In CrossFit, HD Videos, Medical/Injuries

August 14, 2013

Video Article

Years before Shari Keener started training in 2005 at the original CrossFit box in Santa Cruz, Calif., she had a different addiction: meth.

“It’s astonishing to me that that is how I lived my life,” she says today. “I never think about it. At all. I never think about that. So when I get asked about it I’m like, ‘Oh my God, yeah, I did that. That’s so crazy.’”

Now a Level 1 Seminar Staff intern and a mother of two, Keener credits her cousin with saving her from certain death. She got clean by 24, and her current drug of choice is running. Through training she picked up the tools that eventually turned her into a sponsored athlete in her early days of running. Keener has run four 50-km races and hopes to one day run an ultra-marathon.

“Addicts, we yearn for something. There’s a hole. You have this energy you want to place into something,” says the CrossFit Santa Cruz Central coach. Keener, whose son is a graffiti artist, mostly coaches mountain bikers, road riders and marathoners who seek to become better at their sport through CrossFit.

“You’re going to be addicted to something in this world—be it food, alcohol, drugs, whatever it is, fill in your vice—and taking that energy and transferring it into something positive is like the only way you change that behavior,” Keener says.

Video by Jon Gilbert.

7min 41sec

HD file size: 285MB
SD mov file size: 40 MB

Please note: For smoother viewing of HD videos, please download the entire file to your hard drive before watching it (right-click and choose Save Link As...).

Additional reading: Second Chances—CrossFit Works, Part 2 by Peter Egyed and Kevin O’Malley, published Feb. 6, 2010.

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9 Comments on “Meet Shari Keener: Changing the Pattern”


wrote …

I've known Shari online since she was "That tattooed chick" in some of the earliest CF videos. In fact it was a video she was in, "CrossFit Housewives" that got me interested in CrossFit.
I knew some of this story, but had no idea what she went through.

Very glad you're still with us Shari and I now understand (some of) what drives you.


Dale Saran wrote …

Great video, Jon Gilbert, about a great lady and one of the originals. Shari was the "demo girl" at my first Level I, which happened to be the first cert CrossFit did at SQT in 2007, right after the first Games.

Shari, great job with your kids, babe. Catch you around SC.


wrote …

Worked out as a drop-in there recently. Really nice people at the SC Crossfit. Even to a total noob like me!!


wrote …

Most inspirational video out there. My moms the reason I'm able to be a strong person and do everything with my all. So proud of you mom


wrote …

I stopped drinking 16 months ago today. Like Shari, CrossFit has filled a hole in my life. Now instead of thinking about drinking, I think about my snatch technique. Thank you CrossFit. And thanks Shari for sharing your inspirational story.


Neal Thompson wrote …

Shari you are the bomb! Great success story.


Andrew Carter wrote …

What an inspirational story. I've dealt with similar issues and CrossFit has created a whole new life for me that I never could have imagined. This sport is a lifeline that is touching and changing people's lives in more than one way. It's a blessing to have the opportunity to introduce people to it and watch it it transform their lives. This is just one more testimony to how great CrossFit is. Great job Shari!!!


wrote …

I find it so brave and inspiring to know the strength in Shari just for sharing her story. Such raw honesty, truly incredible. I have heard similar stories from others in my life about the "void" CrossFit has been able to fill in their lives. Amazing story and so glad to have watched this. Thank you Shari.


wrote …

you're inspiring me!

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