Athlete of the Month: Michelle Johnson

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Athlete of the month? What?!?!? How awesome! I’m so honored. Writing is not a strong asset of mine, but here it goes: My name is Michelle Johnson, and I just turned 25 at the end of August. I have been in Clarksville since 1994, and I love soccer. I have been playing soccer since the age of 5. I played at Montgomery Central, played travel soccer, then was fortunate enough to obtain a Soccer Scholarship competing in Division I soccer at Austin Peay State University where I received my BSN in Nursing. What a feat that was! (I don’t think I slept the last two years of school.) I almost deserted soccer my last year of college, because the stress was just too much, but my teammates made me keep going, and after everything I am so delighted I played. An endless cycle of waking up early to lift weights, sprint to class, run to the training room then to practice, then stay up all night in the library studying made everyday a difficult one. I would literally have to tell myself everyday that what I was doing was totally worth every sleepless night. I remember my nursing professors telling me to quit soccer every semester, because they saw my grades slack. I reminded them how much I loved it, and that soccer was paying for my education. I ended up graduating with a 3.6 which was  not something that I was considerably happy about, but considering the workload  I was so happy just to graduate.

I have completed 3 half marathons. I really want to try some Triathlons, but finding the time to train is another story. I am currently working at Skyline Medical Center in Nashville in the Emergency Department where we are about to become a Level II trauma center! Big things are about to happen. The Emergency Department is the place for me as a nurse. Honestly do not know where else I could work. I get too bored so easily. I like the constant moving, the interesting people I deal with every night, and my crazy coworkers. We also say, “You can’t make this stuff up” at work. Half the stories I tell, people do not believe, but they ARE TRUE!!! I work night shift, so if I look tired every time you see me its probably  because I just got off a long 12-hour shift in Nashville.

I’ve been through a lot of difficult situations in life so far, but I was always privileged to have support around me. At a young age, my parents divorced leading to the loss of our house. Talk about being super poor…gives a great perspective on life now. Fortunately, my best friends’ father bought our house back, and my mother has been paying him back. During high school, my stepfather was diagnosed with a tumor on his brain stem, and after multiple surgeries, the tumor was removed. Months and months of recovery allowed him to eat, walk, talk, and see again. I remember going to visit him everyday after school at Vanderbilt, and how frustrated he would become because he was unable to say anything. I grew up having everything I needed, but rarely anything I wanted; taught me to be grateful for what I had.

I have learned that plans do not always work out. And it has taken me a very long time to understand that. I always felt that everything in life had a next step that everything goes in the same order and one cannot simply change it. One goes to school, gets a degree, gets a job, gets married, buys a house, has some kids, and lives happily ever after…No idea why I ever thought that. I was so blinded by the “next step” in life that I was forgetting to just Live. Some of you may know that I was supposed to marry this past October, but something that I have learned is that you must always follow your heart, and I did.

I began my On-Ramp adventure in July of 2012. What was this CrossFit thing that I heard people talk about? I remember stopping by the box when it was off the bypass, and seeing Dave Hippensteel busting out like a million chest to bar pull-ups. I just remember thinking to myself, “WHAT THE POO?!?!?” I wanted to be able to push myself like that. I never would have thought that I could do handstand pushups and rope climbs! I remember doing an 8-minute…8-MINUTE workout the first night of On-Ramp…I couldn’t move the next day. I was so shocked. I considered myself a “fit” person. Playing soccer since the age of 5, I thought CrossFit would be “easy.” Boy, was I wrong. Nutrition has always been my downfall. I somehow always had this mindset of “I’m an athlete, I can eat whatever I want…” Wrong again. It took CrossFit and Nutrition Challenges for me to understand the different toxins I had been putting in my body for years. I was weighing in the 160’s in college, and now I’m in the 140’s. The thing I love about CrossFit is that anyone can do it. Anyone who has the courage to get out there and change his or her life can do it!

CrossFit makes me feel positive even when moments in life are negative. I see a lot of unhealthy people daily in the Emergency Department, and sometimes I see people, young and old, take their last breath. Your health is important. Be good to your body. CrossFit is helping me now to become more confident. More confident in what I eat, how I feel about my body, my attitude towards life, and my strength during WODs. Currently I am training with the SolaFide Competitive Team, and I feel so privileged to compete with such great Athletes. I am defeated, but resilient after every WOD. This team reminds me of my past soccer teams…Committed, Comical, and Present. To be Present in Life is what Everyone needs to be. Everyone at the box has been a great support beam for me. Somehow they all see my potential even if I do not (thank you, Coaches). I am so grateful for the opportunity to WOD with great spirited people dripping in sweat until the last person finishes. CrossFit makes me happy, and that is all I want out of life.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Corinthians 4:8-9

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