal Higdon’s intermediate program). I eventually resigned myself to scaling back to 2 days at CF, but I was scared to let you down. However, when I relayed the news to you, you made me feel better about my decision.

Sure, my strength training has plateaued since then, but on the flip side I’ve made tremendous strides in my training. I contribute my progress to CrossFit. I’m faster and my cardio vascular endurance has dramatically improved. Now, I can easily converse while running at a pace well under 10 minutes and the idea of breaking a sub-4 hour marathon is actually within reach! Note, I ran the Boston at a solid 10:28 pace which brought my time to 4hrs & 34 minutes so the notion of pushing myself to shave off a half hour was inconceivable when I first started.

Nutrition
I never would have tried switching to a Paleo diet if I didn’t witness the benefits and results firsthand. But, its more than a diet. Its a lifestyle that is manageable for me to follow and now I’m seeing and feeling the positive results w/my own body.

Though I’m not participating in this fall’s Paleo Challenge (because of marathon training & some work demands), I opt for Paleo about 75% of the time and LOVE it. When I do cheat and make poor food choices, my body rejects the unnatural, processed foods and so I’m slowly building to closer to 80% Paleo.

18 months ago, I never would have considered passing on the opportunity to dip fresh Italian bread into olive oil or eating salads without salad dressing. Now, I don’t even give it a second thought! The same goes for pasta, peanut butter, cheese, and the list goes on and on. My latest challenge is adjusting to coffee without milk — its been interesting to say the least, but it may help ween me off caffeine in the long run.

My Sunday afternoons are mostly spent planning my meals for the week and perusing the internet for new and simple paleo recipes to follow. When I eat out at restaurants, I find myself consulting the menus beforehand, but this is a good thing because it gives me a game plan which keeps me on track. I also have to attribute some of the above-mentioned fitness improvements to eating paleo. Even today, I only consumed (3) packets of energy supplements during my 20 mile run and didn’t hit the dreaded “wall.” When training for Boston, I not only consumed countless synthetic goos, but the wall that I slammed into at mile 18 of my 20 mile training run sent me walking home defeated and exhausted.

Confidence
I’m not sure how to convey the confidence that you’ve instilled in me. Even after a tough WOD where I question if I scaled too low or pushed too far (resulting in a slow time), I hop in my car feeling accomplished and empowered to do nearly anything that I set my mind to. Moreover, the physical changes I’m seeing in my body are helping me to develop a positive relationship with my body. I am no longer ashamed to hold a glance while practicing yoga or to weigh myself in the locker room at work. I’ve learned to love my body and to be proud of the newfound muscle definition on my arms and legs. And that love of me transcends to countless other areas of my life — dating, work, finances, setting new goals.

Community
CF is not for the faint of heart. Its expensive to join, but the decision was easy after my intro session with Goose in August ’11. I decided to shift the money that I was spending going out to improving my health. I thought that I’d meet people at the gym, but I didn’t think that I’d make lasting friendships. That is a priceless bonus that I’ve uncovered at the box. I lucked out in being an early morning person and so I became part of the 6am morning crew with a handful of other young professionals. Within a few weeks, I felt at home with other like-minded thirty-somethings who balance careers, families, love, travel, demands with fitness and nutrition.

There’s a unique balance of fun (we’re laughing all the time during mobility and warm-up), competition (that challenges us to go faster/keep up, lift more weight, or remove bands) and support (scale when you need to, yell your name when your struggling, and congratulate you when you PR) that is unparalleled. CF is an individual sport, but I felt like part of a team. And for someone who never played sports when she was young, this is HUGE!

But the friendships outside of the box is what really strikes me. I’ve met more amazing, helpful, humble people at CFS than I ever expected. There’s an unspoken bond among members of CFS. I know it and feel it when I pass someone in my car or order a drink at Stats. Whether its a wave, a “like” on FB, or a beep from a passing car, its camaraderie and respect that begins with your leadership, passion, and commitment to build the best box in Boston.

Last, a wholehearted THANK YOU! Thanks for the coaching, tough love, support, compliments, and inspiration you’ve given over the past 18 months. In summary, you’re role models for successful entrepreneurship!

All the best,

Megan Cincotta (aka Meg C)

Amy & Goose,