Archive for the ‘Masters Competition’ Category

I’m here at Mickey World in Orlando for the Disney Fitness Challenge. I signed up for this event months ago after a long deliberation about the worth of paying a $175 entry fee. I have never paid that much to compete in an event.

When I was doing triathlons years ago you could do a race for $50 or $75. Most of the 5k and 10ks I ran were even less. I also ran three Disney marathons and even they didn’t cost that much. But, hey, it’s Disney, it’s got to be spectacular, right? Plus, I have a Disney timeshare, which I purchased when my daughter was a toddler and I haven’t used it much lately.

Disney ShirtBefore I go any further I’m going to confess that I have a wee bit of an ax to grind with Disney for destroying some of the most beautiful natural habitat in Florida and creating this phony never-never land where – if they could figure out a way to do it – they would charge you to blink your eyes.

Owning a timeshare here makes it even more teeth grinding because everywhere you go there are these people with frighteningly sincere smiles saying “Welcome Home.” They’re everywhere. In the parking lot. On the phone. In the lobby. Who are these people? Don’t they know that this is a freakin’ timeshare?

This is Disney’s first CrossFit event. It’s at the ESPN Wild World of Sports Complex. I figured with Disney’s obsession with perfection and ESPN’s muscle behind it, this would be the best organized CrossFit event in the universe. Wrong.

At first Disney told us it was a three day event – Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So, I book my timeshare/home for four nights – Thursday-Sunday. Then, about six weeks before the event, Disney decides it’s just going to be a two-day event. Ooops. Sorry to all you folks who made HOTEL AND PLANE RESERVATIONS FOR THURSDAY!

The event has a Facebook page – actually two FB pages – but it was rarely used to disseminate info to the athletes. When the WODs were finally posted, there were no details or video explaining the movements and standards. Now, I know CrossFit is about being prepared for the unknown but when you put the phrase “25 yard hurdles” in a WOD for Masters Women, you really should follow up by telling us HOW MANY HURDLES THERE WILL BE IN THAT 25 YARDS AND HOW HIGH THEY WILL BE!

I picked up my packet tonight – something I always look forward to because there is usually some nice stuff – samples and coupons – in the swag bag along with the shirt. I get my bag, look in it and there is a shirt. Just a shirt, nothing else. It’s a nice shirt but at this point I’m looking at it and thinking, this shirt cost me $175. A pair of Mickey ears would have been nice.

They have a lot of rules here at Disney. Only small coolers are allowed. No dogs. If you are not in the athlete briefing area 15 minutes before your heat you will be given last place.

I fear there also will be no expo – which means NO SHOPPING FOR COOL CROSSFIT STUFF. Oh the humanity.

I’m going to bed now and try not to have a nightmare about jumping over hurdles.

 

 

 

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Photo courtesy of CoconutCirclePhotography.com

In a stunning display of ageism and ignorance, organizers of the Disney Fit Challenge (Sept. 26 – 28 in Orlando) have created separate age groups within the RX, Scaled and Recreational Divisions but NOT the Masters division.

Although the age groups within each division have not been released, according to the DFC web site, “Divisions have been established allowing for a wide range of physical ability and skill in addition to age groups allowing competitors to see how they place not only within a division but also within their respective age group.”

Except for Masters athletes.

The Masters division begins at age 40 and anyone over that age – regardless how many years or decades beyond 40 – will compete against each other. That means that a 60-year-old athlete could end up competing against a 4o-year-old. Apparently, the folks at Disney don’t have a problem with that.

However, the Disney folks believe it would not be fair for a 39-year-old athlete to compete against a 21-year-old – so they are creating age groups within RX, Scaled and Recreational divisions to level the playing field.

Really. (more…)

As of today, I have been on the planet for exactly 20,089 days, which makes today my 55th birthday!

A lot of women probably don’t want to turn 55 but I have been longing for 55. Two reasons: 1. My employer provides lifetime medical benefits to employees 55+ who have worked at the company for at least 20 years. 2. Weights and movements are scaled for 55+ Masters in the CrossFit Open.

KeepCalmIn other words, I don’t have to lift as much weight or throw as heavy a damn wall ball as you do! Na-na-na-na-boo-boo. 

