Liz O’Brian-CrossFit Brighton Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight: Liz O’Brian

She’s come a long way since her first WOD in January 2014 where she couldn’t imagine ever recovering enough to wash her hair without assistance! Since then Liz O’Brian has become an incredibly active member of CFB, known for her ability to rock a headband, make perfectly timed yet loving digs at our trainers and – with her husband Mike – is developing a love for fitness within her two daughters.

What do you like most about CrossFit?

I like the multitude of measurable goals available.  I love when I can go down a band on my pull-ups, or get a PR on a specific lift, or start doing push-ups off of my knees.  It’s reaching those goals that keeps me coming back even when I’m tired or busy.  A REALLY close second is the CFB community.  I love all my “whine-thirty” folks and the others I’ve met.  I love that people notice if I haven’t been there in a while.  I love being able to share this world of CrossFit with others.

What do you like least?

It’s hard to think of what I like least.  Maybe the heat and no a/c in the summer.  The blisters, tearing, and calluses aren’t my favorite thing either.

We noticed you made some changes recently for the CrossFit Open and your recent bike ride, tell us about them.

Last Fall, I made a commitment to myself that I would workout at CFB 3 times a week.  Now, if there’s a conflict with the 9:30 WOD, I get my butt out of bed to get to the 5 or 6 a.m. WOD instead of skipping that day.  In November, I started counting calories and dropped some body weight.  Starting in June, I added a 4th day of CrossFit per week along with 3 days of biking per week to get ready for Make-a-Wish Michigan’s Wish-A-Mile (WAM) bike ride.

In the CrossFit Open this year, I found that I was so much stronger than I realized, and was significantly stronger than I had been for the 2015 Open.  I was able to complete a few of the WODs Rx and I had never done that before.  I also found out that I was becoming just a TEENY bit more competitive about my ranking within CFB.

But my most significant gains were apparent during the 300 mile WAM bike ride this past July.  I had done the ride for the first time in 2013.  I was hurting after the first 20-25 miles on Day One.   I spent those 3 days miserable, just slogging through to survive until the next day.  I got a massage at every lunch break and before dinner every day and one massage therapist asked me if I had even trained for the event at all!

This year, my legs felt strong the entire ride!  My lungs never gave out on me, even on the biggest hills.  I was so well-liz3prepared that I spent most of the first day singing aloud to the music from my portable speaker.  Since I didn’t have to deal with how horrible I felt all the time, I was able to appreciate the ride for what it truly is.  It’s meant to be hard.  We are meant to suffer some.  And when I started to break down a little emotionally during miles 99-109 of Day Two, I could look past my burning neck and lower back and gain some empathy and insight into what the families of the Wish Kids go through on a daily basis.  I KNEW that I just had to get to mile 109 and I could get off that bike and run straight to the masseuse.  I had a CHOICE to continue on or to throw my bike into traffic and get a ride to the finish line.  But these families don’t have a choice whether to continue fighting; and they have no idea how much further they have to go.