Stress and Depression Are Dumb. So Are Injuries.

photo (1)

(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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CrossFit Open WOD 14.1: Do More. Suck Less.

Do More. Suck Less

The 2014 CrossFit Open began last Thursday. This is a huge time in the CrossFit world. It is a time where we get to see what we’re made of, and to compete with CrossFitters from all over the World. If you have no idea what The Open is, click HERE.

I had planned on doing each of the WODs only one time, no re-dos. I like to treat the Open WODs as a regular competition where you only get one chance to give it your all. Wellllll, my performance last night is an exception. The odds were not in my favor – I was tired all day, most likely because I didn’t eat much and decided to lay down and woke up only 20 minutes before I was to perform the WOD, aaaaand my monthly friend was being a bitch. Whah whah. I was also doing the WOD at another gym in town, and while I was not in my element, I think the big factor there was that I didn’t have my CFSB family there for support. They’re pretty awesome. I’m not making excuses, just giving a glimpse into the state of mind I was in. I tried to shake it off and do work. Unfortunately, my body had other plans.

14.1 is as follows:
AMRAP (as many reps as possible): 10 minutes
30 Double unders
15 Power snatches @ 55lbs

Both of these skills are fairly easy for me. However, there are days where I just can’t seem to do double unders, and you guessed it, last night was one of those nights. I kept tripping on my rope and couldn’t get a consistent rhythm with my jumping. I think my nerves got me rushing and I just lost control. It got so bad to the point where I stopped a few times to laugh because it was so ridiculous and embarrassing. I was also so close to quitting since I knew that I was going to do it again. However, I couldn’t quit. I couldn’t show my athletes that I was a quitter. I managed to finish the WOD with 4 rounds + 27 reps. I was hoping to get close to 6 rounds (270). I was so disappointed, that I had to do it again.

I dreamt about double unders all night. I woke up with sore trapezius muscles, or what we at CFSB like to call “shrug pieces,” because of all the shrugging in the snatches from my first attempt. I also wore my “Do More Suck Less” shirt as motivation.

14.1 Pace Chart

Tall Guy mapped out pace times for every outcome of rounds. He’s such a nerd; I love it! It’s all about strategery! It definitely helped to give us an idea of where we were in the middle of the WOD. I was doing pretty well and was on a good pace to complete 6 rounds. However, around the 3rd or 4th round it got tough and I lost time, but I hung on. I was able to do all of my double unders unbroken for 3 of the 5 rounds because I forced myself to slow down and find a consistent rhythm. My snatches weren’t too bad, but I could’ve used my legs and hips more. The last set of double unders were pretty funny. I felt like I was on the verge of complete body failure. My arms didn’t want to move, I felt like vomiting, I felt my head spinning, and the cramps. Holy cramps! Why do I do CrossFit again?! Well, I survived, and I am pleased to say that I got 5 rounds + 17 reps for a total of 242 reps.

Now, many of my new athletes have asked why they should sign up for The Open. There are so many reasons why people should do it, but I will list my top 3 reasons, which all feed off one another.

1. Accountability. In my opinion, on average we all don’t push ourselves as hard as we should during regular workout days. It’s either after work or school, we’re tired and hungry, and we just want to get the workout in and go home and go to bed. There are also days where we just don’t want to go and instead go straight home. I know what my athletes (and myself) are capable of, and I’m not always seeing max effort. Signing up for The Open holds us accountable in that we are required to submit a score by Monday at 5pm. We have 4 days to complete the WOD after it is announced and therefore have to put the effort in and make time to do it.

2. Focus. Participation in The Open really challenges our focus. Last night my focus was shit, and therefore I had to force myself to really focus during my second attempt. For those 10 minutes of hell, you cannot let any self-doubt, any negativity enter your mind or it will take you over. Case in point, my performance last night. Calmness, focus, and drive are all that can be there. However, when we allow ourselves to really zone in, it is amazing what we can accomplish. I have two athletes who were planning on not doing 14.1 because they had never done double unders. After much coercion and pep talking, they did it. Athlete 1 ended up doing 2 full rounds (for a total of 60 double unders!) and Athlete 2 practiced them this afternoon and got 20. I’m so excited to see what athlete 2 will do tomorrow when she attempts 14.1.

3. Mental fortitude. Anyone that does CrossFit has to have some level of mental fortitude. It is not possible to do these workouts without it. However, The Open presents another level to which you can see what you are made of. I think my absolute favorite part of The Open is seeing how far people push themselves regardless of how much blood, sweat, and tears are pouring out of their bodies. The Open is a test of fitness – not only fitness of your body, but fitness of your mind. How far can and will you go?

I am very excited to see what my athletes are going to accomplish over these next 5 weeks. It brings me so much joy to see them overcome their self-doubt and kick ass. I coach some of the greatest people I have ever met, and as such, they make me want to work harder and be better. CFSB rules!

