Name: Kathleen Odell
Occupation: University Faculty / Administrator
What is your athletic background?
I’ve been always been pretty athletic. I played Little League as a kid and volleyball and basketball in high school. In college I discovered Iyengar Yoga. I moved to Chicago in my early 20s, and kept up with my yoga practice. I was yoga teacher (on the side) for several years. In my 30s, I got busy with traveling, graduate school, and my kids being born, and it was hard to keep up with exercising.
What was your workout routine prior to CF Spero?
I was lost! I worked with a personal trainer for a few months, and had been going on and off to the Dailey Method. None of it was a good fit for me.
How much weight have you lost since you began?
Maybe 15 pounds? I gained some weight when I was getting started, but in the last year I’ve paid a lot of attention to my nutrition and I’ve lost some weight along with that.
What was your first experience with CrossFit?
My On Ramp at Cross Fit Spero. The trainer I worked with at FFC was interested in Cross Fit and some of his workouts were kind of CrossFit-like, but it definitely wasn’t the same thing!
When did you start CF?
Why did you choose CF Spero?
I live right down the street. I was so excited when I saw that CF Spero was going to open. But, it took me a while to get in the door.
What keeps you coming back?
Most importantly, the excellent coaching staff. I always feel safe, and I learn something new whenever I’m in class. Really, every day. I love that the coaches are so knowledgeable, attentive, and detail oriented. Beyond that, the community of people is great and I love the 5:30am crew. I also think it’s important that there are workshops and classes available to work on skills and technique, and I love the CF Spero is engaged with fundraising and giving back to the community.
And also, after quite a few years of feeling pretty disconnected from my body, it’s great to be learning new things and accomplishing new things again. I recently did my first 200# deadlift. I don’t think I’ve ever lifted 200# of anything before, so that was really exciting. Those firsts and that excitement keep me coming back.
Why do you live in Oak Park?
We moved to OP when our older daughter was about two, and I had just started working at Dominican University in River Forest. We knew we wanted to raise our kids in a community like this. And, on a good day my commute to work is 12 minutes door to door.
What do you do for a living?
I’m an economics professor, and for the last few years also the Associate Dean in the Brennan School of Business at Dominican.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I don’t have very much free time! One of my goals for 2018 is to read at least one book a month. In the summer, I spend a lot of time in my garden. And, as I’ve been working on eating better, I spend a lot of time cooking. I love spending time with my kids and our friends, and I’m a huge board game person so I’m always looking for someone to play Settlers of Catan with me. I pretty much gave up watching TV when I started going to CF Spero at 5:30am four times a week.
What do you like about Oak Park?
I grew up in a really small town on a really small farm, but I’ve always loved the city. I love OP because it feels urban (sidewalks, trains, lively downtown), and it’s close to the city, but you can compost and have chickens and bees here. It’s the best of both worlds. (I don’t have chickens or bees myself, but I like knowing that I could if I wanted to…). I also love my neighbors, my kids’ school (Longfellow), the parks and programs, etc.
What are one or two improvements you have seen in your life since starting CF?
More energy and a better sense of humor.
What are your goals for 2018?
My CrossFit goals? I want to get my double unders and row 2000 meters in under 8 minutes.
What would you say to someone thinking about starting CF?
What’s your favorite and least favorite CF movement?
Favorite: Overhead Squats
Least Favorite: Thrusters or KB swings. I like both of these once they’re over, but definitely not crazy about them while they’re happening!
Whats your favorite meal?
Anything with a lot of vegetables in it. Bonus points if it was cooked by someone else.
Anything else you would like to share with the Spero family?
Thanks to everyone for becoming a wonderful part of my life. I feel so lucky to be a part of CF Spero. Also, my older daughter is 10 and has been taking Liz’s CrossFit kids classes, and I’m so excited about this. She loves the classes and it’s been really wonderful to see her becoming more comfortable in her body and enjoying working out. She’s not a very athletic kid by nature, and CF has been a great fit for her. So, we are becoming a CF family, and I love that.