This is an open letter to everyone who might think I’m awesome because I do CrossFit. I am. But I am not unique. You can be awesome, too. You. Can be awesome. You. Really. It is all scalable and you can do stuff you didn’t even know you could.

How do I know this? Because when I started I couldn’t do squat. I couldn’t do a lift. I couldn’t even get through the warm-up. But I kept working on it. And now I can. There are still many things I can’t do. I can’t climb a rope or do a handstand push-up. I can’t do a pull-up. But I can lunge down the mat without a PVC pipe as a cane. In fact, I can do it with weight, albeit a light weight.

The CrossFit Games are elite athletes who are phenomenal and I will never be those people. But I used to work out with a guy who was at the Games and should be there again this summer. He is awesome. He does amazing things.

I am awesome and I do amazing things. Not the same things he does, but amazing all the same. Mostly, the things I do are amazing exactly because I’m not an elite athlete. I was just a little old lady who decided one day to do this. And I have.

My one rep maxes are low numbers, but I never did anything at all even remotely like this before I was 59. So I was starting on square one but old and feeble to boot.

It hasn’t been easy. I’ve sweat, hurt myself, and cried. The biggest injuries have been to my ego or pride. I’ve never tried anything so far outside my comfort zone before and so there were so many times I was ready to quit. But I always had a good reason to keep going. Things like I had just bought a new bag of protein shake powder and what else was I going to do with it? So I keep going back.

And it has been amazing. I have trouble getting more than 50 pounds over my head, but when I started I couldn’t even lift 50 pounds off the floor, so it’s a real improvement. I have to modify many of the moves and because of my heart rate, I often even scale the number of reps I do. But I do stuff. Amazing stuff. Stuff I couldn’t even begin to do when I started.

It’s really hard to fail your way to success. Each disappointment is a cruel reminder that I’m only 35 inside my head. Well, since both my sons are over 35, that’s also a reminder but not usually anything I think about at the box.

One of my goals when I began this nonsense was to lose weight. I haven’t. Well, two pounds, but that really doesn’t count, now does it? I have dropped two pants sizes. My shirt size is the same (unless it sleeveless) because – get this – the guns are too big to get into a small. Who would have ever thought muscles would be an issue at my age?

And I have muscles. Not Arnold Schwarzenegger muscles, but visible honest to goodness muscles just the same. And it’s the muscles that account for the drop in clothing size because they are so much  more compact than the flab I was carrying around with me.

My balance is so much better. This alone is reason to sign up. People my age, especially women, tend to fall over more frequently and then hurt themselves. Bone density lessens with age – but with the weightlifting, I’m also reversing that issue. But because I lift, I need a tight core which is what gives us balance. So rather than fall down and break a hip, I do awesome things that amaze people – including myself.

I feel rather sad each time I hear someone say they can’t do this. They can. There are people in wheelchairs who do CrossFit. There are all sorts of ways to modify the moves, modify the reps, modify the weights. And the advantages are vast and far-reaching and way beyond what you might think can happen.

The work has been worth it. I sound like I’m proselytizing, and perhaps I am. I know how much better off I am today. I have the community of the people at the box along with the skills and know how to move iron around. I wish everyone could have this feeling of accomplishment.

I started with nothing. Today, I did a named WOD for the fifth time. Each time has seen an improvement. Looking backwards I can see how very far I’ve come. It’s been one hell of a ride and worth all the bumps and bruises to my body and my pride. I wish you could see me now. I wish you could be like me – awesome.

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