CrossFit Sandpoint Member Profile: Kara Berlin

What brought you to CrossFit in the first place?

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Time, structure, and efficiency. Before joining CrossFit, I was spending upwards of two-three hours per night being a cardio-bunny at another gym. Hopping between different machines, changing my playlist on Spotify five times to find the right track to pump me up before bopping back over to weights... No amount of steps on the StairMaster4000 ever felt enough, even though I was well-aware my time spent was beyond excessive, given my demands elsewhere. Ain't nobody got time for dat. I didn't have an agenda, but a feeling - a feeling of pure, utter, ass-whooped exhaustion - that I was always trying to achieve, but rarely did. Some former co-workers and friends encouraged me to check out CFSP. I don't recall the WOD, but I was certainly served a heaping slice of humble pie, a-la-mode, with a generous amount of ass-whooping. Please, sir, I want some mo'.

What was your first impression? Has that changed?

See "humble pie," above.

Really though, my first impression was that it wasn't easy, at all. I came home depleted, but simultaneously so invigorated. This hasn't changed. It still isn't easy and if it ever is, I did something wrong. I love that each and every person can come in, scale appropriately to a healthy level of ability, but always push themselves. There's no glass ceiling, no cap, no limit. I like that.

What was your first success?

Showing up! Truly.

However, I distinctly remember the first time I did a consecutive amount of double-unders, where my limitations were my cardiovascular system, less my coordination. I wouldn't say it was like riding a bike, but it was so much easier to find success in that again after I felt it for the first time.

What are you working on now?

Generally speaking, I am working on improving my overall fitness to have more fun! I want to take advantage of my body and it's youth (how long can I say that?) so I can be my best self as a runner, mountain biker, skier, etc. More specifically however, I've been wanting to work on my upper body strength that is ghastly disproportionate to my lower body. I've gotten a taste of some fluid, linked kipping pull-ups, but I'd like be able to do just as many strict and really ground my strength in the foundations and basics.

What’s your favorite CrossFit Sandpoint memory?

Not sure I can answer this with a superlative, but a specific moment in last year's Open always makes me laugh, and feel grateful.

I was leaving town, so I did one of the workouts right upon it being announced on a Thursday night, alongside the best-of-them...the elite! There were spectators cheering everyone on, and the energy in the gym was impossibly palpable. I don't recall the specifics, other than some ghastly amount of reps with the barbell, followed by a row, and then as many HSPU as possible with the time remaining. I had over 1:30 remaining to bust some HSPU out. Had I done one successfully before? No. Did I do one successfully then? Well...no.

I distinctly remember watching the Facebook-LIVE video, slunked on floor of my kitchen once I was home - exhausted, but in good spirits, and the camera footage panning over the gamut of all of us that evening: Kelli busting out those HSPU (with a baby-on-board!), shirtless men either side of her just killing the game - animal-style. Then there was me, far off in the right corner, continually collapsing on my head - and a few times collapsing even further from the head-stand into what I can only call a "full-planked-flat-body-belly-flop", time and time again for a full one minute, thirty seconds. I had a tribe of cheerleaders around me for the whole 1:30. There is so much collective drive in our little gym's community, so much room for improvement, and so much encouragement.

More often than not, the hour at CrossFit is the best hour of my day. It's my me-time. My blood-pumping, head-clearing zen. I don't have to make the decisions, there is energy to feed on, and I always get that slice of "pie" a-la-mode. But best part is the banded team of athletes who hail from different trails, yet show up at the same place at the same time for similar reasons. We celebrate each others successes, we hold one another accountable, and we push each other to be our best selves inside - and outside - of the gym. I am so grateful to have this outlet - and this hour - be a part of my day, (almost) every day.

Kenny MarkwardtComment