A Seventh Decade

April 23, 2015
Bloodshot, 2007.  Marilyn Minter

Bloodshot, 2007. Marilyn Minter

Last week, I turned 60 years old. There was no birthday bash. No fireworks. The bottles of champagne remained corked. Some of my friends were insulted that I couldn’t be persuaded to let them celebrate me. But the parties can wait. The Master’s Qualifier starts today, and I am focused on reaching a goal bigger than myself. To have allowed myself to whoop it up, even for a day, might have jeopardized realizing it.

That’s the 60th birthday gift I have given myself: my dream. One year ago, I embarked upon a personal challenge to test the bounds of my physical and mental potential.  The measure of this would be qualifying for a place at the CrossFit Games. Up to this point, I feel like my achievements in life have been largely shaped and defined by the expectations of others. In fact, it seems like I have been operating for a lifetime fueled by fear of not meeting up to those expectations: Fear of missing out. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of insignificance. Fear of rejection. Fear of not fitting in.

But training like I do demands missing out, not fitting in, facing failure, success, and rejection. I have chosen to practice confronting my fears every day until the time comes when I can live fearlessly.



The list of 200 other 60-year-old women who have qualified to advance to the next stage of competition is official, and each one’s performance history appears on the CrossFit Games website. In order to better assess the talent I am up against, I made a spreadsheet showing the 2015 Open scores for the 25 top scoring athletes in my division (I took 3rd place)*. Then I added in their performance history in the Master’s Qualifier events in 2014. I found that:

  • 6 athletes are already seasoned competitors, having been in the CrossFit Games in 2014 (along with 14 others who are not in the running this year)
  • 7 have recorded a heavier barbell Clean than I have (beating me by at least 10 pounds)
  • 3 women (other than those in 1st and 2nd place, who beat me in all but one event) beat at least 3 of my scores in Open workouts
  • 1 woman beat four of my scores in Open workouts
  • 8 women, like me, just turned 60 and are new to the division

No matter how things turn out for me over the next four days, I still plan to celebrate myself next weekend, with a postponed birthday trip. Hopefully, I will also be celebrating having qualified for the CrossFit Games in 2015. If not, I will still be happy, knowing that I have worked my hardest to approach—and maybe even go beyond—the edge of my limits.


*With respect to the 175 athletes I did not include in my analysis, I do not discount you: three competitors in the Women’s 60+ Division last year with scores below 25th place went on to earn a position in the Games because of their high MQ Scores.


Last Splash, 2012.  Marilyn Minter

Last Splash, 2012. Marilyn Minter





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  • Reply Leka Dobbs April 23, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Happy belated birthday my beautiful friend! I’m looking forward to celebrating the realization of your dream with you in person!! Xxoo

  • Reply Mel April 23, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Sandy, you are a true inspiration. Congrats on your wonderful gift to yourself! Happy Birthday and best of luck in the competition. To me, you already have won.

  • Reply BD April 23, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    I bow to you and your conviction. Happy birthday!

  • Reply BD April 23, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    How’s your swimming?

    • Reply Sandy Hill April 24, 2015 at 7:50 am

      Oooh. Swimming is still a weakness for me, Bo. But I will be working on it this summer, I promise. xxoo

  • Reply Janet April 23, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    Happy Birthday. I turn 60 next week and did my first Crossfit Open this year. You are so inspiring. Good luck!

    • Reply Sandy Hill April 24, 2015 at 7:49 am

      Happy Birthday to you Janet. I hope that this Open will be the first of many to come for you. Let’s stay on that leaderboard until we are 70!

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