Cindy Kelley is not your typical 49-year-old. She didn't accept getting older as an excuse to slow down physically, or competitively. After discovering CrossFit training about four years ago, she has not looked back and is now in the best shape of her life.
Kelley, of Stevinson, placed eighth at the 2013 CrossFit Games in the Masters Women 45-49 division at the three-day event that began on Tuesday and concluded Thursday in Los Angeles. CrossFit training is an overall strength and conditioning program which consists of running, lifting, and anything and everything that involves physical activity.
Despite a third place result in the grand finale event, Kelley still ended in the eighth place position overall after finishing third and seventh in two of the six events.
“The games are like the Super Bowl for CrossFit. I was one of the oldest competitors in my age group. I knew I wasn’t going to win, but to get here with my peers and compete was amazing,” Kelley said. “It’s crazy how fast things change, especially with the masters, these people have kids and life and it is hard.”
Kelley ran track all her life including college, where she competed in the 400 meter hurdles. At age 45, she saw signs that her lifelong athletic ability was declining and took measures to challenge herself. That's when the wife and mother of two found CrossFit.
“I felt like I was missing something in my life. This was a huge component,” Kelley said. “I felt inadequate and decided to do something to feel better about myself. I realized my [athletic] career wasn’t over. I started to do a little bit and realized that for my age group I am not in too bad of shape.
“CrossFit is not a sport but some people say it’s an incorporation of all sports. It is kind of like double days from football but all in 60 minutes, but it can be shorter or longer, depending on the person,” she said.
CrossFit workouts constantly vary and as you improve, the workouts become harder and more intense. Usually the workouts are less than an hour. There is always a warm-up, then some sort of cardiovascular workout at the end.
“She got to the point where she feels good about herself. She realized her career wasn’t over. She started to do a little bit and realized for her age group she is a phenomenal athlete. I think with CrossFit age does not matter,” Kelley's coach Shannon Tate said.