Athlete of the Month

March 2014 – Mikaela Pena

Mikaela’s Story:
I always had enjoyed being really active and never slowing down until 2010 hit me like a brick wall. In 2010, I started not being able to control my legs, I gained a lot of weight, and my back started hurting. I woke up one morning and couldn’t feel the lower half of my body. My husband drove me to the ER to find out I had a grapefruit sized tumor sitting on my spine. Fortunately, they were able to get clean margins, but in order to do that I lost about half of my tailbone and the complete use of my legs. Finally, in 2012, I started to walk or limp again. Because of the cut nerves, I would be walking and a misfire would cause my leg to stop working causing me to fall. I got really used to falling down. My physical therapist told me I’d be better off accepting my limitations and investing in a walker and a cane. I didn’t like their diagnosis so I got a second opinion. I called West Metro Crossfit on January 2nd where Sol told me to give him 3 months. Here at WMCF, they don’t tell you that you can’t do something. Instead, they teach you how to modify it until you’re able to do it. They never belittle you because you’re not the fastest or strongest. Instead, they encourage you to do the best you can so you can achieve your personal goals.
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An update on Mikaela’s progress:
Since coming to WMCF in January Mikaela has grown leaps and bounds in her fitness.  When she first started she had trouble just warming up, in which she would regularly fall down during various stretches.  At this time our focus was on activation of her left hip to increase her motor control of her leg.  I remember having to hold Mikaela’s hand during step ups so she wouldn’t fall.  Now, not only can Mikaela do step ups but she recently got a 14″ box jump.  In addition, she is running in workouts, olympic lifting, and anything else we throw at her.  Mikaela’s determination, stubbornness, and hard work have gotten her results she never thought possible.  We are so lucky to have such an incredible athlete and inspiration in our community!

February 2014 – Chris Morrison

Chris Morrison

A little about Chris:

How long have you been doing CrossFit?
I’ve been doing CrossFit for about a year
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Having started CrossFit on your own, what made you come to WMCF?
I injured myself a few times trying to do some of the olympic/power lifts and decided some formal instruction was needed. Thanks to the great coaching, I’ve been injury free (at least lifting related injuries) since I began at WMCF.
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What is your favorite and least favorite WOD and why?
The mental toughness required to dig deep, shut off the governor and keep going when your body is screaming for you to stop and quit is what I like best about Crossfit.  Pushing through mental and physical boundaries helps you learn what you’re really made of and that gives you strength in all aspects of life.  With that said, my favorite WOD’s are the ones that are hardest for me.  Those are also my least favorite WOD’s because they’re so tough and exhausting.  I really like Fran and I really hate Karen.  Mentally, Fran gets me pumped up.  I go in thinking that I am going to simply crush the workout.  Mentally, Karen feels like survival.  I just want to make it to the other side without crying.  Full disclosure, I’ve only done Karen once.  That was after doing 5 rounds of Cindy, followed by Randy and then right into Karen during the Survival of the Fittest Comp. I was only able to finish 123 of the wallballs before the time cap.  So, if you want to get technical I’ve never done Karen…but she still makes my palms sweat a little thinking about her.
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Outside of CrossFit, what are your hobbies?
I love spending time outdoors.  In no particular order I enjoy skiing, climbing, kayaking, biking and hunting and fishing.  I also really enjoy traveling and the best is being able to combine travel with outdoor adventure
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Where is the most awesome place you have ever been?
I’ve been lucky to have done quite a bit of travel so its hard to pick one.  But the place that sticks in my mind is the Fairy Meadow hut in central British Colombia.  Its a back country hut accessible only by helicopter in the winter time.  So you get dropped off with your ski gear and provisions and a week later the bird comes back and picks you up. We spent the week earning our turns traversing glaciers, hiking up the mountains skiing back down.  The scale of the mountains in BC is breathtaking, the snow is amazing…all around a really challenging and fun adventure with a great group of friends.
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If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
I feel like I should say BC or Chile or Peru or somewhere to knock off one of the adventures on the bucket list.  But, if I could get on a plane right now I’d go to Hanalei Bay in Kauai.  I’d grab a long board, a six pack, a towel and a book and just chill on the beach.
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Tell us something interesting about you.
Not directly about me but a cool piece of family history.   My Grandfather used to go hunting with Ernest Hemmingway in Sun Valley, ID.  He was the chef at the lodge Hemmingway frequented in the 30′s.
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What advice would you give a newbie to WMCF?
1) Check your ego at the door and forget about “Rx”.  Rx is NOT the point of Crossfit.  The point is to get fitter, stronger and have fun.  Rx is a handy benchmark and programming tool and often a great goal for workouts; but its not one size fits all.  Tailor the workout to YOUR abilities and push yourself based on YOUR thresholds. Sometimes this requires swallowing your pride and scaling down.  As long as you lay it all out there based on YOUR standards you’ll keep making progress.
2) Set fitness/health goals and achieve them. It will give purpose to your workout regime.  Having fun and spending time with a cool group of people is a legitimate goal!
3) Be a consumer of your health and fitness.  Do your own research, ask “why” and figure out what works best for you.
4) Perfect practice makes perfect.

