NEBRASKA NICE: Clinic manager turned to CrossFit amidst pandemic

Katie James found herself going through some dark days in the early stages of the pandemic, but her days in the gym helped her navigate through them.
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 11:06 PM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - When the coronavirus pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, everything shut down with the exception of essential workers. That, of course, included anybody in the medical field, but for one Hastings resident - when things seemed the darkest, she found light through CrossFit.

Katie James is a clinic manager within the Mary Lanning Healthcare system, and when the pandemic hit her life was turned upside down. Fortunately, it was a new hobby she picked up just years before everything went on lockdown that helped carry her through some of the darkest days of the pandemic.

“I was struggling - kind of empty tank so to speak,” James said. “I was to the point where I just wanted to quit the workout. I just wanted to stop.”

It’s because the weight of the pandemic was becoming too much. Death tolls were rising while businesses were being forced to close down. On top of that, everyone was being told to isolate from each other, especially those in the medical industry like James. That’s when ReSound CrossFit co-owner Ryan Fellows

“It was pretty obvious, and it’s not the first time we’ve seen it in a workout,” Fellows said.

James is a clinic manager at Mary Lanning Healthcare in Hastings. When everything shut down back in the spring of 2020, you may remember it was the Hastings and Grand Island area that became recognized as the first super-spreader location in Nebraska outside of Omaha. During that stretch, James was told to work harder and almost certainly to work overtime.

“Our duty is to help, and that comes at all costs,” she said.

However, that’s when Fellows knew it was time to step up and help her - especially considering she’s been the one tasked with helping everyone else.

“He had told me ‘we got to win the morning so we can win the day,’ and that’s that I took with me to finish the workout,” James said.

She powered through her workout that day, but it’s the sense of community in that one moment that showed how valuable CrossFit can be.

“I think the special thing about CrossFit is the people in our community,” said ReSound CrossFit co-owner Lexi Fellows. “I know that Ryan and I have gone through hard things in life, so we’ve developed this passion and purpose to help people.”

While Ryan helped James through a tough stretch in her life, the friendship that came from that candid moment, according to both of them, will be lifelong.

“I kind of look at him as a big brother, we’re the same age, but a big brother,” James said. “He’s really good at handling my low moments I call them temper tantrums, he doesn’t, but I think we both have found a friendship through CrossFit and his coaching.”

“It means a lot that we can help people in a way that pushes them through the hardest season that they’ve known to this point in their life,” Fellows added. “What we’re doing is fulfilling a life purpose, and our purpose is to help people become better versions of themselves, ultimately so they can fulfill their purpose.”