At Townie you will see many faces come in and out of those doors, always sweating more as they leave than when they arrived. From the outside looking the Thomasville community may just look and see lots of running around the building as a part of our day’s workout or as a simple warm-up. They may even hear the sound of weights bouncing off the floor as they ride by. It’s the things that people don’t immediately notice, though, that make Townie truly extraordinary. It’s our community of athletes. We may seem unassuming, and may not strike the average person as someone you would call an “athlete”, but any other name would simply take away from the spirit each of us brings to this small building. One such athlete is Martha Millard. At 35 years old, Martha has an incredible story tell, much like most of our members. Most days you will find Martha at our 6:30 pm class. She’ll usually be the one you hear laughing in the background with some of our other members. When she first joined us in December of 2017, she didn’t laugh much. Martha started our Foundations class weighing 395 pounds. The idea that she would soon be able to do an air squat, burpee, or even run seemed to be a fairy tale. Up until this point, she not only struggled with her weight, but she also struggled to find any self-confidence. Before coming to Townie, she had decided that she wanted to change the person she saw in the mirror. Not only did she want to be more active for her daughter, who was around a year old at the time, but she wanted to be proud of herself again. “I always hid it well. I was sad all of the time, but you could never tell. I guess you could say I had become numb.” Martha speaks of her life before Crossfit as if she remembers it like it was yesterday. “I tried other fitness programs before I came to Townie. I was told that I was too heavy to start, and had to lose weight before I could join.” As I hear her say these things, I can’t imagine the strength it must have taken to keep fighting and continue to work on herself. That strength is what led her to Townie, and is what keeps her coming back. Tears come to her eyes as she describes the community of people that have grown around her. “The support here is overwhelming. I could never do this on my own. The people here at Townie not only make me feel like I can do anything, but they have never made me feel like I’m being judged.” As a coach, it makes me incredibly proud to watch the community of athletes empower each and every person that walks in. Martha also says that one thing about Crossfit that really attracted her was that there were no mirrors in the gym. She came in for her Foundations classes at times when she knew no one else would be in the gym other than the coach. She didn’t want to see herself, and certainly didn’t want anyone else to see her. As she struggled to get through her first workouts involving burpees and sit-ups, Jonathan, our head coach, would tell her, “Remember this moment. Soon you will be able to do more than you ever thought you could.” Tears begin to flow from her eyes again when I ask her to describe how far she’s come since she started, “When I started I could only deadlift 35 pounds. That’s it. 35 pounds. You want to know what my 1-rep max is now? 265 pounds!” When she tells you that she’s also lost over 70 pounds and 8 inches in her waistline, you want to cry along with her. Not only is she doing burpees with the rest of the class now, but she recently ran her first mile without stopping. She says that it’s the community and the support she gets at Townie that has driven her to become the person she is now. That support is what has driven her concerns away, and has given her the confidence to not only look at herself in the mirror again, but she now is able to let others watch her as well. Knowing that same support is given to each athlete that walks through our doors, she says that she believes with all of her heart that anyone can do this. Martha is certainly a fighter, in a community of fighters. She’s close to reaching her initial goal of getting her bodyweight down to 270 pounds, but now she realizes that it’s about much more than the numbers on a scale. She knows it’s about the way she feels as a human being. It’s about being able to be proud of yourself. It’s about having the confidence to try new things and striving to better than the day before. That’s what makes the journey worth it all. That’s what makes us Townie.