An athlete strives in the sunlight. An athlete performs for applause. An athlete works out for fun.
A competitor does the same, but does so with spirit. A competitor will survive in the darkness. A competitor fights though the contempt of the crowd.
Kate Rawlings is a competitor.
Many enter the CrossFit realm after having experience with another sport. Rawlings is no different. She was a national level soccer phenomenon, playing for most of her young life.
When the game was over and the trophies stopped, so did Rawlings. She felt lost. She gained more than 80 pounds. When she attended her first-ever CrossFit seminar is 2008, she weighed in at just under 200 pounds.
Amazingly, she took the “Fran” victory at the seminar that day. That simple jolt reminded Rawlings of the competitor she always has been. The competitor we all know today.
Two short years later, Rawlings earned her way to the 2010 CrossFit Games by inching out Becky Conzelman for 3rd place in the region. Rawlings finished 29th at the Games that year.
The next year would be a different story.
Today, Rawlings can’t even walk. She is forced to wheel herself around her affiliate, Coca CrossFit in North Ridgefield, Ohio, due to a ruptured Achilles. She suffered this injury in early December 2011 on rep 28 of box jumps during the “Filthy 50.”
Rawlings underwent surgery to re-attach her ruptured tendon, and now, with the help of her valuable coach, friend, and box owner, Brain Yoak of CrossFit Legacy, Rawlings is crawling back to health, one foot at a time.
Most athletes would have given up after such a heinous injury, and surgery with a six-month recovery time. Rawlings recently recovered from a broken back, as well. It’s what kept her from competing for a chance at the 2011 CrossFit Games. From years of competitive soccer, coupled with no mobility, she suffered a fracture in her L-5 vertebrae.
Down, not out
When Rawlings compared her broken back in January 2011, to her ruptured Achilles in December of the same year, she says she would prefer an Achilles injury to a back injury. “At least I’m not a prisoner,” she explained of her recovery when she had to be in a back brace for 17 weeks.
“I was putting on a face after my back [injury], but those people who really know me knew how hard I was taking it. I kept thinking, ‘Am I letting my sponsors down? My members? Myself?’”
She may have questioned everything, but Rawlings is a competitor. “No matter how bad it got, I never thought of quitting,” she said.
In fact, she flourished despite her injuries. In 2011, Rawlings has grown her newly opened affiliate to 90 members, lived in a back brace, and rolled her bum leg around in a cart for the better part of a month.
Amazingly, somewhere during all this, she found time to compete. Rawlings scored a 6th place finish in October at the Beast of the East, and 2nd in November at The Firebreather Throwdown.
Rawlings makes no predictions for the upcoming 2012 season, but, “If I can come back from a broken back, I can come back from a torn Achilles,” she says. “I will compete in the Open.”
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