1.Tell us about yourself, your family, your occupation, hobbies/interests.
I grew up in the small town of Oulu, WI. Number 4 of 6 children, my closest sibling in age was my brother who was 4 years older, who I greatly esteemed and who loved all things sports and fitness. Because I loved spending time with him (and didn’t want to play by myself all the time), I learned to love sports and fitness, too. I haven’t thought of it until now, but I owe him a great debt of gratitude for instilling in me this passion as I now see what a gift it is.
At the age of 9, I met the boy who would become my future husband. When I was 12, I wrote in my diary that I wanted to marry him. At 18 we dated, and with his encouragement, patience, and prayers, I converted to Catholicism. At 20 we wed, and we just celebrated 20 years of marriage last year – throughout which, we’ve been blessed with 8 lovely and lively children. Sort of has the makings of a Hallmark movie, doesn’t it? 😊
We moved to Kansas in 2009 to live in this wonderful Catholic community and send our children to SMA and I can say in all honestly, there’s no place I’d rather be – I love it here.
I have taken on a few endeavors outside of my normal duties – I got my CrossFit L1 certification two years ago and love coaching at CrossFit Benedictus. I’m also pursuing my Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism coaching certification, something I took a deeper interest in after experiencing my first CrossFit pregnancy this past year.
My hobbies include all things home décor. I love taking on makeover projects, transforming spaces to be functional and beautiful, as well as learning new skills with power tools along the way.
2. When did you start CrossFitting? Why did you start? Why do you continue now?
I was first introduced to CrossFit by my husband, who had joined a few years before my journey began. He thought I would enjoy it, but due to some negative pre-conceived ideas I had about it, I felt certain it wasn’t for me.
However, that all changed after attending a CrossFit banquet in January 2019, after hearing Fr. Rutledge speak about the correlation between CrossFit and the spiritual life and how the former can help you improve in the latter. I had been asking God for guidance to help me improve in my faith and then along comes a priest giving me a tool that would help. I took it as a sign and jumped into the next on-ramp. I’m sure stranger answers have been given to prayers, although joining CrossFit to improve my spiritual life certainly wasn’t what I was expecting.
I continue because the gains I receive, mentally, physically, and spiritually, bless my life every day. That and my mind loves when it comes across the absolute best solutions to things, which CrossFit has proven to be in the realm of fitness. The science behind its creation sets it apart from any other fitness program.
3. Do you remember your first WOD? What were your thoughts after your first WOD?
I had to look up the name, Sunset Strip, but the movement will never escape my memory. OHS. My squat sucked and I had poor shoulder mobility, so basically it was a recipe for an OHS disaster.
The coach tried to correct me what felt like a million a few times but to no avail and for safety reasons had me perform the movement with a PVC pipe instead of a bar. It was definitely the right decision, but I was mortified. Right out of the gate and my ego did a faceplant. It was all I could do not to cry during that WoD. After the WoD… DOMS, schmoms, it was my pride that was hurting. But here again… one of my CrossFit goals I had written in my profile prior to this was to grow in humility and take correction better. Clearly God wasted no time offering me an opportunity to practice both.
4. What do you enjoy most about CrossFit?
It’s too hard to single out one thing as the “most”.
-I love the class atmosphere.
-I love having coaches there to make sure I’m doing the movement correctly.
-I love how all I need to do is show up and the rest of the decision making is done for me.
-I love that the workouts change constantly making boredom impossible.
-I love how I’ve been in it for years and still have WoDs that hit me blindsided and leave me sore for days… just to name a few.
5. What is your proudest CrossFit moment?
Getting my first strict pull-up remains one of my proudest moments. It was my first big win. I remember working very hard in class, after class and out of class to build the strength to get my chin over the bar and when I did, I was ecstatic! It suddenly made every other goal seem possible.
6. What is your favorite movement or lift? What is your least favorite?
Oddly enough, the OHS is now my favorite movement. Followed by squat snatches/squat cleans and wallballs.
My least favorite, hands down, is the SDHP. That movement is so fatiguing to me. Running and heavy deadlifts are close seconds.
7. Have you had one or two challenging CrossFit goals that you've achieved recently? What are your current goals and how close are you to reaching them?
My most recent CrossFit goal was to be smart with my movements throughout my pregnancy – and yes, it was very challenging! I had to turn off “athlete brain” (that need to push myself hard and compete), and to modify my movements and my mental approach to support my changing body and to set myself up for the best postpartum possible. It wasn’t easy seeing the movements I’d worked so hard to achieve slowly dissolve from my repertoire – definitely a mental WoD of sorts - but I feel I accomplished it. And hello – a beautiful baby – 1000% worth it!!
