Call me a glutton for punishment, but for the second year in a row I competed in AFM FitTest. Held out at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas this community-wide show down consists of a series of 12 professionally designed fitness tests that measure strength, endurance, balance, speed, precision, agility, and power. The event was also the conclusion of my main goal in a sponsored campaign for Under Armour’s What’s Beautiful 3.0 challenge.
A little calm before the storm! #underarmourwomen #IWill #whatsbeautiful
During the #WhatsBeautiful Challenge, I had the honor of connecting with a wide range of women, both online and in person, to work together to redefine stereotypes of the female athlete. My mission, in addition to training for AFM FitTest, was to help others reach their own personal fitness goals, smash them and then set sparkling new goals dripping with newfound badassery. Two of my favorite teams have been “Fit, Fearless & Forty-something” made up of my own home girls and one of my online teams, Team Kelly Oh Yea!
So, back to the morning of battle – Saturday, June 15th. I headed out at the crack of dawn with my husband competing in the 50-59 age group; apparently the “old guys” get to go first so they can get home early for a nap (just kidding, these guys were very well maintained if you catch my drift, especially my “beefy’ hubby). Of course, he complained the whole way down there about how I “get him into these things,” but in the end, the hubby totally kicked butt, winning first in his heat in the pull-ups, the interval run and one of the mystery tests (which turned out being a balance beam with hurdles).
My heat came up a little later in the morning and ended around 11am; it was plenty hot, but the cloud cover kept it bearable. First off, let me say the group of ladies competing in the 40-49 division was an inspirational bunch. Our band of buff ole babes included the likes of CrossFitters, roller derby gals, past collegiate athletes, obstacle course enthusiasts, trail runners, soccer players and more. I loved how the group was so encouraging and supportive of one another, high-fiving, cheering and setting the example that “we can do it,” from the first finisher to the last even though we were all rivals in a way. It was definitely an Under Armour #WhatsBeautiful kind of morning!
So, here’s a run down of the tests. Let me say that I “sort of” made my goal. While I didn’t win the entire decade division, it looks like I may have tied for the win in the 45-49 age group. Make sure you read (or at least skip down to the 12th and final test). Whoot!
Test 1 – Standing Medicine Ball Toss: Well, despite the fact that I did work on this skill a few times, I didn’t do so well. Okay, move on.
Test 2 – Standing Broad Jump: The exciting news is that I jumped 84” which was a half foot improvement from last year and put me in 3rd. I have to say, I had to work through some anxiety to do this jump because last year (during training), I hurt my back during landing. So needless to say, I didn’t practice – but I performed when need be. Check.
Test 3 – 40 Yard Dash: Okay, sprinting is definitely not my forte as a runner. I can never get a fast start and I’m slow to get speedy. I guess I don’t have many of those fast-twitch fibers. And, to top it off, this year I had a photographer squatting right smack on my finish line causing me to slow and swerve at the finish. That’s actually what I’m screaming about in the photo below! So, I was actually a bit surprised to see that I got 4th place.
Test 4 – Agility Cone Run: This one is even harder than the 40 yard dash because you need get-up-and-go AND the nimbleness to cut around cones — all while remembering which way to turn. But, I surprised myself, didn’t get “lost” and managed a 3rd place finish.
Test 5 – Vertical Jump: This was one of two “mystery tests” that were unveiled on the event day. I’ve seen the tall, slatted contraption that you have to jump up and hit at the football fields, but I never knew what function it served. Now I do. Finished pretty middle of the pack.
Test 6 – Precision Throw: This event has all the giddy anticipation and then subsequent let-down of a midway carnival game to me; throwing 10 balls at a target and praying that one clears the strike zone. I got zero, zilch, nada. My exclamation that I have “no balls” may have had friends laughing, but – dang – I could have used some. The lesson learned here is to have more confidence and DON’T begin with an “I CAN’T do this” attitude. To achieve you have to believe, right?! I have so much respect and awe for the ladies that have the eye-hand coordination to get the job done.
Test 7 – Pull-Ups: Bring it on; I’ve been practicing pull-ups all year! I jumped up and grabbed the bar knowing I could do 10 and knocked out 13! This gave me the 1st place win in my division and 6th place across ALL women. Wow!
Found out I can make some really ugly faces doing pull-ups!
Test 8 – Burpees: After great news, follows bad. I didn’t rack up very many burpees, which is weird because I kind of like the exercise. I thought I was totally getting after it during my 1 minute blitz, but apparently not. Wondering if I was getting “no-repped” because I underperformed by about 10 burpees. Oh well, move on.
Test 9 – Hand Grip: This test measures forearm strength and is fondlly called the Death Grip, now that’s a title a gal could feel proud to win. Last year, I stunk it up. Realizing my previous mistake, I came in strong this year with a 100lb squeeze and redeemed with a 3rd place finish.
Test 10 – Interval Run: My husband calls the interval run “gassers.” I now know why; I felt like I had run out of gas near the end. Oh so close to making the 6th interval, I should have just hurdled my entire body across the line for a dramatic win. Next time.
Test 11 – Balance Beam Hurdles: This was the second mystery test and it proved that the years of gymnastic team tuition my parents paid didn’t really pay off. But, still it was fun trying to carry a wobbly PVC pipe half-filled with water across a balance beam while stepping over hurdles. Okay, the term fun is relative.
Test 12 – Mile Run: I’m glad you stuck with me until the end because this is where I was able to show off my best athletic talent – running further than a 400m. On your mark, get set, go! I took off in the mile and didn’t look back, winning not only my age group, but “best of test” of women across all age divisions with an official 5:45 (although, hey, my GPS said 5:38).
Thanks to all the competitors, sponsors and folks from Austin Fit Magazine for the memorable day! And, also to @UAWomen and @txbeef for their continued support of the female athlete.
And, to answer the Facebook rumor: Yes, fish tacos, beer and too-cold ice tea after 6 hours in the sun didn’t agree with me.