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. 

Tim Paulson