“When I used to read fairy tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one!”
That quote isn’t from Jeffrey Adler — a man of few words, both in person and on social media — but it may describe how he's feeling as he gets ready to compete for a podium spot in the final stage of the CrossFit Games.
The above expression of wonder at suddenly being immersed in a fairy tale comes from Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, a book that shares its name with Adler’s affiliate, CrossFit Wonderland.
Adler and his coach-turned-partner, Caroline Lambray, opened the affiliate in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in October 2016.
Lambray began coaching at a different affiliate in 2013, and it was there that she met Adler in 2015. The two started dating shortly after the Open in 2015, and the transition from being Adler’s coach to his partner wasn’t exactly smooth, Lambray explains.
“We basically did not like each other at first,” she says with a laugh. “I was a new coach. I had to establish my authority, and he was like, ‘I do my own thing,’ so we had a little bit of butting heads at first.”
Lambray also playfully comments on Adler’s social media game, noting nobody knows they’re together “because he’s so quiet on Instagram.”
“He gets all these DMs,” she says smiling. “I’m like, ‘Maybe if you posted about me once in awhile people might know we’re in a relationship.’”
Lambray has been with Adler every step of the way along his CrossFit journey.
She recalls working out alongside Adler in his first CrossFit workout back in 2015: “I beat him,” she says and sighs wistfully before adding, “Back in the day!”
Both Lambray and Adler had other jobs when they opened CrossFit Wonderland together. She was finishing her PT diploma and working while trying to get the affiliate off the ground. Adler was the primary coach at the time, though he has scaled back somewhat since shifting his focus to competition training.
Since the affiliate has continued to grow, Adler and Lambray have hired two new coaches. The new team members are helping take care of everything at home while Adler and Lambray are on the road. “It takes some of the pressure off,” Lambray says.
Meanwhile, Lambray, a coach to her core, has continued to offer inspiration to her athletes and followers on social media while on site in Morgan Hill, California, for the Games.
In a post about staying on track with health and fitness goals while traveling, she concludes with a brief life lesson: “Celebrate the small victories, these are the ones that help you achieve the bigger ones.”
“Do the work,” she advises in another post. “That IS the shortcut.”
She also expresses gratitude to Adler for sharing his journey with her: “Thank you for trusting me 5 years ago when I said I could get us here,” she writes.
Adler’s fans are also behind him, pushing him and cheering him on from afar. In the words of one commenter on Instagram: “All of Canada is behind you!”
Cover photo by Tyson Oldroyd.