Each month we spotlight a different CFA athlete who stands out and shows just how awesome they are. What is it that makes up an Athlete of the Month? It may not be the person that finishes the fastest, Rx’s every WOD, or gets a PR every time they walk in the gym. Although we love and celebrate when those things happen, the Athlete of the Month is made up of much more than physical ability. This person shows up, gives their best every time, and then gives a little more. They are hungry to learn and always ready to do the work. They support their fellow classmates and encourage them to reach their goals. This athlete embodies what we believe the CrossFit Austin Community should be about.
Our February Athlete of the Month is Denise Valdez! Denise is one of our OGs! She’s been with CFA since February of 2012 which is appropriate for her to be AOM in her “gymiversary” month! Denise is one of the sweetest people we know and you can guarantee she has a smile and a ‘hello’ for everyone who walks through the doors. Both she and her husband George show their daughter Danica a great example of taking care of your health and we love to have sweet families like their’s training together! Denise exemplifies so many of the qualities we look for in an AOM and has found a place both in our hearts and in our community. Denise, the CFA Team is proud to honor you as our February Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this team. Thanks for your all your hard work and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the years to come! Congratulations!
State your Name and/or Nickname please:
Denise, Dee Dee, or D
Words to live by?
“Win in the mind.”- Mark Divine, former Navy Seal
There is always someone out there who has it worse.
What is your fitness background?
In middle school I played a few sports and in high school I was in the marching band(if you consider that a sport). Pre mommy-hood, I trained for sprint triathlons and half marathons.
How long have you been CrossFitting?
I started CrossFit in February 2012.
Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
George and I hit a plateau at the “global gym” and decided that we needed a new challenge. So we looked into CrossFit and CFA showed up in our search. The day of our 1-on-1 session was a Saturday. I remember being nervous and excited. Before our session began, we had the chance to spectate the athletes working out to “Fight Gone Bad”. It looked intense and was rather intimidating. I almost hit the ground running, but I have ”No Ragrets” joining CFA. (“Not even one single letter.”) -We’re the Millers, 2013.
The WODs today are still a challenge and just as intense.
What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
My favorite part of CrossFit Austin is definitely the community. We have the best Coaches who strive to make us a better version of ourselves.
The Members. I know I can always count on ya’ll for motivation, a smile, good laughs, and Thirsty Thursday. Great friendships grow here.
Current Training Goals/PRs?
When it comes to upper body strength, I’ve always been a light weight. I want to be able to lift heavier weight and continue to get better overall in all skills(DU, HSPU, unassisted PU, etc.)
I also want to get back into training for races, eventually making my way back to a half marathon. In April, I plan on running the Longhorn Run.
What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Quality first. Quantity will follow.
No matter how tough the workout gets, just keep moving and fight through.
And have fun.
What is your cheat meal go to?
Definitely a burger or pizza.
How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
As Danica gets older, she is more active and I need to be able to keep up with her. At work, I sometimes have to transfer a patient from their wheelchair to my operatory chair. And for fun, fitness comes in handy for adventure hikes.
Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
June 2019, MURPH. I thought I was going to only do a third of MURPH. I ended up doing a half MURPH.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey?
In November 2017, I was set back having been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. I gave myself only one option. Overcome UC.
Each workout is always a challenge. I remind myself that it’s ok if the new me is slower. I tell myself to push a little harder to a capacity that my body will allow. Working out really helps me to feel accomplished physically and mentally.
If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
“New Hope” for Time
5 American KB swings
400 m Weighted Tire Drag
10 American KB swings
200 m Weighted Tire Drag
15 American KB swings
100 m Weighted Tire Drag
What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it?
Mental fortitude. Sometimes I’ll get off to a slow start. Once I start moving, I have to just keep moving, and finish strong. Danica and George are my reason, therefore, I will not let this condition dictate my life.
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I enjoy the outdoors(camping and hiking), Longhorn Football, and lately trying new restaurants. I’ve also dabbled a little in photography.
Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I love Barbra Streisand.
They’re, their, you’re, your…when it is not used correctly, it irks me.
I make a pretty tasty arroz con pollo.
Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
I am humbly honored to be AOM.
I love that I have the opportunity to be under the tutelage of amazing coaches and get to work out amongst positive and influential athletes. CFA is CFAmily.