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In the past month, I think it is safe to say that if you have not seen Sandi at MCCF, at least a few times a week then YOU have not been coming! She has come back with a vengeance and some goals and we all noticed how insanely hard she has been working and that is why Sandi Tanasi is our April Athlete of the Month!

I asked her to tell us a bit about her fitness journey and she spoke of her upbringing and how her parents came over from Greece in 1974 and worked hard to chase the American Dream, but fitness was never really a part of their regular life. She said she had good genetics and was blessed with a great metabolism and did do gymnastics and distance running when she was younger. But then…. life started to happen (marriage, kids, full time job) and things started to slow down in the way of metabolism. (A part of life many of us can relate to)!

Sandi was brought to MCCF by her good friend Michelle Michaud and the rest…..I’ll let her tell you……

“Michelle and I have been friends for almost 30 years and when she moved to Old Saybrook, she found MCCF (she used to do crossfit in Wallingford).  She would talk about MCCF and how awesome the community was and how invigorating she felt after a “WOD”.  But Michelle is very competitive and I am not…..I thought she was crazy!

About 2 years ago (I think), she dragged me in for a Saturday Master’s class and I was hooked. I had never had so much fun exercising as I did that day! The people were amazingly friendly (and sweaty) and extremely happy all at the same time. I had to find out why, so I joined. Over the last two years I have been coming to work out on and off. Sometimes I’d come for long stretches but I’d also take long stretches off. Each time I came back from an absence, the MCCF family embraced me and pulled me into the fold.
Over the last 6 months some life changes have occurred that have necessitated me to step back and decide what’s important to me….my health, family and friends. So at the end of February, I made a promise to myself to begin my journey to be come healthy, starting with helping my mind and body de-stress at MCCF. Out of the last 35 days I have been at MCCF 27. I feel so good after every workout.
The biggest impact MCCF has made on me is being part of this unbelievable awesome community. The MCCF community amazes me. I have never been a part of group of people from such varied backgrounds and ages who are so genuinely kind, caring, supportive and so enthusiastically encouraging.
I know very well that I am always one round behind, the slowest runner and the last one to finish. I have one speed and it is slow! There is never any judgement, no one minds that they have to wait for me to finish and most of the time, friends dive in and finish that last round with me. It’s truly the most heartwarming feeling. After every WOD, no matter how tired I am or how sore I am, I have the biggest smile on my face!”
She also mentioned that some of her favorite moments at MCCF are the charity WOD’s, getting an 85lb Push Press PR and finally doing a handstand after 20 years!
Sandi, we all think you are one amazing lady and we could not be happier to name you as our Athlete of the Month! Congratulations!!!!
Sandi and her beautiful family!
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  I remember the day Beth walked through the door of MCCF! It was November 11th and she told me it was her 64th Birthday. She said she likes to take on a new adventure every year and this year, it was CrossFit! I asked her what she did for fitness, she told me about her climb up Mt. Washington, her marathons, her cycling adventures with her husband and her few adventure races. After seeing the extremely impressed look on my face, she said “you know, you just have to keep moving.”We asked Beth to tell us a bit about her fitness journey and what MCCF has done for her. Her story is amazing. Here are Beth’s words…..

“I have always been active, but two years ago, I had surgery during which I had major life threatening blood loss and a full body infection that often takes the lives of even the young and healthy. I was very lucky to survive, but every surgeon, nurse and specialist pointed to my fitness level as the key to my happy outcome. I realized then I was given a second chance and I wanted to make the most of every moment and not only recover, but get stronger, faster, wiser and kinder with every decade I was given.

My daughter became involved in CrossFit as part of her marketing position and had observed firsthand the energy, results and excitement all the way to the World’s. She told me it would provide me with the challenge I wanted, but that I should research area boxes because they were each very unique.  After checking out a number of CrossFit options, I selected MidCoast because of their focus on building a positive environment while providing sound instruction and safe challenging balanced workouts.
I already have had so many special moments here, being welcomed by fellow members. cheered on when finishing a tough workout, but mostly being coached, pushed and valued as an athlete, regardless of my age and ability.
I am stronger and more confident and feel ready to take on new challenges.  Already my new CrossFit friends have inspired me to do the January Winter Warrier Challenge, the CrossFit Opens and an upcoming GORUCK event.  It’s really all about the spirit here at CrossFit and in just a few short months I feel right at home”.
You are at home Beth and all of us here at MCCF are so proud of all your hard work and the amazing spirit and smile you bring us every time you’re here!
Congratulations Beth, you are the MCCF Athlete of the Month!
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You are sure to know this months Athlete of the Month not only by her super athletic abilities but also by her super positive personality and infectious smile! (Also maybe by her workout sweater which is awesome)!

Casey O’Brien is such an awesome addition to our box. She comes in ready to take on any challenge as well as crush anything she takes on! Her drive, spirit and positive attitude are what makes Casey the perfect pick for our featured athlete this month!

I asked Casey a few questions about her journey thus far at MCCF and here is what she had to say:

“I tried MCCF with my friend Alisha and we both loved it from the first day. I love the energy as well as working on the different skills when I come in and look forward to improving at all of them. As much as I love the workouts and feel amazing and strong when I leave – it’s the people that I love the most. Everyone is friendly and encouraging.  I am so grateful for finding the perfect fit for me. Now my daughter Maeve works out with me and we cannot get enough – she loves it just as much as I do.”

