Posts Tagged ‘Masters’

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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The first thing Zach, our Olympic lifting coach, taught us in his Sunday morning Oly lifting class was how to address the barbell. He clearly was not as amused as I was when I chimed in, “Good Morning, Mr. Bar!”

Addressing the bar is very important and there is one thing that Zach never, ever wants you to do. Bend over, grab the bar and then roll it back and forth a few times. Zach hates this. I mean he really, really hates this. He tells us this every class: “Don’t do this,” Zach says, rolling the bar back and forth in front of him. “You’ll look like a fuckin’ idiot. I hate this.”

Zach

Zach, my coach, played professional R-U-G-B-Y. He also wears socks with kitties on them.

Next question: “Where do your feet go – and don’t say under the bar!” Zach hates it when people say under the bar. He tells us this every class, too. The bar should be directly over the spot on your foot where your toes meet your foot. Gotcha.

We work on snatch progressions, from the floor, from below the knee, from above the knee, from position two, from the power position. We work on making contact with the bar.

I tend to “hump” the bar instead of jump with it, which prompts Zach to tell me, for the millionth time, “More jumpy, jumpy. Less humpy, humpy.” Gotcha. (This guy is going to make a great dad someday.)

I also tend to pull on the bar with my arms instead of driving with my legs. Your arms, Zach explains, should be “like spaghetti strings” and shakes his huge arms at me. Gotcha.

Now comes my favorite Zachism, which comes in three variations:

“Get under the bar.”

“GET UNDER THE BAR!”

“GET UNDER THE FUCKIN’ BAR!”

I haven’t really gotten that one yet. My instincts tells me NOT to throw heavy objects above my head and then jump under them and try to catch them. I saw Wile E. Coyote do that once and it didn’t end well for Mr. Coyote. Zach says I will lose that fear when the bar actually drops on my head. Gotcha. (Remember, Zach played R-U-G-B-Y.)

Zach demonstrates how to “GET UNDER THE FUCKIN’ BAR” and he makes it look so simple, so effortless. I ask him to do it again, and he does it again, just as effortlessly as the first time. I would ask him to do it a third time – just for yucks – but Zach played R-U-G-B-Y and now wears socks with kitties on them. Swear to God. You don’t want to yuck around with a retired professional R-U-G-B-Y player in kitty socks.

Seriously.

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome back to Season Two of It Ain’t Over: A middle-aged mom’s attempt to make it to the CrossFit Games!

We ended Season One in 72nd place – exactly 52 slots away from Carson City. That’s a few slots less than my age, 55. This year I’m changing things up. My training partner, Lynn – a 45-year-old badass firefighter/physical therapist/single-mom – moved back to Australia, her homeland, leaving me wondering what the hell I was going to do to train for the games.Lynn&I

So, this year I decided to put together a team of experts to help me train. I have a coach and a chiropractor. I’m also seeing a PT and a massage therapist.

First, let me introduce you to my coach: Zach Caswell. Zach is my Olympic lifting coach. Why am I focusing on Oly lifting? Oly lifting is exclusively about the snatch and clean and jerk but if you can do these two lifts well, your overhead squats and thrusters will rock and you will vastly improve your balance and strength.

Zach is a former professional rugby player, which explains his total indifference to inflicting pain. He also played college football. He’s this huge bearded mass of muscle and I’m easily old enough to be his mother. But he didn’t laugh when I asked him to train me’ Turns out he’s one of those teddy bear kind of guys. He actually feeds his cats ice cream with a spoon.

MeZachEvery Sunday morning Zach holds an Oly lifting class at CrossFit CityPlace. I attend religiously. It’s like church but with cussing and sweating. After a few classes I concluded that Zach knows his shit and he’s passionate about making athletes who can lift efficiently. In my world, it’s all about efficiency. I may not get a lot stronger at this age but efficient movement will allow me to perform longer and avoid injury. So, Zach’s my man. (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!

You get to a point in life where you can pretty much wear and say what you want.

For example, I can now cock my head to the side, look over the top of my glasses and start a sentence with “Honey,…” and get respect, or a chuckle. I can, and do, sing along to songs during WODS.

Mary, taking flight

Mary, taking flight

And no one knows what to do when a middle-aged woman drops the “F” bomb, which I enjoy doing just for the shock value.

As for wardrobe, CrossFitters are basically fashion-challenged but Masters CrossFitters can take a fashion faux pas to a new level with a straight face. For example, today I actually wore my Skins compression tights to work. I had daylong computer training seminar and knew I would be sitting all day.

My compression tights kind of look like leggings – which I know went out of style a few years ago.

I paired them with a cute little cammy under a long sweater and a pair of black sequined Tom’s and, viola, I was cute AND comfortable! I don’t think anyone even noticed or had the cojones to say anything to me.

But my masters friend Mary recently made an exquisite fashion statement with a pair of pink wings she wore while lifting during Barbells for Boobs. When you’re 50+ years old you don’t get a lot of opportunities to wear pink wings. Actually, you have to make those opportunities.

For some reason, as we get older we stop making those kinds of silly opportunities, which takes a lot of fun out of life. But CrossFit not only gives you the strength to leap tall building in a single bound, it also gives you the cojones to be silly – and  plenty of opportunities to make silly happen.

Just ask Mary.

I have a history of getting involved in activities that end up being a wee bit different than what I expected.

Take triathlon. I got into triathlon in the early 1990’s. Sounded like a lot of fun. Swimming (my first athletic love), biking (my favorite thing to do as a kid), and running (my second athletic love). You get yourself a111 bathing suit, pair of goggles, bike and running shoes. What could possibly be expensive about that?

Well, my pink, fat-tire beach bike with the child seat wasn’t gonna work. You need a bike with a carbon frame, skinny tires, Shimano pedals, aero bars and the entire thing can’t weigh more than a box of Wheaties.

Then you’re going to need cycling shoes with cleats. Cha-ching. Running shoes. And that old Speedo, puh-leez, you need a tri suit and cap.babyseat+ Did I mention the Thule rack for the car, with wheel carriers and a faring?

You wanna actually compete in a triathlon? Well, your training will eat up any free time you thought you had. You’re going to have to hire a yard guy and a cleaning lady because you’re going to be swimming, biking and running all the freakin’ time. When you are finally ready to compete – there’s a $100 entry fee.

Cha-cha-cha-ching.

A few thousand dollars later, in the final miles of a half-Ironman on a Old Running Shoes blacktop road with a 100+ degree heat index, I said to myself,  enough of this shit.  I finished and then quit.

So, when I stumbled upon Crossfit I was like, cool. Sure, the monthly fees were steep but less than hiring a private trainer once a week. And will you look at the way these people dress! You can wear whatever you want! I haven’t worn knee socks since the 6th grade!! Best of all, some of the workouts were just 20 minutes long! Think of all the free time you will have! This is awesome!

I suppose if you are 20- or 30-something-year-old you can get away with the 10 or 15 minute warm-up before the WOD. But I quickly learned that I can no longer hop our of bed at 5:40 am and be working out at 6 am. These old bones don’t play that game anymore.

I realized that if I was going to have a long-term, committed relationship with Crossfit, I needed to spend a lot more time on foreplay (aka stretching). I need a good hour of being up, eating breakfast, intense stretching and walking the dog before I can hit the box.

Just ask my dog, Dog (that’s his name): (more…)