I am so excited to write my first Athlete Spotlight of 2017 about this awesome lady.

There are some athletes that I can write about quickly, simply because I see them almost every day in the early morning classes. Other athletes, however, I don’t get to see very much. Due to work schedules and life in general, I don’t get to see our February Athlete very often. But when I do, boy am I impressed.

And, there is NO shortage of wonderful things said about her behind the scenes to help fuel my words in this write up.

It’s so great that I can literally say the name “Mariah Vess” and people’s eyes light up and basically shout “OH MY GOSH SHE IS PERFECT FOR THE ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT. She is SO great and SO awesome to work out with and SO inspiring….”

You get the picture.

Mariah is dedicated, committed, sweet as can be, and coming at these workouts with a vengeance every day. She gives it her all in every workout, and makes time in her busy life to put in extra work to help her weaknesses.

Mariah has stepped out of her comfort zone multiple times in just the short year she has been a CrossFitter, by taking the leap into 4-Person Team SuperFit this past November, deciding to stick with RX in our annual Beast of Big Lick Competition, and who could forget her bravery during the workout that involved THESE rope climb wounds?

This past weekend, we had our annual Beast of Big Lick Competition. This is truly one of my favorite activities that BLCF does each year – why? Because I get to 1) see other athletes from other classes, 2) I get to see tons of PRs from the people who always say “they’ll never lift that weight” and 3) I get to cheer and scream with tears in my eyes when I witness all of this greatness.

Mariah’s performance this weekend was nothing short of inspiring. This girl hesitated to stick with RX because of doubt and fear. She outdid her expectations and had validation for all of her hard work and efforts. I think this past weekend inspired her to push harder and I hope that she is looking forward to the next time she can get on the mats and surprise and impress herself.

I think we can all see Mariah as an example of true grit, beauty and poise – juggling a full time job, playing the role of wife and mommy to two beautiful twin girls that are full of energy and life, all while putting HER fitness and health as a priority in her life is something I can only hope to be once I become a mom myself. Congratulations, Mariah, you are Big Lick CrossFit’s Athlete Spotlight for February 2017. We are so proud of the progress you have made in this short time with us and cannot wait to see all of the milestones and gains you achieve at Big Lick in 2017!


Here’s a little more about Mariah:

(Big Lick CrossFit): Give me 3 words that would describe how you felt about CrossFit before joining BLCF:
(Mariah): Skeptical, crazy, intense.

(BLCF): Give me 1 word that would describe how YOU felt right before your first WOD?
(M): Intimidated.

(BLCF): What is your favorite WOD(s) or Skill(s)?
(M): I love the snatch. I don’t always do it very well, but it’s my favorite lift. I also really like rowing and E-WODs.

(BLCF): What’s on your “Suck List”? What are you doing to take it off your “Suck List”?
(M): Pull-ups, definitely pull-ups. I think just about every coach has tried to help me get kipping pull-ups. I try to do extra work on them at least 2 times a week to get better, and it’s definitely helping, but it’s such a struggle for me. I still have a long way to go before I’m efficient with them but one day I will be!

(BLCF): How did you hear about Big Lick CrossFit?
(M): I knew Maggie and Chance Campbell went here, but I was pretty skeptical about CrossFit. When Chance became a coach, I figured it must not be that bad if he was actually coaching it. Then when Chris Woodson (who had also been a skeptic) told me to come try it, I decided I’d see what it was all about. After one Saturday WOD I was hooked!

(BLCF): How long have you been doing CrossFit?
(M): Right at a year, I started mid January 2016.

(BLCF): What do you do for a living?
(M): I’m an occupational therapist and therapy manager at a retirement community.

(BLCF): Married? Kids?
(M): I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Matt, and we have twin girls, Allison & Cameron.

(BLCF): Describe your biggest milestone, achievement, or “A-ha” moment?
(M): I feel like I have at least one a-ha moment a week because I’m constantly learning little tips and techniques from the coaches and other athletes that make me better. A few that stand out are doing my first snatch where I actually made contact with my hips and it felt smooth. Finishing Annie under the time cap when I really didn’t think I’d come close. And realizing that Chris and Link were serious about wanting me on their superfit team.

(BLCF): What is Big Lick CrossFit’s best attribute?
(M): The people at Big Lick are what makes it so special. It’s not just people coming to get in a workout and improve their fitness. It’s a family of people who genuinely care about each other and support one another inside and outside the gym. From the coaches, to the athletes, to the kids running around laughing and playing, it’s a very special place!

(BLCF): What encouragement or advice would you give to new people coming in?
(M): Give it a chance and stick with it. In the beginning everything seems hard and it can be intimidating seeing people fly through workouts that you’re barely surviving, but it gets easier each week if you keep at it. Before you know it, you’ll be doing things you never thought you could!