January Featured Athlete - Dana Pajerski


1. What brought you into CFP?

I was Janessa and Jana’s guinea-pig for their first Birthfit post-partum series. It was amazing and reminded me how much I enjoy working out. I went from being very physically active in my teens and 20’s to being a mom in my 30’s (and not making physical activity a priority). When the series was over, I planned to try CF and see what I thought of it. A couple classes in I was hooked!   

2. What have you gained from joining CF?

I’ve definitely been getting stronger physically but also learning to listen to my body and taking things down a notch if I’m not feeling 100% (usually due to lack of sleep from being up with kiddos in the night). Slow is fast :)

3. Have you passed on anything from BirthFit/CrossFit to anyone outside of the gym?

I’ve shared the functional progressions with my sisters and friends who are pregnant/post-partum.

4. What’s your favorite movement?

The squat. So good for so many reasons!

5. What’s your least favorite movement?

Probably burpees in large quantities. Oh and split jerks. Maybe I’ll learn to love them?

6. If you could write a wod what would it look like?

I was an endurance athlete in my 20’s so I tend to like longer workouts. My WOD would probably include rounds of rowing and/or running, wall ball shots and kettle bell swings.  

7. What are some goals you’ve crossed off your CrossFit list?

Core rehab after 3 babies has been a big one, still in progress but much improved.

Rope climbing, box jumps, learning to kip are a few specific ones.

8. What are some future goals you have?

Become kickass at push-ups, be able to do pull-ups and just keep lifting heavier.

9. What do you do for self care?

I go to CF! I actually have a babysitter one morning a week so that I can come to CF alone and then just have a few hours to myself. Best thing I ever did.

Cooking with a glass of wine is a close 2nd.

Watching Ozzy Man or something on Netflix with Jan (my hubby) is a close 3rd.

10. Where’s your favorite place to eat out in the area?

Agava and Viva. I just realized both of these places have good margaritas. Coincidence?

11. Winter, spring, summer or fall?


12. Liquor, wine, beer or cider?

All of the above but not at the same time

13. What do you do for a living?

Pediatric Registered Nurse. Although the majority of my time right now is being a momma to my three sweet (but wild) boys (ages 6, 4 and 1).

14. Where are you from?

A tiny town in NW Ontario, Canada. It’s a pretty spectacular part of the world, but winters are harsh and it’s crazy remote. It is fun to go back in the summers to visit though. I spent my college and early working years in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. Jan and I came to Ithaca in 2011 with a 3-5 year plan...haha.

15. What’s a random fact you hold that you can share with the CFP community?

Lobsters pee out of their faces.

16. If someone was hesitant about trying CF, what would you tell then?

Any exercise can be scaled and the people are amazing! What are you waiting for?

December Featured Athlete - Theo Ross-Johnsrud


1. Where are you from?

I grew up in Ithaca.

2. What do you do for a living/go to school for?

I run an installation crew at Renovus Solar.

3. Do you have any siblings?

I have 2 brothers- one is old and the other is my twin!

4. Do you have any pets?

No pets!

5. What brought you to CFP?

I came to CFP because I was looking for a new physical challenge and had heard good things about it from Janessa

6. What’s your favorite CF movement?

The clean!

7. What’s your least favorite CF movement?

My least favorite is the Assault Bike!

8. If you could write a WOD, what would it look like?

15 cal row 10 TTB and a heavy clean for rounds

9. What do you do for self care?

I try to go for a hike in the woods at least once a week!

10. What’s the best concert you’ve been to? 

Rubblebucket at The Haunt about 4 years ago.

11. What’s your favorite tv show? Or movie?

My favorite movie is The Big Lebowski

12. What’s your athletic background?

I wrestled in high school and I've been practicing martial arts since I stopped wrestling. My main focus in martial arts has been Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

13. How’d you get so good at body weight movements?

I've been working on bodyweight exercises for about 6 years. I think that the key to progressing in bodyweight work is to approach it from a quality first perspective. 

14. What’s a goal you’ve hit?

400# deadlift

15. What’s a goal you’re gunning to hit in 2019?

Freestanding Hand Stand Push-Up

16. What would you tell someone hesitant about starting CF?

You’re going to get out of CrossFit what you put in to it. If you show up ready to learn and put in the work it will definitely be worth the effort.

November Featured Athlete - Mandy McConaha


1. Where are you from?

Born and raised in Indiana and New Mexico. 

2. What brought you to Ithaca? (disregard if you aren't from here)

I was living outside of LA and one day I thought to myself - it is just too sunny and too hot here. So I took a job in CNY and packed my pups in the back of the car and moved 2,665 miles across country.  