“You just may come out of this smelling like roses.”

puppysmellrose

Yep, that’s what my physical therapist said to me the other day. He also said “Wow!” When he asked me to show him my range of motion.

My appointment this past Tuesday was much different than the one I had at the beginning of the month. My PT was positive, excited, and only mentioned surgery once. The only reason why he mentioned it was because he wanted to know what my orthopedic doctor said about it. (I think he forgot our last conversation).

I was finally able to see my MRI results and boy, were they neat! Well, except for that whole labral tear thing. Check out the pictures!

Shoulder X-Ray Redacted

The first image is of the X-Ray before the MRI – the left is before the injection and the right is after. Yes, that is a long-ass needle in my arm, and yes, it hurt like a mofo. Once the dye was injected, it felt like my shoulder was going to explode. I should also mention that the X-Ray box thingy was about an inch from my face. I love how the doctor asked me if I was claustrophobic after he had lowered the X-Ray box in front of my face. The dye is injected prior to the MRI so that it will be easier to see tears and such.

photo 1

And here are some of the results of my MRI. The white arrows point to the injury location. The bottom right picture shows the Gleno-humeral joint. Notice on the right side of the joint that it looks like a thin black moat. It is my understanding that if there was no tear, the moat would surround the joint, but since there is a tear the fluid was blocked off (please correct me if I’m wrong). Yay, injury. Also, after reading the report, I found out that my tear is 2.3 cm long. Eek. That makes me a little nervous, but let’s talk about the positive. I’m done with focusing on the negative.

My PT took measurements and we found that I had gained 20 degrees in my range of motion in two important directions – straight over my head and to the side (my arm bent at a 90 degree angle and with keeping my elbow to my side, abducting (or opening) my hand from my body . I am now about 10 degrees from full range of motion. WOOT!

He has commented before that my overall shoulder strength is fine, but wants me to really focus on keeping my rotator cuff muscles strong to help keep the humerus in the joint. He gave me a couple exercises that will strengthen my scapular muscles and OMG. I think I overdid it with my exercises as I am so unbelievably sore that I can’t move very well and I may have strained them. I can’t turn my head, I can’t sit comfortably, and this morning it even hurt to breathe. At a few points during the day I was almost in tears. Yay for more pain! Note to self – simmer down when doing PT. Sheesh.

Overall, I am proud of how far I have come along on my own. I have also gained an immense amount of patience and have a greater understanding of how my body works. I know I have more to work on, but the end is near. I have a different outlook on my rehab – I don’t (really) dread it like I used to. Rather than focusing on how annoying and tedious of a task it is, I’m excited and focused on the progress I am making.

I know I am not out of the woods yet, but hearing my PT say, “You just may come out of this smelling like roses” (aka letting my body heal itself and not having to have surgery), has added much needed positivity into my rehab.

I would like to say “thank you” to my friends with whom I’ve whined and complained to about my injury and who have also helped me through my rehab process. Y’all are neat.

Sadly, I have been riddled with injuries these past two years, but these injuries have offered an opportunity (albeit a shitty one) to learn more about how my body works. My only real “New Year’s resolution” is to not get injured. 😉

Back to School, Back to School…

(Adam Sandler in Billy Madison)

… To prove to dad that I’m not a fool…

Well, tomorrow marks the first day of my last year of college. WOOT! Major WOOT. WOOT x2! As I always feel before the first day of school, I am super excited and nervous. I have read over 2 of the syllabus’/syllabi(?) for two of my classes and it looks like I’m going to be WAY busier than previous quarters. And that’s just for two classes. I’m afraid to see what my third will have in store for me. Joy. I am looking forward to filling my brain with knowledge about race, ethnicity and the aging of America, but not looking forward to how much time I will have to spend doing so.

Today was a rest day, so instead I did some stretching and physical therapy on my feet. My feet are feeling better, just tired and sore from the workouts this week. I know I keep saying this, but it feels so dang good to be running again. Hooray!

For lunch I had a sandwich, like, a REAL sandwich with bread. I was willing to deduct 5 points for the taste of some delicious bread. And you know what? It was wonderful. The end. For dinner I had cheese on my taco salad. And you know what? It was deeeericious. The end. I was planning on cutting up some fruit to eat throughout the day, but my domestic goddess duties got in the way and didn’t get a chance to do it.

In addition to starting school tomorrow I am flying up to Seattle for one of my best friend’s wedding after class. Talk about a busy day! I can’t believe I’ve known her for over 20 years! I’m so happy for her that she’s finally getting married. I am also excited to see my family and friends AND I’m going to a workout at the CrossFit in my hometown, CrossFit Federal Way. This will be my first visit to another gym and I can’t wait! Should be an exciting weekend. I will miss Mr. Ninja and the Molliekins a lot, though.

