March 14, 2013
Calm For Once: Kat Ljubicic
By Chris Cooper

"Usually, I'm really nervous. I mean, I'm shitting my pants before.”

This week, Kat Ljubicic was calm before a workout — for once.

"Usually, I'm really nervous. I mean, I'm shitting my pants before,” Ljubicic says. "I wasn't nervous at all this time. When the workout came up the night before, one of our guys did it as soon as it was posted. I watched him do it, and I thought, 'the weight isn't that heavy. We've done this before in two parts.' I knew the ratios for what I can do on the snatch."

Then she went home and dreamt about burpees and snatches.

"The next morning I was really excited to do it. I was going to just do a run-through, just to try it once. The practice wound up doing the real thing because I felt so good about it,” Ljubicic says.

Because she finished the workout before many others had attempted it, Ljubicic didn't know her score of 193 would put her in the top five on the Canada East Leaderboard and fourth in the world in the 40-44 Division.

“When Alex (Possamai, owner of CrossFit Bolton and CrossFit Mississauga) sent me a message and said, 'How did you do?' I answered, '193. I might do it again,’” she says. “I thought it was a bad score.”

As others posted scores, Ljubicic realized she'd done well.

"When I saw the other scores, I thought, ‘Forget it.’ The bar bounced into my baby finger at one point; it's swollen up. I pulled something in my biceps. My arms were toast,” she says. “Two days later, I couldn't feel my traps, ass or hamstrings. Everything was so sore. This is when you know you're 43 …"

In the first year of the new Masters Division, Ljubicic has potential to do very well.

"I'm jacked about the new age class,” she says. “I've never competed against women my own age. I'm pretty proud to say that even though I've always competed against girls 15 years younger, I've always been top-five at every event."

Her Masters body required a different approach in 2013.

"I did a lot of isolation movements. I went back to my bodybuilding roots — side laterals, rear delt raises — to get my shoulders stronger,” Ljubicic explains. “That really helped me."

Ljubicic thrives on being unconventional, but when it comes to CrossFit, Ljubicic is all business.

"I want to see some deadlifts. Strength and power movements are my thing,” she says.

Possamai agrees.

"I would describe her as a mutated crossbreed between an orangutan, pit bull, great white shark and honey badger when she is attacking a CrossFit workout,” he says.

Ljubicic is looking forward to seeing how the rest of the Open goes.

"It's quite an honor competing with these other women who are fantastic athletes, and it's definitely going to be an experience,” she says. “Now that I see these chicks my age that are so strong, I'm scared. I truly respect these women and what they do. This is hard work. I want to wish everyone the best of luck, and don't hurt me too bad."

Will Ljubicic manage to stay on top of a division stacked with talent? With Nathalie Connors, Jennifer Morris, Cindy Henson and Denise Magnini, she'll have a tough road ahead, but her calm, fun-loving approach can't hurt.