Success Story – Polly McKinstry

By shannon
In November 17, 2016

Polly 2015 Games (1)

2015 Games Masters Athlete
Polly McKinstry


I grew up on a small farm in Pennsylvania where activity, hard work and strength were encouraged. My grandfather had been a distance runner in the 1924 and 1928 Olympics. My past lifting experience consisted of helping with farm chores during the summers.

I participated in varsity sports (usually three seasons a year) in my small high school and college. I was given the most valuable woman athlete award my last year in college, but this was a small school and was before the time when many women participated in athletics.

PollyI competed in sprint triathlons after medical residency and before having children. After children, I continued recreational sports, mostly tennis, swimming and jumping horses, but I took it easy without pushing myself. During my “free time” after work, (I am an ophthalmic plastic surgeon) I was often inactive being a team mom or watching my kids compete in sports. I stopped running 13 years ago due to bone-on-bone arthritis in my right knee.

My son, Troy Astorino, discovered CrossFit in Boston; when he moved back to Southern California he researched the boxes and chose Ruination CrossFit. Troy wanted to share his passion and first got his dad, Art, to start in the fall of 2013. At that time, I had a cast on my left leg because of the stress fracture. When I did my first day of on-ramp with Tess on January 20, 2014, I was perhaps in the worst shape of my life. It was a feat for me to box jump onto a 12 inch block. It hurt my knee just walking around the office at work.

IMG_5213 (2)Although I originally thought I was doing CrossFit to do something with Art and Troy, I loved what it was doing for me. I lost 10 pounds and hardened up. If I felt rotten and tired at the end of the workday, I would usually feel great after a good crossFit workout.

I turned 60 in January 2015 but I still had a lot to learn. I was able to string more than one double under together for the first time during the Opens. When I qualified for the Regionals, Paul coached me and help me learn more movements such as a single pull up. When I qualified for the Games,he was able to get me doing a few kipping pull-ups in a row; I was only able to do my first single chest-to-bar pull-up two days before the Games. The Games were incredible experience and Paul was a superlative coach, but I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn.

Ruination CrossFit has been a wonderful addition to my life. The workouts are challenging, fun and rewarding. The people, coaches and members, you are great: hard-working, down-to-earth, and kind, encouraging people. It is wonderful to be able to put out, feel better, and still have self improvement (even at my age). It’s especially good that this is a passion I can share together with my husband, Art.


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