Well, friends…the time has finally come, to say goodbye (for now) to our dear friends The Kochs. And while we’ve always known their time here was temporary–it doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye. Such is the nature of a military family– that fact we respect and accept. However, when a family such as theirs breezes on into town, and affect our lives and the fabric of our community as they have–we would be remiss to not take this opportunity to tell them just how much they mean to us.
Elizabeth–your mark on this community, its athletes, and on the CFS Endurance program specifically, will never fade. You are a fierce, kind, and beautiful little soul. You have given of yourself relentlessly, and in the process have changed countless lives for the better.
So now it is our turn, friend. I hope you will sit back with your wonderful husband, and read these words of love and encouragement, so you may know–just as we do–how absolutely wonderful and invaluable you are to the athletes of this community. God bless you, sweet friend. I love you…
When I started CrossFit in May of 2010, I was crazy and CrossFit drunk enough to sign-up and compete in a competition that they were having, oh, like a week later. I remember having to max out on a shoulder-to-overhead qualifier. At that time, I had no idea what a push press from a push jerk to a split snatch was, but I was confident I would NOT come in last on the qualifier. As I watched the girls before me managing some incredible weights, I jumped in, probably overconfident. Sadly, I think I got maybe 70 pounds or something. I ended up finishing last. And, the biggest surprise to me? Was that this super skinny, curly-haired, lightweight chick beat me!
That was my first experience with Elizabeth Koch. Dammit.
As I continued on in my CrossFit journey, I decided in October of 2010 to go to Overland Park, Kansas, to obtain my CrossFit Endurance Certification. When I returned to CFS, I was fired up, and ready to start the program. CrossFit Running was formed in DECEMBER OF 2010! The coldest and grossest of all months! We did some group runs, and worked on running form and things were just “okay” with the program. It needed direction and I wasn’t sure where to take it. Enter Elizabeth Koch, one of the first adaptors to CrossFit Running, probably its biggest supporter. We had found each other out of a shared common love of running, and a desire to help others run better. With her involvement, suggestions, and leadership we changed up the programming to follow the CFE training style and CrossFit Running became what it is today, CrossFit Endurance. Thank you for all you have done with CFE.
Then? Owner, Melissa Wistrom wanted to help change lives with food. I am not sure how, but the same chain reaction exploded and Elizabeth found another place for her gifts to be used. Helping people understand their relationship with food. Again, thank you for all you have done with nutrition. I don’t know if we would have a nutrition program without your pushing of it.
To Elizabeth—I know you were at a point when you were trying to find your “place” within this gym of “muscled out man-ladies.” Strength means a lot in this place, especially as a woman. You are as strong or stronger than most of us in your abilities to teach, lead, execute, and create a community of people who trust in what you do because you produce results for them. You connect with people and love them, in your way (TOUGH LOVE!) THAT is what good coaches are about. You more than found your niche. You found your passion, your purpose, and your voice. You thrive as a leader and I am so glad I have got to experience all that you have done to change so many lives.
Keep on doing what you do. We will keep doing what you did here.
I will miss you, sweet friend.
There are no words worthy of the impact the Kochs have made on our lives. I’m truly relying on the fact that they said they might move back and this is not goodbye. Elizabeth is passionate about all the things she loves. Her persistent and deliberate pursuit in making a wonderful life for their family makes her the very best wife and mother that a marine family could ever ask for.
It took me three attempts to write this, because what do you say about someone who has changed your every day? Because of Elizabeth, I have discovered my passion for nutrition. Because of Elizabeth, I have the opportunity to share that passion every single day. I have learned and experienced things I never would have without her influence. She has been a friend, an encouragement, a like mind, a partner in crime. There is no doubt in my mind that God sent her to us for a specific purpose and I am so thankful to have been a part of her time here. I know that this is not goodbye, just a change of direction, and so I won’t despair (much). Still, it’s hard to say goodbye -even for a time- to someone I’ve come to love so much.
She is kind, sweet, encouraging and also a raging beast waiting for her chance to destroy you. Through our relationships with the Kochs, my daughters have found a best friend, my wife a person whom she can connect with in ways that are beyond me, and I have gained a healthy dose of fear of people that profess to “like” endurance. Thank you for all the love and work you have poured into your CrossFit family. We are all immeasurably better off because of you and your family.
