EFC Member Spotlight: Karla Pope

EFC Member Spotlight

This week we want to highlight EFC Member Karla Pope on her recent accomplishment. She finished her first full Iron Man and her EFC Family is extremely proud of her and the hard work she put in along the way. Here is a quick highlight and some information so you can get to know Karla and her story a little better!

Karla Pope

“When I was around 8-9 years old, I remember watching the Ironman on TV. At that time, there was only 1 Ironman yearly which was in Hawaii. I remember watching the athletes as they spent 12+ hours swimming, cycling and running. I saw the look of total exhaustion on their faces turn into elation and a sense of accomplishment once they crossed the finish line. At that young age, I knew I wanted to one day complete an Ironman.

Fast forward 25 years and I started racing in sprint distance triathlons as a way to lose weight and get back into shape after medical school and residency left me at 256 lbs. I raced in many sprint distance triathlons and then olympic distances still not sure if I would ever make the Ironman distance. I finally took the long distance challenge and finished my first 1/2 Ironman (70.3 miles) in the fall of 2013. As soon as I finished it, I knew I was ready to take on the challenge of 140.3. I set my sights on IM Florida in November 2014 which gave me a year to prepare.

Unfortunately, my struggle with depression and PTSD reared its ugly head and disabled me for the next 2 years. After intensive treatment, I was able to slowly get back into working out including back into Crossfit and Evolve Fitness Clearwater. I regained my confidence and the desire to complete an Ironman. I signed up for Ironman Chattanooga on March 30th and set my sights on September 24th. It was one of the most exhausting and painful things I have ever done but the most rewarding. I have another thing checked off my bucket list and have my sights set for more goals especially in the Crossfit box!”


Hometown: Ponchatoula, LA

What is your athletic background? I played basketball, volleyball and softball in high school and 1 year of basketball in college

What did you do to prepare for your Iron Man? LOTS of swimming, cycling and running! It was a 20 week program of training 6 days/week which totaled 212 hours. It was basically a part-time job.

What is your favorite/Least favorite exercise? My favorite exercise are burpees! favorite WOD is Kelly. As far as the triathlon, my favorite is the swim. Least favorite exercise are snatches. Least favorite part of the triathlon is the cycling.