You heard me right.
If you’re following CrossFit games this year, zero in on Christy Runey.
She’s about to be 50, has only CrossFitted for 5 years, and has no $1,000 certifications (yet).
Christy maintains cast-iron faith; she’s a West Point Woman(class of 91), an Army Veteran, an Army spouse of more than two decades, a homeschooling mother to four. There are undoubtedly countless other accomplishments I don’t even know about.
To top it all off, she’s on her way to Madison.
A decade ago, she took me under her wing despite my naivete and inexperience. And she liked me, she REALLY LIKED ME!!! If only I could sit at her feet every week to soak up all of her practical and spiritual wisdom, life hacks, fitness and nutrition tips, and homeschooling guidance.
She exemplifies and embodies the premise of this entire blog: always stay in the prime of life. This woman is one of my life’s all-time role models; it’s an honor to get to call her my friend.
She graciously answered a few of my questions to share with us.
Leigh: Where are you training now, and what other boxes have you trained in the past?
Christy: Currently, I train at Crossfit Oyster Point in VA. I began my CF adventure in Schweinfurt, Germany. It wasn’t an official affiliate, we used equipment in a generic rec gym on post, and we were only allowed to call it “Functional Fitness.” I joined my first real box at Fort Knox: the newly-opened CrossFit Hard Knox. Our next move took us to Carlisle, PA where I trained at CrossFit Perseverance.
Leigh: Who is/are your coach(es):
Christy: Right now I am with Becky Rogers from Training Think Tank in Alpharetta, GA. I also consult Dani Kearns and Trey Steele at Oyster Point for additional coaching and feedback. And a big shout-out to coaches James Hoffman and Fritz Chatelier who both told me I would go to the Games one day.
Leigh: What fed your initial CrossFit addiction?
Christy: My husband introduced me to CF in 2006 when really, you just got your information from the website. He did it with the kids while I was homeschooling. He put sand in the basketball, strung rings over a tree limb, installed a pull-up bar, measured running distances, etc. I was fascinated but quickly dismissed it because of the various technically complicated movements I didn’t understand how to do.
The necessity to perform multiple pull ups was intimidating–I couldn’t do one and never dreamed that I could! How I wish I had started back then!
It wasn’t until 2012 that I was ready to give it a try with coaches. My Germany “Functional Fitness” group captured the heart of the CrossFit method: quantifiable physical improvement + magnetic community. A powerful bond solidified with that original crew. We had so much fun, we pushed each other, and we each made rapid and significant improvements in strength and fitness.
This became my sport. Now, every time we move, my first google search is to locate the best CrossFit box in our new area.
Leigh: What has been the hardest thing about competing at this level?
Christy: Whew! This is a tough one because there have been several hard things. I usually train alone now. So it’s harder to push myself, and there’s no one to cheer and push with. Along with that, I miss the rich camaraderie and making some of those deeper friendships which come by experiencing sweat and effort together. Also, the time commitment decreases opportunities of friendship and service that I would otherwise seek out.
Finally, while I am at my all-time peak of fitness, I have far more awareness of my limitations and weaknesses in my body. There are some niggles that keep rearing their heads. It’s hard to know when to push through discomfort vs. pain or, whether it’s time to back off. Obviously this is not an ideal season to do much backing off!
Oh yeah, how could I forget…I’ve had to eliminate my need for regular doses of ice cream!
Leigh: How much training time does the Masters prep really take?
Christy: The training has definitely changed from pre-game to now. Prior to the games, I worked out 5 days a week, 2 of which had AM & PM work. The other 2 days–complete rest. I contacted my coach almost monthly in concern that I wasn’t training enough. I was so sure that I would never improve enough to get to the games.
