CrossFit for the Elderly: The Open, 14.2 and 14.3

Thursday, March 6, 7:55 PM.  I am hopeful. Last week, contrary to what  I had innocently believed about the Open WODs beginning with something everyone could do before progressing to the hard core stuff, they led off with double unders.  The fact that I had managed to actually do a few did not absolve CrossFit Central from double crossing us non-elite folk with this double underhanded start.

Thursday, March 6, 8:05 PM.  14.2 is announced. Noooo – they have done it again! 10 overhead squats, followed by 10 chest to bar pullups, more to follow if one survived the first 3 minutes.  In CrossFit Central’s defense (grudgingly) this one was probably accessible for the average non-elite CrossFitter, but not for me. Yes, I was taking it very personally.

I remember my introduction to overhead squats, probably 9 months or so ago. At that point I was able to squat with ease. I could also successfully manage back squats and front squats, bearing weights respectable for my age. I was able to do the overhead stuff, the push press, the split jerk, even the fearsome and frumious snatch, moves requiring getting the bar overhead and holding it there with elbows locked.

So now the overhead squat – all I had to do was put the two moves together, hold the PVC pipe (starting small) over my head, lock my elbows, and squat.  Should be no problem.

overhead_squatThis is what an overhead squat should look like.

But – one of two things happened:  either my arms stayed where they were supposed to and my knees bent no more than a millimeter, or my bottom half achieved squat position while my arms drifted out in front of me as if beseeching the coach to please make it stop. There seemed to be no middle ground, and this with a bar weighing about 3 ounces. The Open demanded I do this with 45 lbs. Not going to happen.

Top of OHS

This is me. Help!

Nonetheless, I arrived at the box determined to get at least one, to avoid the dread zero score, which takes one out of the overall ranking and thus makes moving on to the Regionals impossible. Really? I’m worried about this? Still…..

Aly, thwarted by the double unders, was set to shine on this one. She sailed through her overhead squats and managed 4 or 5 chest to bar pullups in her 3 minutes.  I cheered her on, delighted with her success but growling at my own feeble attempts.  I did manage some OHSs with the PVC pipe, so moved on to the 15 lb bar. Failing at that, I grimly lifted 25 lbs, 35 lbs, and the 45 lbs that was prescribed for my age group over my head, and realized nothing was going to happen in the squat department..  Some time later I left, happy for Aly, but bereft.

I returned to try again Saturday. I didn’t really think I was going to be able to avoid the dread zero, but felt that an infusion of that old group spirit might help.  Although Coach Jes took time out from her own warmups to give me some pointers and encouragement, it wasn’t enough. This time I wasn’t even able to hoist the damn 45 lbs over my head. (overdoing it yesterday, perhaps?) Mostly I just wandered about looking woebegone but rooting enthusiastically for my boxmates.

So when it came time for 14.3 to be announced, I pretended to be blasé. I didn’t really care. At 8:00 I was occupied with other things. I circled the computer, glaring at it out of the corner of my eye. I held out until 8:07, and then – Yesssssss!! Not only could I do this one, but I could do BOTH PARTS!  Deadlifts, with weights I had actually done, alternating with 15 box jumps, for which step-ups were OK, and in an 8 minute time period, which I knew I could endure. The number of deadlifts increased with each increase in weight, from 10, to 15, to 20 and so on for the superheroes.

The Friday class had three of us there to take on 14.3,  7 or so regular class participants, and 2 coaches, Sean and Jes.  16 minutes of the coaches’ time must be spent judging the 3 of us,  two in one 8 min. stretch and one in the other.  What were the others to do during this time? Sean had cleverly solved this problem by programming a 5,000 meter row, which should keep them gainfully employed while the judges’ attention was directed elsewhere.  This seemed like a fine idea to the three of us until we noticed the rowing machines artfully arranged to give the rowers a clear view of the proceedings. Ah, yes. We were to provide the entertainment.

The other two “contestants” were Aly and Henry. Together Aly and I were like the CrossFit version of the Tortoise and the Hare: the Elephant and the Grasshopper.  With my senior lower weights I, the Elephant of course, was reasonably confident about being able to handle the deadlifts,

CFU ELEPHANTYaaayyyy – finally something I can do almost well.

but my plodding box jumps step ups would slow me down. Tiny Aly the Grasshopper could take on that 20 in. box like she was flying,

Grasshopper on box20 inches? She probably could have jumped twice that high.

but was anxious about the deadlifting. Little Grasshopper, being young, had to lift way more than elderly Elephant. We could have killed this one as a single person.  Our third number was mighty Henry, older than the average CrossFitter but not yet officially a “Master” with its attendant modifications. Henry simply qualifies as a superhero.

Sean quite seriously told us not to kill ourselves with the deadlifts, and said he would stop us if it appeared to be getting too much or our form was suffering. And so it began, with Aly and Henry.  I watched, as did the merry rowers, who were probably mentally somewhere else altogether by now. Aly was stumped by a weight more than 1 ½ times her own weight but flew through her box jumps. Henry flew through it all. And I finished, having gotten through the third round of 20 deadlifts and a few more trudges up and down the box. But I got a score, decent for me, and I was serene and happy.

At least until next Thursday.

About Elizabeth R

I have retired from being a mom of 2 little boys (though never from being their mom) and a teacher of multitudes of little people. Now I have lots of time (but somehow, not enough - why is that?) to shamelessly wallow in my previously underutilized passions - reading, writing, and Anglophilia. And somehow, a new interest has insidiously crept in - Crossfit. Crossfit is a wonderfully all-encompassing system of physical fitness allowing me to blame all my numerous aches and pains on it rather than old age. I like it very much, but then I have always been a little odd.
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2 Responses to CrossFit for the Elderly: The Open, 14.2 and 14.3

  1. maryann1941 says:

    Hey, Elizabeth R, aka B.S., you have been busy to great effect. Loved reading around your blog.
    MAR from RLib

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