Shannon Burlingame is an OG Blackbird…a founding member of the original 7pm class in 2014! Over the years, Shannon has worked hard alongside her twin sister Michele. She’s super coachable and has always stood beside our Blackbird Motto– Form & Mechanics first, then Load & Intensity. Truly the only negative about this kind-hearted girl is that she’s a Steelers Fan. But we have tried out best not to hold it against her!
Shannon may be quiet-natured, but she has a fierce, determined spirit. And that became even more apparent this past year when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She has been brave, upbeat, humble, and more determined than ever. Shannon took advantage of the days that she was feeling well enough to come in and move her body and pull energy from her Blackbird Community. Hell, she even came in on days after chemo or radiation when she felt terrible. And the best examples of her beautiful, inspiring, and selfless heart were her efforts to give back to the Breast Cancer Community. In the midst of her own treatment, she organized a Chemo Goodie Bag Drive for The Center for Breast Health in Carroll County and a Charity 5K Run to benefit the EMBRACE Program of Carroll County for Breast Cancer Survivors. We cannot find a more deserving person in our gym to receive this recognition. Check out her story…
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.
My name is Shannon Renee Burlingame; I was born in South Carolina on an Air Force base. We moved around a lot until I was five and moved to Pennsylvania. I am a transplant to Maryland. I work for a small government contractor as their Director of Operations, which means I do or support all things. I am a twin and have a younger sister and older brother; if you ask them, I am SURE they would say I am an amazing sister. 😊
WHAT MADE YOU START CROSSFIT? WHAT HAS KEPT YOU DOING IT?
My twin, Michele forced me to go with her…sometimes she is right. I wasn’t happy about going at first. On my first day, Michele and I sat in the car and waited for our class time, and while waiting, we saw a member come out and throw up. I was like, oh no, what did I get myself into. It turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made. I keep coming back for the community feeling and the progress (gains). I am a transplant to Maryland so, it is nice to have a place to call home.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED SINCE JOINING BLACKBIRD CROSSFIT?
Sometimes it is enough to show up. Not every day will be a PR.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BLACKBIRD?
I enjoy the Blackbird community, the friendships, and how I feel after finishing a workout. It may not always feel great doing a WOD, but after it is over, the feeling is amazing.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST CROSSFIT MOMENT?
My proudest moment was achieving an 80lb snatch. I worked on it for a year, and thanks to Coach Kacie and Michele, I was able to do it, and it looked and felt good. I could only do it once, but I was so excited to lift it finally.
WHAT IMPACT HAS CROSSFIT HAD ON YOUR LIFE IN AND OUT OF THE GYM?
CrossFit is where I go to forget about life for a while and focus on myself. During my cancer treatments, I tried to attend as much as I could to help in my recovery and to keep my life as normal as possible. Sometimes it would give me an hour of not feeling like I had cancer, and it was just me.
WHAT CROSSFIT GOALS ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING TOWARDS?
My CrossFit goals look drastically different this year than in years past. My goal this year is first to try to make it to the gym three days a week. I would like to, by the end of the year, be back to 4 or 5 days a week and be at least halfway back to where I was before cancer.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LIFT, MOVEMENT, OR WOD? LEAST FAVORITE?
My favorite CrossFit WOD was a special WOD programmed for last day of heavy chemo. We all wore wigs for the partner WOD; however, for me it ended in a class WOD. I struggled to finish my last set of burpees, and the whole class joined me. I saved the tears of happiness for the car ride home.
My least favorite WOD is anything with a Wall Ball or a Thruster.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT CROSSFITTING WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO?
I love to travel. I’m looking forward to the many trips in my future.
WHAT IS ONE TIP YOU WOULD GIVE SOMEONE CONSIDERING CROSSFIT OR NEW TO CROSSFIT?
Be patient with yourself; it will come. Half the battle is walking in the door.
WHAT IS ONE FUN THING WE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU?
Ok, so this may not be a fun thing, but I do get made fun of a lot for it. I am afraid of frogs. Yes, frogs.
WHAT IS YOUR DIET LIKE? HAS IT CHANGED SINCE STARTING CROSSFIT?
My diet has definitely changed. I used to love coke and snickers bars, which was sometimes dinner or lunch for me. Now, I don’t drink coke (maybe a coke zero occasionally) or eat candy for dinner. I eat more veggies and protein.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WORKOUT FUEL?
My favorite workout fuel is an apple or orange before working out. My Indulgence is chocolate; what is life without a little sugar.
WHAT IS ONE POSITIVE THING YOU TOOK FROM 2021?
Throughout 2021 dealing with Breast Cancer, I learned mental strength and positive thinking could help get you through the toughest of times. Mental health is essential to physical health and inner peace.
WHAT HAVE YOUR LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF AND/OR YOUR COMMUNITY DURING YOUR BATTLE WITH BREAST CANCER?
I always knew BBCF has a fantastic community, but during 2021 I truly felt the love.
When I started Blackbird, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. I loved it from day one. BBCF had just opened their doors a few months earlier, and I’d never heard of CrossFit before. I was hooked; I loved to see the progress I was making. During my cancer treatments, the coaches were amazing. They constantly checked in to see how I was doing during a workout and helped me scale workouts. Coach Steve would message me how to scale some of the workouts before going to the gym. That would help me mentally prepare for the workout. Everyone was so kind and encouraging. Thank you, everyone, for your support and love!