My coach encouraged me to trust the process and that she didn’t want me peaking for the Opens. (That made me more nervous!) Then when I made it to the Qualifiers, she upped the training a little bit more. I still was afraid it wasn’t enough. She assured me: trust the process…
Now, I am trusting the process! Currently I still train 5 days a week. But 3 of the days I have an AM & PM session, and one of my rest days I swim for “active recovery” (which is comical for me since swimming is anything BUT recovery feeling for me!)
The actual amount of time I “train” averages 15-20 hours a week. That includes warm-up and cool-down. I also do stretching and mobilization stuff at home.
Leigh: What does your nutrition have to look like to maintain this kind of training schedule?
Christy: Optimum nutrition for performance does not necessarily equal optimum nutrition for the long-term.
Games training requires that I fuel my body quite differently. In the past I focused on calorie consumption. Now I must spend the extra time dialing in nutrition at the macronutrient level. I do try to eat fairly clean. I aim to eat as many vegetables as I can – lots of greens, some cooked, some raw, some fermented.
I eat most of my simple carbs (least fibrous) around my workout session.
Most of my fats away from my workouts.
I spread my protein evenly throughout the day.
I need way more carbs than I thought. I increased carbs through the opens, then had to increase again during the qualifiers, and again pre-games. I eat less fat now than I normally would.
I’ve never done CrossFit for the aesthetics. But right now, my body fat is lower than it’s ever been. I am okay with that as an athlete getting ready to compete. But after the games, I look forward to more dietary flexibility and establishing a healthier percentage of body fat.
One size definitely does not fit all. Dialing it all in may require consulting a nutritionist, even if for a short time.
Leigh: Any advice for hopefuls in the Masters category?
Christy: Take your Open scores and see how you would have done in the next age group up. You might be surprised and motivated that you actually have a really good shot to be competitive when you promote into the new age group.
That is what happened to me last year after the Age Group Online Qualifiers…after doing a little comparison research, I realized that I had a serious shot to make it to the Games in 2018!
Just do your very best whatever level you’re at. Have fun performing better now than you could when you were younger! It’s amazing to keep hitting new PRs while you are aging!
Leigh: Favorite motivational saying? (i.e. “Sweat’s just yer fat cryin!) Yours is probably something less shallow than that.
“Success is giving full effort knowing that was the best I was capable of… “
For me, this means that I don’t have to worry about the things that are out of my control. I can know that my good, heavenly Father is in control. He cares as much about the shaping and prepping of my heart as He does my body.
How I respond in the daily moments of joy, heartache, bodyache, stress and challenge is an important part of this journey.
He desires that I would give my very best for His honor and glory, and leave the results to Him–whether I am #1 on the Leaderboard or if nothing goes as planned. Either way, I can trust in His goodness knowing I gave my all.
The results are His win or lose. THAT will be enough for success.
Quick-Fire Q & A:
Hand protection or calluses? Recent convert to Victory Grips for most bar work. Wodndones for Bar Muscle Ups, and still prefer bare hands for Ring Muscle Ups.
When you WOD: Makeup or morning face? Only a little mascara (otherwise I have no eyes)
Leggings or shorts? Leggings in the winter and all rope climb WODs, shorts in the summer
Reebok or Lulu? Ack – both?!…and Nike. I’m not a purist.
Better Hair Day: Washed hair -or- sweat + dry shampoo? Whatever time constraints allow has gotta be my ‘best’ hair day
In the Box: Metal or Rap? Oooo…rap, if we must.
Cheat meal: Pizza or ice cream? My two favorite foods usually go hand-in-hand…Pizza + Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk = slice of heaven and a big double cheat…which I haven’t actually given myself yet (only cauliflower crust pizza + Halo Top Oatmeal Cookie!)
Television or scrolling? Scrolling
Did you hear that folks? Her **cheat meal** is caulipizza + Halo Top. That’s what separates the wheat from the chaff.
Christy confirms the vast physical possibilities for our “middle” years. Age doesn’t have to take you past your prime.
Christy, thank you for sharing with us!
Good luck, be safe, and have fun!