The lifetime medical benefits are great. However, the odds of me ever retiring are pretty slim so I may never get a chance to use them. Still, I earned them and that’s all that matters.

As for the scaled weights and movement, I intend to take ruthless advantage of that advantage. Ruthless.

For example, here was the Week 1 WOD that I did last year:

WOMEN – includes Masters Women up to 54 years old

Proceed through the sequence below completing as many reps as possible in 17 minutes of:

  • 40 BurpeesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • 45 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 30 Burpees
  • 75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 20 Burpees
  • 100 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 10 burpees
  • 120 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible

And here’s the 55+ ladies’ WOD

MASTERS WOMEN – includes Masters Women 55+

Proceed through the sequence below completing as many reps as possible in 17 minutes of:

  • Jackson40 Burpees
  • 35 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 30 Burpees
  • 55 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 20 Burpees
  • 75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 10 burpees
  • 90 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible

See where I’m going here? There’s a big difference between a 55# snatch and a 75# snatch. Like a 20 pound difference. It gets better, I now get to use a 10# wall ball – which I didn’t even know we had – instead of the 14# wall ball. Four pounds makes a big difference.

I now get to do jumping chest-to-bar pull-ups instead of regular chest-to-bar pull-ups. I don’t know what a jumping chest-to-bar pull-up is but it can’t be harder than a regular C2B, can it?

It kind of feels like I’m getting a AARP discount on my lifts and movements and by-golly, I deserve it. So, to honor this special day I’m going to work on my 35# snatches and see what a 10# wall ball feels like. Ah, the privileges of age: wrinkles, gray hair and jumping C2Bs – whatever they are.

Maybe some non-paleo cake, too.

Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus. His name is Arnie

Arnie Robinson sent me an email today with an early Christmas present. Arnie, organizer of the Resolution Games on Jan. 11-12 in Pompano Beach, Florida has decided to scale weights in the masters division!

67 year old Jim Bimonte of CFHC Pompano Beach is the latest master's competitor to sign up for The Resolution Games.

67 year old Jim Bimonte of CFHC Pompano Beach is the latest master’s competitor to sign up for The Resolution Games.

What does this mean? For starters, it means a 54-year-old woman, such as moi, won’t have to lift as much as a 40-year-old woman. There is still only one masters division, but Arnie has decided to scale the weights by decades. Age 40 is still the minimum age for the masters division, but 50-59-year-olds will lift 10 pounds less than the 40-49 year olds. Masters athletes between 60-69 will be scaled another 10 pounds and 70+ yearolds – God love em – will be scaled even more.

This is brilliant. Scaling within the masters division doesn’t require extra heats – which would make the competition last even longer. Masters still compete together and against each other, but with different weights depending on their age.

But wait, there’s more! Arnie has also created a Masters Team division! Yes, you heard me correct. A Masters Team division.

And if you order now, you get 25% OFF registration just because you are a Crossfitter of a Certain Age. Use coupon code CertainAge25 on the registration page.

This is our chance to show the CrossFit world that masters athletes will come out and compete if the playing field is level.

Thanks Arnie!

Badass CrossFitters of a Certain Age with combined 99 years between them

Badass CrossFitters of a Certain Age with combined 99 years between them

Lynn and I started working out together a couple of weeks ago and already I can feel a big difference. Training takes on new meaning and fun when you’re doing it with someone as crazy as you. Lynn is 45 and she runs like a bunny on crack – FAST.

Today we paired up for Barbells for Boobs. Helen meet Grace (of was it Grace meets Helen?) Anyway, we were the only girls at CrossFit Cityplace to RX (95#) and we have a combined age of 99!  Our time: 16:36 – not too shabby.

After last Sunday’s embarrassing performance at the RAID 4 Games – especially those 75# snatches – I needed something to lift my spirits. I got it yesterday.

A two-mile run for time in the blazing South Florida midday sun: 16:03. Thank GOD I’m still good at something – running. Too bad Crossfit competitions don’t have more running and less snatching.

I took a couple of days off after RAID and eased back into it on Wednesday. While doing a ladder of back squats at progressively heavier weights, I felt a sharp pain on the left side of my back while coming out of a 125# squat – heavy, but not exactly a PR.

