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Athlete of the Month – Marianela

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Hey, my name is Marianela Dornhecker. I work at the University of Houston as a psychologist. GO COOGS! My husband and I love living in the Heights. We have 2 fur babies who are very sweet and keep us entertained all the time. Our favorite thing to do is explore all the awesome restaurants and cultural diversity of Houston. This city has so much to offer. If it were up to me, I would travel all the time especially to places that have a lot of nature and great food. I love hiking and being outdoors. But since I can’t spend every single day of my life traveling, I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes.

I started doing CrossFit in August of 2017. What made me decide to start CrossFit?Honestly, I love working out but I’m terrible at sticking to a workout on my own. I end up getting bored and overwhelmed by the idea of structuring a workout. Around the time I moved to Houston, I was primarily running since there is nothing to really plan for that. I love running but it was getting repetitive. When I moved to the Heights, I wanted to find a class so that I didn’t have to structure anything and the closest one to me was District H. Since I had given CrossFit a shot a couple of times before and didn’t hate it, I decided to go for it. I was really nervous though since I didn’t consider myself a fit person at that time.  

CrossFit has changed so much for me from the very basic everyday things to the way I feel about myself and the way I think about health. If you have met me, you know that I am a very small person. So as an example of what my life looked like before CrossFit, I needed to find a cart or ask for help when going to buy my doggies food at the store. Now I can carry the large bag of dog food on my shoulder without a problem. Before CrossFit, I was always so worried about my weight and my goal was only to reduce the number on the scale. That matters so little now. I love seeing what my body can do and feeling strong. It has naturally changed the types of food I eat because I want to have the energy to push weight around at the end of the day. Not only that, it has helped me enjoy food more and made me a more insightful eater.

When it comes to my favorite/least favorite WOD or movement, I think I’m a little strange on this. I love chippers and burpees. I really struggle to like EMOMs and rowing.It’s hard to choose my favorite lift. I like back squats because this is when I feel the strongest but I also like cleans because I really like the feeling of doing a good second pull. My least favorite is easily snatch. My current CrossFit goal is to nail double unders. What is my proudest CrossFit moment/achievement? Maybe this is in my head because it just happened but my performance during the Open this year when compared to last year. Last year I got stuck at a kipping pull-up movement. This year I did 16 kipping pull-ups. Last year, my highest clean was 65LBS. This year I got at least one clean at 95LBS.

My favorite quote:It always seems impossible until it’s done – Nelson Mandela.

Something people would be surprised to know about me is I really love dancing but I am a terrible terrible dancer. Advice I’d give to CF newbies is try not to get too frustrated if you are always at the bottom of the white board. Everyone starts of at a different place, and what matters is the growth you accomplish relative to yourself.