Teachers Finding a Way To Keep Moving


Although you might think these teachers are just normal people, staff members David Blake, Natalie Rankine, and Ann Robb all participate in out-of-the-box activities which include running marathons, competing in crossfit competitions, and playing basketball.
Rankine competes in CrossFit challenges
Rankine first got started doing crossfit six years ago after suffering a stress fracture in her left femur while training for a marathon.
“My doctor said that if I kept running at my age, and didn’t start lifting weights, I would be in big trouble because my mother had osteoporosis,” Rankine said. Osteoporosis is a condition in which your bones become weak and brittle.
When she first started with a couple friends, it was really hard. As Rankine became more comfortable with it, she decided to start competing. Her first competition was called the Rookie Rumble, which is a crossfit competition designed for people who are just getting into competing. On October 23,2021, Rankine also saw some success during a competition called Festivus, at CFBcrossfit gym in Bloomfield, Michigan where she and her partner Joe Letwinksi took first place in the masters division (ages 45 and up).
One of her recent competitions was a team competition last spring called Battle of the Boxes where participants did what is called a snatch ladder where you do higher reps of snatches at a lower weight and progress all the way up to a much higher weight at lower reps.
”So the snatch is my worst lift. Um, you know, so we set that up so that I did all the lower like I literally killed myself doing all the lower weight reps like, basically a ladder, so 27 and 75 pounds and then the last rep was three at I don’t know 145 right. So I killed myself doing all the lower reps for them, and then the stronger. Rankine said. “We actually set it up so that I did all the lower high reps. And then Chelsea, who’s the strongest girl, did higher reps. So she really didn’t even touch the barbell until it got over 100 pounds.”
When going to the gym, Rankine said that her friends motivate her the most.
”Probably my friends there. I think I really went into CrossFit thinking that I would do it as a way to stay healthy as I get older. I’m going to be 50 this year. And now I really like the fact that I’m strong for my size. I’m not a big person. But for my size you know, I’m probably one of the strongest women my age and I also love to coach,” Rankine said.

Robb still enjoys team sports
Another teacher that loves to stay fit is social studies teacher Ann Robb, who has played basketball her entire life. I probably started playing basketball when I was about four or five years old because my parents were coaches and they would drag me to the gym as opposed to giving me a babysitter. So I had memories of being four or five dribbling up and down the court.” Robb said.
Later on in life, she went on to play point guard at Divine Child high school in Dearborn. Where she played on teams that competed for state championships. After Robb’s high school career, she went on to play at the collegiate level at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan. She also played softball for the college. Even after her high school and college years, Robb continues to play basketball every Sunday with alumni from college and teachers from our school like math teacher Laura Zacker.
“Some of the former players and teachers, we meet up on Sunday and we play some pickup basketball,” Robb said.

Blake is an actual IronMan
Science teacher Dave Blake has run track his whole life, until one day, when he was thirty years old, he decided he wanted to do an Iron Man.
”I was just finished eating Thanksgiving day dinner. I felt miserable. I signed up for one that night,” Blake said. “It was called Steelhead in Benton, St. Joseph’s.”
After that he immediately started training.
“I had to buy a bike. I had to learn how to swim competitively. And then run. So, I’d say I had stuff to figure out. Swimming was probably the biggest learning curve out of those three. It’s hard to learn to swim competitively, not just swim, everybody can swim,” Blake said.
An iron man race is an endurance race that consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and running a marathon which is equivalent to 26.2 miles.
Since that point, Blake has done close to 20 Iron Man races and has placed at a few.
“I’ve won one, once upon a time in my younger days, been fourth, and have been top 10 a few times at the North American race called the North American Championship. I think I was 21st in my division,” Blake said. “Even though at the North American Championship, I took 21st, but I was the eighth American.”
Blake is currently about to start training for an Iron Man in the fall of this year called Iron Man Wisconsin.
In 2020, Blake worked to meet the qualifying total of 3 hours and 10 minutes for the Boston Marathon, and was ready to compete, until the pandemic started.
”The year I qualified is the only year that was canceled because of COVID so I had to officially run it at home. So they gave you a tracking device. And you can run it. And then that was your official race. So sadly, I didn’t actually get to go. It’s not as simple as just going, it can just go exactly,” Blake said.
During a race, Blake said he is focused on the finish. ”First, it’s winning. And then it becomes surviving. Somewhere. It’s good somewhere in that race,” Blake said.
Because of the hours of training required to compete in these races, Blake gets up early in the morning to prevent his training getting in the way of family and work life.