3. What do you do for a living?

Most of my career has been spent working in communications and program management in non-profit organizations in SE Asia, W. Africa and the USA. I'm a professional photographer/videographer on the side. I currently manage the in-house creative team at Cornell University. 

4. What brought you into CFP?

My sister started doing CrossFit in Indiana and had impressive results. She also started crushing me at fitness and mud runs and signing her emails: Love your sister who can do kipping pull-ups and double unders. That was the last straw!  On a more serious note, I had been struggling to develop a consistent workout/fitness routine with a busy work schedule and some old injuries started to come back to haunt me and hamper my activity. I took my sisters recommendation and signed up for CrossFit to see how I liked it. I was pretty convinced after watching some CrossFit videos that there would be no way I could do 98% of the moves, but Tim assured me I would be fine. And I LOVE it.  

5. What keeps you at CFP?

The awesome coaching! And the lovely, supportive community. There are days I walk into CrossFit feeling like I literally have steam rolling out of my ears from my brain grinding gears all day, but I always leave with a smile on my face and a happy sore body. One of the best feelings is crushing a workout (or part of one) and looking at a classmate and just acknowledging, "We are such badasses!” 

6. What's your favorite movement?

Kettle bells, power cleans, deadlifts.  

7. What's your least favorite movement?

Squat snatch - soooo hard! 

8. If you could write a WOD, what would it look like? 

I wouldn't even know where to start! 

9. What's your favorite home cooked meal?

I can make a mean asian noodle/pad thai, sweet/savory salad, and Korean stew. 

10. What's your favorite Ithaca restaurant and what do you get there?

Depends on the day, but its usual asian food (Tamarind, Saigon Kitchen..etc): green curry or pho

Indian food (Mehak): pretty much anything on the menu is delicious CA-style Mexican food (Vive Taqueria & Cantina): Enchiladas or smothered burrito with a delicious goat margarita.  

11. Coffee/tea/both or neither? Toppings?

Coffee! Tea (if its in a hot totty) 

12. Liquor/beer/wine/cider or neither?

All - but mostly wine and beer

13. Do you have any pets?

2 dogs - Zoe, a 3 year old Labrador Retriever and Bella, a 5 year old lab/border collie mix

14. What's a CF goal you've crossed off the list?

I can't say they're crossed off the list - but I'm proud of the progress I've made with power cleans, snatches, box jumps, wall balls and anything that involves squatting. I have some fancy 

titanium hardware in my leg and when I started my knees were giving me all sorts of trouble. I had to stop running and limit my hiking for a time because my knees just couldn't handle it. 

After only a short time at CrossFit, I started to see really great progress in the muscle gain around my knees and and legs and now I can pretty much tackle any activity without worrying about tweaking my knee.  

15. What's a future goal you have a CF?

Mastering the illusive double unders, TTB and kipping pull-ups (partly to silence my sister ;) I'm focused on working hard at the areas and activities that I know I struggle with and sometimes that means coming in a bit early or staying a bit late to give them a little extra attention. I'm excited to continue to challenge myself at getting better, stronger, faster! 

16. What about a life goal?

Live and work in the tropics! Kidding...sorta. Someday I would like to run my own non-profit organization. Hike the Inca trail and dive the great barrier reef. Travel more. 

17. If you could have dinner with any musician, who would it be and why? 

I don't think I have a good answer for this one...

18. If someone was hesitant to start CF, what would you tell them?

I would tell them to jump in and give it a try, that you don't have to be an incredible athlete to participate in CrossFit. The coaches really go above and beyond to make sure everyone is scaling the movements appropriately. Some incredible perks of CrossFit (at least at CrossFit Pallas) is that there is always someone watching you during the class making sure you're doing the movement mechanics correctly to ensure you don't injure yourself.  And you will literally NEVER work out at home by yourself has hard as you will in a CrossFit. class. Also, the CrossFit community/family is incredible. Everyone is welcoming, encouraging and supportive - there is nothing quite like it. 

October Featured Athlete - Chris Anderson


1.  Where are you from?
I am Canadian – happy Canadian Thanksgiving BTW Monday October 8th -  I spent most of my formative years in the province of Ontario – in the general area between Detroit & Toronto.

2. What brought you into CFP?
Lindsay, my partner in crime started a few months before I did and it sounded pretty cool! I was participating in endurance events at the time -  my body needed a change and I really didn’t have the time anymore for 5 hour bike rides.

3. What do you do for a living?
I am a faculty member at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration.  I broadly work in the area of data analytics and spend most of my time on pricing related problems. 

4. What's your best CF accomplishment?
Not sure if I have any of those, just happy to make it to class every day and avoid (exercise related) injuries.

