Stress and Depression Are Dumb. So Are Injuries.

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(My limited ROM in my knee doesn’t allow it to bend like I want it to causing me to squat incorrectly. Oh, and that whole only having 4 lumbar vertebrae – as opposed to 5 – also doesn’t help the situation.)

[TL;DR since I didn’t expect to write this much: overwhelming stress from work and my knee injury caused me to get chubby and depressed creating a vicious cycle.  Didn’t realize how chubby I got until I saw a picture of myself taken yesterday.  Knee surgery on Friday, June 20 to fix torn meniscus.]

So, tomorrow is the big day – surgery day!  This is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time, but wasn’t sure if it was something that I should do.  I’ve had pain in my right knee since my ACL reconstructive surgery back in 1998, but I just learned to deal with the pain.  I would say about 5 years ago, prior to my starting CrossFit the pain started getting worse, which is why I decided to start exercising again.  I figured my being inactive for about 10 years was causing all of my knee and back pain.

I started CrossFit in January of 2010, and at first I couldn’t run.  It hurt and my endurance sucked balls.  After a few months of CrossFit and getting my body moving again, my knee pain slowly went away and I actually didn’t mind running.  I’ve had a couple of injuries (strained right Achilles, Bankart tear in my left shoulder) during my time with CrossFit, but they were caused by me doing stupid things while playing adult co-ed softball (I have since retired in case you were wondering).  As with any injury or life-changing situation, I felt a bit depressed due to the immediate change in what I was and wasn’t able to do.  The depression slowly went away as I found ways to workout around my injuries – I got really good at pull-ups during my Achilles injury and my legs got really strong during my shoulder injury.  So, you’d think that this current injury would be no prob.  Nope, completely the opposite.

Rewind to late 2013/early 2014 – I was finally starting to feel good again, normal even, and not feeling any pain.  I also felt like I was finally getting my eating habits under control.  As such, I started to increase my training and pushing myself that much harder.  No excuses.  My first full week of training after my shoulder injury was the first week of the 2013 CrossFit Open, so when the 2014 Open came around, I wanted to be ready and injury free. I started deadlifting more, my front and back squat weights were increasing.  I was stoked.  I did well in the Open – I ended up in the top 27% in the world and 29% in the region – and was proud of what I accomplished (I also placed 36th in the SoCal region for 36 year old women! Haha, if only CrossFit were categorized by age…).

Unfortunately, due to the increase in my training and my limited abilities and range of motion in my right knee due to my previous ACL injury and surgery, my knee started acting up again.  I hit a point with my squats where I couldn’t increase the weight anymore.  I was cautious with my training and slowed down when it hurt and forged on when it felt good.  As a precaution, I decided to get an MRI to make sure that I didn’t re-injure my ACL.

My friend Black Widow (BW) and I are pretty similar in abilities and height, and well, when I had long hair people would get us confused, so, we’re a pretty good match for partner competitions.  We signed up for the Dynamic Duel partner competition this past April 26, the weekend after my MRI.  That was my last full-on workout. Sad face.

The Dynamic Duel consisted of lots of heavy squats and my knee did not enjoy them.  I had practiced the 95lb squat cleans the Monday prior to the competition and felt pretty good about them, and felt ready for the comp.  Unfortunately, the overwhelming stress at work didn’t do my body good.

My supervisor went on maternity leave a couple weeks early leaving me with the added stress to figure out some of the tasks that I was to take over while she was out.  The week prior to the competition was her program’s HUGE annual review week-long meeting that I had to take over with the planning and organizing on top of my regular job.  I didn’t sleep much, my meal schedule was off, and I was working tons of overtime.  I was T.I.R.E.D.  Regardless, I was looking forward to competing with BW.

The first WOD of the competition was difficult but we managed to get through most of it.  My body was tired, but nothing felt off.  The last WOD of the day was squat heavy and it messed me up.

The WOD was:
Every minute on the minute for 10 min:
1st partner starts with 7 goblet squats with a 35lb kettlebell, then does 5 kettlebell swings.
2nd partner then does 95lb squat cleans for the remaining time in the minute.
At the top of the minute, the partners switch.

