Athlete spotlight

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Jo Richmond

What is your sport/fitness background/experience?

Not much from when I was a kid; I was always the last one picked in gym class. I got into running in my 20s but then lost interest and didn’t pick it up again until my 40s when my husband dragged me – kicking and screaming – to a 5K race. The 5Ks evolved to 10Ks (did too many of each to count) to four half marathons, to three 25K trail endurance races, with four marathons to round out the mix. I am particularly proud of my final three marathons which were run as endurance races on the Superior Hiking Trail. I ran my final marathon last year and have hung up the running/trail shoes – at least for the time being – in order to focus more on CrossFit.

Favorite recreational sport:

I love Rollerblading and am fortunate to live close to the Great Northern Trail to be able to do it whenever I want.

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

Since April, 2014 when I was one of CFER’s founding members.

Favorite CrossFit element:

Pretty much anything cardio-sentric. I’m an anomaly in that I actually DON’T mind burpees! Lifting-wise, I like deadlifts and front squats the best since both are elements that I can lift in excess of 100 lbs.

Least favorite CrossFit element:

There isn’t really anything that I truly dislike. That’s the beauty of CrossFit: It never gets boring since you’re always doing something new.

Biggest accomplishment(s) that you are proud of:

It seemed like it took forever so I’m happy to have been able to check double unders off my list. Second would be my getting a few rope climbs – no small feat for someone who abhors heights!

CrossFit Goals:

I’m still waiting for the elusive pull up that doesn’t include jumping to get it. Handstand push-ups are getting closer with being able to do negatives as well as banded.

Introduction to CrossFit:

My husband actually found CFER for me when the personal trainer from whom I’d been taking boot-camp classes retired. Not only was I looking for something new but also was rehabbing my knee from injuring it during my first marathon in the fall of 2013. CrossFit was the ticket. Chris spent a lot of time with me to finally develop my hamstrings to better balance my overdeveloped quads which helped immensely with my injured knee.

How has CrossFit changed your life?:

Once I stopped running and no longer had the excuse to carb load, I finally took the plunge last year and did the inaugural BioBalance Challenge. In a nutshell: Life changing! Combined with the weightlifting, it gave me a more sculpted appearance than I’ve ever had. While I backslid a bit over the summer, I’ve kept to the meal plan probably 90 percent of the time. It’s amazing to actually have sustained energy in order to do CrossFit as well as to stay awake while working overnights.

What do you like best about Crossfit Elk River?:

The community is amazing. It’s very reminiscent of the trail-running community in that everyone cheers everyone else on. The first person done with a WOD is always there to encourage the person who finishes last.

Favorite Crossfit Personal Records – PR’s?

My Fran time, while not Rx, went from 10:50 in August, 2014 to 6:53 in May, 2017. Not only was I able to add 20 lbs. to my thrusters (55 lbs. up from 35 lbs.) during the interim but also went from having to use two medium bands for the pull-ups to one small band.

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Wade Ralph

What is your sport/fitness background/experience?

I grew up doing Karate where I recieved my black belt at a young age. I was also involved in basketball.

Favorite recreational sport:

I would have to say, next to CrossFit, it's basketball.

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

I have been doing CrossFit for 2 years now.

Introduction to CrossFit?

I was introduced to CrossFit through my Sister-In-Law. She was attending a box in Tochester and would talk about it constantly. I would drive by CFER on Hwy 10 and see the sign. Ond day I decided to ghive it a try and I've been hooked ever since.

How has CrossFit changed your life?

Not only has CrossFit helped me physically and mentally, it has also helped me realize the importance of nutrition.

What do you like best baout CrossFit Elk River?

The constant challenge of trying my best to do better and the amazing community of people I have met and become friends with.

Favorite CrossFit Personal Records - PR's

46"Box Jump
Fran 6:18 RX

Favorite CrossFit element:

I can't pick just one so I'll give you my top 3:
Power Snatches
Box Jumps
Burpees (yes, I enjoy them)

Biggest accomplishment(s) that you are proud of:

My biggest accomplishments woud be, stepping outside of my comfort zone and competing in various CrossFit events. Being pushed each day to do better has given me the confidence to do so.

CrossFit Goals:

Bar muscle Ups
Handstand Walks

 

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Kelly Imsande

What is your sport/fitness background/experience?

I have always tried to stay active, but crossfit is beyond anything I've ever done. I was a fan day one and continue to love it more each day.

Favorite recreational sport:

Crossfit, shopping and riding my motorcycle.

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

14 months

Favorite CrossFit element:

All the friends I've met.

Biggest accomplishment(s) that you are proud of:

Pullups and rope climb.

CrossFit Goals:

To RX everything at age 50

How has CrossFit changed your life?:

CrossFit has made me stronger and more diciplined.

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Andy Jozelic

What is your sport/fitness background/experience?

I tried a lot of sports when I was younger, but in high school I swam for Elk River and a local swim club from 7-12th grade year round. I also did some amateur competing in waterskiing for a couple of years.

