Starting this month, we will be highlighting one athlete from the gym each month. We are starting March off with our PR board winner, Natalie!

Why did you join GRCF? What made you want to start?
I went to a Saturday community class to try this CrossFit thing out. I don’t remember at all what the workout was, but I do remember feeling an odd combination of nausea and elation, and one of my first thoughts afterward was, “Wow, that was simply dreadful…when do I get to do that again?”I did the Jan 2015 on-ramp class and spent 6 or 7 months participating “lightly”, probably 2 times a week when I really think about it. I do remember being so sore during that time that I would wake up at night when turning over in my sleep.So it probably wasn’t a bad idea to start gently!

What did you do before CrossFit?
I have always been athletic, but never really an “athlete”. I’m a lifelong distance runnner, sidelined with the dreaded Plantar Fascitis, and I was looking for a way to stay in shape without aggravating my feet. I’m 44, and I was already starting to notice some balance issues, and a gentle downward slope in my overall strength, which I wanted to address immediately.This is such a common pattern for women; I see it in my peers, and I know the statistics and implications from my previous career as a dietitian. It was time to implement something drastic!I really just wanted to feel like I could do everything that needs doing in normal life: carry a few bags of groceries instead of one at a time, pick up the old dog to put her in the car without throwing out my back, pull weeds for two hours on a Saturday without having to take ibuprofen that night.Just basic functional fitness stuff.CrossFit has totally met that fundamental need, and it has thrown the door wide open to my own possibilities.For example, I realize now that I loved running because I am ridiculously uncoordinated, and it doesn’t take much coordination to run in a straight line. The first year at GrassRoots was spent trying desperately to figure out the difference between a jerk and a press (not to mention all the other new vocabulary). So it has been a study in humility, and a great opportunity to learn something new every day.And what I’ve discovered is that I might ultimately be better at lifting heavy things than I am at running.Who knew?

What is your regular workout time?
I’m rather devoted to my 5:30am Grassroots crew, it feels a bit like a secret society of people who are in bed by 8:30pm.We’re like phantoms, first on the whiteboard everyday, but no one ever sees us in the flesh.I finally committed to 5x/week workouts in November 2015, and 5:30am is the only time of day that my family or my work won’t encroach on my time, so I bit the bullet. So glad I did! I can’t believe how much stronger and fitter I have become since fall.It made a huge difference to have fabulous Atchie as my coach every day who knows how and when to push me, and to be with the same group of lovely people who have modeled good form, remembered my stats for me, added that extra 5 pounds to my bar without me realizing it, made me laugh at myself, and taught me to shave my calluses and take mid-day naps whenever possible.

Do you check the workout before you come in?
I do check the workout in the morning, but it is 4:30am, and I am already up and caffeinated, so it’s not like I am not going to come in. There is an element of submission in the process. I don’t question the workouts or hate anything enough to not come in…I can always scale it!I started tracking my workouts this January on Beyond The Whiteboard, and because I still am really learning technique, I find the little video clips of the different lifts helpful to view before the workout.

What are your favorite and least favorite workouts?
My favorite workouts include rope climbs, running, ball slams, and lifting anything heavy over my head. My least favorite element is kettlebells because I am dreadfully worried that my grip won’t last and I am going to send that thing through the mirror (or someone’s head) some day. I consider the overhead squat to be my secret super power.

What do you do for work?
My daytime secret super power is that I can get twenty 5 year olds to rest quietly for an hour each day, without resorting to threats or duct tape. For eight hours, I sing, skip, hug, sew, draw, paint, climb trees, hike, whittle, bake,catch frogs, and wear a huge apron. It’s more like a tent, really.Very useful for my kindergarteners to hang off of. My apron defines me as a Waldorf kindergarten teacher.The kids don’t even recognize me without it, and you all wouldn’t recognize me with it on! (Bet you’re curious now!)

What do you do for fun?
Geez, you mean I am supposed to have a hobby on top of daily workouts, full time job, husband/son/neurotic dog, and making dinner every night?Well, I guess my hobby is sleeping then. I am REALLY good at sleeping.

Describe GRCF in 3 words?
I will do it in 3-ish.Playtime For Adults.

 Congrats Natalie! Also, special thanks to Mel for setting up the interview and getting our monthly athlete profiles rolling.

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