10169191_10152330702245700_648059738262056476_n(This was me waiting for my turn at squat cleans looking at BW while she was doing her goblet squats like, “I don’t want to do this anymore”.)

photo (4)(At home after the comp. I felt super old and broken.)

After the end of that WOD, my knee did not feel right.  I could barely walk and it hurt so bad.  I took a week off from working out to give my body a rest.  After two weeks, I still felt off.  This is when I received the results of the MRI.  Verdict: a small medial, posterior horn meniscal tear.  So this is the pain that I’ve been feeling for YEARS!  After receiving the results, I decided to give my body a break.  I’ve been definitely feeling physically older, and I attribute a lot of that to the stress that I’ve been feeling at work.  I had planned on doing upper body workouts and still exercising regularly.  Nope, that didn’t happen.  Stress got the best of me.

I stopped working out.  I started eating horribly.  I still wasn’t sleeping well.  I started to become depressed, which led to not wanting to workout, eating crap, and no sleep.  It’s such an effing vicious cycle.  Oh, and guess what?  Work got even MORE stressful.  So not only was I doing two positions, my student assistant quit and I, therefore, had to take on her work.  Oh, I was also voluntold to assist with planning four retirement parties all in the month of June.  Sure, I’ll do three positions and plan huge parties at the university on top of my coaching and operations duties at the gym.  Sure, no problem at all.  So you can imagine how vicious the above-mentioned cycle got recently.  I need to learn to not be so nice and to say no.

Yesterday, I had BW take pictures of me doing various squats from all different angles, so I could compare the differences in my body mechanics before and after surgery.  I knew I was getting a bit soft in the middle but I was not expecting to see what I saw in my squat pictures – my big ol’ gut chillin’ right in front of the camera (see below – enjoy!).  It’s gross and embarrassing and I’m upset that I’ve let myself get to this point.  This is what stress and depression has done to me.  Ugh.

photo (3)(Chubby little Ninja with giant spider bite on her leg that you can see bulging out!)

I am very much looking forward to having surgery and getting back in the gym and using my entire body.  My doctor said that I will pretty much be ready to start working out again after two weeks.  I sure hope so!  I also recently (as of yesterday!) hired a new student assistant to work for me over the summer and can start June 30, and I also found out that my supervisor will be coming back part-time July 1.  So, things are looking up!  As much as stress and depression are dumb, I do learn a lot from what I experience during those rough times.  Although there were days where I wanted to crawl into the fetal position and cry for days, or stab a beeotch in the ear, I forced myself to keep my head up no matter how difficult it was.

No matter how exhausted or pissed off I was from work, I found solace at the gym and from my members.  It’s amazing how much better I felt once I got there and saw my CrossFit family even after working 8-10 hours and being at the gym for another 3, and getting home around 9pm. So big THANKS and giant internet hug to my CFSB family. Y’all are pretty neat, and I look forward to working out with you again soon!  I’ll get through this, I always do.

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What’s Your Motivation?


My day started with me feeling gross and exhausted. I had a fight with myself whilst laying in bed – one part of me saying, “get your ass up! You’re running late!” the other part of me saying, “it’s okay. You work hard, you need the rest.” Who am I kidding? That is me EVERY morning when the darn “ripples” alarm goes off on my iPhone.

Because I was feeling crappy, I defaulted to my food-based comfort and was adamant about going to Starbucks (even though I was late) and getting a sugar-free vanilla latte and a tomato and cheese croissant. They didn’t have the tomato and cheese (gasp!), so I opted for the spinach and cheese (meh). I also forgot my lunch (again), so I purchased a turkey and havarti sandwich along with my healthy breakfast. As I was walking back to my car, I felt bad about myself because this is not what I had in mind with cleaner and healthier eating. To add to my crappy state of mind, I threw in some Cheez-It at lunch.

So what does this have to do with motivation, you say? A lot. I’m not saying this is healthy, but I have a habit of making myself feel like shit before I step it up and take control. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel as crappy as I thought I would after eating all the bread items. However, it was enough to do the job.

