Athlete of Month

Pete B.
Member name:

Pete B.

Athlete of the month: July 2019
Details

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF
THE  GYM?

I’m currently a personal chef – at home for Sarah! After a 20 year career with a special
event production company in the suburbs, I’m enjoying my first ever career break*.
I’m an amateur musician – I’m usually in a band or two and always writing songs (or
forgetting the songs I’ve written). I was able to connect with some old friends this spring
and there might even be a new E.P. in the works. I’m currently training for my 12 th
Marathon this summer. I’ve also been a marathon training pace group leader with the
Chicago Area Runner’s Association for the last 6 years helping other runners get to the
start line and keeping them moving at a steady pace all summer long.
*Hardware friends – if anyone is looking for help with small business management,
recruiting/HR, project management, training/coaching, or anything else interesting let
me know!

 

WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO CROSSFIT AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING
BACK? 

We are longtime residents of Bowmanville and after walking past Hardware for a few
years decided it was time to check it out. I had no idea what it was all about, but
empirical evidence suggested it was intense – a sort of nuclear option for fitness (this
coming from a crazy runner!) I was at a place in my running where I had plateaued and
thought that CrossFit might push me to greater accomplishments by improving overall
fitness and injury prevention.
I still remember my first foundations class where I couldn’t hold a PVC pipe in a front
rack position. Instead of feeling awkward and woefully out of place, my partner for the
warm up (shout out to Neal B!) gave me some pointers and shared some of his “back
when I started” stories. I knew from day 1 that there was something special about
Hardware.
I keep coming back because that feeling is still there. On a personal level there is
always something to be learned, achieved, exceeded, etc. No two visits are the same.
If you put in the work, amazing things will happen. But it’s a lot more than the physical
aspect that keeps me engaged and excited. The comradery and friendships I’ve made
at Hardware are incredible. There is nothing more motivating to me than seeing other
members achieving their goals and overcoming their obstacles.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR CROSSFIT GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING
THEM?

As marathon season and running mileage pick up, my primary CrossFit goal is to work
efficiently and safely while maintaining the fitness levels that I’ve been able to build on
the last 8 months. Come the Fall I’m hoping to work towards more shoulder mobility,
grip strength and with that a bar muscle up in time for the CF Open 2020!

 

 

 WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED DUE TO
CROSSFIT THAT’S MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

At my very first class George went around the room at introductions and asked each of
us what our current fitness goals were. At that time I was chasing a sub 4 hour
marathon. It took two more attempts, but I finally finished one at 3:59:38! Later that
week the grapevine told me that during open gym that morning a group of members
were actually watching me finish on the marathon tracker knowing I was going for it.
That is what Hardware is all about.
A more recent accomplishment was completing the Murph Wod on Memorial Day RX
(no vest) in under the 60 minute time cap. As I came sprinting around the corner at
Pauline’s up Balmoral I knew it was clooooose… Adrian and a group of a dozen others
were cheering me on. “59:40 59:45 59:50 59:55 56 57 58… As I passed the front
door I heard him call out 59:59!!! That was rad.

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT? 

My current favorite movements are pull ups and toes to bar – both moves that took me
quite a while to initially get but are still improving on a regular basis

 

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT? 

Overhead squats – flexibility is an issue for me – but with a good year maybe this will
move into the favorite category! That’s the beauty of CrossFit. So many things to
improve.

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

CrossFit is probably not what you think it is. It’s not barbells and rowing machines and
pull ups and sprints and jump ropes and all sorts of other chaos. Those are only the
tools you use to tap into what Hardware CrossFit is. It’s a family, challenging,
motivating, welcoming, it’s ringing the bell, and life affirming and most importantly fun!
Stop on in for a class – I’ll help you get into a front rack position with a PVC pipe.

Lily L.
Member name:

Lily L.

Athlete of the month: June 2019
Details

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?

I’m the Technical Specialist of a blood bank laboratory in a hospital on the southwest side.  In addition to overseeing the lab, I ensure patients receive compatible blood transfusions by determining their blood type and checking for antibodies that may react adversely with the donor blood.

I enjoy spending time with Edzen L, who is also a Hardware member, and our two dogs, Oreo Speedwagon and Lucy Liubita. The four of us enjoy eating, sleeping, and taking road trips — especially to Canada.  Lucy takes the center console while Oreo sits on my lap.

 

WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO CROSSFIT AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

It started with the movie Wonder Woman in 2017. The women on the island were so fit and athletic. Edzen read an article that some of the women are crossfitters. So for my birthday wish I requested to try our first crossfit class (July 1). It’s been almost two years but every class seems like a new, fun experience.

WHAT ARE YOUR CROSSFIT GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?

My initial goal was to do a pullup. Now I can do the kipping variation. Next up is the handstand pushup and stringing together TTB. I’m so close. I’ve also literally dreamt of doing muscle ups and chest to bar pullups during the WODs.

WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED DUE TO CROSSFIT THAT’S MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

My skills were very limited during the 2018 open. I told myself 2019 would be different and that I would challenge myself to work hard with the coaches to be able to RX certain WODs in the 2019 open. To be recognized as the most improved was an experience I will never forget. I still grin at the thought of it.

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

Double unders. I spent so much time dreading double unders because of the painful lashing to my arms, toes, shins, and behind. But with lots of practice I’ve mastered the skill and it has become my favorite. I now look forward to double unders in the WODs.

 

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

Burpee, bar facing burpee, lateral burpee over bar, burpee to 6″ target, etc. You get the idea.

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

Just show up to class, be patient and trust the coaches. And you’ll have so much fun!

 

Katie G.
Member name:

Katie G.

Athlete of the month: May 2019
Details

 

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?
I was born outside of Philadelphia, moved to  Chicago in 2014, and have lived here for the past 5 years. I’m a Licensed Social Worker and Certified Alcohol and Other Drugs Counselor and specialize in providing substance use prevention education in K-`12 schools and universities and treatment services for adolescents. Over the past 3 years, I have had the opportunity through work to travel to over 15 countries as well as all over the US. My next trip is  for my 30th birthday in June–I’ll be exploring Iceland (and checking out CrossFit Reykjavik of course!)
 
 
WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO CROSSFIT AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?
It’s pretty cliche but after watching the CrossFit Games and following the “Dottirs” I was like, the Dottirs are goals! My only exposure to CrossFit was the Games, I thought I wouldn’t be able to keep up or I wasn’t in good enough shape to start, but I quickly realized that CrossFit really does meet people where they are at.
In terms of what keeps me coming back, pretty early on I set a goal for myself to be able to try and do all those movements I saw Games athletes doing. Handstand push-ups, bar muscle-ups, snatches, cleans, kipping pull-ups, pegboard, all of it. I told myself, “You will learn how to do that”. That’s what keeps me coming back. In my early teens I was a competitive skateboarder. CrossFit reminds me a lot of skating. Landing a new trick or getting my first muscle-up is the same rush, I always want more! Similarly to skating, my Olympic lifts and gymnastics will always have room for improvement and mastery and 8 months in I’ve realized I’ve got a long way to go.
 

WHAT ARE YOUR CROSSFIT GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?

Right now I’m making an effort to lift heavier and always do the RX weight for workouts and continue to work on foundational movements that will make my WODs more efficient.

In terms of reaching those goals, honestly, it depends on the day with weight. I try to honor my body and not push myself beyond what I’m capable of. I have found that the foundational movements are a constant work in progress.

 

WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED DUE TO CROSSFIT THAT’S MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

I think my cardiovascular endurance has increased which probably would not have happened if I had been left to my own devices.

 

 

Favorite WOD/MOVEMENT?
I like bar muscle-ups, snatches, and rowing.
LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
 
Squat Cleans
ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?
 
I originally came and did the CrossFit onboarding class 7+ months before I finally joined Hardware. If I could go back and give myself advice, I would have just started that next day. After one month, I fully drank the Kool-Aid — best thing I’ve done for my health and fitness in years. I wish I had started sooner. Try it for a month, be open-minded, patient, and coachable.
Vasilis M.
Member name:

Vasilis M.

Athlete of the month: April 2019
Details

 

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?

I grew up in Massachusetts and lived in Canada for 12 years before moving to Chicago. I’m proud to have accomplished my goal of becoming a scientist, and I currently work as a management consultant at a small firm focused on helping pharmaceutical companies bring their products to market. In my free time I enjoy cooking, especially grilling, visiting my sister and extended family in Wisconsin, and exploring Chicago with my wife, Heather.

 

 

WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO CROSSFIT AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

Honestly, seeing the documentary from the 2015 games. I had been weight training and running since high school and was simply blown away by the amazing feats those athletes performed. When I moved to Chicago I knew that I wanted to try something new and the concept of a more community-focused environment was very appealing. Once I started, I was hooked: first by the opportunity to challenge myself to learn new movements and skills, and then by the amazing people I started to meet.

I joined Hardware last year after my first box closed and could not be happier with my decision. I was immediately impressed with the quality of the coaching and the warmth of the community. Every day I look forward to catching up with people during class and celebrating everyone’s accomplishments.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR CROSSFIT GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?

My current goal is to improve my gymnastic skills. I recently achieved muscle-ups after 6 months of dedicated practice, and now I’m shifting focus to handstand work. I’m predicting a longer time to success for this one; being upside down feels weird and I am already prone to tripping when I’m on my feet.

 

WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED DUE TO CROSSFIT THAT’S MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

This year, I was able to perform all the open workouts Rx. What makes this so special is not just the reward of putting in lots of work and seeing a result, but the fact that many other people helped me to achieve this. I received a ton of guidance and support from coaches and other members along the way and continue to be inspired by the work ethic and generosity of the people around me.

