November Member of the Month: Brent Abrahamsen!

Brent-MOTM-Web_TAustin-Photography Each month, I look forward to reading the story of the member we picked as Member of the Month. It’s so cool to read and learn more about the amazing members we have here at Cascade. It always reminds me of how lucky we are to be surrounded by such an awesome group of people and much you all truly enrich our lives. I learn something from each story and definitely have from this one.  

We couldn’t be luckier to have Brent as one of our members. Talk about one of the nicest people you will ever meet. His humility, ability to laugh at himself, and complete lack of ego, are some of the main reasons we picked him as Member of the Month. But also, he is freaking strong and one of the best rowers at Cascade...Brent is a stud. He’s actually so studly, you’ll read about how he completed an Ironman. I’ve never had the slightest urge to ever want to do something like that, but I have insane respect for someone who can accomplish that. Absolutely incredible.

Reading Brent’s story, embodies why we picked him as Member of the Month. We are truly lucky to have Brent as a part of this community, as well as his boys who make appearances at the gym from time to time.

Here is his write-up.

Hi everyone!  First of all, I want to applaud Tenny, Kyle and Nick for having the courage to start Cascade Crossfit as well as the energy, enthusiasm and perseverance to keep it going and make continual adjustments and improvements.  They have created a safe and wonderful place filled with amazing trainers and athletes.  Thank you so much for selecting me as the member of the month for November.  It is always so fun and inspiring to read other members’ profiles and learn more about their story.  As one of the elder athletes at CCF, my story is a bit longer than most, so I will try to keep it succinct!

I was a successful high school athlete that participated in water polo, basketball and swimming.  I played a couple of years on the USC JV water polo team before hanging up my Speedo.  After college, I got married, fathered 3 boys, focused on my career and fell into a state of physical disrepair.  I still thought of myself as an athlete, but I would get winded chasing my kids around the swing set.

I decided I needed to get into shape, so of course I went out and bought a treadmill for the garage.  I ran on it for about 8 minutes, got a little tired, set my feet on the edges to rest and then woke up with the treadmill whizzing by my ear as I lay in a crumpled mess on my garage floor.  Luckily I only had a couple of abrasions on my knees,  a little lump on my head and a badly bruised ego.   The incident really opened my eyes to the stark truth about my fitness level.

I’m a competitive guy, so I figured I would try triathlons.  I trained for one that catered to newcomers that happened to coincide with our neighborhood trip to Lake Chelan.  I ended up getting second place and I was hooked!  I competed in triathlons for several years, gradually increasing the number and length of the races I would participate in each year.  I ultimately ended up doing an Ironman when I turned 40 which (despite being one of the coolest things I’ve ever done) is something that I never want to do again.

I was burned out after all the training and took “some time” off.   The months rolled by and in the following year my wife passed out and hit her head on a table while on a girl’s trip to New Orleans.  Despite my initial thought that she was just having a little too much fun, it turned out she had a 12 cm in diameter mass in her chest that was causing swelling around her heart.  Lymphoma.  She fought and received the best care and treatments available for two years, but ultimately succumbed to the disease in February of 2010.

The next couple of years were a blur.  I’d try to get to the gym and swim and do spin class as regularly as possible, but it was difficult while working and managing the lives of 3 active boys all on my own.  There was this one spin friend though that had disappeared from class but would show up from time to time in the weight room.  It was obvious she had transformed her body noticeably for the better.  In speaking with her, it turns out she was doing crossfit.

I thought, “What the heck, I’ll give crossfit a shot.”  I initially started out at another crossfit gym, but when my initial membership expired, I couldn’t get them to call me back to renew.  The workouts were challenging and rewarding.   I liked the “one hour” format and the initial results that I was getting were encouraging, but I never really felt welcome there and this was just another sign that maybe it wasn’t the place for me.   After taking the summer off, I looked around and saw that CCF was nearby and took the leap to walk through their doors and give it a try.  I can’t believe that was over three years ago now.  I knew after that first workout that it was the place for me and I’ve never regretted it.

The trainers and athletes make you feel welcome from the minute you arrive.  They push you hard with their programming, but are always willing to work on the modifications necessary to keep you safe based on your fitness and skill level.  While I have occasionally entertained thoughts of competing outside of the gym, my goal thus far has been to work hard and be safe so that I can make it back to the gym the following day.  The results have been perfect for me.  My “seasoned” body has been able to do some really fun things in my mid to late 40’s that most people my age wouldn’t dream of attempting, including spending a week at a Costa Rican surf camp and hiking the mountains of the Colombian jungle for 4 days to see the Lost City.  

As I’ve painfully learned, life is precious and for living.  Every. Single. Day.  I am so grateful to CCF for all that it has done for me and the CCF community to make the quality of our lives better.