My dear friend Elizabeth—you’ve taken a fat guy who couldn’t run a 12 minute mile without having to walk twice, and turned me into someone who loves endurance. YOU have taken a competitive eater and turned me into a healthy eating fanatic. YOU have made an athlete out of me, and YOU have forever changed my life. So in my eyes you’ll never just be Andy’s wife. You’ll always be MY coach and more importantly, my friend.
It is hard for me to even think of all the ways EK has influenced me… as a person who CrossFits, as a person who didn’t run, and as a person with serious food issues. She is so motivating and encouraging to everyone who walks into her path—never an unkind word or judgment of anyone. Because of her belief in my abilities, I dared to run… and I dared to run a half marathon (well… kind of.) She never wavered in her words telling me that I could do it, even though I had plenty of doubts. I never would have started, much less completed, a W30 without her… and that is worth more to me than anything in this world. When you have food issues as I do, to have someone lead you to the other side of dark is transforming. She is a beautiful person, inside and outside. A phenomenal mother and wife… and I am so very lucky to call her a friend. I just hope that Andy, Elizabeth, Miss O, and Alexandra are very happy where they go…no matter where life takes them. And hopefully back this way at some point.
Elizabeth’s continued encouragement is what got me through training for my first half marathon. But she taught me that it wasn’t just about finishing, it was about setting a goal, having a plan, and pushing myself. Hearing “you can do this” and knowing how much she believed in me continues to push me through WODs and running even when she is not there. I wish you the best on your new adventure and can’t thank you enough for what you have done for me!
It has been hard for me to find the words to explain how my friendship with Elizabeth has influenced me. The best way to put it is by the grace of God—El izabeth Koch was put in my life. Her influence has forever changed my life and possibly saved me from myself. CFS was blessed buy the amazing spirit and the gift of knowledge Elizabeth shared with us. I am a different, better, and healthier person because of her.
Elizabeth has inspired me to become the athlete that I am. She always knows the right thing to say and has a gentle way of pushing me through my perceived limitations. When Elizabeth says you can do something, it makes you believe that you can. She has inspired so many to go beyond their comfort zones, whether it be in the kitchen, in the gym, or anywhere in between. There will be a void left at CFS that will only be filled by Elizabeth’s return, because no matter how small her shoes are, they will always be impossible to fill.
I’m not sure where to begin with Elizabeth. I met her when she was leading the 4:15 running group pushing Olivia in the stroller. We discovered that we had many things in common with our lives, something that has helped me countless times along the last two and a half years. She happily encouraged a very slow runner (me) along whatever route the runners, often only a few of us, wanted to take. She encouraged me to running PR’s in distance—in the heat—even when it wasn’t much of a “run” for her. One particular run sticks out in my head with Melissa H., where the discussion came about running a half marathon. This with the girl who had just ran 5 miles for the first time EVER. Long story short, Elizabeth has encouraged me from the very beginning that I could do anything I wanted from running a half marathon to doubling that distance and running a full a year later. She has also encouraged me along the way to improve eating habits in my family. She always patiently answers the simplest of questions and encourages all of the Endurance athletes from the regular fast members to the occasional much slower. She has shown everyone that has been lucky enough to be around her that if they want to achieve a goal they can. I am thankful that I have gotten to be friends with Elizabeth and the rest of the Koch family. Although the thought of them leaving saddens me, I am grateful that the Marine Corps allowed them to be in our community for the time they have been here. CrossFit Springfield, the CFE training program, and the Whole 30 program wouldn’t be where it is without Elizabeth Koch. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, my life and many others will never be the same. Best of luck to you in San Diego.
The very first time I met Elizabeth, I had myself convinced she was Grant’s sister (the obvious genetic differences apparently did not stand out for me at the time). I quickly came to love and respect her not only as a great CrossFitter, but a unique and wonderful person as well. She didn’t become a hero for me, though, until the 2011 Sectionals clean and jerk WOD. I will never forget watching her performance and knowing I’d seen CrossFit at its absolute finest. There will be a hole without you, EK. You’ve changed lives. Miss you already.
I haven’t spent much time being coached by Elizabeth, mainly because I spend most of my time not listening to her and getting injured. But I have been more than blessed to call her my friend. Elizabeth has encouraged me, filled me with knowledge, made me laugh, and shown me that you can’t judge a 96 lb book by its cover. Elizabeth—you defy odds, you exhibit an unmatched strength, and you prove that bring real is what truly counts. I miss you already!
