Last year, at the age of 49, Stevinson local Cindy Kelley competed in her first CrossFit Games in the Masters Women 45-49 division, topping out in eighth place and taking third in one of the events in Los Angeles.
After hard training over the past year at the Turlock CrossFit gym, Kelley decided to compete once again at the 2014 Reebok Games, this time in the Master’s Women 50-54 division.
As it turns out, second time is a charm — at least for Kelley.
Kelley, who is now 50, finished in second place in her respective division as the event concluded on Thursday at California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson.
“I knew coming in that on paper I was one of the younger ones, but all the women were very tough competitors,” said Kelley. “It was definitely not a walk in the park; I had to work hard for every point. There was no dominant, everyone was evenly matched, and had a great time.”
Although she treats this as a hobby, the competition, intensity and difficulty of the workouts at the Games proved to be quite a load on Kelley. She mentioned afterwards that her hands were blistered up and ripped apart aside from feeling physically and mentally drained after the intense workouts.
From the score sheet, however, Kelley looked like she was breezing through as she took first place in two of the first three events.
The workouts only got harder as the contest carried forward, but for Kelley it was a mental game at that point. She did suffer one minor injury, a jammed finger in the first day during the max distance handstand walk.
“I needed to stay positive and work hard since it was just the first day or a person can crack and it was the mental thing after that,” Kelley said. “It was fun. First day I was super nervous though, and my hands got really bad blisters due to the intense heat. I told myself that I am there and I could crumble or get back up, but I did ok.”
Kelley was able to stick through it with the help and support of friends and family who made the trip to the Games.
When it was all said and done, Kelley was only six points behind first place finisher Mary Beth Litsheim.
“I enjoyed it a lot and it was a great experience and very tiring, glad it’s over. It was definitely a struggle... Had to get a massage after because I was so sore, but it was worth it; so lucky to be here and be able to compete,” Kelley said.
A rewarding change in the Games this year, saw Kelley bringing home a $5,000 second place prize. First place finishers in each division won $10,000 and third place finishers received $1,000.
“I don’t have a desire to go back just now, but I need to work on some things and we will see in a few months if I want to go back,” Kelley added. “Part of the process was having the people from my gym backing me up and the fear of not knowing whether you’re good enough or anything like that. Whether I compete next year I want to be part of that environment and great group of people.”