I ran cross-country and track in college. When I moved to Madison after college for work, there was a competitive void in my life. I spent a year lifting weights and running intermittently. With bad knees from running over 80 miles per week in high school and college for many years, I was not able to log the cumulative mileage to be competitive in long-distance running.

My cousin has been an active member at a box in New York. I had tried one or two CrossFit classes, per his recommendation, a few years ago, but I was still holding onto the idea of still being a competitive runner at that point. Fast forward to one year after moving to Madison and after an aside about CrossFit in a call with my dad, I walked into Recursive.

Aaron Troyer greeted me, with those silly tights and that goofy smile. He asked me what I wanted out of Crossfit. I told him I wanted to be challenged. After a few classes, I was hooked. The workouts are challenging and the community is welcoming. My body may hurt, but my mind wants to keep showing up–because of the community.

Outside of the community, it’s the coaches. It is not about how much we lift, or how many reps we get. It is about pushing ourselves and our minds to the limits, letting the coaches guide us to a point where we do something we didn’t think we could do 15 minutes ago (when the WOD started). That’s special.

It is also how unassuming Recursive is. The programming and movements are deliberate and thought-out; the community is not a group of weightlifters, but a group of humans that want to push themselves. It let’s you walk into the box with a clear mind with a shared goal, instead of walking into a room of muscled strangers who you are unsure of. That’s something that is easy to take for granted.

Alex Kropp and I have worked through a couple of memorable Saturday Partner WODs together. My biggest accomplishment, though, was completing the 9/11 workout this past year. Running in the dark at 5:30 am in the chilly Madison fall weather and working through the WOD without music was incredibly difficult.

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