Monthly Archives

January 2015

Finding My Weakness

January 27, 2015

photo by Charlie Mason


This weekend I competed in the NorCal Masters competition. While the field in my division consisted of only seven competitors, they were formidable: three of them were CrossFit Games athletes in 2014 and one finished in 10th place. For most of the two-day competition, I held a strong fourth place. I made the finals. But in that heat, which consisted of a succession of Power Cleans at #105 and rope climbs, I lost my game. Sure, I was spent from the eight previous events, and the lifts were at my one rep max—but they were

Suddenly, 60

January 26, 2015

suddenly 60 grid

I am 59 years old and I won’t turn 60 until April, two weeks after the conclusion of the CrossFit Open. It was logical to think that I would have another year before entering the 60+ age division. My training schedule has been laid out, since last year, with the goal qualifying for the Games in 2016—time enough to nail muscle ups, handstand walking, and a host of other skills.

“Prepare…not only for the unknown but for the unknowable as well,” CrossFit founder Greg Glassman has said. Today, I registered for the 2015 CrossFit Open, and this confirmation screen

Considering Anxiety

January 21, 2015
photo by Melanie Blanchard

photo by Mel Blanchard

Three days from now, I am going to compete in the NorCal Masters competition. The heats were announced yesterday, and, along with my starting times, I have the names of the competitors in my division, Women’s Masters 55-59. The roster includes at least two CrossFit Games competitors, one of whom, April Kitagawa, placed 10th in the world. Suddenly, things are getting real.

Immediately, I felt a crushing sensation in my heart, my limbs went limp, and “butterflies in my tummy” is a description too cutesy to accurately describe the overwhelming knot in my gut. These

Up the Mountain

January 19, 2015

Everest to the Gangetic Plain, Bill Thompson, 1983


(Read how I started training and competing.)

The 2015 CrossFit Open begins in two weeks and I am 59 years old now. I turn 60 this year, on a date too late to qualify to compete in that age class. But I am hoping to make a good showing in spite of the fact that I’ll be among the oldest in the group. Plus, I am going in this year knowing that I still don’t have some skills that will be critical for qualification in the CrossFit Games. Handstand walking,

Liquid Gold

January 15, 2015

Making broth

My Grandma taught me to how to cook (and to eat, but that is a story for another post). Her parents were French immigrants, and, as much as French food is known for its tasty complications, economy is the true hallmark of French home cooking. The modern trend for “nose to tail” is ancient and Gallic in origin.

Grandma would buy a chicken on Saturday, roast it on Sunday, and serve the sliced breasts in a rich cream sauce. On Monday, the dark meat was turned into something with a carb bolster, like a potpie or a goulash over rice.

Learning to Compete

January 13, 2015



My first morning at Paradiso CrossFit, David, the owner and a trainer there, was kind to me.  He showed me how to use a giant green rubber band to assist myself at the bottom of a pull-up.  The band had so much tension it practically sent me through the ceiling like a pea from a slingshot. I’ve been known to wear jewelry that weighs more than the kettlebell he had me swing. And after just a few regulation push-ups, I had to drop to my knees to finish a set of ten. Fortunately, I was finishing up this humiliating

Why CrossFit?

January 8, 2015

One Monday morning, in the late summer of 2011, I found myself in a former auto body shop that had been repurposed as a gym. There were no rows of elliptical machines, treadmills, or Stairmasters, just a raw space filled with raw-looking gym equipment: some pull-up racks, stacks of weights lining the wall, rubber bands and jump ropes, and pairs of gymnastic rings and ropes hanging from the ceiling. No one was training at the hour when I arrived, but within seconds of walking in the door I was greeted with a booming “Hello there.” A dead ringer for Andre


January 1, 2015

New Year’s resolutions have, for me, always taken a positive spin. I cannot remember a single midnight on December 31 when I promised myself to stop or do less of anything. Rather, I typically resolve to fill the coming year with more of something I truly enjoy. I figure that, as my days become packed with whatever that something is, less interesting and less desirable pursuits will simply get crowded out of existence.


Last year at this time, I was at home in California, and trained at the gym on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. That