We, the Solace coaching staff, are happy to award our February 2016 Member of the Month to Sara Kafka. Sara is known for her fiery red hair and personality to match. She is always the loudest one cheering on her fellow WODmates and refuses to back down from any challenge. You can find Sara dominating CrossFit with the evening crew and original Team Side-View/Team USA. Not only is she super coachable and eager to learn but she always has the coaches and crew laughing the entire class. We love having Sara as a part of our community! Without further ado we present February’s Member of the Month, Sara Kafka:
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Name: Sara Kafka
Hometown: Sarasota, FL
Occupation: I’m a Director, and on the Executive Board for a Physical Therapy Group
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Well, no ice-breakers here huh? We’re just going to dive right in I see… I am a fiery, passionate, red-headed Jew from Florida. I grew up going to punk shows and thriving in chaos, but now I’m old, and I cut the sleeves off my t-shirts instead. I find the biggest adventures in the smallest things. I can quote rap lyrics on a whim. “Blaze of Glory” is my go-to Karaoke song, immediately followed by “None of Your Business” by Salt N Pepa. I’m Team Anniston. I’m the Carrie in Sex and the City and Ginger Spice was my favorite Spice Girl (obviously).
What were you doing before CrossFit?
My history may be a little different than everyone else’s. I wasn’t a professional athlete. My mom didn’t push me to get into sports. We weren’t really a typical American family. If anything, my mom pushed me to the other end of that spectrum – things like books, theater, and music – things that would culturally develop me. Things that would make me think outside the box. She pushed me to be rebellious and to fight for things I passionately believed in, even if in two years I would cringe at said beliefs. I grew up on an island with a two-lane road. One lane to get on and one lane to get off. While this may sound super awesome to everyone, there was nothing for a kid like me to do. I had to skateboard like seven miles to my nearest friend’s house. So I started skate boarding and skim boarding, and eventually got really into punk music. Punk shows were where I made the connection of “Man, when I do something physical I feel so much better!” However, You get to a certain age where you no longer want to be the old guy in the corner hanging out with a bunch of young kids at shows. You realize you are fighting for different things in life now, and while you will always love the music, it’s no longer cool to get into fights. In fact, it’s actually illegal. So I kind of started over, I just went to the gym and started running. The more I did it, the better I felt. So as I got older and developed as a human being, my workouts developed with me. I spent about a year and a half doing metabolic conditioning workouts before joining Solace.
What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout?
My first thoughts weren’t after – it was actually during my first work out. It literally was like, ‘there is no way 5 minutes is actually lasting this long. I’m going to die and I haven’t even touched a barbell yet.’
How did you get into CrossFit?
When I moved to NYC, I had a girlfriend who saw the amount of workouts I did – and how much I loved them when they were exceedingly painful. She would literally nag me to death about how I need to try CrossFit, but thanks to my red hair and rebellious nature, I was like “Don’t tell me what to do!“ My sister in law started going, and she posted pictures of herself after 6 months – with better abs than anyone on the jersey shore – and I was like ‘F this, she can’t look better than me’, and then I joined CrossFit. Thanks again, to my red hair and rebellious nature :/
What were your goals when joining CrossFit?
I think I just wanted to be strong. I have this weird obsession with knowing if I’m ever caught in an alleyway alone that I’d be able to handle myself in a fight if needed. Being prepared the best I can be in this life. I obviously want really badly to do a thousand kipping pull ups, and maybe high-five people in between them, but I try really hard to not focus on goals. I know that may sound absurd, and Dariel may roll in his Nike Tech Fleece pants when he reads this, but as a human being, I think we get too caught up in goals now. We’re always posting the highlights of our lives, watching bands through the recorded video on our iPhones. We rarely ever hear people telling us to be present. It’s like a perpetual cycle of focusing on a goal, meeting it, and immediately setting a new one. But our lifespan is made up of 70% process and 30% reaching goals. How can anyone ever step back and appreciate their life when we are constantly not even living it? When I personally work on goals I stop enjoying the process and fixate on how upset I am that I’m not at a certain point yet. For me CrossFit is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. I’m extremely competitive and I get jealous every time someone says their time followed by the words “RX”, but I stop myself and try to cut myself off from that reaction. I’m lifting more weight all the time. My snatch form is improving, and when I get out of the way of myself, I really enjoy the process. Your entire lifespan is a process. I think the happiest people in the world make peace with things and readjust, make peace with things and readjust. Living in the moment. CrossFit is really making me hone that – and making me get out of the way of myself and my expectations – and just owning where I’m at, and making peace with it, and constantly readjusting. I will get my pull-ups and the handstand push-ups eventually. Until then I am enjoying and trusting the process and the timeline of my life.
