Athlete of the Month – July 2016

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Our athlete of the month for July is Erin Miller! Erin came to CrossFit RDU in 2014 looking for something to do in the off season of her Ironman training. What was initially supposed to be a temporary training program turned into something a little more permanent for both Erin and her husband Jonathan! There are athletes who are a coaches dream, and Erin is one of those athletes. Erin works hard, listens to her coaches, and prioritizes good movement in everything that she does! Just recently, as part of the gymnastics program, Erin got her 1st strict ring dip as well has her 2nd, 3rd, 4th…. and 21st! She is truly committed to the process of training and her results are a demonstration of that patience. I’ve always thought that Ironman athletes are cut from a different cloth, there is a grit and willingness to work in Erin that is very difficult to teach. This is a well earned superlative and I have no doubt there are more to come!
1) When did you start doing CrossFit?
October 2014 – 2 months after my 2nd Ironman. Our friends Brad and Phillip were already members, so my husband, Jonathan, mentioned that he wanted to try it — my response was to have fun with that. He went to a class or two one week and somehow convinced me to try bootcamp over the weekend. I don’t remember the workout, but I remember being nervous to do my first box jump ever during that class!

2) Favorite WOD?
I love anything with the sled & the Lumberjack 20. I’m looking forward to the day that I get to Rx that one!!

3) Least Favorite WOD? Kalsu or anything where I have to jump over or onto something after a burpee…being quick & agile is not (yet) a strength of mine

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4) Favorite Lift?
Power cleans! It’s the lift that personally makes me feel the most confident. I just love catching the bar and feeling the weight on my shoulders.

5) Least Favorite Lift?
Thrusters, the lift that most makes me feel like a baby deer.

6) Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am 32, from Cary, NC, and grew up as a competitive sprint swimmer – freestyle & butterfly. Jonathan and I have been together for almost 14 years, married for 9, and have a lab-border collie rescue named Hurley, after the LOST character. I like beer, bourbon, and baked goods, prefer the mountains over the beach, and have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

7) What were you doing before CrossFit?
Before CrossFit, I was exclusively an endurance athlete. I had never done much weight training but had done about 10 half-marathons, 4 half-Ironman, and 2 Ironman races. I loved, and still love, racing Ironman, but I started CrossFit to have something productive to do in the off-season.

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8) What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout?
My first CrossFit workout after finishing Foundations was 10 sprint sled pushes. I remember actually enjoying the work!

9) What were your goals when joining CrossFit?
I initially planned on doing CrossFit for about 3 months to get a little bit of strength under my belt to see how it could help my Ironman race that I had planned for August. Once the 3 month mark rolled around, I couldn’t fathom stopping. I spent so many hours researching ways to incorporate CrossFit into Ironman training and Jonathan and I finally came up with a really solid program for ourselves that would allow the two programs to work together.

10) Have you achieved any of those goals?
Absolutely I have – and more. For starters, my 3rd Ironman felt the best because I was stronger, injury-free, and overall felt like a more durable athlete. As a bonus, I also got a one hour and eleven minute PR for that race!
After coming off of the race high and deciding to forego a 2016 Ironman, I fully committed to CrossFit. In 2016, I’ve been able to enjoy all of the classes as well as the CrossFit Endurance program we had and the recent Gymnastics program. It has been awesome to be able to focus my energy on everything CrossFit, whether it be strength training, Olympic lifts, rowing or pullups. I still have a long way to go on all of it but I am really, truly happy and motivated to put in the work.

11) What made you come to CrossFit RDU and stay with CrossFit RDU?
I’m so glad that Jonathan and I had 2 such good friends that encouraged us to try it. Their experience here led us to RDU and we never looked back! There are lots of things that make me want to come in day after day. I want to master everything in there and I’m encouraged that I can, with hard work. The coaches are incredible, the programing is challenging and motivating, the members are friends, and I’m just really thankful that RDU feels like home.

12) Has CrossFit affected your life outside of the gym?
Yes, I think about it all the time! Both inside and outside of the gym I think about what I can do to improve. After a workout, throughout the day, I think about what I’ve done that day and how I might be able to do it better next time. I think about upcoming progressions and skill work so that I’m able to achieve the goals that I’ve set for myself. I laugh that I’m closer to getting a muscle up than a double under J. Above all of that, though, CrossFit has made me more confident, happier, more motivated, stronger in every sense of the word and has completely changed my view of limits. There are none, and I am truly grateful.

13) What are some of your best achievements in the gym?
Winning Event 3 with my partner Gwen at SuperFit, having several classmates and Steve cheer and coach me through finally deadlifting over 200lb well after class was over, hitting a squat clean PR during Friday Night Lights, doing 21 strict ring dips in the gymnastics program after not even being able to do 1 dip a few weeks prior, and being able to experience it all with my husband.

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14) Do you have any other special memories/achievements during your time here?
When Steve came over after Gwen and I had won event 3 of the SuperFit competition and said, “That was badass”, I knew we had done something awesome. I also have fond memories of Hero Week this year. I loved all of the long workouts and it was really moving to see so many people show up and put in that amount of work together to honor the heroes.

15) What advice would you give a newbie trying out CrossFit for the first time?
Ask questions, focus on perfecting your form, and have fun! Take good care of your body through rest, recovery, and rehab – it’s a blessing to get to do this, so be good to yourself!

16) Something you might not know about me is?

I absolutely love the hunt of hard-to-find items – especially Vermont craft beer, Pappy Van Winkle, and lululemon shorts in fun patterns, some being from other countries – because I’m persistent and stubborn enough to make sure that I find them.