Dear Jason Surowiec,
When I left Japan back in February of this year, I felt like I didn’t really say thank you enough or really show my appreciation for the enormous impact you’ve had on my life. Even when I first met you at HSL-40 at Mayport, FL, I saw what an extremely positive and supportive individual you were. And it was at that point that I had already developed my ridiculous fear of disappointing you.
I was super excited when I found out you were going to be moving out to HSL-51 in Japan. With such a small, close-knit society, it is always nice to have someone with a positive outlook show up when you live in a fishbowl.
Fast forward to March 2011 and you find us forward deployed to Misawa to help out with the tsunami disaster relief efforts. I reflect on this time period for two reasons:
#1. It was the first time I saw you with your shirt off. Clearly, I like the girls, but it was probably the first time I realized how fit you were. I remember thinking to myself, “That is the kind of fitness I want for myself.” You even offered to take me to the gym with you which leads me to #2.
#2. Looking back a little more clearly, it might have been my first taste of CrossFit…. had I gone. I was so scared and intimidated by what CrossFit MIGHT have meant that I didn’t go. But you invited me. And that stuck with me. You weren’t forceful or obnoxious about it. You let me figure things out in my own time. With hindsight being 20/20, I wish I would have asked more questions. I remember you mentioned pull-ups, and I ran away with my tail between my legs.
These two things combined left me with a lot to think about. I laugh as I think about what I was eating and drinking while we were in Misawa. A few beers every night. I was eating cereal like it was going out of style. There was lots of crap from the mini-mart next to the Q we were staying in. And then they re-opened the Burger King. Yikes.
It took my until mid June of 2011 for me to actually come and talk to you about making a change. In fact, it was 18 June 2011. You gave me the link to Mark’s Daily Apple.com, and within a few hours, I had purchased Primal Blueprint off of his website. I devoured that book pretty quickly, and it was certainly the beginning of my critical examination of conventional wisdom, the food pyramid or the plate, etc. And even with this, you gave me a simple website and let me discover my own way. It wasn’t until 19 July that Jaime and I came to our first CrossFit class. We actually owe that one to Kelly Hermann. She got Jaime to go, and that got me to go. But we were hooked after the first class. Our first coaches were Cindy Larsen and Michelle Munroe McGrevy have yet to be topped by any box we have been to. The camaraderie and community of the Atsugi CrossFit folks has left a high bar that we are still trying to find. And every time Jaime and I would show up, your face would light up and you were extremely welcoming. It is one of the things that kept us coming back.
And here we are in October of 2012. Jaime and I are running a half-marathon this weekend as preparation for a full marathon in December. We are CrossFit’ing regularly at our local box and even visiting boxes while we are on the road. I have achieved my Level One Trainer Certificate and have found I want more of the same. You have had such a positive impact on my life and by extension, Jaime’s. I know I am not the only person you have affected this way. And I can never say thank you enough. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I hope that one day I can find a way to repay you!