CrossFit for the Elderly: The Open, 14.4 and 14.5

My very favorite CrossFit exercise is rowing. Like many actions in CrossFit, I had had no prior experience with it, and diligently watched the videos my coach son Chris sent me before making my first attempt. I listened to the suggestions of Coach Tom and Coach Sean, stuck my tongue in the corner of my mouth in concentration mode, and commenced.

My new friend, the rower.

Miracle of miracles, I could do it! And I actually liked it, due in no small part I’m sure to the fact that I could do it sitting down. An even bigger miracle – I’m not too bad at it. At one point, according to a records website run by the maker of the rowing machines, I had the second fastest 500 m. row in the WORLD for women of my precise age. (I suppose I have to mention that only 3 women had entered their times, but still…..)

After my relative success at 14.3 I was glued to the computer on Thursday, March 20, watching the clock inch closer to the 8:00 hour of revelation. I was a bit confused at the “hint” shown a few minutes before 8, which featured Dave Castro maniacally feeding branches into a wood chipper.

This is a hint about a workout? I am afraid, so very afraid…..

I didn’t get it at the time, but didn’t think it boded well

So imagine my delight when they announced 14.4 and the first on the to-do list was rowing! 60 calories worth – I didn’t know how many meters that represented, but didn’t much care, because I knew I could do it, and would thus have a score.

Mr. Castro then proceeded to reveal the rest of the workout – 50 toes-to-bar,

Toes to bar – I can do this – maybe – someday…

wallballs with that pesky 9 foot target, 30 cleans and 20 muscle ups. And if you finished that, you’d start all over again until the allowed 14 minutes (or your endurance) had expired. Ah, NOW I got the wood chipper reference – this WOD was a chipper, intended to chip away at your life’s blood until all that was left was small fragments of sheer determination.

Except in my case, it wouldn’t be a problem, because I can’t do toes-to-bar (yet) so my workout would end with my 60 calories of rowing, and I would happily record my score of 60. I must admit I was a little miffed at the order of the remaining parts of the workout, because I had been practicing wallballs after my abysmal showing the previous year,and had hoped to be able to show my stuff this year.

Get up there, you %#$! No, don’t come down and hit me in the face!

Chris solved that particular problem for me: do them anyway. The judges didn’t have to worry about me after the rowing, because I was officially done, so as Aly doggedly churned out her 50 toes-to-bar and then wallballs under Judge Jes’s watchful eye, I just merrily did wallballs until the 14 minutes were up.

I was pleased to hit the target 34 times, double my last year’s attempt. Didn’t count, didn’t care. Although I do kind of wish they’d switched the order so I could have recorded a whopping 94.

The 2014 Open was winding down, one week to go with speculation rampant about what trials were in store for us on this final go-round. Hadn’t been any burpees yet, so that seemed to be almost a given, but how many, how long, and in combination with what else?

For me, it turned out not to matter. The day before, volunteering at an animal shelter a cranky pussycat decided that my right index finger was annoying her and bit clear through it, resulting not only in a good sized hole in my finger but a nasty infection to boot.

This appendage offends me. I shall destroy it.

I don’t seem to have much luck with fingers, but at least this one would stay attached, even though it would prevent me from doing 14.5. Because of my zero score in 14.2 I was out of the running anyway – no chance of showing up in the overall rankings, even though 142,568th was about the best I could hope for. Ah, well.

As it turned out, the ferocious feline probably did me a favor. 14.5 was a killer – Alternating burpees and thrusters, decreasing by 3’s from 21 down to 3, and done for time, meaning, theoretically, that you had to go until you were done. Or done in. I like time limits – I do the best I can, and sooner or later, no matter what, the clock runs out and it is over. This one would have had the unpleasant possibility of going on forever, or until collapse, whichever came first. Many boxes chose to impose a time cap, and others just encouraged slow and steady, don’t be crazy. But of all the workouts I could have been forced to miss, I have to admit that I’m glad it was this one.

So the Open is over for another year. Not as satisfying for me as last year, but who knows? I learned how to do double unders, which I would never have done on my own. Maybe next year, toes-to-bar. But I’ll leave the muscle-ups to the young ones. There are limits.

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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