I was debating going to CrossFit because I was so exhausted and felt gross, but I forced myself to go. After I parked, I wasn’t quite ready to get out because I needed to mentally get in the zone before stepping into the gym to see my friends and to do work. I decided to check Facebook (which I don’t usually do before the gym, surprisingly) and saw that my friend Alexis (aka Fancy Pants!) shared a new blog post entitled “The Root of Suffering is Attachment” with the post starting off with “…attachment to things, feelings, people, ideas, expectations…” Oh, the expectations. This really resonated with me. The expectations I set for myself are often too high, which in all honesty is why I am currently exhausted. I reminded myself to “simmer down” and that I am doing okay. I am not perfect. I am doing the best I can. I walked into the gym, and did quite well with my workout. I left starving for protein and veggies and in a good mood.

So what’s my motivation? My motivation is the people I care for. Even though I may be their coach and am the one who is supposed to do all of the motivating, all of the athletes that I coach inspire me; however, my friends Alexis, Susan, Maira (aka Bon Bon), Janyce (aka Black Widow), and Allison in particular are my motivation. They all have their own strengths that push me to be a better person, athlete and coach. Being around them make me happy. My friends that pursue their dreams also motivate me. They may fail, but they keep on pursuing because they believe in their talent and abilities. People like Lakeisha Shurn motivate me. I may not know her personally, but her story and the determination and effort she put into losing weight inspires me. People that actually do the work rather than doing a lot of talking motivate me. We can all “talk the talk,” but not everyone can actually walk.

On a superficial level, my other motivation is this purple sports bra:


I saw this sports bra a while ago, but didn’t purchase it for some reason. I haven’t been able to find it in my size since then. Janyce knew that I’ve been wanting it and bought it for me when she saw it in my size a couple weeks ago (she’s so rad!). My goal is to comfortably wear this without a shirt over it. Sometimes during a workout I get super hot and want to rip my shirt off, but I am not comfortable enough with my midsection to do so. I know I’m not fat, but I’m squishy and it’s uncomfortable and funny looking. I love my shoulders, arms, legs and booty, but my stomach? Not so much. It may not look squishy to you, but it’s because I’ve gotten pretty good at hiding it. I wore my bathing suit once last year, and never took my tank top off because I was too ashamed of my squishy midsection. Silly, I know.

So there you have it, whether you wanted it or not. Haha! I commend you for making it through all of my rambling about my mundane day. So my question to you is, what motivates you? What keeps you going?

If at first you don’t succeed…

… keep trying until you don’t suck anymore. Ha!


13.3. Oh, 13.3. I had such high hopes and you just crushed them to smithereens. THANKS.

I’ve been debating whether or not I wanted to write about the atrocity that was my performance of 13.3. It was embarrassing. The video of Hercules above expresses how I felt during and after the WOD. I surprisingly had a lot of people ask me about how the workout went and what my final score was (in person, via text, via FB messages). It’s such a nice feeling knowing that so many people cared and had such high hopes for me. However, it bummed me out to see their sad faces when I told them my score. It felt like I let them down. I wanted to keep this to myself, but if you know me, I can’t keep anything to myself (hence my blog. Duh).

If you read my most recent blog post, you will know that I’ve been on a downer as of late, which contributed to my “wonderful” performance of 13.3. What also contributed to my performance was lack of sleep. My neighbors decided to have the most annoying girls in the world over for two nights this past weekend. So, let’s think about this for a moment. Think about the most annoying person/voice you have ever heard and times it by 1000, then add a horrendous valley girl accent on top. YEP. That is what I got to deal with for two nights straight. “OH MY GAAAAAWWWWWWWIDDDDDDDDD!!! LIKE, YEEEEEEAHHHH.” Then some high-pitched squeals, then more OH MY GAAAAAAAAAWWWWWIDDDDDs came. Oy. Someone shoot me now. They were so loud that I slept in the living room. Tall Guy and I were so exhausted that we couldn’t even put clothes on to go next door to tell them to shut the eff up. However, no doubt about it, I will go next time and they will get an earful. Oh, yes they will. Moving on because them beeotches already consumed enough of my energy…

What I believe to be the main factor of my lackluster performance is the fact that this is only week 3 after coming back from shoulder rehab. Ninja, read that: WEEK 3. You ain’t Annie Thorisdottir. Slow yer roll. I had done better than I ever thought I would on 13.1 and 13.2 that it gave me hope that I could make it through the 150 walls balls, 90 double unders and have a few attempts at some muscle ups. Um yeah, maybe last year when you didn’t have a bum shoulder. I lost track of where I was because I was just so excited to be working out again. In addition to my body reminding me, I had a couple of friends remind me that this was indeed, only my 3rd week back. Sigh. Thanks guys. I really mean that. Thank you for reminding me that I need to continue to be patient with myself and that I will get there again.

