Mom, Meet Angie

Editor’s Note: I could not be more excited to feature a guest post today from none other than my mom! My mom has always inspired me to confront my limits and push myself, and she is an amazing example of independence and inner strength. Always active and conscious of her diet, I knew that she would love CrossFit and started encouraging her to look into it after she moved from Boulder to San Diego last spring. She finally joined her local box, Offshore CrossFit, in December, and last week she did her first benchmark WOD, “Angie.” Oh, and if you’ve ever wondered where I caught the writing bug, it should become pretty apparent around paragraph three…

My mom does CrossFit

Last night at 3 am, I woke with pain in my chest. For a 56 year old, that can be real cause for alarm. But not this time – this was Angie, coming back to mete out more punishment from the WOD the day before. I’m not sure if it was caused by the 100 sit ups, the 100 pushups, or the 100 pull ups. I don’t think it was the squats.

I’m a newbie at this, and I almost didn’t go when I saw the WOD. It seemed ludicrous that I’d be able to do 100 of anything, but Claire talked me into it. (“It’ll be fun!” “Everyone’s nervous, it’s okay!” “You can do it!”) Imagine having Claire as your own personal cheerleader for Crossfit. Yes, you should envy me.

So tell your mom to read this post, because I’m about to tell you how great it is to be the oldest person at the box.

I’m used to the gym – my first job at 17 was as an “Instructress” (I kid you not) at a fitness center where I wore purple tights and a purple shirt, and a long gold vest that covered my tush, and I carried a clipboard. And platform shoes. I wore platform shoes as an instructor at a fitness center.

Between then and now, I’ve spent a lot of time in gyms. But I am so burned out and worse, seeing diminishing returns. So when Claire and Brandon worked out at Offshore Crossfit here in Carlsbad at Thanksgiving and gave them the thumbs up, I joined. It was intimidating at first, but it’s the first time I’ve looked forward to working out in years. Besides, how often does a woman my age get to hang out with fit young men and talk about butts? The perks are great!

The coaches push me to do a little more than I feel comfortable with, and I so need that. And, the encouragement is unbelievable from others in the WOD. What a 180 from 24 Hr Fitness! There, no matter how great I felt, I was reduced to Mrs. Claus next to the young woman dressed like a complete slut on the Stairmaster who would rather die than acknowledge my presence. I’m not in a competition, but is there no end to the reminders that I’m old? But at Crossfit, my age does not isolate me.

When I arrived for “Angie” on Friday afternoon, I really thought I’d be given a modification of fewer reps. I do try to use my age to my advantage when I can. But apparently coach Joe thought otherwise, and the WOD began. I use a band on the pull-ups of course, but it still devolved into two pull-ups at a time, then finding the footstool with my trembling leg to rest for a brief moment, doing another two… And push-ups? I think the number of push-ups I’ve done in the last month is more than the amount I’ve done in my entire lifetime. Everything seems to include push-ups at Crossfit.

I knew I’d have to finish before the next class started, so I figured I’d just keep at it until someone tapped on my heaving shoulder and told me to go home. At some point, I planned to stop and make an announcement that really, people, you don’t have to stay here and cheer me on. Go home. Really.

But I got through the pull-ups. And then I got through the push-ups. And at some point around 70, I found a groove for the sit ups (and they found a groove in my butt – why didn’t someone warn me about that). The squats burned, but I could stop and pant occasionally, except by now, I was the only one who hadn’t finished so the drill instructor, er, coach standing just to the right of me had no one else to encourage. He did that cheap trick where you’re promised only 10 more to go, and then when you’re energized, they add on the rest of them. I didn’t mind. I’ve let myself be lied to many times, and not nearly for as good a cause.

And then it was over, and I was so proud of myself. I made it to the car and somehow talked my arms into holding onto the steering wheel and drove home.

So when Angie woke me up last night, I didn’t panic. Hey, it could have been the Grim Reaper. At my age, I think I’m cultivating the right kind of friends.

  • Simone

    Your mom rocks!! Mine came and tried crossfit with us in our garage — and she even came back and tried it a few more times! The age range for our garage is 20-mid 50s. Just goes to show that crossfit really can be for all of us! Go Crossfit Moms! :)

  • Jennifer

    Awww… go Claire’s momma!! Absolutely love that your mom has found the calling like you.. hehe.
    I wish my mother would even attempt a workout, but other than walking to work everyday, her athletic desire stops there. I wish I knew how to convince more people to just TRY it!
    Awesome job on “Angie”; I, too, think i would have considered staying home that day.. :)

    • clairechapman

      For the first 6 months or so I could not get anyone to try it with me… Finally I stopped bugging them and just let them watch while I got stronger and healthier… and eventually they all started asking about it anyway :) Now even my dad’s fiancé, who is a former personal trainer and has always been of the “CrossFit will just injure you” mindset, started asking about it the other day… heh heh

  • Theresa

    Holy cow!! At 45, I’m still a chicken to actually join. Your mom has given me inspiration! Loved this and have her back again. Thanks for the jolt!

    • clairechapman

      Heck yes! You better get in there! :)

  • Angie

    Awesome! Very inspiring.

  • Teresa

    Love this! I am 51, and started Crossfit in October 2012 and I completely relate to your experiences! I thought everyone would ignore me (“what is SHE doing here?!”) but it has been the opposite: everyone is welcoming and encouraging.

    • clairechapman

      That’s awesome! Sometimes she complains about being the oldest one there, but i know that secretly it makes her feel kinda badass :)


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