Jude Donnellan

I joined CrossFit at French Vanoli in November 2013 and I’ve never looked back since – I enjoy every single minute of it.  I always had a regular gym membership but never made much use of it. I was mostly into running and did a small bit of cycling on and off. When I did go to the gym I used to stay well clear of the barbell and weights side of the gym as I had no idea how to do the movements.  Now when I am away on holidays, it’s the first place I go – I’m not afraid of it any more. The fundamentals classes are great way to introduce new people to CrossFit and how to use the barbell correctly, especially when you have never done it before.

CrossFit hasn’t always been your sport but have you always been into fitness?

Yes, I was always into fitness; I used to run, play Basketball, Soccer, Racquetball and Camogie – which I was pretty good at; I also did a bit of Karate & Judo.  As I got into my thirties I focused running and cycling and bit of mountain walking. The few years before I joined CrossFit I used to do a lot of adventure races. John and I have done Gaelforce West (67km race) 3 times and we have done 4/5 marathons and numerous other adventure races.

What goals have you set for yourself this year?

About a month ago the Dublin City Marathon came into my head and I decided to give it a go again. I’m training for this at the moment, about 3 training runs a week. I’m not giving, myself a time to complete in though as I want to continue with my CrossFit training and just setting enjoy the training and the race itself.

What’s your favourite CrossFit movement?

Thruster’s, Push Press and of course the wall balls!

Least favourite CrossFit movement?

Has to be the Overhead Squat! And while I know this is the movement I should be looking to improve in my spare time, it’s hard not to pick your favourites.

What skill are you currently looking to improve?

I’m the kind of person that likes to be good at everything I do. CrossFit has showed me how many things I still have to work on.  I have a bit of an engine but need to work a bit on my strength so I guess I’m going to have to work on that after October.

Do you find yoga has helped your mobility in getting there?

Yoga is great and when I go I find I’m a lot more flexible but I need to become more consistent with my practise. I tend to get a bit lazy (believe or not) Thursdays used to be my rest day and I took it as a day off – thankfully I have Ruth Audley to keep me motivated.

Are you hoping to compete or partake in any events this year?

Earlier this year I did competed in both an individual CrossFit competition and a paired CrossFit competition – both went really well and I was happy with how they went.

And as I mentioned earlier I have the Dublin City Marathon in October. I just hope the achilles hold out for me as that was the reason I gave up full time running before.

Can you tell us a bit about the CrossFit community at CrossFit Galway?

The community at CrossFit Galway is great – you are always welcomed by coaches and fellow members and no matter what mood you’re in at the bottom of the stairs, I’m always smiling by the time I land at the top of them stairs.

Everybody is trying to get better, be healthier and happier and we share that enthusiasm with each other and help one another however we can. I love that everybody is viewed equally no matter if your lifting 100kg or just the bar; everyone gets the same encouragement. CrossFit Galway not only leaves me feeling healthier and stronger but I feel overall better about myself. It means so much to me when I complete a workout; I do be buzzing after it no matter how hard it is I love it!  I have more energy and strength to carry on. The people that cheer you on or workout beside have become so much more than just another person in class, CrossFit Galway is like another family – I’ve truly met some great people and friends here.

Your husband John also attends CrossFit – is it true that couples that train together stay together?

Haha we’re still here anyway. He doesn’t like training with me as I can be a bit of a messer in class ….but he does do a bit of running with me . I met John many years ago he was my boss for awhile lol!  I was into all sorts of sports at the time and he worked hard and really long hours; he did play a bit of racquetball with a friend and then of course I had to try it. I was very competitive and I always wanted to beat him which I did sometimes. I don’t ever see it as serious competition between us, it’s more a bit of fun.

In 2008 I entered the Streets of Galway for the craic to get back into running races again and John came to support me and wait at the finish line. Not long after I crossed the line couple he said he would love to run it the following year.

In December 2008 he did the Athenry 10Km which was a great achievement as he went from 0-10km in less than 4 months – needless to say he was hooked from then on.

Straight after Christmas one of the lads at work told me about Gaelforce West – the 67km race which is held in August and consists of a 14km trail run, 1.5km kayak, 3.5km run, 32km cycle, climb Croagh Patrick, 10km cycle & finish with an 800m run. When I got home that Friday evening I couldn’t get this challenge out of my head so I had to register that weekend. It was John’s birthday the same weekend and I hadn’t anything got for him. I dropped a few hints about Gaelforce to see if he would he like to do it with me. While I got a funny look at the mention of it – curiosity got the better of him and he wanted the laptop to see what it entailed. Trying to ease him into it, I told him he could walk it if he wanted to. But John being John said if he was going to do, he would run it. I knew I had him then. I registered him the next day and surprised him with his birthday present.

We have done it 3 times since then, along with a lot of other adventures races and marathons. While we train together, on race day we will always go out at our pace and won’t stay together – John would leave me way behind now – at the running that is (I’m still winning in CrossFit haha) At the moment we do our long run training together on Sundays – it’s like his recovery pace but it keeps me motivated. Now I just need to work on him for the Dublin City Marathon 🙂