I got very upset because I failed at my first attempt at 13.3 last Saturday. Yes, you read that correctly, I attempted this workout TWICE. I actually quit in the middle of a workout after about 50 reps. My head was in the worst place imaginable. I should’ve just waited until Sunday. I have never quit a workout before (except for an injury). There was one time I was doing “Fran” (21-15-9 of thrusters and pull-ups) and I got so frustrated during my set of 15 that I walked out of the gym, down to the stop sign and was ready to walk home. By the time I got to the stop sign I said to myself, “What the f*ck are you doing? Get back in there and finish already!” I didn’t quit and finished that damn workout. I really tried to push through 13.3, I really did, but my body and mind just stopped and said, “NOPE!” I couldn’t go on and that frustrated the crap out of me.

What was happening? How could I have been doing so well and now this? I understand now that it was my body telling me to slow down and be patient and to not get too far ahead of myself. Sigh. Okay, FINE. I will listen, but I won’t like it! Just kidding.

So, in the end, I performed the workout on Sunday and finished with 162 reps (150 wall balls + 12 double unders). I, along with everyone else, expected at least 240 out of me. Quite the difference, eh? The wall balls were more difficult than I have ever experienced, other than my first CrossFit workout ever when I cried and practically hyperventilated after doing them for the first time. It got to the point where I could only do sets of 3, which is uncharacteristic of me. I used to be able to do “Karen” (150 wall balls) in sets of 25 with no problem. Again, I need to remember patience.

13.3. I guess I should say thank you for reminding me to be patient, so thank you. I will visit you again in 3 months, though, and I will OWN you. I made a pact with a friend that we will tackle you again in 3 months and we are going to do it. Oh yes we will!

Thank you, Universe, for reminding me about patience.


Day 7 = Productive Ninja

What started out to be a crappy day yesterday ended up being just what I needed – time with my little family of Mr. Ninja and Molliekins, then date night. As I mentioned yesterday, we swayed from the diet, but it is okay. This diet is a huge adjustment and I shouldn’t expect myself to be able to stick to it perfectly. It’s okay to diverge every once in a while. I am feeling a little better today, and have been quite productive. Lots of homework, studying, and laundry got done today. Yay! Sadly, I still have a lot more studying and homework to do. Anyway…

In addition to figuring out how we want to change our diet, Mr. Ninja and I have decided that we will have a once a month McDonald’s breakfast day. And that day was today. I know it’s completely the opposite of eating healthy, but we enjoy food, and we can’t deny ourselves of our favorite foods. That’s not enjoying life. The key is doing it in moderation, which is difficult for me when it comes to food. Of course my body is saying, “what is going on here?!” But mentally, I feel better. Like I said yesterday, it’s a psychological thing with me and food. I really want to change my eating habits, but I have to and need to be patient with myself.

I’m trying and hoping to be more positive with Paleo and with this blog. I don’t want this become a bitch fest. Life has just been a bit difficult lately and I’m working through it. I am so grateful to have Mr. Ninja in my life. He is neat (and pretty handsome, too).

Rest day!

Grub for the day:
Breakfast: McDonald’s – sausage and egg McMuffin, hashbrowns; Peet’s coffee
Lunch: Something’s Fishy – Santa Barbara Roll: salmon, shrimp, avocado, and something else; hibachi shrimp meal w/steamed rice, grilled veggies
Snack: turkey jerky
Dinner: tuna mixed with avocado and a touch of mayo on top of butter lettuce (my fave lettuce!), drizzled w/olive oil & balsamic vinaigrette

Soda, cheese and crackers, chocolate