A Story of a Life.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Assisted Bottom of Squat
Posterior Chain Floss
Banded Shoulder Distraction


High Bar Back Squat
4×4 @70%- Rest 30 Seconds
3×3 @75%- Rest 30 Seconds
3×2 @80%- Rest 45 Seconds

Notes:  If you do not know your one rep max HBBS work up to a heavy set during each progression

Classic Conditioning:

15 minute AMRAP of:
50 parallette jump-overs 
12 V-Ups 
3 Wall Walks

Advanced Conditioning:

15 minute AMRAP of:
50 Double-Unders
12 T2B
3 Wall Walks

Cool Down:

Calf Stretch
Cobra Stretch
PVC Dislocates

Estelle standing front and center with the LA Marathon crew

This week’s post comes from a woman that has been through it all and has become one of my favorite CrossFit athletes, Estelle Atney.  She is an inspiration to me and her story hits close to home and brings tears of sadness and joy to my eyes.  Here’s Estelle’s story, 

“My dad was in the Air Force, but before I was born, he started working for the Navy with the Civil Service. We moved every 2-5 years between Yokohama, Japan and Chula Vista, California (between San Diego and Tijuana). My first memory is being a kid in Japan. We moved to Chula Vista when I was 7, then moved back to Yokohama when I was 9. We moved back to Chula Vista for the last time when I was 14. Though I attended the local schools, the faces constantly changed…an “occupational hazard” of being a “military brat.”

When we moved back for the last time, I was just starting my last year of Jr. High. By then, everybody is pretty much established in their own cliques and groups. The most “open” group, unfortunately, is the stoners/partiers, who accepted me as an outsider with open arms. I was the chubby “she’d be cute if she lost some weight” girl, who became the life of the party. I was the fun chubby girl. I hid my insecurities behind a “happy go lucky” façade. People called me to find out where the parties around town were. The most physical activity I did was lifting a beer or lighting up a cigarette or joint. I’m probably the only person in high school who “lettered” by being baseball manager, which I did so I wouldn’t have to take PE. In a word, I was a sloth.

Though my partying graduated to only legal substances in my 20’s and early 30’s, I was still smoking and drinking with the best of them. I decided to get into shape when I was in my mid-30’s, so I hired a trainer and worked out with a vengeance 4 times a week. I lost about 30 pounds since high school, but my weight constantly fluctuated up and down…AND I was going broke paying a trainer who ended up doing more chatting than training in the end.

After I attended my 20 year high school reunion, I decided I wanted to run a marathon before I turned 40. My dad died of heart failure when he was 53, so the idea of not being able to do things I wanted to before I died scared the hell out of me, so I decided now was the time to do it. Like Alissa, running was something I could do by myself…and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a trainer! Being that I had absolutely no experience with sports, the chance of me letting anybody down (except myself) was zero. So I started training for the 2007 LA Marathon with a group of people who became my extended family. Because of them, I wanted to run more and more races. Running became my social life. My weight still fluctuated because I was eating as much as I was running, but for the most part, I was pretty healthy.

Then things changed in October 2009. A week before I turned 42 in June, I was watching TV while lounging on the couch. I had my arms crossed and felt something that didn’t feel right along my right side. I called my doctor on Monday, but she thought it was probably nothing to worry about. If I was still concerned about in a week, I should make an appointment to see her. Well…she wasn’t worried, so I wasn’t going to worry. In between, I was running half marathons and marathons every month. I felt great. In the middle of September, I did the MCRD Boot Camp Challenge with a group of my friends. I felt like I’d broken a rib, but otherwise, I felt great. I had a pre-scheduled doctor’s appointment the following Monday and the lump I felt in June was still there. My doctor still didn’t think it was anything to worry about, but for peace of mind, she had me go see a breast surgeon. 

On October 1, 2009, I saw a breast surgeon who, after doing an ultrasound, said she was 99.99% sure that I had breast cancer. She did a biopsy, and I went home and cried. The next day, October 2, she told me I definitely had an aggressive form of breast cancer and that we needed to do surgery as soon as possible to make sure it didn’t spread to my lymph nodes and other organs. I cried all day again, but at the end of that day, I decided that my life wasn’t over…that a new chapter was beginning. My life would never be the same again, but it was up to me to decide how my life turned out. I went through two surgeries, 4 months of chemotherapy and 2-1/2 months of radiation therapy. My physical life came to a stand-still once I started chemo. A week before I had my first surgery, though, I ran a marathon…and a week before I started chemo, I ran another marathon. I had to prove to myself that it wasn’t going to stop me.

I started running (well, more walking actually) in May 2010, a month after I finished radiation therapy. Every time I told someone I was a cancer survivor, I got the look of “oh…you poor thing!” But I’ve never thought that for myself, so I really didn’t want anybody else to think it. My 30 year old niece started doing CrossFit in 2009, just around the time I was first diagnosed. I’ve seen her go from looking good to looking strong, confident, and great. I wanted to emulate that as an over-40 woman. So I’ve lived my life since then, trying to show what “I had cancer” looks like. I’m coming up on my 46th birthday in a few months, and I also want to tack on “this is what 45+ looks like.”

CrossFit has made me feel stronger, more confident, and healthier. All the partying and smoking I did in my younger days most likely contributed to my cancer diagnosis, but instead of regret, I accept responsibility. I’m healthier and stronger than I’ve ever been in my life. I hope to inspire people who are going through an illness or “bump in the road” that with a positive attitude, sheer will and a little (or a lot of) sweat, you can accomplish almost anything. I commemorated “October 2, 2009” in a tattoo just under my neck as the day I decided to “kick ass.” CrossFit, and particularly the 0530 tribe, has made me feel like I can do just that…”kick ass!” So thank you for making me a part of the group!”

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