November Athlete of the Month: Heather Gonzago

Congrats to Rising’s November Athlete of the Month, Heather Gonzago.  Heather recently returned to Rising after a break to train for some races and she has been killing it lately!  She is a consistently hard working athlete and we are so proud of her!  Check out her story below!

Date you started crossfit: March 2013

Day job: Software product engineer

Athletic/fitness background: I grew up where there  weren’t a lot of athletic/sport choices available for girls. I did ballet for about 14 years (yes…seriously). I lifted weights and ran while in high school.  After college, I realized I needed to get my act together so I started running as a way to quit smoking (nice little habit I picked up while away in college). The less I smoked, the further I could run. What started out as barely able to fast walk a 1/4 mile, turned into a marathon, and then a few more after that.

What made you decide to start CrossFit?  I was in a serious rut. I ran a lot, but was trying to vary things up after having my second child. I joined the Y so my kids could go to summer camp. I took a couple of Shell’s AC classes and realized that running wasn’t cutting it. I ran into a friend of mine while in California who looked as if she walked off CrossFit’s Instagram page. I asked what she was doing to look the way she did. She said she started CrossFit about a year prior and that I should look into it. I signed up for Shell’s 101 class at the Y and was hooked. I was no longer bored and finally out of the rut.

Something that we don’t know about you is…:  My dad coached high school football for over 50 years.  I can now say that I just don’t follow football that much anymore.

Favorite quote: I wish I had one honestly. It’s usually just stupid stuff I hear off of the interwebs. Although my youngest, Wade, said to me yesterday, “I like to think that God has one of those really long handlebar mustaches.” Yep, sounds good, I’ll go with Hipster God.

Hobbies/interests outside the gym: I really enjoy being outside, so anytime I can get out, I take advantage. If I can squeeze in a mile or two here or there, I’ll take it. Or if it means mowing the yard, I don’t mind. Either way I still get some fresh air.

Favorite CrossFit movement:  Hmmm, not sure there is a clear favorite. Some come a little bit easier but they are all still pretty tough. I like push presses and jerks for some reason. The rig is also starting to grow on me more.

Least favorite CrossFit movement: I realize it’s one of the basics, but I have always had a hard time with front squats. There used to be a time when I could jerk more than squat, (which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when I think about it).

What do you love most about CrossFit? I seriously don’t get bored. I don’t have to ask myself, “is today a legs or arms day?” I know that regardless of what we do, I will always have a good workout. On a sappy note though, probably the biggest thing would be the friendships I gained. I’ve met some really great friends here.

What is your biggest challenge with CrossFit? I think it can be very daunting for a lot of people especially when they first begin. I remember thinking, why can’t I keep up?  Sometimes I find that I need to remind myself,  “I’m ‘here for the exercise’”. Sounds corny, but it keeps things in perspective and helps me with small goals I set for myself…

BUT, Shell would probably say my biggest challenge is following the WOD’s. No joke, I swear, sometimes I think I need a flowchart to get through them. 😉 (editor’s note, I concur 😉 )