Before announcing this month’s CrossFitter of the Month, I must apologize for the tardiness of the announcement. We all have excuses, and yes, mine got the best of me… I especially apologize to this particular athlete as she knew of her selection last month but had to wait a month for her featured article to be published. So, without further ado, or excuse, we’d like to celebrate Michele Gordon as this month AND last month’s CrossFitter of the Month!
Two years ago, Michele was invited to Tahoe by a friend. While in town, she watched her friend participate in South Tahoe CrossFit’s first Barbells for Boobs competition. Michele was a bit overwhelmed…those weights sure looked heavy! Fast forward two years and some change and here’s Michele now:
Michele was born and raised in the “armpit of Arkansas,” or eastern Arkansas, near the border by Memphis, Tennessee. Like several of our athletes, Michele has always been a runner, having started running for recreation while she attended college in Arkansas. However, in 2003, after Michele moved to Folsom after ten years of raising kids in Texas, she began training for triathlons. The transition to an extreme runner from that of a mother chasing her kids around, wasn’t as difficult as she had thought it would be. It came naturally to her as she had always been active. She soon had two Ironman Competitions under her belt. Unfortunately, the constant training became less exciting and lonely. Michele began to experience a bit of a “burn out.” Shortly thereafter, Michele moved to Tahoe to be near her boyfriend and was looking for a community of people to train with. Her friend, who originally invited her to Barbells for Boobs, suggested she give Crossfit a try so in July of 2016, she signed up for her first Elements class at South Tahoe CrossFit with Tom.
Since joining CrossFit, she feels like she is in “better shape and overall fitness than when [she] was seriously training [for triathlons].” When she told me that she was fifty years old, I didn’t believe her. Then she mentioned that she has two children, ages 25 and 20 and that she’s a grandmother of a five year old; that’s when my jaw dropped. She said that “everything feels better” now that she’s been doing CrossFit for a few years. She still runs, but now her recovery from long competitions, like the Spartan Race and the California International Marathon she ran a few months ago, is so much easier. Michele is a real testament to the benefits of cross training.
When I asked her what her favorite movements in the gym were, she explained that she really enjoys chest-to-bar pull-ups and kettle bell swings. She struggles with snatches, particularly squat snatches, but who doesn’t? (well, there are a few of you out there that make them look easy…and we love you for that!…but the rest of us are like Michele.) Even with the struggle, she still likes to work on them…The only movement that Michele will not and cannot enjoy is the burpee. She abhors burpees. I asked her what was her favorite WOD and she replied, “Anything without burpees!” Okay then!
This Southern girl was chosen as our CrossFitter of the Month because she is consistent and she continues to make great improvements both in her lifts and her gymnastic movements! As a project manager, she often has to “leave the hill” for work. However, as soon as she is home, she gets herself to the noon class at the gym. It’s here that she finds her strength to set new goals, like running another Ironman in the next few months!
Please congratulate Michele when you see her…We are fortunate to have such great members (who also have such great patience – like Michele, waiting on this article…)! We are proud of you, Michele! Keep up the great work!
Welcome to 2017!! We started this blog two years ago as a way of highlighting those athletes that might not have the most “elite” scores on the WODboard, but who consistently bust their own personal records and bring something unique to our community of athletes. In these two years of writing this blog, I have learned so much about these amazing men and women who we sweat next to daily. I hope that you have enjoyed these articles as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. I also hope that you will be inspired to continue your work in the gym. May we all continue to inspire each other through our commitment, our efforts, and our attitude inside and outside of the gym. Thanks for reading!!
This year’s first CrossFitter of the Month has led such an interesting life. We are so excited that she has become a member of our local community as well as our gym community. Let me introduce you to Stephanie Coppeto:
Stephanie has been a Tahoan for the past six years. Her work as a wildlife biologist for the Forest Service brought her here from Santa Cruz … but she is an east coast gal through and through. Stephanie grew up in Connecticut as the second oldest of five siblings in a large Italian/Irish Catholic family. She never thought she’d ever leave the east coast, ever…especially Boston. However, after receiving her BS in Biology from Boston University, she left her home for California where she continued her education and her adventures. She eventually received her MS in Ecology at UC Davis. She had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout South America and Bolivia while studying wolves as a post-grad. According to Stephanie, her time in South America was absolutely “awesome” as she saw “some of the most beautiful wildlife [she’d] ever seen” while subsequently being completely shut off from the modern world: no electricity and no forms of communication for months at a time! She loved it…and would probably have returned to live there indefinitely had she not met her future husband on a road trip back in 1999. He was her waiter in a restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee. Call it “love at first sight,” with all of its inherent sappiness, but she eventually married this man and now has two little ones: Miles, 4 and Hazel, 2.
When asked what brought Stephanie through our doors, she mentioned that she had had some difficulties getting baby weight off after the birth of her son four years ago. As most of our members can relate, Stephanie called upon her sister and husband to join her for a fun but competitive Sunday “Share the Pain” free workout at our gym. She believed their “super-fitness” would inspire her to find a way to shed those extra pounds. Instead, she found herself dry-heaving in the parking lot shortly after that first workout… Most level-headed individuals would find their keys, jump in their cars, and never look back. However, there are those of us who enjoy the punishment often derived from our preferred form of exercise… (wow, that sounds terrible…but true!) Stephanie enjoyed her pain, and realized immediately that she had found her “place” among like-minded people. She has settled into her community of “nooners,” those whose schedules only allow them to get to the gym during their lunch hour, and is now seen five days a week during this class time. She has had another child during her time at our gym, and has kept herself in such fantastic shape that one would hardly believe she had had weight struggles.
Stephanie prefers to call her favorite movements in CrossFit those movements she is less fearful of. She is not so afraid of burpees, squats, lunges, and running; yet, she remains quite terrified of rope climbs, snatches, pull-ups, wall-balls, and, of course, the bike.
Stephanie’s favorite, or less-feared WODs, include those which involve EMOMs or AMRAPs, especially EMOMs that increase in number of burpees or air squats… like a “Death By…” Hmmm, that’s crazy! She also admits to avoiding any WOD that includes the “bike”… well, at least she admits it!
When asked about any goals in the coming year, Stephanie would like to sustain the fitness she has worked so hard to achieve this past year. She also wants to continue her avoidance of any WODs that include the air dyne bike. She also desires to improve her pull-ups, both kipping and strict. She thinks hers are “pathetic.” There is nothing “pathetic” about Stephanie’s desire to improve and to face her fears…This is why the owners chose Stephanie as this first CrossFitter of the Month for 2017! She is inspiring as she continues to PR her back squats. She is inspiring as she progresses from banded pull-ups to single kipping pull-ups. She is inspiring as she puts her head down and works, all the while not caring what time or what number is placed after her name at the conclusion of a WOD. She just works. And she doesn’t like all this attention… So, Stephanie, we are so proud to name you as this month’s CrossFitter of the Month! You deserve it! We hope you lavish in this celebration of you and your awesomeness!! Congratulations!