Favorite recreational sport:

My favorite recreational sports are waterskiing, wakeboarding, and snowboarding.

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

I have been doing CrossFit for a year and a half. I started with two boot camps because I had no idea how to Olympic lift and it can be intimidating at first.

Favorite CrossFit element:

My favorite CrossFit movements are Clean and Jerk and rope climbs. They are the first things I felt ok doing during workouts.

Least favorite CrossFit element:

My least Favorite is Kettlebell swings having stiff hamstrings and not being very flexible makes doing them hard.

Biggest accomplishment(s) that you are proud of:

Competing in the open this last year, which if you are on the fence about doing, don’t be it is fun. I am also proud of sticking with going three times a week, pretty religiously for over a year.

CrossFit Goals:

Goal one is I would like to achieve a bar muscle up. Goal two try not to get frustrated when my lifts don’t go well and work on technique for them. Goal three is keep a good attitude and give my best effort because that’s two things I can control.

Introduction to CrossFit:

My best friend, Tony brought me to bring a Friend Day at his box to give it a try. I had seen the CrossFit Games on T.V. and thought it looked fun to try out. I had been working out on my own and had not really gotten anywhere. At Bring a Friend Day, I was already tired after the warm up and the workout was harder. The workout was an EMOM of slam balls, wall balls, running, assault bike, and burpees. I had never worked so hard since swimming, the next day I started looking for a box of my own and quit the gym I had been going to.

How has CrossFit changed your life?:

Well, the second reason I joined CrossFit was because my sister got sick and needed a kidney transplant. During the testing to see if I was a donor, I found out I was not really as healthy as I thought. After the initial testing for the boot camp, I found out my estimated age was 59. Thankfully, she was able to get a kidney from our dad but it made me realize I was only thirty and need to take a little better care of myself. I’m stronger and in better health than I was before, and hopefully continue getting better.

What do you like best about Crossfit Elk River?:

It is kind of the generic answer that all Crossfiters give but it’s the people and community. Everyone is super nice, it’s not like going to a regular Gym where you throw in your headphones and hope no one talks to you. Even though they might beat you by a rep or a few pounds on a lift, we like to see our fellow members do well.

Favorite Crossfit Personal Records – PR’s?

My favorite PR’s I just hit last week were 185 on my power clean and 125 on my power snatch.







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Sarah Flander

What is your sport/fitness background/experience?

I played soccer, softball and basketball 5-8th grade at the private school I went to. I was a cheerleader all through highschool. I started Zumba about two years before CrossFit and I also went to Anytime Fitness a year before I joined CrossFit.

Favorite recreational sport:

I have a few. Fishing and hunting, boating and camping. Anything outside when it is nice out.

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

A little over 2 years. I think 2 years and 2 months.

Favorite CrossFit element:

Hang cleans and most lifting.

Least favorite CrossFit element:

Overhead squats and high cardio.

Biggest accomplishment(s) that you are proud of:

A few weeks ago, I was able to do a whole workout with RX pullups and my hands didn't bleed. When lifting, I am getting closer to the RX weight.

CrossFit Goals:

I would like to be able to do handstand pushups. I also want to get faster at the cardio workouts. I want to have confidence that I can do things and that I am a strong person.

Introduction to CrossFit:

Mike made me go to CrossFit one night to check it out. He was interested in joining and I was not. I was happy doing my own thing at Anytime. We walked into Steph and John doing split jerks and right there I wanted to turn around and walk out. It was very intimidating and all I thought is, "yeah, right?!. I am never doing this No way!". Well, Mike offered to pay fot the first 3 months so I thought I would give it a try. My first day, we did front squats from the rack. I have never lifted a bar in my life, so I had no idea what I was doing. I put a little weight on each side and tried to pick the bar up. I didn't have the cuffs on the bar so one weight fell off and then the other one. oops! How embarassing. Two years later, I love CrossFit and can't imagine my life without CrossFit and the friends I have gained.

How has CrossFit changed your life?:

I am the healthiest that I have ever been in my life. I have always been the wimp in the family and now I am considered one of the strong ones. I am a happier person and more confident. The best shape I have ever been in, also.

What do you like best about Crossfit Elk River?:

I look forward to going to the gym to workout. CrossFit is my happy place. CrossFit is like another family and everyone is so encouraging and doesn't judge.

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Eric Aune

What is your sport/fitness background/experience?

I played hockey from an early age thru high school, occasionally as an adult.

Favorite recreational sport:

Fishing, Camping

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

It will be one year in May

Favorite CrossFit element:

Team wods, olympic lifts

Least favorite CrossFit element:

Doesn’t everyone say burpees? Haha! Actually I feel trapped on the rower when the distance/calories are high in an intense wod. Long rows are my least favorite.

Biggest accomplishment(s) that you are proud of:

Not dying during any of the Open wods. Actually, when I started I could not string more than a couple burpees or box jumps together without being completely gassed. I’ve lost weight and increased my athleticism overall.

