Across the world over the past five weeks, athletes of all ages have tested their fitness in the CrossFit Open—the first stage in a competition to find the fittest people on Earth. Each week, the prescribed workout called on our physical and mental acuity with a range of movements: toes-to-bars, snatches, deadlifts, clean and jerks, overhead squats, chest-to-bar pull-ups, muscle-ups, wall-ball shots, double-unders, handstand push-ups, cleans, rowing, and thrusters. At the end of it, I took Third Place in my division, world-wide.
When I started the year, I thought I had another year to set the groundwork for qualifying. And as I headed into the 2015 Open, I never imagined I’d make the podium. What I earned in this stage was the chance to progress (in three weeks) into the Master’s Qualifier—five days to complete four events in order to qualify for the CrossFit Games this summer. Last year, I finished the Open in 46th place, so I didn’t really take the MQ seriously. But now it seems quite possible that I could land in the top 20 and make it to the Games. Suddenly, my dream looks like it could be a reality, sooner than I ever expected.
Looking forward, I hope to get in the Games to be on the same field with women who inspire and motivate me. Mary Schwing and Rosalie Glenn came in first and second place, respectively, in my division. They both logged solid scores throughout the Open, evidence that they are powerful athletes by any measure, for any age, beyond classification as “Masters.” To compete with—not against—them would be a wonderful culmination to my quest.
But first I have to get there. In preparation for the intensity of the MQ, I’ve stepped up my training schedule: following the Invictus Master’s Qualifier Prep (which will include TWO training sessions in a day several days a week, three days a week being coached by Sean Waxman, and two hours a week with Maddy Curley. No rest for the weary, it seems.*
The hardest part now is mental: knowing that now I start over. Only 20 of the field of 200 make it to the Games. My first score for the Master’s Qualifier will be my final place in the Open—number 3. But after that, nothing we did in the Open matters. It’s a new start for all of us. Whose brilliant idea was it to become a professional athlete at 60?
*The phrase is actually “No rest for the wicked,” but I’m too tired to get up to anything risqué.