September Athlete Of The Month: Vanessa Roach

How I came to CrossFit was by need…. I am no stranger to working out, even while pregnant, and it has been constant in my life, and my kids, for as long as I have been a Mom. I was a stroller fitness instructor for 3 years, and taught classes through pregnancies #3 and #4. I do have to say that CrossFit definitely has changed my definition of what a workout is- and there is no going back!

Before CrossFit, my idea of working out was loading the kids in the triple jogging stroller and going for a 5 mile run. It was 6 years ago, during my husband’s 2 year deployment to Iraq, that I really became an avid runner, it is what got me through the deployment.  So over the past 6 years I have been running daily, entering in 5 or 10k races locally, ran beach to bay a few times, the last being 7 months pregnant with #4.  Through the years I had tried training/running various 1/2 marathons and a marathon, but always ending up with a move that derailed my plans- I FINALLY ran my first 1/2 marathon 4 months postpartum with baby#4 in Dec. of 2012.  But as the kids have gotten older(and heavier!) running long distances just wasn’t feasible anymore. I had older kids that didn’t fit in the stroller, yet their legs couldn’t keep up to run with me.  I found myself without a physical outlet for my never ending energy supply- I am one of those people who HAS to exercise and LOVES exercising- it feeds my soul- plus I was missing my runners high!

With my husband working out of town in the oil field, I was home with the kids all the time, and decided it was time to CrossFit. I had heard about it from many friends, and it appealed to me so much, I knew I couldn’t just “try” it.  I went for 2 intro classes, then signed up for a year of unlimited classes. I am naturally athletic, very competitive, and love a challenge, I was sold. I went in everyday, ready to learn and  push myself, and get the most out of my one hour a day that was just for me.

My hour at XLR8 keeps me sane, plus I gained some wonderful new friendships.  With the Coaches and their guidance, I was steadily improving, my weights kept increasing and I loved leaving the gym everyday with the feeling of accomplishment. I had reached one of my New Year’s Goals, and was working towards checking off the others when I found out I was expecting #5. I knew I would CrossFit through my pregnancy, as I couldn’t imagine NOT having CrossFit as part of my day. Everyday, I still leave the gym with a feeling of accomplishment, even as my times get slower, because to me, every day that I get to comfortably keep my power cleans, RX weight, pull-ups-whatever- makes my day.

I am so thankful for all the Coaches, especially Molly, that have been SO supportive over the past 7.5 months, in allowing me to come in and work out with my ever growing baby bump. For them to see me as an athlete during this time, words can not express my gratitude. Thank you all, again.