I was so ticked off that I walked it off, put my belt back on and tried again with 95#. Again, sharp pain that made me yelp. Never should have tried it again. Don’t know what I was thinking. I was just frustrated and still stinging from RAID. I figured I was going to be out for awhile with a back injury.

Weird thing was, the next morning my back actually felt better. For the last couple of months the lower left side of my back had been extremely tight. I stretched and stretched and stretched but I could not seem to get out this strange, deep knot.

It felt like it just needed a good crack and everything would again flow. Crazy as it sounds, I think that back squat did the trick and opened it up.

Something similar happened about 10 years ago. I was walking my dog, a big, manic Weimaraner, and was not paying attention when she suddenly bolted after a squirrel. My neck snapped, I heard a crack and the next morning it hurt like hell. Weimaraner whiplash.

I went to the chiropractor and did all the exercises and stretches I was told to do but still, it hurt. About a year later I went skiing. I raced on the high school ski team and sometimes I forget that I graduated in 1977 – in the last millennium!

I was skiing way to fast and fell. CRACK. My neck snapped. Visions of me in a neck brace filled my head. Oddly, though, my neck felt much looser. I got up the next morning expecting to be in pain and unable to ski. Instead, my head was as loose as a bobble head. It felt sore, but great!

I don’t advise being your own chiropractor. Yes, it’s cheaper and you can do it at the convenience of your own box or ski slope, but I could have been hurt very badly.

I tried a few front squats on Thursday after 30 minutes of hip and back stretching. Viola! No pain and a very deep squat. I am staying away from the heavy weights for awhile. My coach wants to work on strengthening my obliques and core. Still, the unhinging of my back coupled with a 16:03 two-mile run in the hot sun and I’m feeling much better – at least in my head.

 

There’s something to be said for finishing in damn near last place.

Something such as “F#@K” or “Let’s go eat some gluten-free pizza with bacon on top.”

I said both.

Had there been a 50+ division I would have taken second – out of three. But, it was a 45+ division and I took 8th out of nine. I beat the 60-year-old lady, Lynn Johnson, who finished 25th in the world open in the 60+ division. Look for her next year at the games. That girl is going places.

The important thing is that we had 13 ladies over 40 competing in the Master’s division. Of those, 9 were over 45. Three were over 50.

Ditto for the men: Of the 15 men competing in the masters division, 9 were 45+. That’s 60 percent. Of the nine in the 45+ division, three were over 50.  (Shout out to Ira Spector, who just started Crossfit in December and blasted through the snatches)

Which just goes to show that if race organizers would masters divisions that recognize a 40-year-old and 60-year-old should not be lumped into one masters division – WE WILL COMPETE!!!

RAID 4 showed immense progress in the battle of the ages. It is the first regional competition I am aware of that had two masters divisions: 40-44 and 45+. Seventy percent of the masters women were over 45!!!!

Let’s keep the momentum going. Now we need a 50+ division – or scale the weights for the 50+ athletes.

Anyway, I got my ass kicked by a bunch of really great ladies – most in their middle 40’s. The exception is my friend Mary Hallman, who will be 54 in a few weeks. Mary is not only a beast but has a great laugh and is the kind of competitor who will cheer on her competition. Love that about Mary.

I learned a few very important lessons competing in RAID 4 this weekend:

1. Do not do 6 hours of cutting hedges, mowing the lawn and weed whapping the day before a competition.

2. Listen to your coach, especially when he’s giving you good advice while you’re in the middle of a WOD. He knows what he’s talking about.

3. There is a good reason why Crossfit boxes do not have mirrors. (See picture)Nasty photo

4. Losing is valuable. It shows you exactly what you need to work on.

5. Do not be a sore loser. No one likes a whiny, self-absorbed, self-flagellating Crossfitter. Man up. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Take your loss on the chin and then go out to dinner with your buds from the box and eat gluten-free pizza with bacon on top. Crossfit is about working hard AND playing hard.

Remember, your are a masters Crossfit athlete and even when you finish second-to-last, you have still accomplished what only a tiny fraction of people our age can do.

Now, where did I put that ibuprofen?