MA’s Competitive Journey
Interview by Nichole Kribs

Meet Marianne Flannery (aka MA). She has been an Invictus athlete since 2021 and competes in the 40-44 age division (soon to be in the 45-49 age division). If you know MA personally then you know she is one of the friendliest, kindest people around and she just exudes energy the moment she walks into a room. We wanted to highlight her since she has brought so much joy to any person she meets as well as to our online Masters community! Please enjoy getting to know MA a bit better!

MA, can you tell me about your athletic background?
I have been an athlete all of my life! I grew up playing soccer, field hockey, basketball and track. I ran track & played field hockey in high school and then went on to play Division I Field Hockey at Ohio University. I also played lacrosse in my senior year while in college. I have always loved competition. In fact I was a collegiate head coach for 5 years and now a high school coach for 10 years. Then, after college and before finding CrossFit, I ran 30+ half marathons and 2, full marathons. 

Ahhh, so you could say your endurance is strong. 🙂 So then, what inspired you to start CrossFit?
In 2013, one of my assistant coaches had a boyfriend who was a competitive CrossFitter. He kept telling me I needed to try CrossFit and I was like, “I’m a runner! Not a gym rat!” However, he knew my intensity and competitive nature so finally I went to a class. Literally in the middle of the workout I was IN LOVE. That was in April 2013 and I’ve never stopped since.

How did you find Invictus?
I have known of Invictus for a long time (who doesn’t know Invictus as a proven name/gym in CrossFit)?!  I just didn’t know they offered online programming and specifically Masters programming. I was a member of a local gym for years. However with the pandemic, gyms changed and along with the changes in CrossFit, my home gym programming changed. So I was working out at home yet the lifelong athlete in me wanted and needed someone to tell me what to do. And the complete social butterfly in me needed a community. I tried another online CrossFit program however I really missed the community aspect of it. I knew Pat Haverty from being teammates at Power Monkey Camp in 2017 and he posted about the Invictus Masters program on FaceBook. I was intrigued and looked into it further. After the 2021 Open, I made the switch from the other programming to Invictus.  

What do you enjoy most about the Invictus Masters Program?  
There are multiple items I really value about this program. First and foremost is the community. I love how active the Facebook group is and the leaderboard on SugarWOD. It’s fun to give & receive fistbumps and to learn who are your comparable athletes from around the world! Secondly, the attention that I receive from the coaches. It’s amazing how accurate and in-depth feedback and cues can be even remotely. I cherish the ability to refer back to the comments and to re-watch my video and learn where the improvement/correction can take place. 

If you could create one of the Age Group Online Qualifier workouts, what would it be?
For Time: (I LOVE FOR TIME workouts; lots of pushing with a moderate barbell! Oh and Strict Press!)
(10) Burpee Over Bar
(20) Handstand Push-Ups
(30) 20/14 Wall Ball 
(40) 50/35 DB Snatches
(50) 155/125# Power Clean – then back to 40 and back down… 
Rest 3 minutes then 8 minutes to find a Max Strict Press
*This looks kind of fun & scary now that I write it out! 🤣

What areas have you grown the most since starting in CrossFit? 
I think first and foremost is mentally. Looking back I think I’ve always had a level of mental toughness, however, what CrossFit presents in my life; the uncomfortableness, the anticipation, the feeling of accomplishment, the infinite pursuit for improvement; it’s crossed over to all aspects of my life. There have been countless times when I’m facing something difficult in everyday life and I refer back to the moments in the gym. I think the adversity provided in CrossFit is something many athletes felt through sport growing up but as adults it’s very tough and rare to replicate. That is what makes CrossFit so unique from so many other workouts and exercise regimens. 

Absolutely agree! Now you started a new company called Bitefull Box, can you tell me more about it? 
I’ve always been a foodie and I worked for a logistics company that specialized in food; I was responsible for the customer service and sales teams and dealt with new brands. Through that I realized how much innovation is happening in food! These brands are game changers disrupting an industry with healthier ingredients, more sustainable manufacturing practices, and mission based ideals – however they are bottlenecked in the traditional buying channels of retail. 

Bitefull Box is a way to diversify their distribution! Couple these brands with the consumers who walk into grocery stores who are overwhelmed by all of the new labels and new brand stories (they don’t know what to buy, or why to buy it, nor do they have the time to figure it out).Bitefull Box helps streamline the information for the consumer, and give growing brands a new exposure. It is a quarterly subscription box that showcases brands that are disrupting the CPG industry – either with healthier ingredients, innovative recipes, sustainable manufacturing practices or diversely owned. Each Bitefull Box contains 8-10+ FULL SIZE products from across grocery categories; snacks, beverages, condiments, desserts, breakfast, pastas, grains and more. Also included are discount codes, swag and more! 

That is so cool MA! And, I must say, I loved the box that I just received, particularly the gluten free brownie mix!
MA has been so kind as to provide Invictus loyalists with a promo code! Use the code INVICTUS20 for 20% off a box – either subscription (includes shipping) or one-time purchase. Thank you MA for your enthusiasm and generosity! We look forward to continuing to support you through your competitive journey!