Favorite WOD and Why?
Probably Bring Sally Up. I haven’t been doing CrossFit that long, but this was one where you walked in and the energy was entirely different. Classes would stick around and watch each other with pure amusement. It’s also one of the very few WODs where you are actually in it together. You aren’t racing against anyone, there’s no clock, and there isn’t any chaos. It’s just you, your buddies, and this really loud song that you might listen to on your free time if it didn’t give you flashbacks of wanting to die. I really appreciate CrossFit for its ever-changing nature – you can’t pin it down with one word or workout. And this was definitely one of those WODs that felt really different for me. I was very present that day, acutely aware of what was happening – the light atmosphere, the challenge of the work out. I remember feeling the camaraderie and thinking I just might belong here.
Least favorite WOD?
I don’t really have one. I mean, I have some that I’m like, ‘this is my fucking nightmare’, and it’s going to be terrible and I’m going to convince myself at least 7 times that I’m not dying, and remind myself eventually it will be over. But I show up. I do it. It might take me longer to get stuff than someone else, but I don’t care. I still walk out of that place a better version of myself every day. Every day I have the conversation with myself that starts with “I can’t do this,” and I shut it down. Not only do I tell myself I can, but I prove that I can. How many people can say that? Fuck Favorites. Favorites don’t create winners. No one survived or even conquered this world because it was their favorite. They do it because they have to, because something bigger than them drives them to do it. And I identify a lot with that, especially when our warm up is a 500 M row (jokes). 150 wall balls is not my favorite, but I do it because something tells me I need to (not jokes).
Favorite Lift and Why?
Clean and Jerks. They make me feel strong as shit, duh! I never understood why Donkey Kong was always throwing barrels around. But now, I think I get it. After doing cleans, I am much closer to understanding.
(Are we allowed to use graphics for this interview? IDFK)
Least Favorite Lift?
I know I’m going to get some shit for this but I’d say the pendlay row. It’s only because I don’t understand it at all. I’m pretty sure a newborn child would pick this up quicker than I have. I’ve had at least two people look at me when we do it and say, “What the fuck are you doing?”
What music do you prefer to WOD out to?
Anything that puts me in fight mode (shocker). Usually its Hip-Hop, Rap, Rock N Roll. Basically anything that is derived from attitude and ego. Things that talk about hustling… money, cars, and hoes, all a ***** knows (see what I did there?). All of those things are promising. Music has always played a major role in my life. I was super cool in “college” ( Acting School) and interviewed punk bands for a website. I create playlists that tell a story for most things and people in my life. So it’s no surprise I created one for Solace. It’s currently 5 hours and 33 minutes of music that I think will make you want to punch someone in the face, dance, or attempt Fran for the third time. If you ever come to the 6PM class or Saturday afternoon, there’s a good chance you will hear it. Dariel tries to keep this ginger from snapping on the reg. #gingersnap
Has CrossFit affected your life outside the Gym?
It has literally changed my life. I’ve always been surrounded by a ton of guy friends, but there comes a certain point in your life where you no longer care about how many facebook friends you have, and you just want to go to the bar and have real talk about your shitty day with your girlfriend. The older I get the more crotchety I become… in a way. I loathe social niceties. I’m so cognizant of my time and my energy now, and even more selective with whom I spend it on. I think life is really short and most people forget that. I don’t want to fill it with inauthentic crap. I’m not saying that I’m too cool for people or anything of that nature. But I think the amount of people who understand your energy and who are even receptive to it are few and far in between. And that’s okay. It’s a matter of finding your tribe and then building on it. When I joined Crossfit I think in a lot of ways I was looking for something meaningful, I just didn’t know what it was yet. Last Saturday, after the partner WOD, I went out to brunch with one of my partners from that WOD. I spent 8 hours laughing, breaking down theories of life and relationships, followed by more laughing, and being completely present and so fulfilled. Halfway through I realized it was now dark outside and I was so thankful that I have these relationships in my life. To me this is what life is about. At least my life. I want to spend it laughing, with people who support me but also challenge me. To remind me to be kind when I want to fight back, and to push me to do things I’m not comfortable to do on my own. I have created so many friendships with people that I wouldn’t want to live without now. People who I would literally wage war for, all because I went to this one place and decided that doing burpees sounded like it would be fun. Life is absolutely insane. I trust in the timeline of my life, and I find an adventure in doing that. It’s pretty crazy sometimes when you zoom out and look at it, isn’t it? I encourage people to do that more.
Do you have any special memories/achievements during your time here?
For sure the civil war competition we did. Hands down one of the best things I have ever experienced. I wrote a post about it and how much it affected me. I think that was a really big turning point for me on what this all means, and what I really want to get out of all of this. I really hope there is another one in Solace’s future.
