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Karen Donnafield

I have been married to Perry for 21 years and we have two girls: Sadie is a senior at Capital and Josie is in 7th grade at CR Anderson. We like to do things outdoors and make good food to eat. When I’m not being mom, I work in the IT department at DNRC.

Sadie and I took the on ramp class at Firetower during Covid since we had all recently gone home full time and were looking for an escape from the house each week. I like to mountain bike and it was getting harder every year to get back into shape in the spring. I was afraid I would not be able to keep riding with my family. Sadie and I started doing the 5:30 AM class. It was hard, and I was clueless, but willing to learn. I liked the instruction and the accountability of doing the workout alongside others. We went consistently three times a week. I could go to the gym first thing in the AM, and then come back to work at my desk at home without having to clean up, and this was great. 

Spring came and when mountain bike season started, I noticed a pretty big gain in my fitness. The first rides of the year were much easier than in prior years, and my recovery was quicker. With summer came travel and distractions, and my attendance waned. I am still trying to find the consistency of getting back in the gym on a regular schedule, but enjoy the workouts and the atmosphere and I have made peace with the gains and losses that are relative to my attendance. 

One of my secret goals in improving my fitness was to be able to help Perry pack out an elk during hunting season. Before I started group classes at FireTower Athletics, I showed up one September at his camp to help him pack one out in “the nasties”…steep terrain with downed timber everywhere. I brought the fronts down the mountain with a lot of side hilling and praying. It took a lot of concentration to work against gravity, and my goal was just to not fall and become a liability. I had a hard time standing up or sitting down for almost a week afterward. Two Septembers after starting at FireTower Athletics, I was crawling into bed when I saw Perry’s number come up on my phone. It had been a good shot at last shooting light. I headed out to find him on the mountain by the light of his headlamp and the next morning we started working. I was surprised and happy when I started down the same hill. This time it was still hard, but I felt sure-footed and confident and we got things out with a minimum of rest on a very hot day. As I write this, Perry reminds me that I only have 10 or so months to get ready for the opening of archery season(!)

I am thankful for FireTower Athletics and for all of the great coaches and members who make my time there a little gift to myself.

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