Amy and Goose,

As you know, I leave to move back to Toronto tomorrow, and before I go, I just wanted to share with you how Crossfit Southie has impacted my life over the past few months. In nine short months, Boston has come to feel like home. This is in no small part due to the amazing experience I have had being a part of the Crossfit Southie community. I came to Boston to get a masters – a quick academic diversion after a tough residency back in Toronto, and a break from clinical medicine. I could not have predicted that my time in Boston would have been so greatly impacted by Crossfit, and by the amazing community of people I found at Crossfit Southie. I can honestly say that every aspect of my life has been improved by doing Crossfit, and by being a member of this community. I don’t know how to thank you both enough.

There is no doubt that I am a different person today than when I arrived in Boston. I showed up here, totally burnt out after a long, exhausting residency. Not only was I mentally and emotionally drained, but I was totally physically deconditioned. Though I had always thought of myself as an athlete growing up, and played varsity basketball during my undergrad, my crazy residency work schedule and studying for final residency exams left no time for exercise. In the six months before I arrived at Crossfit Southie, I literally did not do one minute of intentional exercise. In addition to that, I was eating whatever food I could find in the hospital cafeteria, and had a completely dysfunctional sleep cycle. My social life consisted of exam study group meetings. Needless to say, when I arrived in Boston, I was eager to make a change.

Luckily, last spring, while avoiding studying by creeping friends on Facebook, I saw photos of an old friend and former teammate at the Australian regionals last year. A rapid succession of google searches for ‘crossfit’ (I had no idea what it was), followed by ‘crossfit boston’, led me to the Southie website. I did my first intro class with Goose before most of my boxes were unpacked. By the end of that first day, I knew two things: 1) that burpees suck, and 2) that if I stuck with this I was going to get fit. I also had a pretty good sense even from that first day that there were some pretty great people hanging around the box. I couldn’t have been more spot on.

I started coming five days a week from the outset, because I was determined to use my time away from medicine wisely, and because I wanted to feel like an athlete again. I was in so much pain those first few weeks (months? still now?), but became quickly addicted to the tiny achievements I was having every day I set foot in the gym. Still now, I am totally amazed at the elation I feel with even the smallest of achievements: a new PR, a new skill, beating someone in a WOD I didn’t think I could beat. The competitive athlete inside of me, a part of me I thought was long gone, is now alive and well. Despite the fact that there is always someone doing things better, faster, heavier than me, I have become completely addicted to the feeling of showing myself that I can do more today than I did yesterday. This addiction has allowed me to change my mind and body in a short period of time. I am fitter, tougher, and having more fun on a daily basis than I ever could have thought possible nine months ago. To go from desk potato to placing at the internal throwdown is monumental progress in my world. I don’t know how to begin to thank you and the other coaches for allowing me to make these changes in my life.

If all that I had gotten out of my time at Crossfit Southie was improved physical fitness, I would have been satisfied. But almost from day one I started to talk to, and get to know, the other members and coaches, and was thrilled to make new and interesting friends (none of whom are in medicine…I love my medicine friends, but how refreshing to talk to people who do other things!). Coming to WOD is the thing I look forward to most each day, not only because of the athletic challenges, but also because it is so much fun just to hang out with a great group of people. You guys have done such a good job of creating a real community at Southie. I have been, and continue to be, inspired by my fellow athletes and coaches every single day – not only because they are amazingly talented and driven athletes, but also because so many of them are kind, interesting, fun, intelligent, and thoughtful human beings, who know how to play as hard as they work. Having this group of friends in my life here has meant so much to me.

These nine months here have been truly transformative, and it is very difficult for me to think about leaving. Of course, I will join a new box in Toronto, and while I’m sure they will be lovely, I think that what you two have created here in Southie is truly unique. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be a part of that for this short time. I know you’ve heard it so many times before, but Crossfit really has changed my life, and being a part of the Crossfit Southie community has taught me so much about the elements I need in my life to be happy – interests and passions outside of work, physical fitness, a healthy diet, a diverse social network, and regular doses of fun, among other things. I really hope to see you both in Toronto next weekend. There’s a great tequila bar we could check out with blood orange margaritas that are totally paleo and totally fabulous. I know you’re in training for the Games, but I’m sure you can have one or two ;).

Thanks again for everything, and keep in touch.

-Dr. Sarah