We just finished an amazing holiday party this weekend, and it was great seeing everyone outside the gym. Many of you look SO different in real clothes, compared to gym clothes! As coaches we see all of the athletes no matter what time they train, however as athletes many of you approached the coaches and wanted to know who someone was. This week we will help you get to know one of our athletes who you have probably seen around, Dawn Wilkinson. Dawn started training with Raleigh CrossFit, casually, with a punch card in August 2013, and converted to an unlimited membership approximately 1 year later in July 2014. She realized doing the training at Raleigh CrossFit was what she was looking for in terms of her exercise regimen.
Hometown: East Lansdowne, PA, moved to Raleigh in 1994 and threw away my snow shovel upon arrival.
Occupation: Regional Sales Manager, CCSS a division of HelpSystems. This means I sit in an office on the phone 8 hours a day. It’s not as glamorous as the title sounds.
As many athletes at Raleigh CrossFit, Dawn was not a college athlete, but rather someone who realized her athletic potential a little later in life.
I like to describe myself as one of those late-bloomers when it comes to being an “athlete”. I didn’t play any sports unless chasing down the ice cream truck counts, with the exception of a bit of softball in elementary school but nothing organized. Sports required extra cash, which was limited in our working class family. As kids we played outside – roller skates, tag, jump rope. When I graduated college I joined the “ladies only” fitness club my Mom attended. I was an intermittent exerciser until my early 30’s when exercise became like inexpensive therapy sessions and my ‘exercise enthusiast’ side was exposed. Then I met Kim Shaw and Holly (Fling) Austin and my real “inner athlete” started to break through. Because of these two Goddesses, I ran my first 5K, 8K, half-marathon and now can push jerk 100# over my head.
Dawn, fell into Raleigh CrossFit because of her friends and current RCF athletes Kim Shaw and Holly Austin.
One of my besties, Kim, started CrossFit back around 2012 and she would talk about the workouts with a mix of enthusiasm and frustration because they were giving her a great workout but were constantly challenging her. Then Holly started working out at RCF too, so I figured if I was going to have hang time with these two, then I needed to check this out too.
Having coached Dawn since April I have seen a huge change, not only her ability to perform the workouts, but her attitude as well. She is a positive influence on other athletes and is always encouraging others to push themselves beyond their current boundaries. Although Dawn didn’t start off as much of a goal-setter, her outlook has changed as she continues to better herself in her Olympic lifts and metabolic conditioning sessions.
I can honestly say I wasn’t a goal-setter and hadn’t been trained to think that way. Maybe it’s my age, combined with my upbringing, and all those years of parochial school, but I wasn’t a historian like others are. No journals, diaries, log books kept, but now I find myself writing things down, keeping track of my performance and enjoying a huge sense of personal pride when I realize that I just had a new PR (personal record). I look forward to what it will be like to a CrossFit athlete when I turn 50. I’ve got a few years until then but not many, so this is a real experiment in action.
With goal setting comes achievements, and those moments where we surprise ourselves. Dawn’s biggest achievement so far:
Rope climb x1. I may never attempt it again so as not to sully the memory, and I am completely okay with that. This is a double bonus of achievement because I have a crippling fear of heights – or at least used to. I might just need to consider that trapeze class after all.
Another of Dawn’s great achievements that she did not mention is her ability to do box jumps. Dawn, like many of our athletes, did not enjoy the idea of jumping on a box and instead chose to do step ups. Dawn however was determined to conquer this fear, and as a coach I watched her continue to persevere and gradually work her way up to completing rebounding box jumps with the 20” box!!
Outside of CrossFit Dawn enjoys spending time with her fur children as well as her friends. Not only that, but she is apparently a very good cook (I for one am more than willing to try anything she cooks to verify this!!!)
I am a hardcore animal lovah. We have 2 dogs, a 14 YO fawn-colored Chihuahua named Basil and a 10 YO black and white, terrier mix named Gemma. Both are rescues – Basil came to live with us when he was 8 YO the day after Christmas, and Gemma was rescued from the Wake County Animal Shelter in 2005. They add lots of joy, love, noise and fur balls to our house. Also I am a faux-Auntie to lots of my friends’ children. This is somewhat self-serving as I am hopeful that I will have someone to check on me in my old age in the event I fall and can’t back up after “Fran”. I’m rather solid in the kitchen and can cook up some tasty meals however I am NOT a baker since that is a precise science and I am more likely to need to substitute some ingredient in a recipe, which just doesn’t work with baking. Gardening is something I try to do but struggle with as it takes a good bit of time and energy and both of those are in limited quantities even without children.
