This started as a blog about training together as a family, in part to inspire other women & families to get involved. As female participation in jiu jitsu has increased, as we have grown as athletes and as we learned that families training together aren’t such an anomaly, the blog has evolved. Jen gets personal with posts on ambition, challenges & achievements in BJJ, CrossFit & with nutrition, while Tom's posts are more educational, informative and analytical in regards to training. On occasion you may hear from the kids.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I hit the wall......literally.

by Jen

The 8 foot wall at the Heraean Games has already inspired several blog posts and facebook statuses so I almost chose not to write this post, but it turns out that the wall has special meaning to me.  Too special not to write about.

Let me back up for a moment.  If you keep up with my blog you know that I had been training hard for the Heraean Games. The Games were an all female CrossFit competition that took place the last weekend.    The required standards for the Athena (Masters) division were posted months ago which helped me to focus my training.   But in true CrossFit fashion, at the last minute, they sprang the 8 foot wall climb on us.  I can scale the 6 foot wall at ATP, but 8 feet?  Hmm, I don't know.

Juan and Stephanie, our ATP coaches, helped my teammates and I strategize our technique the morning of the competition. Approach it like a box jump, get a good grip on the top, pull yourself up, swing your arms then legs over and you made it!  I did it three times- piece of cake. I got this.

The Wall was a part of WOD 1.  It came after 50 double unders, a 40 calorie row, 30 box jumps, 20 deadlifts, 10 snatches and 10 push ups. I accomplished that in just over 10 minutes.  All I had to do was scale this wall and pull the sled and I was done.  I really got this!

Jump one - Fail.  Jump two - Fail.  Jump Three Fail - and so on and so on and so on.  My heart started to sink.  I noticed that some of the others took a running jump approach  - let me try this.  Back up, run and SLAM.  Face, meet wall.   When I began to taste the blood I looked at Juan and asked if I was okay.  He screamed "You're okay, keep going, keep going!"  So I did.

I remember hearing people that I didn't know, along with my coaches and ATP members, coaching me and cheering me on.  I remember the words of one of the event organizers playing over and over again in my head, "If you think you cannot climb the wall, you won't climb the wall."    I was not going to say that I couldn’t climb the wall.

Finally, after minutes that seemed like an eternity, I gripped the top, pulled myself up and pulled myself over.  The crowd of people, most of whom I didn't know, roared.  Wow!  What a feeling!

In my forty-one years I have hit many walls - personally, professionally, financially and more.  It is the same things that got me over the 8 foot wall that got me over the others.  I’m talking about the support and encouragement from special people, the words of wisdom from coaches, heroes, mentors, and bosses, mixed with a little tenacity.

I went to BJJ tonight still unsure as to whether or not I was going to write this post. My decision became clear when I figuratively hit the wall while on the mat.  I was getting tapped out and swept like crazy.  Remembering the wall helped me to jump a little higher.  Unfortunately I don’t think it was quite high enough tonight.  But that's okay.  I have the wisdom and support of Marcelo and my BJJ family, along with a little tenacity, to climb the many walls that I will inevitably meet head on in my journey.

As a side note, you never know who you may inspire in your struggle to climb a wall.  A couple of girls came up to me later in the day to tell me that they almost cried when I finally made it over.  All the more reason to keep jumping.


  1. Jen - thank you for posting this. It was just what I needed. That wall is not looking to high anymore! :D

  2. Very inspiring and one heck of a WOD! Good for you!

  3. It's amazing how affecting even reading something like that can be: I could totally picture that scene. Seeing (or just reading) someone overcome their own limitations to the roar of a crowd is a powerful thing, so thanks for sharing that. And well done for getting over the wall! :)

  4. Glad that I could provide a little inspiration. This was truly a defining moment in my life.

  5. Thank you for putting your experience in words! Very well said Jen! This is why I think it is so important to compete and to challenge yourself with things that seem impossible... as you said "a defining moment" in your life. Take Jen's advice everyone... don't deprive yourself of such moments because you are too scaared to try... over and over and over again. Great job Jen!

  6. Thank you Jen. I need to read these things right now.