5. What are some goals you have at CFP?
Overall fitness I guess, ideally make some progress on gymnastics related movements, keep up with my kids.

6. What's your favorite CF movement? / What's your least CF movement?
I will answer these questions as one as the great part about CF is that every movement should be your favorite movement - you just need to scale it appropriately so you get a good workout.  I really suck at anything that involves heavy weight but I am OK with because I just focus the correct movement with lighter weight.  Clearly wallballs, rope climbs, and rowing are tall-person friendly so are good for me, whereas movements that require more coordination are not!

8. If you could write a workout, what would it look like?
I am a big fan of grinders – any workout in the 30 minute window that doesn’t involve me trying to go to fast on any single movement; make sure there are some wallballs, burpees and pull-ups in there – box jumps are OK as long as there is a soft box (remember the coordination comment!)

9. What do you do for self care?
Try to hit yoga w/ Lex but that is pretty challenging on weekends as we seem to be always taking one of our kids somewhere for some kind of event.  I have an exercise ball and Interstuhl (google it) stool in my office to work on core and posture while I am pontificating at work.

10. What's your favorite Ithaca (area) restaurant?
The Pines – we live just down the road so it’s an easy & regular stop.

11. You're a regular 6am'er- what motivates you to come that early?
As you get older you find a need to ‘schedule’ exercise. With both Lindsay and I at Cornell plus three boys with their own busy schedules – 6 am is really the only time that I know I won’t have a meeting or don’t need to drive our kids somewhere (not quite true, we drop one off at crew practice on the way to 6am class). Plus, it is great to have it out of the way and makes the rest of day easier …. That said,  6am classes are getting busier so everyone else should go later in the day – I hear 8:15 is excellent!

12. You also come pretty regularly to Thursday mornings at 6am, what drives you on "off days to workout?
At some level it is just a pattern, get up early, have coffee,  go to gym – kind of like the old dunkins commercial where with the dude making the donuts (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=petqFm94osQ ).  Thursday are great though – either makeup a missed workout from the week, work on something specific, little extra time rolling out the hammys…or like this Thursday going in to do some wallballs, pull-ups and box jumps just because they are fun!

13. What's your favorite season?
Summer and Winter are great as I find it easier to go out and do something w/ the kids, we live on the lake so in the summer there is lots to do, and in the winter you need to get outside and hit slopes to keep your sanity – these all seem to get harder as our kids get older and have their own agendas though.

14. Liquor, beer, cider, wine, all/none?!
Bud Light all the way no question!  If I know I am only having one, then a stout.

15. You've made great strides to improve at CF, including your squat! What measures have you taken to improve it?
Mostly just time and persistence, foam roller on the hamstrings and keeping the weight lighter to make sure I get full range of motion.

16. If someone was hesitant to start CF, what would you tell them?
It’s a great way to start the day! There is always a way for everyone to participate in every WOD, I had a 6 stiches in my index finger a few weeks back and I was still able to workout just needed to scale, well I always scale, just a little more that go around.

September Featured Athlete - Kelly Skeval


1. Where are you from? I'm originally from Alfred, NY

2. What do you do for a living? I'm a Real Estate Agent and manage our family’s real estate investment properties.
3. What brought you into CFP? My husband, Matt, signed me up for the foundations course for my birthday. I was surprised, excited and super nervous!
4. You are such a busy wife, mom and real estate agent, what keeps you coming back? Oh man! There are so many reasons as to why I keep coming back so I'll just keep it to a few.  I spend my days serving and catering to others needs (my children, clients, tenants etc) but when I'm at CFP, that one hour is all about me. The workouts are written for me so I just have to show up and work through them. I don't have to think at all, no answering questions, no doing anything for anyone but myself.  That's my biggest reason I keep returning. Second, I've been involved in sports and exercise since I was little. Crossfit is the only form of exercise I've found that makes me this strong and this fit with such a small amount of time invested per week. Last, but certainly not least, I love this community. Everyone says it, but the CFP community is one of my favorites. 
5. What’s your favorite movement? I've been really enjoying the gymnastics lately. 
6. What’s your least favorite movement? The snatch, ugh!
7. If you could write a wod, what would it look like? Hmmm well selfishly I like WODs with gymnastics and running. I'm not real strong so my better WODs involve things like TTB, pull-ups and movements that I can move through quickly.
8. What are some CF goals you’ve crossed off? I recently got my first bar muscle up and kipping hand stand pushups!
9. What are some future goals you have at CFP? I have a lot of fun here.  Life gets hard and sometimes it gets in the way and it can become difficult to show up.  Really my only goal is to continue to show up consistently and push myself just a little harder each day.
10. What do you do for self care? I try to stretch for a few minutes after every class. I see Dr. Gardner for adjustments and Teri Hornsby for massages. I'm always reading a book on personal development book!
11. What do you do for fun outside of work and CF? I spend time with my husband and kiddos!  Matt and I have busy schedules and he works crazy hours. Sometimes it's just time at the house, sometimes it's being together while we work on one of our apartments and other times it's fun day trips. As long as we're all together and focusing on us I'm one happy lady!  Our favorite thing to do is to have dinner picnics down at Taughannock when the weather is nice.
12. What’s your favorite restaurant? Oh geez...I don't have just one. Agava, Just a Taste and Luna are tops on my list!
13. Does Matt have a (cooking) speciality? He is a GREAT cook. He has perfected cooking eggs! They're so buttery and not at all macro friendly.  He cooks them for me every morning after we workout.
14. Do you think your children will do CF? Our older two are very competitive. Everything is a race, eating, buckling in their carseats, etc., so I think they're built for it but I'm not sure if Lia will get in to it. Matthew loves it! He often will workout next to Matt, he has a barbell and kettlebell. Mr. Tim and Mr. Darrin are two of his biggest idols.
15. If you were on a deserted island, what’s the one piece of CF equipment you’d bring? Probably a kettlebell, right? I mean you can do so much with one of those!
16. What would you say to someone that’s hesitant about starting CF? Do not be intimidated, every movement can be modified. People always seem to be looking for the secret to looking and feeling fit. Like a get fit quick scheme... I feel like I found it at CFP.  One hour a day, a few days a week and I've seen more people (including myself) than I can count experience amazing body (and mind) transformations!