Well we love you too and we are so happy that you have found a happy place at MCCF!

Congratulations Casey, you are the February Athlete of the Month!

casey

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When thinking of our latest Athlete of the Month, two words come to mind….”Rock On”! You guessed it, our January Athlete of the Month is none other than Tony Silverio!

Tony came to us about a year ago and from the second he walked through the door, his enthusiasm and pure excitement for everything was contagious! We knew we had someone special and look forward to seeing him every time he comes in! At 5:30 am, you will find Tony happily waiting outside with his yellow reflective vest, headlamp and music on because he has just finished a one to two mile tire drag up Ragged Rock Rd! He lights up our 5:30am class with his awesome self and ALWAYS suggests we ditch the WOD and go to Christies for breakfast! (One of these days we are going to surprise you Tony and go)!

There is not a day that he does not put in 110% and when he is not here crushing WOD’s, or doing Stronman or OLY, you can find Tony doing anything from some type of adventure race on the weekend to practicing his double under’s in the corner or even installing our showers and fixing our plumming! He’s a “jack of all trades” and always lends a helping hand!

When I asked Tony for some of his favorite moments at MCCF, he quickly mentioned the charity WOD’s and being able to workout with a ton of people in the same room for a good cause! I also asked him what MCCF has done for him and here is what Tony said:

“MCCF has done so much for me. Humbled me a lot. I’m just starting to realize that it’s my workout and how it works for me. I’m in the best shape of my life at 51 and not getting injured because all of our coaches look out for us. As a business owner and someone that has to work every day to survive, this is the most important thing to me!!!

The people down here are all great and the fact there is no one judging you is awesome. I have many lifelong friends and now I have a lot more, thanks to you guys!”

Congratulations Tony! You are the January Athlete of the Month – ROCK ON!

tony

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When I asked Rob to answer a few questions so I could blog about him for Athlete of the Month, I had no idea that he would write the entire blog for me! Thanks Rob!!!! I would like to say that all of us here at MCCF think Rob has a winning spirit, attitude and of course smile (he’s always smiling). You deserve to be recognized and we are so happy that you are a part of our community!

Congratuations Rob, you are MCCF’s December Athlete of the Month!

Here is Rob’s story:

I started Crossfit at Old Saybrook about five years ago. I sure wish I’d taken advantage of that $5,000 life membership offer back in 2011! Back then it was just Elayne and she was and continues to be my inspiration. So cool. I’m 52 now and am nearly always surrounded by people half my age. But I give it all I have and I hope they can see that I leave everything on the floor, even if I finish last.

Wow, has Crossfit helped my running. This year I ran my fastest half-marathon and feel I am now ready to train for a full marathon in 2017. When Mike, Jeff, Kevin, Elayne and I ran the Mount Washington Road Race earlier this year, we all realized I think for the first time, or at least I did, that it was the sheer dogged determination of Crossfit that gave us the ability to keep going when all we wanted to do was quit. I think that’s why I love the ewods so much – they teach me such patience, perseverance and persistence, plus I love to run of course…Patrick and I have had some pretty cool battles over the years…not that we’re competitive or anything!

I love to run, love to race, and love to be included in it all. I think it took me about two years to realize my most important lesson at Crossfit: and that is that you only get out what you put in. Initially I would show up, do my thing, go home.  And I didn’t really feel part of the box for a long time. And then one day I plucked up the courage and started talking to Emily (who of course, was very kind when she didn’t have to be) and I made a friend and then gradually I made the effort to get to know everyone, person by person. Now, coming to Crossfit is one of the most rewarding things in my life and I certainly do feel very welcome and really part of the family. And now I really make an effort now to say hello to the new people – I just remember how it can be so intimidating to an older person who’s a bit shy and not really a gym-rat. I truly believe that a friendly hello can mean the difference between a new member sticking with it or fading away. So if you can, say hello to the new gal or ask the quiet guy how he likes the workout – you never know, you might change a life. Especially the new members who want to lose weight and get fit – just imagine the bravery and courage it takes for some folks just to show up and do Crossfit with all the young flat-bellies. They deserve a medal just for showing up, so make them welcome – sometimes all it takes is a simple bit of friendly eye contact and a welcoming hello and it can make a world of difference to that person.

I think the biggest hurdle for me early on was realizing that scaling is the most important aspect for older crossfitters: let’s face it, lifting weights at speed is not a good combination, but once I learned to leave my ego at the door and lift what I was comfortable with, at a safe speed, that’s when I really started enjoying Crossfit. Crossfit is a big part of my life now and it has helped me stay and feel young. I truly like everyone and am very appreciative of everything Elayne, Wendell, Mike, Sean, Zack, Kristin, Maggie, Jocelyn, Riky and Kaylyn have done (hope I’m not forgetting anyone!) to make me feel welcome and relevant. I’ll let you know how my marathon goes, in the meantime, Jo, I’m 1 and 0 and I NEVER forget a victory…..not that I’m competitive or anything.

rob