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

I’m a fan of long chippers that involve running. It’s really satisfying to tick off each part as you complete it and I always enjoy getting outside.

 

 

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

Sumo deadlift high-pull. I just don’t get it.

 

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

Everyone can do Crossfit. Literally everyone. It can be quite intimidating to step into a group setting with unfamiliar challenges (I felt super nervous for my first class), but the coaches are there to provide you with the tools you need to succeed in your goals, and the members are there to cheer you on.

 

Sarah P.
Member name:

Sarah P.

Athlete of the month: March 2019
Details

 

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF
THE GYM?

By day I’m a Training Team Lead for ProQuest, which is a library services and content
company. After years of working in marketing and sales I obtained a Master’s in Library
Science in 2005 from the University of Illinois and have worked in the library industry
ever since. I work with librarians to educate them about our databases which cover a
variety of subjects from history to government to statistics to genealogy. I learn
something new every day and I like that my company preserves content that would
otherwise be lost or forgotten.
I’m a late in life athlete and ran my first marathon in 1997. I’ve got 15 under my belt and
this year am taking a break from running long distances to work on speed training and
CrossFit. I enjoy reading, knitting and travel. My favorite travel companion is Pete
Bush, also a Hardware member, and my favorite knitting companion is our cat,
Pistache. I enjoy Chicago during all seasons but really like when it warms up enough to
ride my bike around or go to the beach. Go Cubs!
WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO CROSSFIT AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING
BACK?
My friend Rachel, who lives in West Virginia, got me into CrossFit. She kept talking
about how great it was and even got me to a class when we were in DC for work years
ago. We live close to Hardware so Pete and I would see people running outside. We
weren’t making progress in our fitness and knew we needed a change and joined
Hardware after a particularly over the top vacation to Berlin. The rest is history. The
first people I met at Hardware were George for my intro session, Ozzie who assured me
that people of “all ages” work out at HWCF and Owen who did not let me quit during
one of my first workouts that involved 75 burpees.
I keep coming back for so many reasons. I love the athletes and coaches at Hardware
– they are the most positive, encouraging bunch you will ever meet. There is no
judgement. When I first started I thought I couldn’t partner with someone lifting more
than me but that is so wrong. People make accommodations and you can learn from
everyone at the gym. Plus, as adults, how often are we challenged to do something
completely new? And….for pure vanity….I love shopping and life is better when
everything in my closet fits!!
Hardware CrossFit has lowered my embarrassment threshold. I used to worry so much
about what people thought of me and I would be thinking ahead to failing instead of just
giving something a go. This attitude has seeped into other parts of my life. At work I
lead a team and instead of worrying about the outcome of a project I’m the one who will
say “let’s just try this!”.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR CROSSFIT GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING
THEM?

I’m working on jumping the bar laterally. I am training to complete Chad (scaled) this
Summer. My other goals are consistency and keeping track to notice improvements.
As my strength increases I sometimes surprise myself. Just today I was closer to the
wall than ever before during a wall walk. I would like to find a few WODs in 2019 that I
can complete RX. I also think I’m really, really close to being able to do toes to bar.
WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED DUE TO
CROSSFIT THAT’S MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?
Anyone who has seen me work on this knows my proudest moment was when I finally
jumped over the bar for a bar facing burpee! As Chris L. would say “it’s all mental” and
it was. I was thinking too much about “what if I trip?” rather than just Jumping. The.
Damn. Bar. Thanks to Coach Adrian and our recent Nutrition Challenge I feel confident
I have kicked my breakfast cereal habit. It was time and I feel really good. I also can’t
believe I competed in an OLY meet. Some of my friends thought I was kidding when
they heard about it. My mom was so proud and now wonders if I’ll compete in the
Senior Olympics. Ha ha Mom.

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

Strict press was one of the first movements I learned, and it will always be my favorite.
If you really want to feel strong, take a bar out of the rack and then move it over your
head with no legs. Wow. It’s a full body move while standing still. Bench press clicked
for me recently and it’s becoming a favorite. I also like the Clean and Jerk because it
just looks cool when you do it right and it feels great. My favorite WODs are Chippers –
which remind me of a marathon – you hear 3,2,1 Go and then you just get working on it.
Or any WOD with a burpee over the bar now that I can do them! Bring it on.

 

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

I don’t want to have a least favorite movement because if I do it will always be
programmed. I have movements I don’t care for as much as others, but I just try
because you have to at least try. I have even made some small strides on rope climb
and my 8 th grade self is very proud of that effort.

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

If you are interested come and check it out. It’s not a competition with anyone but
yourself. CrossFit can be physically and mentally challenging but if you stick with it you
are guaranteed to improve.

 

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