I have been struggling for the last week or two with a cognitive dissonance. I want to be an athlete; I am an old woman. My idea of what I would wish for myself and the person I am are in complete disarray. I want to be stronger, more agile, have more stamina, do more, be more. I am an old woman.

I know that in my two plus years of doing CrossFit, I have become stronger, more agile, and I even have more stamina. I can do more. I am more. It isn’t enough. I want even more and I want it now.

Every single time I step into the box, I fail. I have to scale. Everything I’ve read says scaling is essential to the proper athlete using the CrossFit method. Form before function isn’t just a saying, it is the way to move from non-athlete to athlete status. Every WOD is written scaled. It is written for men and then after a little / mark, it is written for women. There is an acknowledged difference between the sexes.

Men are bigger (on average) with different musculature. Women come in and look at the workout and don’t even need to see what the men are supposed to move, they have their own weights written out. I wonder if the young women feel like they are cheating.

There is no scaling option written out, at least at my box, for masters level or old people. We are not the same as we were ten, fifteen, thirty years ago. We have aged and we aren’t the young people able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. If we are lucky, we are still moving adequately and can manage something. But as I scale each day to make this manageable for an old woman, I feel like I’m cheating. I don’t know if I’m pushing too hard or not hard enough. I don’t know. I only know that of late, I’ve been disheartened.

I’m working hard. I’m not working hard enough. I stated at the beginning of the year that I wanted to be able to do a real pull-up before the year ended. I haven’t worked hard enough to get that. It isn’t in the workouts as written and I don’t come earlier or stay later to work on it. I come in and let the 5 AM class have their space. After a workout I’m beat and can’t work on anything else. I just want to get home and eat something.

Even my pitiful goal is not going to be met.

Comparison is the thief of joy. I keep comparing myself to younger people and finding myself at a distinct disadvantage. I’m not supposed to do this. I have no idea how to stop. I’m supposed to rejoice in my accomplishments and all I see are my failures. I see where I fall short day after day after day.

Most women my age can’t throw 50plus pounds over their head. Young men are throwing over 100 pounds over their heads. Most women my age can’t even do a band assisted pull-up. Young men do chest to bar repeatedly. Most women my age aren’t even trying this nonsense. I know that. But I still see only what I still can’t do.

Someone in another online place has mentioned that I’m getting scared about retiring and having a new part of my life open up. That may be true. Mostly what I see is not a fear of getting older but a mourning for a lost life that is gone forever. CrossFit wasn’t around when I was young enough to actually do something and if it was, I probably would have been too “ladylike” to try it. My generation didn’t do this stuff. Doing it now is hard enough.

I’m not sure where exactly the problem is and since I can’t state with any certainty what the problem is, finding a solution is unlikely. What I know for sure is that right now, I feel like a total failure. Unaccomplished. I’ve worked so hard and still can’t do what I set out to do.