December 2013 – Shelly Mayo

Shelly1

A little about Shelly:

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

I started in July

Why did you decide to give CrossFit a try?

I felt like I was going backwards on the goals I had accomplished the previous year and needed to do something to get back on track.  I kept seeing pictures of my friend Melissa on Facebook being badass and I wanted to see what it was all about.

What is your proudest accomplishment in the gym?

Seeing my strength improve; especially my Back Squat

What are your biggest goals in the gym right now?

I want to be able to Back Squat 100#s and do a Pull-up with no bands

Do you have any pets? Names? Tell me something about them.

We just rescued a dog for Christmas!  His name is Hank.  Besides having really stinky farts he is a very well trained, loving dog.  We are so happy to have him as part of the family.

What is something nobody at the gym knows about you?

I’m an EMT that passes out when I get my own blood drawn.

What advice would you give to someone just starting CrossFit?

Don’t wait to get started, don’t be afraid.  It’s not as scary as the internet makes it look.  Good coaches know how to push you to the right level.

What is your favorite thing about WMCF?

The gym is really supportive.  The other athletes treat you like family from day one.

November 2013 – Emily and Wade Evans

EmilyWadeA little about Emily and Wade:

How long have you been doing CrossFit? 

3 Months

 What/Who got you into CrossFit? 

Wade: Emily got me into it, blame her.

Emily: I was sick of my usual workout, and wanted something more challenging/interesting. I blame the Internet, and Crossfit-doing friends who look AMAZING!

 

What is your favorite exercise?

Emily –  Deadlifts

Wade –  Olympic Lifting

 Have you ever not come because of what was in the WOD?

Emily –  Absolutely not. Although, it helps to have a live-in workout buddy who would never let you get away with that crap.

Wade – Never, I try not to read the WOD before I come, but Emily usually tells me anyways.

 Do you have any pets?  If so, types, names, how long?

We have an English Mastiff named Daisy. We adopted her last year and have spoiled her rotten ever since.

Daisy (2)

 What is your favorite song to workout to?

Emily –  Wham! – Last Christmas (don’t judge)

Wade – I don’t have any particular song, but I tend to prefer hard rock.

 What is something no one at the gym knows about you?

Emily –  I can wiggle my eyeballs.

Wade – I’ve got a private pilot license, but I don’t get to fly as often as I would like too.

 What advice would you give someone thinking about trying CrossFit?

Wade: Do it, it’ll hurt the first week or so, but it is worth it

Emily: All you need to do is get yourself in the door for that first work-out. After that, it gets a lot less scary and a lot more fun.

October 2013 – Katie Composto-Tuesta

KatieAOTM

A little about Katie:

How long have you been doing CrossFit? About 4 years

How did you get into CF? I’ve known Soloman for a long time and wanted to get in better shapre and lose some weight, so knowing that’s what he did I gave it a try.

How many days a week do you CF? 5-6/week

What’s your favorite CF movement? Burpees!

Most hated CF movement? Front Squats

What’s your favorite benchmark WOD? I love Karen!

Which one do you fear the most? Fran

What did you do for fitness before CF? I swam competitively for years when I was younger, but more recently I did Yoga and I taught Aqua Aerobics.

What goals or goats are you working on right now? I’m always trying to lift more than I did the last time or beat an old time, but I’ve been working really hard to get my first Muscle Up.

Do you follow a specific eating program? I mostly eat Paleo.  But really I mainly just try to limit grains and processed foods.

What is your favorite cheat food? Rice Chips, I’m a chip-o-holic.  And Fro-Yo, I’m a Fro-yo addict.

What advice would you give a new CrossFitter?  Even though it’s gonna be hard and hurt at first just stick with it and you’ll make it.  The community is super supportive so even though the workouts are hard you want to keep coming back.

 

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