Meet a Member – Shannon

Hi Shannon, tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

I’m 36, married to Aaron for 10 yrs and we have a 6 year old daughter. We are both from Idaho, but have settled into Montana quite nicely.

Where do you work, how’d you get into that field, and what’s your favorite and least favorite thing about it?

I’m a physician at Western Montana Clinic specializing in dermatology, so most people (including my family) think I just pop pimples all day. While there is a fair bit of that joy, the majority of my practice (and favorite part) is skin cancer related (prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment). I also enjoy doing small surgeries in my office like excising cancers and also moles, fatty tumors and cysts. My least favorite aspect of my job is treating chronic conditions like eczema and psoriasis that we don’t have cures for (yet!) and require constant maintenance. Most people don’t realize that most conditions in dermatology are because of over-activity (or under-activity) in our immune systems. If you inhibit the immune system to treat eczema, you can induce cancer or infections; but if you then stimulate the immune system to treat cancer, you can get autoimmune disease. Everyone expects me to have a simple answer for their skin disease, like “don’t eat gluten” or “take this pill, it will cure you and has no side effects”. Its a bummer to have to tell people that science hasn’t evolved enough to allow me to cure them.

As far as how I got into medicine, I always knew that I wanted to be a doctor since I was 4 or 5 years old, but I thought I would be a pediatrician, specifically a neonatologist. My dad suggested I try to get into dermatology, but its one of the hardest residencies to match in, so I took his advice and starting taking extra electives in dermatology and offering to do research projects with faculty so I would have a better chance. In the end, it all comes down to an in-person interview and as long as you are blonde and relatively not-ugly, you are golden. Those two attributes have taken me a long way in life. Its a good thing I listened to my dad because I can’t deal with kids for very long without going nuts.

Are you a Missoula native? If not what brought you here, and if you are, what keeps you here?

I came here to take the Dermatology gig at Western Montana Clinic, but like I said, we are from Idaho, which is pretty similar in climate. The mountains and relatively rural locale are the biggest factors that keep us here. My husband has plenty of places to hunt and I have mountains close by to run up.

How did you first get involved in CrossFit and how long have you been CrossFitting?

I started in the summer of 2014 because my husband had been doing it for a couple years and thought I would like it. I was skeptical at first, but of course the competitive nature of the workouts won me over. He has since taken a break from CrossFit, but I think he will be back.

What Crossfit class do you normally attend?

Usually 830 in AM or 415 in PM. I used to do the 630 AM pretty religiously, but it got a little gross going to work right after class.

Do you have any fitness goals or targets you would like to hit in 2016?

I want to get more competitive with trail running. I overdid it a bit this year and ended up getting injured. As for CrossFit, I would just like to improve my mobility so I can comfortably Rx most movements like the front squat and anything overhead.

What is your favorite way to spend your time outside the gym and work?

I’m a mom, so I mostly hang out with my daughter. I also love getting together with my running group which is mostly comprised of moms so we can exercise and vent about our kids and husbands at the same time.

What’s your biggest CrossFit weakness that you’re working on right now?

Ring dips are really hard for me, I think if I could get better at them I could get more consistent with the muscle up.

Winter is almost upon us, assuming we get some snow this year, what does winter look like for you?

I get really cold on the chairlift when downhill skiing, so I would rather do cross-country skiing or just put on some cleats and trail run through the ice and snow.

What pushes you in CrossFit? When you’re about to drop down for that 50th burpee, or do that 30th pull-up, what keeps you going? Where do you go in your head?

I just think about the nice big glass of wine and bar of spicy chocolate I’m earning.

If you were put in charge for a day at 5 Valleys, what WOD (workout of the day) would you design, assuming you yourself had to participate as well?

5 rounds for time
10 foot Handstand walk
5 power cleans
10 pull-ups
1 rope climb

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