Wednesday 120314

Five rounds for time:

Row 250m
5 Right leg dumbell split jerks, 40#/25# 
5 Left leg dumbell split jerks, 40#/25#
Run 200m

Post time to comments.

The open brings out the best in everyone!

I am a CF Games competitor – and this is my story! – By Dan Adams, CrossFit Verve athlete

I am a CrossFit Verve “athlete”, in quotations given I’ve always had only mediocre athletic talent and my conditioning had deteriorated over the years from mediocre to something less than mediocre.  I am 53 and was running 2-3 miles a few times a week, probably better than the American average guy my age, but hardly felt in shape and had somehow slowly gained about 20 pounds.

The Verve team has started to change that.  After six months (with a two month interruption for hernia surgery – not related to CF), I’m feeling better and making real and measurable progress at the gym.  Still, I view myself as mediocre in the context of the “real” CF athletes, so when talk of the Games Open came around I quickly dismissed the idea as something for others, not me.  But then the enthusiasm at Verve caught me in a weak moment (or is that strong moment?) and I told myself paying the twenty bucks to sign up would be doing my part to help the participation numbers – and I’d just see how it went.

The 12.1 workout didn’t seem so bad.  I frigging hate burpees, but figured how bad could 7 minutes be?  We warmed up to get a sense of pace, and jumped into the workout.  I started conservatively and didn’t push too hard to avoid throwing up and embarrassing myself and ended up with 73.  Not that I could have done a lot more, but I felt a little bad (ok, not that bad) that I hadn’t pushed just a little harder.  And I snuck a peek at the leader board for the Masters 50-54 mainly to make sure I hadn’t finished last (and should therefore drop out to spare Verve the shame).  I was relieved to see I was there about the 70th percentile (as in I outscored 30% so definitely not last) – so now officially a participant!

The “chickens came home to roost” (or other similar sayings us old people might proclaim) on 12.2.  Let’s see – 75 pound snatches, OK.  Jump up to 135 pounds, NOT OK.  Surely they must give us old guys a break.  But what?!, not until I turn 55?  The silver lining was I knew it’d be a pretty short workout.  Popped out the first thirty at 75 pounds pretty quickly so I could rest up for a few tries at 135 pounds.  I’m sure it was partly mental, but I wasn’t even close.  I did do a couple at 105 pounds though just to prove to myself I could do it.  Now I was interested in where I stood, including how many old guys got up the higher weights.  Turns out 45% of the guys could get up 135 pounds at least once (good for you guys), certainly breaking up the peloton.  But at least I was in good company with the other 55%. 

I looked around, though, at some of the guys that had done video submissions just to see if they had gotten any closer to getting 135 up than I had ( that would be a negative, based on the ones that I saw) when I came across Jim Evans, from the “northeast” and 50 years old.  Never heard of Jim before, or seen him other than his video submissions, but he happened to get exactly my same 12.1 score of 73 burpees and we were both in the big group at 30 snatches.  The first thing that struck me was that he looked older than I wanted admit to myself that I look.  But man was he taking this stuff seriously.  Turns out from his bio that he is/was a pretty decent athlete 20 months into recovery for a shoulder injury.  But somehow I suddenly connected with this guy and felt this tinge of competition!

12.3 rolls around and I wasn’t sure what to think when I saw the workout.  I can do box jumps, but 115 pound presses seems like a lot to do more than a few of, and the last workout where we did toes-to-bars was a couple of months ago and didn’t go well for me.  Plus I had to do the workout Thursday ahead of the majority of the group doing it on Friday at Verve so missed out on some of the tips.  Plus plus – 18 minutes sounded like a lot.  Of course once again I’m two years too young or I’d get to do a scaled back workout!  But Joylyn put me through the workout and did get up the 115 pounds more times than I thought, and hung in there on the toes-to-bars, all just more slowly than the “real” athletes.  I ended up putting up 4 rounds plus another 25 reps, so 169 reps total.

Now anxiously I rushed onto the Games website to see how my new adversary Jim had done (figuring correctly this guy is obsessed and would get his workout in quickly).  YES – Jim had only done 165!  So now it’s GAME ON!  I down around the 75th percentile, but a whopping 4 slots ahead of ole Jim.  It all seems a little silly, including that poor Jim doesn’t have any idea about my secret stalking.  But somehow I feel a little more like a competitor now, and don’t think I’ve completely embarrassed Verve yet.

PS – I think CrossFit should have a special division at Worlds for just Jim and I – the “ordinary old guys group” – to show by contrast just how fit the other competitors are!

Thanks Dan and you don’t embarrass us at all, in fact we are super proud of you! Let’s keep the steam rolling kids just 2 more WOD’s.


  1. I have been following your blog for a while now as I took my Level 1 cert with Cherie in Toronto and throroughly enjoyed her perspective on fitness and nutrition. You guys always have excellent programming, and the blog is very informative. I laughed out loud as I read today’s blog by Dan. As a 50 year old father of 6 (and grandpa to 1), I can completely relate to his feelings as a master’s athlete who has not seen any “master’s” breaks in the Open WOD’s. Fortunately for me, I run a non-profit CrossFit gym (CrossFit CPHS) in my Canadian high school, so I have to try and stay within reach of my students. Thanks Dan for taking the time to share such an honest and motivational account of your CrossFit experience. I certainly have a little more verve for the upcoming 12.4 challenge as a consequence.

  2. Joylyn :

    Dan, what a great account. Thank you for sharing it with us. Your honesty and great energy you bring into Verve each day is so special. We are proud of you every time you come in and give us your best effort. I totally relate to your feelings of where you are at in your athletic life (even at 31, and post-pregnancy), and I’m proud to keep improving my fitness and life right alongside you. Thank you for being part of our family and letting us be part of yours.

  3. Ann A :

    Dan, I loved your post and boy, do I hear you! I am in the Women’s 50-54 age group and I LOVE seeing where I stand amongst the other women in my age group. I scream at my computer telling CFV to hurry up and post my score so I can FOR SURE see where I stand. It has made me more competitive WITH MYSELF to do even better. Like, how many crazy people would do 12.3 TWICE, hoping to move up in the ranks….yes, I was one of them. For a brief second, with 12.1, I was 8th in the world (per Zac)…that was fun for that brief moment…and of course, as the day went on, I slipped, but I was still 8th at one point!!! So keep it going and let’s kick some major butt on those 50-54 men/women in 12.4 (man, what can it possibly be????!!!!)

  4. luke :

    Dan, great post. Enjoyed all of it, keep up the strong work.

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