Although initially Dawn was apprehensive and nervous about CrossFit, she has come to embrace the difficult workouts and meets them head on. Dawn never quits and continues to push herself to reach new milestones.
CrossFit? Where do I start? Raleigh CrossFit is a huge part of my life because it gives me so many opportunities to challenge myself mentally and physically. RCF has make me realize I can do all kinds of things I would NEVER have otherwise imagined or considered trying on my own. And the friends I’ve made through RCF are just the icing on the paleo-cake. These folks are generous, encouraging, gracious, hard working, enthusiastic, and just genuinely kind to the core. They all want the other athletes to do well – how can you not L-O-V-E being surrounded by this kind of great energy?!
Dawn, like many of our athletes, is recognized by her employer for her healthy lifestyle, specifically being a member of Raleigh CrossFit, and the challenges and joys that CrossFit has given her.
One of the “positive culture” activities in place at my current employer involves each staff member being provided a professional “hobby shot” that hangs as an 18″x24″ photo on the “Wall of Stars” at our MN corporate HQ. There are hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, motorcycle riders, and a Justin Bieber groupie. When I had to decide what I wanted my photo to be, I knew it had to be some about working out because this what I do with the majority of my free time. When my hobby shot was taken in late Spring 2014, I was only getting in about 2x per-week on punch-card status but I still thought of RCF as a way I defined myself and my hobby shot has me repping a RCF t-shirt. I am really proud of that photo, and am thrilled that every day when dozens of my colleagues walk down that hall, I can plant the marketing seed so they know where they should go should they come to NC!
Note: Perhaps you receive work incentives to maintain a healthy lifestyle of frequenting a gym. Just ask a Raleigh CrossFit coach and we will be happy to provide verification records to your employer about your visits to RCF. If you have any questions about this you can reach out to Chennelle or the rest of the coaching staff and we can assist you in whatever your employer needs.
One of the best ways that I know to learn more about someone is to talk to those who they are close with. Holly and Kim are extremely close to Dawn and when asked were more than happy to provide share some details about Dawn to help us all learn more about her.
Kim: Dawn and I have been working out together for several years now. Honestly, I couldn’t ask for a better training partner. She always encourages me and pushes me to “up my game” every time I step into the gym. Her positive energy and enthusiasm for life is infectious and I’m sure is noticed by others at the gym. It’s so fun to watch her get stronger and more comfortable with every workout, especially since Holly and I had to do some serious arm-twisting to get her to join RCF. Now I think she averages more workouts per week than me.
Holly: First let me tell you that if Raleigh Crossfit were to give out the “most improved award” she would get my vote! Dawn will be the first to tell you that she has not had much experience with this level of training but she has taken this on without hesitation, with great effort and a smile on her face.
Holly: Dawn and I have been casually working out together for years – in 2010 she offered to come on part of my training run for an endurance event. I was so excited at the offer I planned to swing by her house to pick her up and she could join me for 5 miles in the middle of the workout. I neglected to tell her that we were running 5 miles and it never crossed my mind to ask her how far she wanted to go. But despite my negligence, Dawn did great! She ran the whole time with a smile on her face. It wasn’t until I saw her husband later that day that I learned she had NEVER run 5 miles before! Just two years later in 2012, Dawn ran her own half marathon and shortly after that she joined me and Kim Shaw to try out RCF – she has not looked back since.
Not only does Dawn deserve the most improved award, but she should be in contention for Coaches Award since she gives 110% everyday and welcomes every Raleigh CrossFit athlete – new and veteran, with a smile.
Dawn is an amazing woman, you have probably heard her cheer and encourage you as you push through a WOD, or seen her continue to perceiver no matter how difficult a workout can be. I encourage all of you to introduce yourself to Dawn next time you see her and get to know more about her for yourself.
Holiday Party Recap
What a year Raleigh CrossFit! We celebrated one another and made a few new friends as athletes who train at various times were able to mingle without sweating! The event at Clouds Brewing was pretty amazing. Thank you to everyone who came out! As a thank you to you for being awesome athletes and people in general, Raleigh CrossFit has a special “beanie” waiting for you. If you did not snag one at the party, please stop by the front desk so that your beautiful heads can stay warm this winter! Congratulations to Erica for her “best” Ugly Sweater. Very creative and thoughtful Erica.