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Homeschooling Mom of 4 Makes it to The Games

25 Jun

You heard me right.

If you’re following CrossFit games this year, zero in on Christy Runey. 

Holy Grail!!!   50 looks amazing…swoon! PC: @ctpcam

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.


LeighWhat 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.


LeighWhat 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! 


LeighHow 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.


LeighWhat 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.


LeighAny 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!


LeighFavorite motivational saying? (i.e. “Sweat’s just yer fat cryin!)  Yours is probably something less shallow than that. 

ChristyKatrin Davisdottir said 

“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!


Christy, your family is gorgeous–in spirit and in looks!

Your Garage Gym

9 Jul


I am very blessed to have an awesome CrossFit gym super close to my home filled with great people, great equipment, and great camaraderie where I can both train and coach. That wasn’t always the case and there are seasons in life when a solid garage gym serves you well.  My top reasons for having a garage gym are 1. You can train whenever you have the time, whether it’s 5am barefoot in your pajamas, 1-2pm while your toddler naps, or 8pm after the kiddos are asleep, 2. You can work out together with your spouse in the early morning hours before heading off to work ,  3. You can practice skills that need work or interest you (some of which you’d rather not have an audience for!) and 4. You can get your kids involved by doing family WODs or CrossFit kids homeschool style.

Our garage gym has taken on several forms as we’ve moved around. It’s a living breathing project. As we develop new interests we save money for new equipment.  My best advice is to think about your strength and conditioning goals and prioritize your shopping list. If you can’t bust the bank for a squat rack right away, aim for a solid pull up bar, and a barbell with plates. While you won’t necessarily be breaking PRs in your back squat, at least your Olympic lifts will shine on. Rogue Fitness has an impeccable website with more information than I could ever provide, but here’s how we got started:

1.  Assess what you have that could work for you.

  • Old dumbbells make cheap replacements for kettle bells and all around effective training tools.
  • Bench from your “lifting” days.
  • Yoga mat, jump rope, rowing machine, treadmill (gasp….but think 800m sprints when it’s pouring rain or your kids are sleeping!)
  • Sandbag. With just this alone you can do almost anything you can do with a barbell. Click here and scroll down to sandbag for a comprehensive list with instructional videos from Mountain Athlete. Love.

2.  Buy a PVC pipe from your local hardware store.

  • Do the Burgener Warm-up and practice overhead squats with it every training day.
  • Consider taping it with barbell knurl marks.
  • Even if you never purchase your own barbell, you can still perfect technique with a bit of purposeful intensity.

3.  Measure your useable floor space and consider flooring options.

  • 3/4 in rubber horse stall mats from your local feed and supply house are your best bet.
  • We started with puzzle piece rubber gym mats, but they proved to be too thin and came apart easily.

4. Select a squat rack with pull-up bar or stand alone pull-up bar. 

5. Select a barbell. 

6.  Select bumper plates and clips.

7.  Think about plate storage.

8.  Select rings and straps.

9.  Think about plyo boxes.

  • We used 20in tall “tough boxes” with plywood nailed to the top for a long time–adequate and basically free.
  • Upgraded to the Rogue games boxes–again, better with multiple heights if you’re sharing with your hubby.
  • Construct them yourself if you’re handy, which I am not.

10.  Make a wish list of equipment for the future.

  • Kettlebells, medicine balls, AbMats, GHD, climbing rope, speed rope, sled, atlas stones.
  • Make your own: paralettes, slosh pipe, and more.

All that aside though, when life gets busy and the summer vacations start, I never leave home without this bodyweight workout resource. It is super comprehensive and has saved me from slumps many times.

Here’s to summer!


Start with the WHY

31 Dec

simon-sinek-the-golden-circleI watched this video clip the other day that inspired/spiraled into a long conversation with my husband about goals for the New Year, habits, and getting on the same page as a couple and as parents. New Years Eve is stressful for me and probably a lot of other people. Yes, it’s a perfect time to set goals, dream dreams and start fresh on the things in your life that you wish you could change or you don’t like the direction that they are headed. At the same time though, it leaves me reminded of past goals and resolutions that were abandoned, which in turn makes me want to weep. Every year we say, “this year is going to be different,” but is it usually?

This year I challenge you to set  your goals from the inside out like Simon Sinek from the video challenges leaders to do in business. Start with the WHY. Start with a purpose. Start with a belief. The very things that keep us from sticking to the goals we so desperately want to keep, like trust, loyalty, heart and soul are on the inside, and completely responsible for decision-making in our limbic brain. Once you truly believe in the WHY, then you can move on the how and what.

Why is not a result. Why is not, “I am going to eat 100% paleo this year” or “I am going to lose ten pounds.” Why is a purpose. Why is, “I believe that my diet is directly related to my fitness and wellbeing,” “I know that eating clean is the best way to balance my hormones and achieve optimal health for me and my family” and “I know that (fill in the blank) causes stress in my life that I don’t need.”

For diet, I’m going to re-visit the root of the WHY behind clean eating: the science. For fitness, I’m re-evaluating my WHY.  I’ve realized my inspiration to pursue fitness doesn’t stem from linear progression towards new numbers-based goals, personal records, winning competitions, or comparing myself to others.  Those are all worthy reasons to exercise, and they work for a lot of people.  However, I am motivated to pursue fitness because being strong and fast brings me to my happy place, and makes me feel like a good role-model for my kids. I also truly believe in general physical preparedness, whether that is hiking with my family, stepping onto a 5.8 climb on the rock wall, knocking out whatever CrossFit WOD comes my way, or going along with whatever hare-brained adventures my husband comes up with for fun.

Happy New Year,


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