This month we’ve got a two-for-one feature with our members of the month, Rick and Mary Simes. This husband and wife duo are regular CrossFitters at the Box (even more impressive–they can usually be found at the 5:30 am class!). Read on to learn more about their family and their lives together, and be sure to say hi to Rick and Mary when you see them in the gym.
Would you both introduce yourselves and tell us a little about you?
M: I’m from Mississippi. I’m the Homeschool Kindergarten teacher at First Evan’s MDO program. I’ve homeschooled all my kids until the last couple of years. They have received transfers to Arlington for next year, and we are looking at closing the chapter on homeschooling. We have 4 children. When I find a spare moment, I love to sing, play guitar, garden, watercolor, cook (out of the ordinary cooking), make things with my hands, and solve problems. I love anything outside and every season.
R: I’m a yankee transplant from Pennsylvania. I ended up here in Memphis because I couldn’t find work back home after college. I got a job, got married, and have been here ever since.
I’ve been shooting competitively since I was a teenager. After moving to Memphis I became very competitive in various action pistol disciplines (USPSA, IDPA, Steel Challenge). I was able to travel a lot and won a slew of state, regional, and one national title. I don’t compete much now due to time constraints, but still enjoy training and I also teach pistol, shotgun, and carbine. I also enjoy perfecting my long range rifle skills. I’m a Sergeant with the Memphis Police Dept. and have worked in various units there, including training police recruits. I enjoy trail running, backpacking, hunting, pretty much anything outdoors.
How long have you been members at the Box? Why did you start coming? Did one of you join before the other and rope them in?
M: Since May 2015. Rick and I have been into all things fitness and nutrition since we were about 15. Once we met in college, we enjoyed sharing our ideas and results. We challenged each other in both areas. After we married, we continued our progress. We have always been workout buddies. Rick came home one day and said he was tired of working out in the driveway and was joining a CrossFit gym. Though I had never touched a barbell and was completely intimidated, I had no other choice but to jump in or miss out!
R: I had been wanting to do Crossfit for years, but work and babies kept me from doing it. When the kids got a bit older and I changed units, I got the opening I needed! I was thrilled when Mary said she wanted to give it a try!
What do you like most about working out at the Box?
M: I LOVE the friendly, welcoming and encouraging atmosphere. It is amazing just how much a little encouragement can lift a person’s spirit. The Box is my happy place.
R: I like the atmosphere and working out as a group.
Do you have any suggestions for something that could change or which you think could be improved?
M: I love how the programming is constantly going through cycles and improving. I’m game for anything. Anybody remember those unbroken 20 rep back squats??
R: I’d like to see the make up day, Thursday, be open gym as well. With kids, the weekends are packed, and there’s no way to make the Saturday/Sunday open gym times. It would be nice to have a time during the week where one could work on various skills.
What’s the hardest workout each of you remembers doing here?
R: Anything involving thrusters!
M: I did a hero WOD one Saturday that involved thrusters. I completed the workout just fine. The next day my hip flexors were so sore that I couldn’t walk for more than a week. I had to get the kids to fetch everything for me. I decided that day that I’m no hero.
What do you like best about working out together?
M: Accountability! There’s no way to lay in bed out of laziness when the other person is out the door! I might miss an amazing wod! And everytime he goes without me, I miss an old friend that never comes to 5:30, but was there the day I wasn’t.
R: It’s great having a common interest and something we can do together without kids.
Who can do more burpees?
M: He can probably do them faster, but I never let him beat me on something I can do. I keep telling him he needs to learn to double under. I totally rub it in that I can and he can’t since there’s not much else in his world that I’m better at than he is!
How long have you been together and when did you two meet? (Bonus points if you tell us about your first date and what you thought of each other.)
R: We’ve been together 20 years, we met in college our sophomore year.
M: We went to a soccer game because it was something we could do outdoors. We could have cared less for the game, but have always loved doing anything outside. I thought he was cute, interesting, and comfortable to hang out with.
Is there a secret for making it work?
To sum it up, probably grace, humility, and forgiveness.
Tell us more about your kids. What are they like?
Timothy–17 He’s playing some Chet Atkins for me on his guitar as I type. He fixed a broken car. He’s a super musician and cook and does his own laundry. He works at Kroger on Summer. Stop in and say hello!
Taylor–15 He’s buys, sells, and trades electronics. He’s great at networking and has started his own lawn service. If you need your grass cut, give him a call! 901-618-9696
Katherine–12 She is an All West violinist. She fell in love with gymnastics and taught herself (with the help of a friend). She is trying out soccer for the first time this season.
Jonathan–9 He started cello this year and also began soccer this season. He loves school and his daddy!
What do you think your partner admires most about you?
M: Well, I’m guessing it’s my unfolded clothes and hairballs in the shower because that’s what I hear about the most! I admire Rick’s discipline and organizational skills. He is my hero!
Do you have a favorite cheat day meal? And who is the better cook?
M: Lately every meal is a cheat day! Rick was just saying this morning that we have GOT to get back on track! I do nearly all the cooking, but Rick is a GREAT cook when he has time to do it.
R: We’re both good cooks. She likes my gourmet paleo meals!
If you could do any jobs in the world what would they be?
M: I’m a teacher, and I love teaching. There is nothing more fulfilling that watching the human mind grow.
What’re some of your favorite things to do in Memphis?
The FREE stuff! We recently visited Dixon Gardens to see the tulips (it’s free on Saturday mornings). Watching the sunset on the river, walking/running/biking all the many trails at Shelby Farms, learning the history of our city through the plaques and museums downtown.
What would you say to someone hesitant about trying CrossFit?
M: Try it! You just might like it! Give yourself a year to learn the language and movements before you throw in the towel. Be patient with yourself, and focus on skills and technique. Building a strong foundation before you add weight is imperative. If CrossFit is not for you–find something you like and do it! Move your body 😉
R: Just do it! You’ll never go back to a boring ol’ globo gym again.
Last thing, Rick and Mary. Is there anything I didn’t ask about that you would like to share or think people ought to know about you?
M: We are a power team when it comes to home projects. I dream it up; he organizes and executes. I came home a couple of years ago with chicks for the kids for Mother’s Day. I dreamed up a chicken coop, and he built it just like my plans! We have 6 free range chickens that you just might see roaming around our yard if you drive by our house!
What do you think? If you know someone who should be featured as The Box’s next member of the month, let us know at amanda@TheBoxMemphis.com