April 20, 2018  •  4 Comments


April 20th  2018

Location: Crossfit Harrisburg

Nikon D750  24-70mm Tamron G2 2.8 ... 70-200mm Tamron G2 2.8  and 2 Einstein 640's Paul C Buff



      Been a long time overdue but back at it with another inspirational athlete. This particulair athlete is part of my home box family. Trust me ...I LOVE shooting all athletes but when its someone from my home box  it becomes extra special. I was already a coach at CFH when Kate joined but when I first met her I knew she was going to an amazing athlete. Over the years she has since become a wife, mother, coach and Manager at CFH. I have captured Kate numerous times throughout the years during WODs and some events however this one was 100x more personal.  I was completely honored that she allowed me to be involved with sharing her story.... So lets gets started.... Here is Kate's journey.... TRUST ME.. READ IT ALL!!!!!

1.  How long have you been doing CrossFit?


I have been doing CrossFit for just over six years.  I’ve spent five of the six at CrossFit Harrisburg, three as a coach and two as an athlete.



2.  What brought you to CrossFit?


CrossFit means so much to me.  CrossFit is what I needed, when I needed it.  Specifically, I began because a co-worker told me about it. She knew the owners of a local CrossFit gym near the school where we worked together.  At the time I was living in the Westchester, NY area, which was about six hours from my hometown of Rochester, NY.  I lived in that area for three years, and one of them was the worst year of my life.

I often am asked why I moved to Charlotte, and 99.9% of the time I say what is the believable (and partly true) answer that I was trying to get away from snow.  The truth is, I was trying to get away from a lot more than that.  I moved to Charlotte to start my life over. 

Before I started CrossFit, I was in a very hard, and dark place in my life.  So hard and dark and some of it is honestly a total blur.  As I said, I was living far away from my hometown, because my then husband got a job in that area.  We moved down there somewhat unexpectedly, and though he and I didn’t love the area, it was an amazing opportunity for him so of course I went along!  I sold my house I owned before he and I dated, quit my job and helped him chase his dreams.  Two years after moving, I didn’t expect to have our marriage end.  I was completely shell-shocked.  I hated everything about living in that area, and hated it more when I was living there on my own as he and I tried to hash things out.

 I moved out of our house, got my own teeny apartment with my dog and my life began to start going through the motions.  Everything got really hard.  Going to work was hard.  I struggled to make it in every day to something that I used to really love.  I started closing doors to anyone close to me including family and close friends who were back home.  I had no one in the area I was living in except him and he was no longer part of my life.  I had no friends.  I went through a period of 5-6 months when I didn’t speak to many or respond to many people though they tried to reach out. People were worried about me.  I went to try and get help from a therapist but wouldn’t open up like you’re supposed to when you are in therapy.  She medicated me for anxiety and depression and though I continued to meet with her, I kept not opening up so I didn’t get any better.  I was still on medication and she kept tweaking it, but nothing changed.  I was a straight zombie, and looking back I truly believe the medication made it worse.   When I went to work, I would come home and go straight to bed until the next day (remind you I was a teacher and got out around 3:30).  I would either eat a ton of food or no food before going to bed, it really depended on the day.  I was incredibly unhealthy, inside and out.  This after being a college basketball player, group fitness instructor, personal trainer and attempting to currently function as a physical education teacher.  I totally stopped all physical activity, and everything that I enjoyed.

Why would I do this?  I was SO ashamed at what was going on in my life.  I was embarrassed, I couldn’t believe I was already getting divorced in my 20s (my 30th birthday was upcoming).  I literally didn’t look at myself in the mirror for a very long time, no exaggeration.  I remember running by mirrors so I didn’t have to see my reflection.  I felt like it was literally the end of the world.  This super low part lasted around 2 months.  One of my lowest points was when I was driving and talking to one of my still best friends on the phone (one of the only people I would talk to about anything) and she thought I was going to crash my car because I was crying hysterically and trying to drive.  That was when it was the worst of the worst.  That’s where it’s all really blurry, and this is when I knew something had to change or I really didn’t know what was going to happen to me.  I was scared.  

Enter CrossFit.  I finally went to try what my co-worker kept suggesting I’d try.  I went alone and had a 1:1 crash course appointment with one of the owners.  After that class I had no idea what I was doing but I decided I liked it and I’d try it.  After a few weeks I was totally hooked.  I started craving going to the box and became obsessed with CrossFit, quick.  When I stepped into the box nothing else mattered besides what was in front of me.  I was focused.  I felt like I was coming back to being myself again.  I would count down the moments until I could be back.  I got off my medication.  Not saying I’d recommend doing the following, but I decided to go cold turkey off of the prescribed anxiety and depression medication.  I had read about how you were supposed to do that slowly, but that stuff made me a totally different person, and it was time.  I carved out a weekend where I could just be at home while my body could deal with it no longer trying to regulate things.  It was a long weekend of constant headaches and my head buzzing but I was off the medication. 

CrossFit was now my drug.  I couldn’t do a lot of the things we did at CrossFit at first but I really wasn’t worried about that!  I wasn’t the best, but I loved how it pushed me to be my best!  There were so many nice people at the box, both members and coaches, who supported me and didn’t care about my faults or my past.  I all of a sudden had friends which I never had where I lived.  People that wanted me to do well and I felt like it was what I was missing all along.  It was exactly what I needed, when I needed it.  That place and those people helped me more than they will ever probably know.

