GJ’s Prodromides ‘not bummed’ by second-place finish at CrossFit Games
After a brutally demanding competition, Mary Beth Prodromides described her emotions as disappointed but happy.
Even one week after returning from the CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin, the Grand Junction’s woman’s tone was still racked with disappointment.
In a grueling competition that brings together some of the most physically fit athletes in the nation, Prodromides placed second in the women’s 55-59 age division.
“I’m not bummed with second place,” she said with a bit of a chuckle. “This year was way different than last year’s workouts.”
The CrossFit Games offer athletes the ultimate test of their preparation with one of the main challenges being the unknown.
CrossFit Games athletes compete in 12 different workouts — many of them different from year to year — and the competitors have no idea what exercises they will be confronted with until the competition opens.
“It’s interesting how CrossFit works,” Prodromides said. “My weakness is running and swimming and the first workout was a run-swim-run.”
With two mile-and-half runs on both sides of a 500-meter swim, it was the worst possible scenario for Prodromides.
After finishing 12th in that first workout, Prodromides used the next 11 workouts to power back into contention.
“I didn’t think at the time that (run-swim-run) put me out of it, and I came all the way back to second,” she said. “I had to work hard to get back from 12th to second.”
She placed first three times and second in two of the other 11 other workouts.
Last year, Prodromides won her third CrossFit Games title since 2011. She’s now placed second twice.
With workouts consisting of a variety of exercises including weight lifting, obstacle courses, burpee and box step overs, the athletes must be ready for anything.
“It’s hard to train for everything. You can only do what you can do, there’s no excuses, she beat me fair and square,” Prodromides said about the winner.
In the past, Prodromides has had problems with a balky left knee and 10 days before the competition, the knee pain returned.
That was just one of several challenges that the 56-year-old was faced with before the games.
Challenges in her personal life that she called “life stuff,” a flu-like illness shortly before the competition, a surprise canceled flight and pain in the knee all made the trip to Madison a lot to overcome.
“I really believe that obstacles are just things to overcome, it’s just a speed bump,” she said. “I didn’t give up and had so many obstacles that I had to push through.”
As she is every year, Prodromides, who teaches physical education at Bookcliff Middle School, was fit and chiseled as she departed for the games.
She said that she was more fit and stronger than she was last year, but the running workouts took their toll at the competition.
Prodromides is now faced with a dilemma, which is even more difficult to evaluate since she came home with a silver medal instead of gold.
“I thought if I won this one I would retire, but now, I think I’d like to go out on a win,” she said.
The left knee remains a huge concern.
Prodromides accepts that injuries can be part of competing but she also knows there’s a fine line between health and pushing the body too far.
“There’s CrossFit for health and that’s good for the general population but when you do CrossFit for sport you push so much harder,” she said.
Her training schedule is intense, hitting the gym up to five hours a day, twice a day, five days a week.
She thinks the CrossFit Games are likely to continue to include more endurance workouts.
“I think they want to involve as many different kinds of athletes as they can, and that’s good, so this year’s emphasis was on the endurance side,” she said.
Endurance workouts means more running challenges.
“(This year) shows me that’s where I need to work if I want to continue. I’m just undecided right now,” she said. “My competitive side says ‘yes, I will,’ but I need to see how I feel.
“I just know that I still love CrossFit,” she said.