This month our second Spotlight Athlete needs no introduction-she has made her presence known at the gym with her hard work and dedication. Karen Gran is one of the hardest working people in our gym. She has overcome many obstacles and accomplished so much, including her first 5K this month! Way to go Karen, keep up the hard work!

When did you start CrossFit? Wes and I started CrossFit in June of 2011.

Why did you start CrossFit? We were going to the groomers to pick up our dogs and Wes literally pulled me into CrossFit Fury instead. He wanted them to convince me that I could actually participate and accomplish these workouts. Of course, I was sure there was no way. I knew our Pastor, Mike Perham, did CrossFit and the truth is I am old enough to be his Mother so i figured there was no way I could do it. Finally, I agreed to try it but only if Wes did it too. Wes wanted me to try this because after my Mother died, I kept sinking further and further into depression. I would make excuses for not going somewhere or doing something because I had done that with my Mother. I was trying to eat away my sorrow and I was pretty darn good at it! After my mother died, I gained 90 pounds.

What kept you coming back/motivated?My first step at CrossFit was to train with Marcus for a couple of weeks and learn the ropes. I quickly learned the phrases, “we can or I’ll try” and stopped saying “I can’t or I won’t”. Then, we were doubly blessed by the creation of the Masters class and coach Kelly. What I love most about CrossFit is that everyday is different. When we walk in, we have no idea what the WOD will be. I look forward to being challenged. Kelly pushes us to be the best and encourages us when we think we can’t do something. The entire team at Fury gives you encouragement even if it is just some small accomplishment.

How long did it take you to get from Basics to CrossFit? I haven’t made it to basics yet, but don’t count me out.

What is the best thing you have gotten out of doing CrossFit? The best thing I have taken away from CrossFit is self confidence and what good nutrition can do for our body and mind.

What is one thing you have done here that you never thought you could do? The one thing that I never thought I could do was jump on the boxes. I would watch everyone else but I was sure that I would fall. Kelly started me jumping on one bumper plate and then two. I conquered the 10 inch box the other day and was so excited to be able to do it.

What is one goal you have reached? The most important goal I reached was two fold: finishing the 5k and walking into Goodyear Ball Park again. When I signed up for the 5K, the biggest block was in my mind. My Mother and I attended 31 games at Goodyear Ball Park before she died, she was an avid baseball fan. I didn’t think I could ever go there again and if I couldn’t even make it into the park, I would never finish the 5K. I made excuses all week long but when Saturday came, I knew Kelly would be there waiting and I had to show up. When we walked into register, there was Peter with his huge smile and tons of encouragement. My goal is to Run the 5k next year and to have all the extra pounds gone before race day.

How has your diet changed since starting CrossFit? Since joining Crossfit our diet has changed. I was addicted to diet coke (like 4 liters a day). When we did our first Paleo challenge and Peter said no diet coke, I was sure I would die. Then came the no sugar and no bread- I wondered what on earth we had gotten ourselves into. We left to go see our grandkids a week into the challenge and we had a hard time sticking to the diet. We Came back a month later and started another Paleo challenge, this time we followed it. I gave up diet coke cold turkey and didn’t die! Gave up chocolate and I’m still alive! The best part of the challenge was the shopping trip with Peter, it was so informative. I would encourage everyone to do the Paleo challenge.

How has the Paleo diet affected your workouts/life? Going Paleo has made a huge difference in our workouts. We use to drag into the gym and wait for someone to tell us what to do. Now we get there early, start our warm up and look forward to what Kelly is going to have us do. We even look forward to doing the hills! We love CrossFit so much that we do extra workouts in the park twice a week. Oh and by the way, working out and eating right has helped with my depression and I have lost 20 lbs.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Not sure if Peter will allow a little commerical for the Masters class, but when we went to see our grandkids we thought we would attend the Masters class at the CrossFit in Michigan. When we checked we found out they didn’t have a Masters class. I don’t think most of the CrossFit gyms offer this class. Thanks Peter for creating it. If you have a parent, grandparent, neighbor or know anyone who thinks they are too out of shape to workout, please save their life and tell them about CrossFit Fury.