After doing CrossFit for about 3 months I decided it was time for me to move on from that area.  I was only there because of something that was in the past, and it was time!  The choice was move home to Rochester, or somewhere else.  That’s where the snow decision came in!  I really believe CrossFit gave me the courage and self-confidence to even think about doing this.  I was about to turn 30, and was ready for a change.  I applied to some jobs, got one, and moved totally alone to Charlotte.  My dad drove me down with all of my stuff and my dog, and when he flew back to Rochester I was like, well I guess this is home now!  I really didn’t know anyone, didn’t know much about Charlotte but I knew two things- the sun shined more than New York and I knew there were CrossFit gyms there.  I got a roommate, found a box and an apartment outside of uptown and started my chapter two.  Sometimes it’s so hard to believe that was even my life- I can’t believe that I ever got to that point in life- but I’m proof that life goes on!  Six months after living in Charlotte I met my now husband.  He and I moved out to the burbs, and now I have a 21 month old, and we have our own little world!  The rest is history!  CrossFit 110% got me where I am mentally today, and I am forever grateful, which is why I try to return the favor as a coach at CrossFit Harrisburg.

3.  What do you enjoy most about being at CrossFit Harrisburg?


CrossFit Harrisburg is my home!  I have been to boxes all over the US as well as in other countries, and there’s nothing like walking back into CFH.  Managing CFH has been a new exciting challenge that I have been loving!  I may be there more that I’m at my own house, but it’s the people that make me keep coming back.  We don’t take things too seriously, we have fun, we WOD hard and we make one another better.  We are all there to become both better people and athletes.  Thank you, athletes of CFH!


4.  What would you tell others who are thinking of trying CrossFit?


Don’t be scared!  Ask questions.  Be patient. Don’t try to be a hero.  Embrace the suck.  IT WILL CHANGE YOU, IF YOU LET IT.


5.  What motivates you?


My son Brooks, motivates me!  I want to be a fit mom for him!  The motivation of two little eyes are more than you can ever imagine before having a child.  Initially after my pregnancy, my motivation was to get back to pre-baby shape regarding conditioning, performance and aesthetics.  Now, my motivation is to smash everything I was able to do before baby and to keep improving!


Amazing story. How motivating is it  to read someones testimony of how Crossfit changed their life? After reading Kate's responses I developed a whole other respect for her. Of course I already had a ton of respect for her but to see how far she has come is motivating on so many levels. My hope is that someone reads Kate's story and finds a way to relate and possibly push them in the right direction. Of course this blog is about Kate's journey but it is also about some dope photos... SO LETS GET TO IT!!!!!



I set up using 2 Einstein 640 strobes. One on a boom arm and C-stand with a PLM Paul C Buff Umbrella. The other would be a kick light in the back left with no modifier.  I was aware of all the Kate could do, so we started off with some bar work. Snatches it was!!!!


  The transition was super smooth going into cleans. Rather than focus on the actual pull of cleans I wanted to capture Kate in her quarter squat and then hitting some Push and Split Jerks!!!! She definitely brought her "A" game!!!


For those who have seen my latest sessions, you know I have been getting back to using strobes outside. I took full advantage again. We took a quick walk out the bay doors and set up. First I will express my frustration with the functioning of my wireless triggers. Kate can attest to this.... I wasn't happy... Sometimes they worked.. Sometimes they didnt. Needless to say... I ordered a Cyber Commander and receivers from Paul C Buff directly after this shoot!!!!! ..... Cant wait for that delivery!!!!  #PayForReliableEquipment.... 


Either way I was able to capture Kate for a few DB snatches.



Loved that Kate brought a ton of clothes which gave us plenty of options. We moved back indoors after my continued frustration with my Pixel King wireless triggers. Started with some posed KB and some swings.


It was then time to get a little Toes to Bar action. Over the years Kate has gotten better and better with GYMNASTY movements. Love witnessing all the work she has put in!!! 




We wrapped up with a few Mother and Son shots. Everyone at CFH absolutely loves Brooks. This kid has the biggest personality I have ever seen in a kid. Not to mention he loves to smile. He has even been featured on the @crossfitgames Instagram page during the Open hitting some DB snatches.  Only reason I didn't include that photo below of Brooks and Kate snatching is because I submitted to @crossfit. Hopefully we will get a hit.. FINGERS CROSSED!!!! 


There really isn't enough that I can say in regards to Kate. I am positive that majority of you who read about her journey, had absolutely no idea how far she has come. Crossfit Harrisburg is beyond blessed to have Kate, her husband Frank and of course Brooks as part of the family. Kate is doing an amazing job with the social media game and she  represents CFH so well. I highly recommend that all of you follow Kate on IG @cfmamaofbrooks. She has also stepped up her nutrition game to another level.. which clearly shows.  Once again I want to thank all my supporters for taking the time to read my blogs and following my passion for photography and fitness. 


GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!! 3..2..1..Shoot!!!






Matt A(non-registered)
What an amazing story from an amazing person!! Wonderful post!!
Monica Haussmann(non-registered)
Wow. What a great history. And excellent pictures . Great job , Bruce BAW Photography and Kate , excelente blog!!
James Stewart(non-registered)
Nice work Bruce! Great story!
Kathy Melton(non-registered)
Awesome story and more awesome coach and person. Excellent pictures!
The total package!
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