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October 2015


The SEO coaches are delighted to announce that October’s member of the month is Heather Lawrence Benedict.

It would be natural to imagine that the coaches picked Heather because of her performances at the box. Her name frequently tops the whiteboard with the day's strongest times and heaviest weights (and this despite her being nearly twice the age of some of our athletes). While Heather is indeed an impressive athlete, the coaches are most impressed by her work ethic and her commitment to the SEO community.

We love and value how Heather is something of an unofficial community organizer at SEO, always going above and beyond to bring us together outside the gym. At the end of the summer, she and Jody Gerome put together an incredible day-long event, “The Yellow Dog Friendly,” which raised over a thousand dollars for charity, while also being a ton of fun. She keeps us social: inviting members to start up a tradition of Friday night Happy Hour at Little Fish brewing. And she keeps us healthy: organizing and spearheading occasional shipments of wild caught salmon from the west coast, which she then stores and doles out to those who’ve ordered it. And for those with a competitive streak, Heather is always recruiting participants for the various team competitions she (and other SEO members, inspired by her suggestions) attend throughout the year. Let's be real: Heather gets shit done.

And she certainly knows how to get shit done in the gym. While she brings a strong athletic background to her work at SEO, Heather makes the continual progress she does—despite some movement restrictions and injuries—because of her constant hard work. When she suffers from the occasional ailment, she commits herself to recovery: getting massages, signing up for personal training, utilizing physicians and physical therapy treatments. She has always been willing to go backward in order to go forward, fixing movement patterns so that she can lift better before she tries to lift more. Thanks to her near-continuous work on various lifting cycles, Heather is getting stronger in all her barbell movements. Nor does she cherry-pick the movements she will tackle. In wods, she gives her all to those movements that are her strengths and her weaknesses.She works her gymnastic movements, despite being very strong at them already. And she methodically works away at her muscle-up.

With all of this attention to her own performance (and don’t forget she’s also a working mother of two!), Heather nevertheless finds time and energy to help support others in the gym. In open gym, you’ll often here her voice encouraging others at work on their own wods or lifts beside her. She's as receptive to feedback from other athletes as to the cues of the coaches. When she finishes her wod, she always cheers for other 5-am-ers. And she’s often ready with a word of explanation to anyone who might be confused about a movement cue or a wod structure. What would we do without her?

Thanks for all your hard work and good spirits, Heather. You make our community a better place. Keep up the good work!


Written By: Kristin LeMay

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