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Guest post by Shelli Rutland – Wodapalooza 2018

What was with all the pictures on social media?

I have always known my husband was a competitor. I have have always known that once he set his mind to something there was no changing it. He can be down right stubborn, in the best way. This weekend I watched as he won over crowds of people with this same determination.

Let me back up, we left Anderson on Tuesday night heading for Miami, FL. I prayed as we drove, for safe travels and for God to be Glorified. We did not know what we were in for. (Thanks FA Vildosola for welcoming us into your home to stay that first night. We love you!)
Back in September Jason qualified for a big Crossfit competition called Wodapolzooa and now it was time for the rubber to meet the road.
Thursday, he registered and I quickly spent all of my Christmas money on Crossfit gear. I geeked out at one vendor tent when I was shopping and noticed Allison Stall (a coach from our box) on the tags of the items. “I know her” I said aloud to no one.

We quickly realized that the community we had at our box was getting bigger. We were immediately embraced and welcomed by long time competitors. Josh Rucker, a former collegiate basketball player and bodybuilder turned Crossfit competitor rolled up like he’d known us for years. His excitement got me excited. It was getting real.

Friday, the WODs started with a race. We were up at 4:30am and got to see the sunrise over the water. I could get use to this. This is also when I realized that this was going to be harder than I had imagined. I watched as athlete after athlete crossed the finish with no sign of Jason. He ended up towards the bottom on this event, but I noticed something else. Michael Mills and Wesley Hamilton (others in his division) rolled back on to the course. They went back and cheered Jason on, rolling with him, encouraging him as he finished.

Next was the first event on Flagler, the main stage of the event. I worked my way through the crowd and even asked some people if I could slide in in front of Jason’s lane. “That’s my husband” I exclaimed. WOD two starts and Jason gets to work but he quickly fell behind. The others finished and started to cheer him on again. This is when I noticed it, the crowd around all cheering for Jason.

Saturday meant 2 more WODs. The second of them being a 400 meter open water swim in the ocean. The first one brought us to “the hill” and I watched again, Jason’s determination was never ending. For this workout he had to get out of his chair and he had a lot of difficulty getting back into his chair. He lost close to 5 minutes on this transition. I watched in amazement as my husband dragged his body, all arms across the stage to finish the WOD with time to spare in 2nd place. This was getting fun, but we have work left to do. I thought, I couldn’t be prouder of this man.

Then the swim…Jason can swim with no problem, and he elected to go with no life jacket. Crawling across the sand sent his legs into spasms and the temperature change into the water is a shock to the system for someone with MS, but still he finished strong.

WOD after WOD the Crossfit community, the people that were competing, rallied around him, even got in his face at times, encouraging him. The crowd cheered him and I noticed something else, a few tears were shed in that same crowd as they realized he wasn’t going to stop until the timer ended. The Wodapalooza liaison in his group told Jason that it was one of the most determined performances that he had ever seen at Wodapalooza.

At the final event Sunday, Jason finished out strong by finishing his final WOD in second place (just seconds out of first) which resulted in a podium finish in 3rd place.
This weekend, friendships were formed, memories were made, and this is only the beginning. I could not be prouder of this man I call my husband. I can not wait to see God work through him as several relationships and encounters at Wodapalooza have already started to produce opportunities for God to use Jason in this community in big ways.

Jason said he loves you all!

-Shelli

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