Candace Karu

Six Months to Sixty* Crossfit

FitnessCandace Karu7 Comments

Our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist.


Punishing the specialist. I know all about that. For 20 years I was a long-distance runner. I have the compendium of overuse injuries to underscore the punishment of my speciality.

I wanted – and needed – to be rewarded with fitness that would take me, in good health and sound body, into my 60s and beyond.

And so, on the advice of my very smart, very fit daughter, I joined our local CrossFit gym – CrossFit Beacon. The building is like a cathedral to fitness. You enter a narthex, a smaller, low-ceilinged room, passing a phalanx of Concept2 rowing machines and walls decorated with jumping ropes. From there you enter the nave – soaring walls and equipment that draws your eyes upward.

For a newbie, it can be very intimidating.

Except that everyone there is not only impossibly fit, but really, really nice. And welcoming. And positive. And strong.

WOD, snatch, AMRAP, thruster, MetCon. There’s a whole new vocabulary to learn. An observation: what doesn’t sound just a little bit vulgar sounds like shorthand employed by Seal Team 6.

Who better to indoctrinate introduce me to CrossFit culture and ritual than Annie Michel, 55, who has in a few short days become my workout mentor and my role model. Annie’s bona fides are staggering. Last month she took second place in her age group, in the whole freakin’ universe, at the 2012 CrossFit Games.

Annie taught me the basics – snatching and thrusting, double-unders and hang cleans – so I could slip seamlessly into CrossFit classes. At least that was my hope.

Today was my first class. Seamless doesn’t exactly describe my maiden voyage on the good ship CrossFit. Keep in mind that in today’s class I was the oldest participant by at least a couple of decades. (Annie, where were you when I needed you?)

The warm-up was a 400-meter run (thank you, baby jebus), followed by ball slams, then burpees, and ending with side lunges.

Reader, the burpees alone were enough to kill me.

And that was the warm up. It got harder from there. A lot harder. Today, my daughter informed me, with what I believe was unnecessary condescension and eye-rolling, was a particularly easy WOD (workout of the day).

My body is still vibrating with fatigue.

In spite of my weak-kneed and breathless condition, I left the gym knowing I want to get good at this. I’ll work harder and get stronger and make progress. I want to be a badass.

But first I will take my sorry, quivering bod down to the ocean for a good soak.

*I have until February 7, 2013 to arrive at 60 healthy, fit, and full of beans. SMTS is a record of my journey.