What advice do you have for people just getting started? Anything else?
Also I hope to inspire all the un-athletic Jews in the world. There is hope out there.
Something we might not know about you?
I’m a direct descendant of Franz Kafka. Literature, writing, and being super weird are a huge part of who I am. I have to write to process my own internal monologues and I have to read in order to stay balanced. I like to surround myself with people who are smarter than I am. I never went to college so I’ve had to work twice as hard as everyone else to get to where I am now professionally. I think we have something to learn from everyone who has walked this planet. So if you ever go to a bar with me, don’t be surprised when I talk to everyone there and leave on a first-name basis.
Describe the best rest day ever for you?
Does this have to be real or my idea of the best rest day ever? Screw reality, I’m going total fantasy on this. Me in the Maldives frolicking around on the beach in my bikini, drinking alcoholic beverages out of coconuts, high-fiving monkeys in between rounds of devouring lobster and cocktail shrimp… while discussing poetry with Drake.
Money is no object, where would you travel to?
The Maldives, with said monkeys, cocktail shrimp, Drake and poetry.
Besides Solace what was the coolest CrossFit gym you’ve visited and why?
Solace has been my only lover thus far.
Any hidden talents?
Besides being Jewish and having a bomb-ass donkey booty? Because let’s be real, that’s a fucking talent… I grew up going to Opera workshops, and I was recruited in High School by an acting conservatory in New York. I came close to winning the Meisner Award, and I excelled at improv and comedy as well as voice-overs, because I obviously have the voice of an angel…
What was the most awkward thing you’ve ever done during a WOD? Or what is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?
I mean honestly that’s a daily struggle for me. There’ve been times where I honestly thought I was going to shit myself… Where my pants kept falling down… a boob almost popped out… I’ve hit my chin on the barbell for a push press and immediately checked to see if anyone noticed. I did a kettlebell swing and it hit the ceiling (sorry Hayden), and I’m pretty sure I smashed a barbell into Ashley B’s hip like my second week there. I’m literally a disaster.
When you wake up what is the first thought that goes through your head? Fuck, why aren’t I rich yet?
Do you look up to any particular athlete?
I have a girl crush on Krissy Mae Cagney. I never got to meet her when she was training at Solace but did eventually get super creepy and met her at WODapalooza this year.
If you could meet anyone in the world who would it be and why?
Diana Nyad. She’s such a fucking bad ass. I literally listen to her Ted Talks when I have worked a million hours that week. And every time I’m like ‘Fuck you world, you can’t hold me down!’
If you won 1 million dollars what would you do with it?
1 million isn’t a lot, so I’d probably buy property here. And maybe send Drake a post card made of 10kt gold – you know, keep it conservative. Live within my means.
Rapid Fire Questions
If you had a theme song what would it be? PINS – I want it all
Favorite guilty pleasure TV show? House Hunters Tiny Homes. Oh God, that is so weird I can’t believe I admitted that, but it’s true I fucking love tiny houses. I also watch the Harry Potter movies over and over. Borderline obsessed. However I don’t understand English accents very well so I still have to watch it with the closed captioning. I’m just destroying any possible cool points I may have had with this one question.
What is your spirit animal? An eagle with the head of a bear.
Who’s your role model? I don’t really have one. People are fallible, and there isn’t one person who embodies all of my morals or goals in one package. I think its super dangerous to put people on pedestals like that. It leads to unrealistic expectations and disappointment. If I had to create a role model smoothie though it would be Abe Lincoln, Diana Nyad, Ira Glass, Wednesday Addams, about 12 other girls at Solace, and a lot of my friends.
Calories don’t count. Describe your most epic cheat meal. Bacon cheeseburger, with cheesy curly fries, a side of mac n cheese, cheesecake. I apparently really like cheese, and apparently making myself constipated.
Drink of choice? Anything with Tequila. It makes my soul feel like Oprah when she’s like “You get a car! And you get a car! And YOU get a car.”
What was the last picture you took on your phone? I had people over for the Super Bowl and I decided (after drinking tequila) to try working on my double-unders and then making everyone let me Fireman Carry them. So it’s me Fireman Carrying an innocent man who just wanted to enjoy his PBR.
If you could only work out in one solid color for the rest of your life what would it be and why? In reality its probably black but if I woke up one day and was like you have to wear one color for the rest of your life what would it be ? I’d be like white – I’m going to become the CrossFit Jesus.
Doughnuts or Cookies? Doughnuts. Cinnamon sugar or glazed all the way baby.
Summer or Winter? Summer. To me, there is nothing better in this life than wearing barely legal amounts of clothing, sitting in the sun, and drinking tequila with your friends.