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August Featured Athlete - David Small


1. Where are you from? 
Brisbane, Australia

2. What do you do for a living?
I’m a postdoc scientist working at Cornell. I study heart disease.

3. What brought you to Ithaca?
My job. The good thing about my career choice is that you can do it pretty much anywhere in the world.

4. What brought you into Crossfit Pallas?
My partner Anna. Anna did some crossfit back in Australia and convinced me to give it a go. I was hesitant at first and thought that it wouldn’t really be my thing. But she’s the boss, so it’s best to do what she says.

5. What keeps you coming to Crossfit Pallas? 
The 6:30pm class! It’s usually the same crowd. It was also a great outlet for me to meet and make new friends outside of work. I also like the constant variety of workouts. I used to go to the gym and do cardio and resistance exercises, but after doing that for so many years, it gets very boring. It’s great to go to a class, and do something different each day, and still know that you are getting better.

6.  Where do you see yourself in five years? 
Probably back in Australia with 5 kids (maybe ask Anna about that plan…)

7. What’s your favorite thing to do outside of CrossFit? 
We just bought some kayaks, so have been out on a few lakes in the region most weekends.

8. What’s your favorite meal or restaurant in Ithaca? 
There are so many good places in Ithaca, but I would have to nail it down to Massaman curry from Tamarind Thai. The Pad See Ew is also pretty banging.

9. What do you do for self-care?
I stretch for one hour before bed every night. I have the flexibility of a tire iron.

10. What’s your favorite CrossFit movement? 
I love DUBS and running

11. What’s your least favorite CrossFit movement? 
Anything that requires a big amount of flexibility, so overhead squats and pistols are a killer. Sometimes the mobility things we do for warmup or cool down are the hardest part of the day…

12. If you could write a WOD what would it look like?
30 DUBS, 5 power cleans, 400 meter run. 5 rounds for time

13. What are some goals you’ve marked off of the CrossFit goal board? 
Being able to get below parallel on the squatting movements. It took about a year!

14. What are some future goals that you have? 
I’m always trying to increase strength, but most of all, I would still like to improve my mobility, and one day be able to do pistols and OHS easy!

15. Where’s the coolest place you’ve been? 
Halong Bay in Vietnam was very memorable.

16. Liquor, wine, beer, cider or neither or all of the above? 
Beer, but depends on the occasion.

17. Do you have a favorite author or book? 
It’s hard to nail it down to one, but I’m going to say “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot. There is also a Movie based on the book. 

18. What’s your favorite season? 
Summer. Reminds me most of Australia.

19. Do you have a favorite sport or sports team? 
I played rugby and basketball growing up, so I would have to say my favorite sport to watch is rugby. Despite being here for 3 years, I still have no clue what the rules are in American football or baseball.

20. What would you tell somebody who is hesitant to start CrossFit?
Most people I talk to about crossfit have preemptive ideas that it is too intense, and full of crazy people yelling at each other lifting rocks. It’s not. Crossfit has the full spectrum of people at all different fitness levels, who just want to be healthier. I would say to these people, don’t diss it til you try it! The coaches are super knowledgeable and supportive, and every workout can be scaled.