A little over a year ago, I was an old woman.

I started playing racquetball when I was 27 and became an accomplished player over the next 14 years. I was able to win most of the time when I played against other women and a fair amount of the time when I played against men. I had a wicked ricochet shot and a great rollout for a sure point. I could play hard and got hurt fairly often. Usually that did not entail a trip to the ER, but sometimes it did. Regardless, I lived and loved playing.

Then we moved and I stopped being athletic and that was the beginning of my spiral into oldness. At first, it wasn’t as noticeable, but the more years that passed and the less I did, the less I could even manage.

I tried Curves and it was ridiculous. I walked and biked in the neighborhood without seeing any real results. I bought a pair of rollerblades and nearly killed myself. Mostly, I got older and older.

My son started weightlifting in high school. He continued with weightlifting and tried various programs and methods. He found CrossFit. He started CrossFit Hilton Head back in 2009, I think. He took me to his first box and it didn’t look like any gym I had ever seen. I tried a few things and managed to not hurt myself only because he protected me. It sounded like fun. I heard things like “scaling” and “ten areas of fitness” and it was just all so intriguing. But there was no CrossFit near me at the time.

I kept watching. His partner was bought out and his box moved and time went on and he kept doing more and more really neat things. I got to see him participate in a Garage Game in Charleston and it was really intense and interesting and I still didn’t know of anywhere close to play. I helped at the first I CAN games, a Garage Game put on by CrossFit Hilton Head. That looked like even more fun. I wished aloud that I could play at his box.

He said there was a CrossFit near me and I found it on the way home from Hilton Head. I was there after work on Monday to see what I needed to do. I was at the free demo class on Saturday and saw I could do absolutely zero things. I can remember Ryan asking me what I wanted.

I wanted to be able to open my own jars. I wanted to lose about 15 pounds. I wanted to stop being so old.

I signed up for the three classes I needed to take to understand some of the mechanics and then I started appearing at the box three times a week, religiously. I would eventually change my routine and start going four days a week. For the remainder of 2012 I could still do nothing except keep coming back. The only thing I had was determination and the will to keep trying. I know that Yoda says to do or do not and there is no try, but it was all I had because I wasn’t not doing, I simply wasn’t achieving anything – much.

It’s been 15 months since I first started. I’m older, but I’m much younger today than I was when I started. I can do stuff. I can squat ass to grass. I can deadlift my body weight. I can clean and jerk. I can jump on a box, do wall balls and kettlebell swings and even fucking slam balls, and I can be proud of what I achieved in a year. I still can’t really snatch with weight, but it’s getting closer.

It has been incredible. I feel so much healthier. My heart rate still goes too high, but not as quickly and it drops faster. I don’t feel as intimidated by anything physical. I can climb steps easily and walk faster for longer distances. But even more than that, I’m simply more sure of what I can do everywhere. I’m confident of who I am.

I open my own jars all the time. I lost twenty pounds and the ones that are left are the same muscled masses they were thirty years ago. My hair is still gray and my skin is still wrinkled, but I have a body that any twenty year old would be happy to have.

I have a day-after-leg-day-gait that any gym rat can identify. I have a mark on my shin from missing a box jump. I have calluses on my hands from lifting weights and pull-ups. I have new clothes and shoes to wear to the box. I have lots and lots of things. But the most impressive thing I have is my health and my newly minted, no-longer-old-lady confidence.

I have prattled on about this so much and I assume many of my friends are tired of hearing about it. The part that is the most difficult is not talking even more. I would love all the people my age to get into a health and fitness program. Not because I think the gyms need money, but because you have no idea how great it feels to be able to turn back the hands of time, regain your lost youth. It didn’t really get lost, you ignored it and it just went into hiding.

There is no fountain of youth. There is only healthy living. Eating clean, working out, being awesome, getting back into the way your body is supposed to feel. It is amazing. I wish all my friends could join me.

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