My goal over the course of the next 12 months is to slowly work my way back to being able to do those movements again – especially the muscle up which I’d gotten to shortly before becoming pregnant but hadn’t perfected the mechanics of. I’ll break it down into smaller goals along the way, but that’s my big picture goal.
8. What makes CrossFit different from other fitness programs that you might have tried in the past?
Um… almost everything!
-I’d never had a coach of any sorts (outside of sports I participated in) – which with their teaching and correcting, sets you up for success.
-I’d never had a program that tracks results, which is more motivating than I can say – it’s proof of progress made.
-I’d never done Olympic lifting before and it’s so much fun!
-I’d never had a program that varies so much in movements and intensity – and being designed the way it is, it has me exercising for shorter amounts of time than I did when doing exercise videos or going to the Globo-gym, yet I’ve gotten better results because the time is used with greater efficiency.
9. What impact has CrossFit Benedictus had on your life, in and out of the gym?
In the gym, CrossFit Benedictus has shown me that the limitations, the mental and physical barriers I had set on myself were my own doing. It’s proven that I am capable of more than I think and that I can push harder and longer through discomfort than I knew. It offers me plenty of opportunities to feel accomplished, to practice humility and it provides a reminder that disappointments do not equal failure. And because we begin each class with a prayer, it gives those discomforts, sufferings, and disappointments a higher purpose - an eternal one - which keeps me going when everything in me wants to stop.
Out of the gym, it helps me carry those same lessons learned in the gym and apply them to other endeavors in life. Also, CFB has introduced me to so many wonderful people that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get to know otherwise and all their friendships have added joy in my life!
10. Tell us about your nutrition and how it has changed, if any, since starting CrossFit?
My nutrition hasn’t changed much. I learned about the THM eating lifestyle prior to CrossFit (fueling the body with healthy fats, protein and complex carbs while avoiding refined grains, sugar, and processed food) and I try to follow it for the most part.
11. If you could write a WOD for the classes to do, what would it look like?
Two Part WoD
200m Double KB Farmers Carry
15 Double KB Front Squats
60 second cumulative hang
M: 40/35/30 W: 30/25/20
Athlete takes 5 minute rest after completing Pt. 1 – then:
7 minutes to determine 1RM hang squat clean
Two Scores. Pt. 1 is for time, Pt. 2 is weight of heaviest successful clean
12. What advice do you have for others about the importance of the dedication of taking care of yourself, of investing in yourself?
“Control what you can control and surrender to the rest” is a quote I think is very appropriate when it comes to the importance of taking care of ourselves. Life is full of little (and sometimes really big) crosses that we have to carry every day. While we can’t control everything the day will bring, we can control our health to the best of our ability (exercising, eating well), which will make us better fit to take on whatever else comes our way.
As for investing in oneself, I think of time over money as it’s more often the excuse for not exercising. In such, spending 2%-4% of one’s week (that’s attending 3 classes per week + drive time) to feel strong and energized 100% of the time… I’m no Charles Schwab, but to me that’s a no-brainer.
13. What advice would you give to someone new to CrossFit or who is thinking about giving it a try?
First off, in case nobody has told you lately, you are important. Your health and wellbeing are of great value (just ask anyone who is burdened with sickness or disease). You are worth the time, effort, and expense it takes to be strong and healthy.
Second, you don’t know what you don’t know. I won’t say it’s not intimidating at first glance, but don’t assume you won’t like CrossFit or that it’s not for you until you check it out and try it for yourself (speaking from experience).
Third, be patient with yourself. Don’t go in expecting to be able to do the movements like seasoned athletes right out of onramp (ahem…speaking from experience again). The movements and mechanics take time and practice. Even the seasoned athletes have things to improve on.
Forth, everything is infinitely scalable, and scaling does not make it less worthwhile. Every athlete working at their capacity is a wonderful thing.
and Fifth, be humble and coachable. It puts you on the fastest track to making gains.
14. Open Forum:
God for this answered prayer, which has been a blessing to me in more ways than I can say.
My best friend and loving husband, Patrick, for letting me join when I was ready, for never saying “I told you so” when you had every right to, and for being so supportive in all the fun and sometimes crazy things I take on.
To the Carrolls, the Thomases, and the McDonalds for starting and continuing this fine establishment – helping improve the health and fitness trajectory for so many in our community.
To the coaches for your time, dedication, and passion that you share with us.
To my fellow athletes who make every workout so much more enjoyable. As Doc reminds us, I would not persevere through this on my own.