May 30, 2013
Taking Time to Heal: Two-Time Champion Sue Habbe
By Sarah Richards

“I’ve been working my butt off hoping to compete. But sometimes what you hope for doesn’t pan out. It’s a constant battle mentally and physically.”


Sue Habbe doesn’t listen to just anyone. Mentally tough and headstrong, she forges ahead and does things her way.

With an injured rotator cuff and wrist, Habbe couldn’t complete more than one rep of the Open Workouts but she continued on through all five weeks and submitted one-rep scores, determined to compete on Team CrossFit Hellgate at the 2013 North West Regional.

But eventually, the reality sunk in.

Her coach, doctor and physical therapist repeated the same advice, nearly word for word. “Sit this one out,” they said.

Once CrossFit announced the Regional Events, she decided to follow their advice.

“The obvious choice was to have me not compete,” Habbe says. “It’s best for the team and for me.”

Yet the decision wasn’t easy to make. It was hard to give up on her training goal.

“I’ve been working my butt off hoping to compete. But sometimes what you hope for doesn’t pan out. It’s a constant battle mentally and physically.”

To get through her offseason, she is setting new goals for her training.

“I’m still working out – that’s how I get through this,” Habbe says. “My priority is to get healthy, and I do what I can do every single day to get there.”

Although she’s optimistic about her return in 2014, she knows there are no guarantees. Whether she is able to return to the top of the podium or not, she knows she will keep doing CrossFit.

“Tomorrow is not a guarantee; everybody is in the same boat that way,” Habbe says. “This is my path and I’m not going to get off it, either because I can’t or because I won’t. I’ll do CrossFit until the day I die. I’ve got shit to work on, but I know that no matter what the future holds, at the end of the day, I know I’ve done what I can do to get the results I need to get healthier.”

Changing Roles

At the North West Regional this weekend, she will trade the competition floor for the sidelines. Rather than competing, she will be supporting her training partners as they represent CrossFit Hellgate in the team competition.

“I’m surrounded by a great group of people who support me, and I’m going to support them at Regionals,” she says. “I love CrossFit and the people that I work out with. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for those guys.”

She’s also switching roles with her coach of three years, John Petroff (“Ginger”), who will be competing as an individual for the first time. The champ has more than enough experience to help the rookie competitor.

“This year, I had no expectations except to put a score down for the team,” Petroff said. “And when I qualified, I was thinking, ‘Well shit, I can’t pass up this opportunity.’ I’m excited to compete against these guys to know where I’m at fitness wise. I just want to have fun with it. I get pretty crazy and amped up through competitions. I’m going to enjoy the ride, and if I happen to do something crazy, you never know.”

Petroff will enter the Regional as the 24th ranked man in the region. As the dead-center competitor, he would be stoked with a 23rd-place finish at the Regional.

“I’m a realist and I feel good about where I’m at, but if I place in the top half of the competition, I’ll be fuckin’ happy.”

Wherever he lands, Habbe will be proud.

“He’s trained his ass off and I am going to be his biggest fan at Regionals. He is a crazy psycho and I love him for it,” she says.