After recently overcoming a serious health problem that had been getting progressively worse, I felt motivated to submit an athlete profile. January 2012 marks five years since I was first diagnosed with stage 4 non-hodgkinâ€™s lymphoma and while I initially went into full remission in 2008 after several rounds of immunotherapy and a round of chemotherapy, the remission was short-lived and my last few scans showed the cancer had returned, was growing, and needed to be addressed soon. Subsequently this past September, I decided to go a slightly different route and went through radiation treatment at Johns Hopkins, which fortunately put me back in full remission for the second time. At this point, Iâ€™m still recovering from the side effects of the radiation treatment, which really hit my endurance hard, but I am now cancer-free for the first time since starting with PCF.
As a result, being strong and fit is not just a vague long term goal for me; it is an immediate personal health priority in case I need to go back into treatment. Using this as motivation, I push myself during a WOD to not only fulfill a basic desire to do my best, but also to prove to myself that I can continue to beat my cancer each and every day. For me, every completed WOD, especially at RXD, is a personal victory that I savor until the next dayâ€™s WOD.
Hometown: St. Louis, MO, although Arlington is definitely home.
PCF: When did you start with PCF?
PCF: Favorite WOD
Eva, Cindy, Angie, and other WODs that require sustained effort over longer periods of time.
PCF: Least Favorite WOD
Any WOD with overhead squats or squat snatch. The combination of squats with weight overhead is awful for me.
PCF: What is your prior fitness background? What was your exposure to CF before coming to PCF?
Iâ€™ve always been very physically active across a wide range of individual and team sports, including soccer, track, snow/water skiing, golf, and racquetball. Even after college, I played several competitive organized sports at any one time, although the frequency and intensity of my athletic activities had definitely been in slow decline prior to starting PCF. Not surprisingly, I also ran and weightlifted to stay in shape over this entire period. Thanks to a friend of mine who is also an active crossfitter herself, she recommended that I look into crossfit, which is when I discovered PCF in 2010.
PCF: Talk to us about your thoughts after completing your first WOD.
I clearly remember my first WOD at Potomac in the free class. We started with warming-up in the back parking lot by playing a PCF version of tag where you had to do push-ups and air squats every time you were tagged before you could start playing again. After the warm-up, we went inside and did some combination of bodyweight exercisesâ€¦ it was brutal and I immediately realized crossfit was a perfect fit for me.
PCF: Tell us a little about then vs. now with regard to your performances on a couple of the benchmark WODs. Favorite WOD?
Over the last 1-1/2+ years, and despite my personal health situation during this period, Iâ€™ve seen dramatic improvements in my strength and flexibility, as well as in my performance during the benchmark WODs. While double-unders continue to be a source of frustration for me, kipping pull-ups and HSPUs came somewhat naturally for me.
29:48 rxd – July 2010
21:52 rxd – December 2011
5:49 w/ 75# and no-band pull-ups â€“ August 2010
5:21 rxd â€“ December 2011
PCF: Favorite CF/PCF moments youâ€™d like to share?
While there have been many great moments at PCF, I actually most enjoy the overall camaraderie of the entire PCF/crossfit experience. The daily crossfit workouts may be about individual results, but the entire crossfit experience is definitely a â€œteam sportâ€ where the coaches and other athletes really support and motivate you to perform your best. Whether they are helping you with your form, stepping up to help you put away your weights, or cheering you on during a particularly tough workout, the PCF/crossfit community is very supportive and really helped me get through a very challenging time.
PCF: Any advice for our newbies?
Stick with it, listen to the coaches, connect with the other athletes, and try your hardest every time – you will see results. Everyone starts crossfit with different strengths and weaknesses, and while it may not always be obvious to the casual observer, we all struggle on any given day, week, or even month.
PCF: And finally (and most importantly), who is the best looking and most fabulous PCF coach around?
Without question, Erika is the most fantastic of all the PCF coaches (despite her HSPUs). Her support during my recent radiation treatment went well beyond the call of duty, privately working with me to stay as active as possible as I recovered enough to workout with everyone again. That said, all the PCF coaches have been outstanding and I look forward to many more years of challenging and definitely exhausting workouts in the future.
Handstand Push-up (Hardest Variation You Can Do)