Blog posts tagged in CrossFit

ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT: Amy Harris, CrossFit®

Posted by on in Road To The Games

b2ap3_thumbnail_amyharris.jpgMeet Amy Harris, competing for the first time in the World Police and Fire Games. She also will be competing for the first time in CrossFit® on an international level and her love and passion will no doubt shine through during her competition.

Amy started training in CrossFit® two years ago and says it was “love at first sweat”. Loving that it incorporates so many varied movements and styles of training, she has been competing locally since the early days of her training. Although new to CrossFit®, she was no stranger to competing. She has since embraced the process of building her strength, her speed and improving her health. Amy has a past history with soccer, softball, track and rowing, all of which has given her a leg up (notably, the rowing experience) because of the endurance required. More than just the physical conditioning, however, Amy is appreciative of the mental toughness she has gained from the sport.

Amy earned her EMT/IV Tech after graduating from the Fire Rescue Academy and was then promoted to a Fire Specialist. She has been a firefighter with the Baltimore County Fire Department for almost 7 years and recently, was nominated to the Battalion Health Coordinator for her Department.

She takes full advantage of her opportunities for continuing her education and has earned professional qualifications including hazardous materials technician, rescue technician (vehicle extrication), high angle rescue, incident response to explosives for first responders, and more. She fully intends to contribute in any way possible to the forward progression of her department, especially in the fitness arena as she progresses to becoming an officer.

Amy is driven and with high levels of motivation, however, patience is not one of her strong suits. That drive and high motivation sometimes leave her impatient when new skills aren’t quickly mastered. She credits a 25-year veteran firefighter for teaching her to slow down and simply break down a situation into steps and proceed through them without short cuts. He went on to teach Amy that those shortcuts would only cost more in the long run and she uses that advice still to this day in her career.

This lack of patience also affected Amy in the gym and while rushing to perfect technical lifts, she suffered a torn labrum because she was trying to keep up with veteran CrossFit® athletes. Moving too fast, increasing weight too rapidly and failing to listen to her body, she learned another important lesson about what happens when shortcuts are chosen.

When she’s not at work or training, you’ll find Amy spending quality time with her family. They truly are her balance in life and she says “they contribute more than they know to my happiness. It’s a foundation that I am not willing to sacrifice. People lose family members in the blink of an eye so I never hesitate to tell them I love them.”

You might be surprised to learn that Amy is extremely passionate about visual and performing art, playing classical music on the flute and piccolo as a child and even had her artwork submitted in congressional art competitions.

AMY IS EXCITED TO: meeting international veterans of the World Police and Fire Games, as well as watching athletes from departments all over the world compete at their sport.


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Athlete Spotlight: Adam Wilson, Gastonia Police Department

Posted by on in Road To The Games

b2ap3_thumbnail_newsletter-wilson.jpgImagine growing up as a young boy, constantly being told to be careful. Not the kind of “be careful” where your mom catches you roughhousing with your sibling; this kind of “be careful” is the one where a doctor tells you not to ride a bike or play sports

A young boy told at an early age that he can’t ride a bike, play football, or play soccer seems a little unfair.

Such is the childhood endured by Adam Wilson. Born with a blockage that caused one kidney to deteriorate while impacting development of the other, “be careful” was an everyday staple of Wilson’s life.

But did he listen?

What do you think?

Against doctor’s orders, he still rode bikes and enjoyed a relatively normal childhood, just minus the sports. This routine followed him all through high school, ultimately causing the military to turn him down.

Of course, none of this would stop Adam Wilson.

Fueled by an extremely competitive attitude he knew sitting on the sidelines had gone on long enough.  He started running ultimately setting his sights on an ultra-marathon. His nephrologist insisted that he give up long distance running because of the pressure it puts on the kidneys so Wilson made a deal, “I would come right back after my ultra-marathon (the North Face Endurance Challenge in Atlanta) and if my kidney function had dropped I would stop.”   After the race, Wilson returned to the doctor and was delighted to learn that his Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) numbers had actually improved!  Scratching his head, the doctor decided that Wilson’s one kidney was more efficient than most. Deemed essentially healthy, he was given the green light to pursue whatever he wanted.

b2ap3_thumbnail_newsletter-wilsonram.jpgSince the ultra-marathon, Wilson joined the Gastonia Police Department’s SWAT team, a highly-regarded squad that has won many competitions including a world championship on ESPN. Wilson saw this as an opportunity to pursue a dream he coveted since his childhood: he wanted to be part of a team. “I’ve always had a ‘going to the extreme’ personality,” he said. “If I am going to start running, I want to run an ultra- marathon, If I am going to be a cop, I want to be SWAT. If I work out, I want to make it as crazy as possible.” SWAT is not just any team, Wilson says.  “It’s about as intense as it gets.”  And to better his performance as part of that team, and to better himself, Wilson took up CrossFit®.

He got hooked right away.  If he wasn’t competitive before, he most certainly is now. “CrossFit® is about mental toughness and who can keep pushing forward whenever you feel like quitting,” he says. “You can never be finished getting better.”

Adam Wilson will participate in next summer’s World Police & Fire Games as part of its first ever CrossFit® competition and he is going to enjoy every minute. “I know that the WPFG does not come around my area very often and I don’t know how many chances I will have in my career to take part in an event like this.  I want to make the most of it.”

With his wife, Amy, and their three-pound Yorkie, Ben, in his corner, Adam is ready to take on the world. Even with one kidney he is clearly a force with which to be reckoned.

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