I have a dream (and a coach). Don’t laugh.

Posted: June 27, 2013 in Aging, Masters Competition
Tags: , , ,

My parents died of cancer. My father went first and my mother started another round of chemo the week after we buried him. She died 16 months later.

As they were battling their diseases they were told to have something out there – not too far in the future – to look forward to. For my father, it was the birth of his first grandchild. Then his second and third and fourth and fifth. He ended up living more than a decade with his cancer.

My mother wasn’t as lucky but she always had “something” out there. First Communions. Visits to and from her grandkids. A week at a beach house with her kids and grandkids. Always something out there to look forward to – to shoot for and dream of. I think it kept them going for as long as their bodies would allow and made them content.

I liked that they lived that way. Even though I’m not facing a terminal illness, I do the same. I always have a goal or dream out there. Mostly it’s vacations. But in the next year I am dangling some bigger carrot  out there: My daughter will graduate from college and I will go to Crossfit Games.

Both are huge events. My mother was kicked out of her home when she announced she was going to college because my grandfather said women didn’t need a college education. My mother earned not only a bachelor’s degree but also her Masters. My daughter will be her first grandchild to earn a degree.

And I am going to the 2014 Crossfit games. I haven’t qualified yet but I have decided NOT say I am training for the Crossfit games. That leaves some wiggle room in the event I don’t qualify. I AM going to the Crossfit games. I will turn 55 in December – meaning I enter a new age group in which the weights are scaled. I’ve been waiting for this. I’m the only woman I know who actually wants to get older.

No matter how old you are, you gotta have a dream. And you gotta have people who don’t chuckle when you tell them your dream. You need people who bob their head and say, “Cool. Go for it.” The older you get and the bigger your dreams, the harder it is to find someone like that.

Which is why I feel immensely blessed to have a coach who didn’t laugh when I told him I was going to the 2014 Crossfit Games. He didn’t slough it off or try to talk me out of it. He said he would train me – a middle-aged woman who is easily old enough to be his mom. We started last week.

Coach Matt Brewster trains a lot of athletes for a lot of different events – triathlons, running, Olympic lifting, Crossfit and life in general. But I know – because I have been a coach – that training an athlete who is more susceptible to injuries, fatigue and metabolic and hormonal aberrations is not easy.

Decades of competing in endurance sports has left me with slow-twitch muscle. But I know that I am genetically capable of developing fast twitch muscles because my “little” brother (6’4″ and still built like a porpoise) was the fastest swimmer in the United States when he graduated from high school.

Still, Matt has his work cut out for him. Explosive, sprint training is much different than endurance training. Because of my age, I have different rest and nutritional needs than a 25-year-old athlete. I have a career and a house that both need constant attention.

We started last week. Some days we train twice a day. Two days are devoted to rest. One day a week I vow to sleep until my body – not an alarm clock – wakes me. We have a long way to go. But I am willing to do the work and, more important, willing to listen and do what I am told.

Thanks, Matt.

  1. rachelaugh says:

    Good luck with everything—no matter what happens, I’m proud of you! You’re an inspiration! GO GET IT GIRL!

  2. Tondie says:

    I know you can make it to the crossfit games. You are our hero!

  3. Paula Herron says:

    Good luck-I am 56 and totally understand the challenges. You are very inspirational.

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