Athlete of the MonthOctober

Katie DiDonato

How old / young are you? 41

What is your occupation? I teach 8th grade English at Westlake Middle School. I love my job and am so blessed to work at such a great school.

When did you join Widespread CrossFit? 2 1/2 years ago (I think – not sure)

Why did you decide to give CrossFit a try? I didn’t know anything about CrossFit, but I was looking for somewhere to strength train for running. I had read a book on changing your habits, Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin, and it suggested finding something convenient. I also know that for my personality I needed someone to hold me accountable. I stopped in and as soon as I talked with Matt about his extensive knowledge of running I knew I was in the right place.

What was your athletic background before starting CrossFit? I was never an athlete as a kid – I wish now that I would have been. I’m a book nerd. I had run a lot of shorter races.

What changes in your health, physique, and overall performance have you seen since starting CrossFit? I started training for a half marathon. Matt helped me a ton with a training plan which included three days of CrossFit and two days of running. I was incredibly nervous for that first half. I have since run 5 half marathons and 2 full marathons! Probably the biggest change for me overall was working with Kari on nutrition. I have completely changed how I eat and what I eat. Right away, I noticed changes in what I could do as a runner and in the gym. It’s also helped my family. My five-year-old son loves to eat avocados now and hard “wheeled” eggs. I have noticed a huge change in my overall strength. I think a lot of runners are just running. I feel like I have a much better balance of strength overall.

What advice would you give to someone with regards to starting CrossFit? Just show up – don’t look at the workout. Don’t listen to people around you. A lot of people in my life make negative comments to me about CrossFit, but it works for me and I love it.

What is your favorite and least favorite CrossFit exercises / movement? I really don’t love most weightlifting, but I know it’s good for me. I also loathe wall balls and anything to do with sleds. I like the cardio stuff obviously.

What is your most memorable CrossFit moment so far? Being able to climb the rope for the first time and participating in the CrossFit Open workouts. They really helped to build my confidence.

What do you like to do outside of CrossFit? Spend time with my husband and two kids. Read, golf, run, and watch college football.

What is your favorite “cheat” food or meal? Oreos and milk. Before Kari fixed me I ate a lot of Rice Krispies.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you? I love cheesy country music.

Who or what inspires you the most? Everyone at the gym is an inspiration to me. I love the friends and community there. I love to read inspirational stories about athletes.

What is one goal you would like to accomplish through CrossFit? I want to run a faster marathon and just continue getting stronger.