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509th Bomb Wing Airman challenges mind and body

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, box jumps during the third event of the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013.  After the box jumps, she ran 800 meters around the track and performed the deadlift exercise.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, box jumps during the third event of the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013. After the box jumps, she ran 800 meters around the track and performed the deadlift exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, performs a max clean deadlift as her last event in the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013.  She placed third overall in the women’s scaled division.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, performs a max clean deadlift as her last event in the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013. She placed third overall in the women’s scaled division. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, stretches before her first event at the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013.  The challenge consisted of three event categories—deadlifts and pull-ups; 25-pound plate carry, wall-climbing, burpees and stair climbing; and kettle bell squat clean-thrusters, box jumping, 800-meter run and max-clean deadlifts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, stretches before her first event at the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013. The challenge consisted of three event categories—deadlifts and pull-ups; 25-pound plate carry, wall-climbing, burpees and stair climbing; and kettle bell squat clean-thrusters, box jumping, 800-meter run and max-clean deadlifts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, stretches before her first event at the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013. Scott placed third overall in the women’s scaled division. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, stretches before her first event at the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013. Scott placed third overall in the women’s scaled division. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, performs deadlifts at the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013.  The first event included the deadlifts and chest-to-bar pull ups. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, performs deadlifts at the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013. The first event included the deadlifts and chest-to-bar pull ups. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, shows off her blisters formed during her weighted bar and pull-ups exercises during the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, shows off her blisters formed during her weighted bar and pull-ups exercises during the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, race with 25-pound plates across a football field during the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013.  After dropping the weights, the participants ran the bleachers eight times, doing burpees between each set. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, race with 25-pound plates across a football field during the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013. After dropping the weights, the participants ran the bleachers eight times, doing burpees between each set. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, and her teammate race with 25-pound plates across a football field during the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013.  After dropping the weights, the participants ran the bleachers eight times, doing burpees between each set. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, and her teammate race with 25-pound plates across a football field during the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013. After dropping the weights, the participants ran the bleachers eight times, doing burpees between each set. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, takes a breather after finishing her second event—stair running and burpees—during the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013.  She placed third overall in the woman’s scaled division.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, takes a breather after finishing her second event—stair running and burpees—during the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013. She placed third overall in the woman’s scaled division. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, prepares to use kettle bells during the last event at the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013.  The event consisted of kettle bell squat clean thrusters, box jumping, an 800-meter run and deadlifts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)
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Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, prepares to use kettle bells during the last event at the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013. The event consisted of kettle bell squat clean thrusters, box jumping, an 800-meter run and deadlifts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, prepares to start the third event—kettle bell squat clean-thrusters, box jumping, 800-meter run and the deadlift—during the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013.  This was Scott’s first local competition and placed third overall in the women’s scaled division. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)
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Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, prepares to start the third event—kettle bell squat clean-thrusters, box jumping, 800-meter run and the deadlift—during the K-State CrossFit Challenge in Manhattan, Kan., April 27, 2013. This was Scott’s first local competition and placed third overall in the women’s scaled division. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- She pushes the snooze button three times. Despite her desire to sleep, today is one of the biggest fitness challenges of her life.

Staff Sgt. Samantha Scott, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager, is competing in her first local CrossFit competition.

Samantha wakes up Saturday, April 27, at 4:15 a.m. to begin her drive to Manhattan, Kan. for the first annual K-State CrossFit Challenge.

Scott's passion for CrossFit began in December 2012.

"I wanted to challenge myself," she says. "I was tired of the same weight-lifting and running routine. I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and learn something new."

Workouts are typically short--20 minutes or fewer--and intense, demanding all-out physical exertion. They combine different challenges using equipment such as gymnastic rings, pull-up bars, jump rope, medicine balls, kettle bells and boxes for jumping. The workouts also include weightlifting, powerlifting, running and endurance, and various exercises to facilitate mobility and recovery.

Samantha works about five to six times a week, an hour or two a day, depending on her schedule.

"I want to be able to do all the prescribed workouts at the prescribed weights," Samantha says. "I basically want to better myself, build muscle and lose the bad body fat."

Once she arrives at the gym, she prepares for the various workouts her coach has programed for her and her fellow CrossFitters to complete. She warms up, sets her station up. The coach starts the timer and Samantha and her teammates begin the intense workout.

One day's workout can consist of 50 double-unders, (in which the individual jumps rope and aims to have it pass underneath his or her feet twice in one jump), run 400 meters, complete nine deadlifts, run another 400 meters, seven deadlifts, run 400 meters, 5 deadlifts and finally finish with 50 double-unders.

There are always prescribed weights for the lifts; however CrossFitters can scale it down to what they are able to do Scott explains. This enables participants to progress, both mentally and physically.

"I always, always feel better after a workout," Samantha said. "Even if I walk in there knowing I don't feel like doing this today or I am sore, I walk out of there feeling 10 times better than when I walked in especially when I set a personal record that day."

She pushes herself to the maximum extent possible in every workout. "Can't" is not a word used in the "box" or gym.

Samantha's efforts have already paid dividends, as she placed 1,967th in the North Central Region at the CrossFit Open earlier this year.

"I have only been doing CrossFit for about six months," says Samantha. "It makes me feel awesome."

During the K-State Challenge last month, Samantha was very nervous. She had never competed in front of anyone outside of her "box."

"I only ever competed against myself," she says. "I didn't want to make a fool of myself. I actually put out how nervous I was on Facebook and I had so many responses of encouragement, it amazed me. It really helped calm my nerves."

Samantha was happy, surprised and impressed she placed third in the women's scaled division during the competition.

With her CrossFit passion comes a love-hate relationship. She loves going to the gym because of the people and her coach.

"Everyone is so inviting," she says. "Even the people I did not know. Everyone is very encouraging, willing to help and always cheering each other on. My coach keeps me motivated and moving foward."

She also learns how far to push her body and mind during her days at the box.

"It's not about who finishes first or with the most weight," Samantha says. "It is about finishing period--bettering you. Everyone cheers for you; every single person wants you to finish the complete workout."

Even though she loves her newfound community and fitness routine, it certainly still provides challenges, however.

"It does take time away from my family; however, I need that time," she says. "It is my time--time where I am not Staff Sgt. Scott, a wife or a mommy. I get to just be Samantha and focus on myself."

Although she is married to a military member, the couple works everything out to keep their family together. Everyone needs an outlet, something to do or some kind of hobby.

"We are able to work things out fairly easily," said Tech. Sgt. Roger Scott, Samantha's husband and a member of 509th Security Forces Squadron. "For me, sports is my outlet, and I believe Samantha's found hers. It is that break every couple needs."

Samantha agrees that her outlet is CrossFit.

"Knowing I have an outlet for stress and anger helps me keep calm in stressful situations I could and sometimes do deal with on a daily basis," she says. "It keeps me combat-ready, too. I have never been more fit than I am right now. I know if I was given a physical fitness test today, there is no doubt in my mind I would pass with above a 90 percent."

Roger is extremely proud of how far his wife has come, and what she has been able to accomplish in the last six months.

"I don't think I have ever seen her this motivated and driven to do something," he says. "Samantha is completely focused. I am extremely proud of her. She's done an amazing job and has come a long way since she has started."

For Samantha, the benefits of CrossFit are clear.

"CrossFit is important to me because of the way it makes me feel," Samantha says. "It makes me a better mother, wife and overall person. I am healthier and have more energy than before. My attitude has changed for the better, too."