Elizabeth—I admire you in so many ways. You are a force to be reckoned with. I admire you as a mother and wife, going above and beyond for your children and family. As a friend who speaks her mind and radiates such confidence. As an athlete who gives 110% always. As a coach who has been so influential to our CrossFit community…you have encouraged and inspired every person whose life you have touched to become a better version of themselves. Elizabeth Koch you are irreplaceable and I’m going to miss you. We’re all going to miss you and you better get your a** back here to visit us.
I can’t believe Elizabeth is leaving! CFS will simply not be the same without her. She has done so much for the gym and all of its members (Whole 30, CrossFit Endurance). She will be missed.
One of my first WODs at CrossFit was a partner WOD. I joined the gym not knowing anyone and was extremely worried about doing this WOD. I knew I would slow someone down and was even thinking of leaving. Elizabeth approached me and showed me how to dig deep and leave everything you have on the floor. She is the most encouraging, motivating person I know. The old women joined CFE and completed our first half marathon. I will never forget running my first 5K. I actually had a few tears as it is something I never thought I could do. Because of Elizabeth and other coaches at CFS, people achieve things they thought were impossible. The Kochs are extremely special people and my life was truly blessed to have met and been coached by them.
Thanks to EK for opening my eyes to endurance training and running as part of a regular training regimen. I appreciate all that you did in getting CF Endurance implemented as a regular class. Your dedication was huge in getting this implemented. I know you have made me a better athlete, but you also made other people better runners and athletes. Tough but fair describes your coaching style, and you held me accountable on all occasions. It was an honor to be one of the original Endurance class members. You’re a great wife and mother and a perfect role model to describe honor , integrity and class. Take care, EK. You will be missed. Oh yeah—one more thing. Thanks for constantly putting pics of me on the Endurance website over Scott Taylor 😉
Elizabeth—I have never in my life been able to run. I joined the cross country team in the eighth grade and finished dead last in my very first track meet. The coach patted me on the back and said, “Some people are just not built to be runners”. That first track meet was my last. I quit the team and lived with the fact that I was just not built to be a runner. So, when someone suggested that I try CFE when I complained that I could not even run the 300 meters to the stop sign during the WOD, I laughed and repeated my long time mantra….I AM JUST NOT A RUNNER. But, since deep down inside I wanted to be able to keep up with the pack during the WOD runs, I decided to try.
Thank you, Elizabeth, for your encouragement and patience. You were somehow able to convince me that I could learn to run. Your belief in me, and your positive spirit made me want to work harder. I can’t explain how validated you made me feel when I introduced you to my husband and you said to him, “I am her running coach”. I thought to myself, “I have a running coach? Does she really think of me as one of her runners”? Your confidence in me inspired me to try a couple of 5K races and then a half marathon. After crossing the finish line in that race, I was overcome with emotion and started to cry. Although I am not anywhere near being a contender to place in these races, you taught me that to be a runner you only need to run. Thank you for everything and I will truly miss you.
–Golden Girl Becky Sigrest
From the moment I met Elizabeth, I knew she had a fire that quite simply cannot be tamed. She’s joyful, humble and encouraging. She’s a straight-shooter and exemplifies truth in love. She throws 110% into what she passions, and it is evident. Elizabeth you have planted seeds and produced much fruit here. Lives were impacted. Families were strengthened. I have so much respect for you.
“A generous heart will prosper; He who refreshes others will be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25
This Week’s WODs
Short Interval (Mon 5pm, Tues 10AM): “EK’s Swan Song”–6:00 of 100m sprints on :30 mark, rest 3:00; 4:00 of 100m sprints on :30 mark, rest 2:00; 2:00 of 100m sprints on :30 mark. This is EK’s last WOD with us…come run with her and show your love–Monday at 5pm. 🙂
C2: 6:00 of 150m row on :30 mark, rest 3:00; 4:00 of 150m row on :30 mark, rest 2:00, 2:00 of 150m row on :30 mark.
Long Interval (Thurs 10AM, Thurs 5PM): “Clovis .33”–Run 3 miles, 50 burpee pullups. Partition run/burpee pullups as desired.
C2: “Clovis .33”–Row 3 miles, 50 burpee pullups. Partition row/burpee pullups as desired.
1. Don’t forget the half marathon training run Saturday, August 10th at 8am (CFS West)
2. Planning to participate in ANY of the Bass Pro Outdoor Fitness Festival Events? Join our CFS Endurance Team for Isabel’s House! Ask any of your CFE coaches for details!