CrossFit Goals:

**Unassisted pull-ups.
**Continue 4-5 days/week

**Participate/compete in a CrossFit competition. I’m signed up for Festivus Games & Lifto De Mayo so far.

 





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Melissa Johnson

What is your sport/fitness background/experience?

I have always been a runner.  I ran track and cross-country through out High School.  I ran cross-country during my first year of college.  My last three years of college I decided to join the U of M Marching Band and that was my exercise.  I still ran here and there.  After college my ultimate goal was to complete a marathon.  I joined a running group and my life became nothing but running.  I ran my first marathon (Grandma’s Marathon) in 3hrs 47 minutes, just missing qualifying for the Boston Marathon by a couple of minutes.  I was hooked on Qualifying!  Next came the Chicago Marathon and I qualified in 3hrs 38 minutes, yeah!  I had to wait to do the Boston a year and a half later.  I decided to run another Grandma’s Marathon and again qualified.  My P.R. for the marathon was 3hrs 31 minutes.  The next year I ran the Boston in 4hrs 9minutes!!   My running partner and I decided we would enjoy this marathon since we worked so hard to get there.  After that it has been running here and there until CrossFit. 

Favorite recreational sport:

CrossFit has become my favorite recreational sport.  I still love a run every once in a while, but CrossFit has turned into my #1!

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

I have been doing CrossFit for almost 2 years.  I started out with trying a Boot Camp in April of 2015 and did 5 weeks.  I officially joined right after my Boot Camp was done. 

Favorite CrossFit element:

My favorite element is the  Clean!  I love being able to see how much weight I can clean. 

Least favorite CrossFit element:

My least favorite is burpees.  For me these have always been the most challenging.  I always seem to just die on these when there is a large amount to do. 

Biggest accomplishment(s) that you are proud of:

I have so many accomplishments in CrossFit.  I love being able to gain strength by adding weights to all of my lifts!  My greatest accomplishment for me is being able to do a strict pull-up!  It only took me 37 years to do my first pull-up!

CrossFit Goals:

**Grow stronger on all of my lifts
**Keep up with the younger group of athletes!

**I would like to one day be able to do a ring muscle-up!

How were you introduced to CrossFit?:

I started CrossFit with no expectations.  I just thought I would try something different.  I signed up for the Boot Camp and that was my start.  I enjoyed the movements, the way my body felt and the way it changed my whole outlook on food and health.  I do remember when I first started I told my husband I really don’t want to get muscular, I just want to get into shape!  Ha!  Now I enjoy looking at the muscle I have worked for. 

How has CrossFit changed your life?

CrossFit has changed my life drastically.  I am healthier, confident, happier and just an overall better attitude on life.  I never would have thought CrossFit would change my life so much when I started.  I learned so much about myself and have found a place to call home.  I do this to keep myself balanced, I do this to show my three daughters you can do anything and it is okay to be strong on the inside and outside!

What do you like best about CrossFit Elk River?

Where do I start?!    I love CrossFit Elk River.  I have learned so much from our Coach Chris!  He has changed my life in so many ways and has taught me so much about myself.  He is one of the many reasons I love CrossFit.  Another reason I love CrossFit Elk River is that I love the family atmosphere!  I truly feel like I belong to a family.  Everyone encourages each other, we are each others biggest cheerleaders!  I have made so many friendships.  This place has become one of my sanctuaries and I need CrossFit in my life.

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Rachael Benitz

What is your sport/fitness background/experience?

I grew up barrel racing quarter horses and swam for Northern Lights swim club

Favorite recreational sport:

Horseback riding

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

1 ½ years

Favorite CrossFit element:

Wall Balls

Biggest accomplishment(s) that you are proud of:

Being able to say I Rx’d a wod.  It happened one time!!

Improving my score on one of the CrossFit Open wods by 51 reps.

CrossFit Goals:

Continuing to lose more weight so I can do more bar work such as pull ups and toes to bar.
Run without stopping.

How much weight have you lost?:

I’ve lost 45 lbs!

How did you learn about CrossFit?:

My friend and neighbor brought me to a Wod & Wine night.  I absolutely knew I needed it when I couldn’t walk for 3 days afterwards! Lol

How has CrossFit changed your life?

It makes me determined to keep working on myself.  I’ve overcome many things over the years but never was able to force myself to keep going with exercise programs.  I’ve always given up and said, “It’s too hard!”

Crossfit has something for everyone – no matter their current fitness level or age and I love spreading my love for Crossfit and being a role model to others and inspiring and encouraging them to live a healthier lifestyle through my actions.

What do you like best about CrossFit Elk River?

I love the people.  We seriously are a family!  Everyone is encouraging and helpful.
My coach is the bomb.com.  He is patient every time he has to stop and repeat a movement 10 times so I can get it.  And, he keeps me accountable to show up and keep pushing myself.  I’m so much more than a monthly membership to him.