I know that comparison is the thief of joy. I also know that I’m taller than average and older than average and smarter than average, etc. I know this because we all measure ourselves against each other and keep track of not only the Joneses, but everyone. This may not be the straightest path to joy, but it is human nature. Where do I fit in?

I vacillate between believing I’m pretty dang awesome for even attempting to CrossFit to being the most obviously crappy person in the gym. That latter is, in part, because I have always been the oldest person in the gym. To be fair, there could be older, fitter people than me and then I wouldn’t even have that excuse. I know where I ranked in the Open and it wasn’t at the top even though I did scaled everything.

So, for me anyway, the Open and the Leaderboard are always about failure and defeat. There is only one leader on the leaderboard and the rest of us there aren’t leaders, but losers. Of course, that’s not the way we are supposed to look at things, we are supposed to be proud of how much we can achieve.

Just as any parent of a school age child would be just as proud of the kid even going to school, right? Maybe the parents expect some decent grades out of the student. Very few parents I’ve ever met brag about a report card filled with Ds. They just aren’t the best kind because … we all want to win.

So, I don’t win at CrossFit. Except I do. I go. I’m coachable. I try really hard. I have limits and limitation and I’m freaking old. Even though other freaking older people manage stuff, many old people don’t even try. And I’m the only me who has had my life and experiences and all that stuff.

I try. I often fail. I always scale. That’s my life. That’s as it should be. If they are writing workouts for me, the younger, fitter people will be unchallenged and thwarted in their desire to grow as athletes. Inside my head, I’m more than passingly aware of this. I’m supposed to scale. I’m not twenty anymore. Even my kids are master athletes.

So I go and do what I can. And some days I feel really good about that and focus more on the first part of the sentence and some days I feel really bad about that because I am focused on the second half. It is actually the audacity of the second half that should make me feel so much better. But it rarely does. Lately I’ve been feeling more failure than success.

We are starting a new lift cycle and this week was low weights and heavy reps. Today was back squats with six sets of eight to be done with weights in the 50 to 70% range. My 1RM is 110 pounds so today I did two sets of eight at 55 pounds, two at 60, one at 65, and the last at 70. While it wasn’t nothing, it wasn’t that hard. I mean, at the top, it was only 70% and so not a real problem. I did have the least weight on the bar and all, but I was true to the percentages.

As I was readjusting my stance for the last two reps of the last set, standing there with 70 pounds resting on my shoulders, I got the picture of my early CrossFit self. I was struggling with the 22 pound bar, trying to dip to the top of 20 inch box with a 25# plate set on top of it. Chris was next to me back squatting 225 pounds (ten times as much) like it wasn’t a problem. And I struggled with that damn 22 pounds but at least it wasn’t a PVC pipe anymore. So there was that.

As I set myself up for two more reps of a full squat with 70 pounds, a relatively light weight and possible to do for eight reps without tiring myself, I realized I really am a fit old woman. Or at least, a lot fitter than I used to be. And while I will never give the twentysomethings, thirtysomethings, fortysomethings, and teenager in my class a run for their money, I’m doing okay.

While my fitness assessment which finally took place was a waste of my time and energy and I was deemed fit (without metrics or numbers or anything concrete which is what I really wanted) I did find out that the body fat percentage calculator thing doesn’t really work and I shouldn’t worry about the 27.5% body fat number (which for my age and gender is in the middle of normal) because it is probably way off. It also makes me the fattest person in our morning class, something every person in the morning class said couldn’t be true. I’m not fat. I’m 5 foot 5 inches and 125 pounds (about 50 of that muscle according to that same machine). And that last bit also skews the fat percentage. Along with being female and old, both of which add stuff.

So, I’m going to declare myself fit now, fitter than I was seven years ago, and doing okay considering how old and feeble I am.


Photo by tubbygorilla at Flickr as Woman performing squat, CC 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/158197534@N08/41086858490