WOD:
Rest day!

Grub for the day:
Breakfast: eggs w/salsa, chicken apple sausage (that actually has all natural ingredients and no casing!), apples dipped in almond butter, coffee w/stevia
Snack: beef jerky
Lunch: tuna sandwich w/tomatoes and spinach drizzled w/olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette (-10 for mayo and bread), carrots, sweet potato fries
Snack: beef jerky
Dinner: taco salad w/queso (I couldn’t resist! -5) and avocado drizzled w/ olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette

Starting points: 96
-5 for mayo
-5 for bread
-5 for queso
+3 for stretching/physical therapy

Ending points: 84

What a day, what a day…

What an emotion filled day it was yesterday, which is why I wasn’t able to update my blog last night. While doing errands yesterday I saw a dog get hit and run over by a van, and the driver sped off. Another woman and I tried to resuscitate the dog by doing chest compressions but it was too late. I keep replaying the incident in my head and every time I do I get tears in my eyes. It was such a horrible sight, but I can’t even imagine what the owner is feeling right now. He was a mess, his mom was a mess.

It’s a funny thing when life puts you in places for a reason. I was planning on taking the bus to do all of my errands, but the time that I was planning on leaving the bus had a gap in its schedule. Usually it comes every 20min or so, but the time that I wanted to leave yesterday it had an hour gap. With everything that I needed to do before the gym, I wouldn’t make it back in time so I had to drive. I live right across from the hospital, which has Sansum Clinics all around it as well. I was following a Sansum Clinic van when the accident happened. Right before he hit and killed the dog I saw that he was driving a bit erratic and fast. Perhaps he was in a rush. He tried to merge into another lane but had to swerve so he wouldn’t hit the car in the next lane. The next thing I see is the van jumping, then a dog running around in circles with a panicked look on his face. Shortly thereafter, he collapsed. The dog’s owner, two other women and I got out of our cars to help the dog. It was too late. He was hit so badly, he didn’t make it. We moved the dog to the side of the road and pulled our cars over as we were blocking all lanes of traffic. Luckily I had some big beach towels in my trunk and we laid the dog on top of one and laid the other one over him. It was so sad. I didn’t want other people driving by to see this and I somehow thought that by covering the dog like he was laying in bed would make him feel better. Even though he had passed, we were all trying to make him feel better by petting him and talking to him as if he was still alive. The other ladies and I were consoling the dog owner and when his mother arrived, we did the same. I don’t know why, but I felt that I was supposed to be there at that time to help. I can’t explain it, but I was supposed to be there. I hope the dog’s owners find peace soon. I wish that I got his number so I could see how he is doing. I gave him mine because he is planning on filing a police report because it was a hit and run, and I hope that he calls or even texts. I just want to see how he is doing and to give him my condolences. RIP Farley.

The workout was also a doozy and made me a bit emotional, but in a very odd way. Yesterday’s workout was called “JT” for Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Taylor, 30, of Little Creek, VA, who was killed in Afghanistan in June 2005. We joked that the “JT’ stood for “Just Triceps” as that was pretty much the main muscle used. This was the first time I did my ring dips unassisted and it was so difficult. Even though it took me a while to complete the workout I was quite proud of myself that I did all of my ring dips without the assistance of the band. Needless to say, my upper body is extremely sore today. For some reason I was so giggly at the workout. Perhaps it was because I was so exhausted from the earlier events. Perhaps it was because it was so difficult that I didn’t know what else to do but laugh. Who knows, but it was so odd.

The Paleo Challenge is going well so far. I’m still craving bread, pizza, and cheese, but it’s not as bad as it was the first time we tried to do Paleo. I’m trying to eat more fruits and adding lettuce and other veggies in whenever I can. I wanted to buy cucumbers at Trader Joe’s the other day, but they were so expensive! It was dumb. I may have to go to Ralph’s to by my produce as the produce at TJ’s isn’t that good. One thing I find to be difficult with this diet is that you’re supposed to eat lots of meat and veggies, but I can’t eat a whole lot. My little body can only intake so much food. So trying to fit all of these veggies, fruits and meats in is quite difficult.

I am flying up to Seattle on Thursday for a friend’s wedding, so I’m going to try my best to stick as close to Paleo as possible, but that is highly unlikely. I know one meal for sure will not be Paleo… TACO TIME!!! It is a tradition that every time I go up to Seattle I have to have my beloved Taco Time. Only people from the PNW understand this sort of love for a fast food restaurant.

WOD:

I. Warm-up: 400m run/row* – Mobility – Barbell complex 2x
II. Skills
III. Hero WOD: “JT”
21-15-9 reps, for time:
Handstand push-ups
Ring dips
Push-ups
Time: 20:50
IV. Cooldown – lots of abs and recovery stretching

*Modified: only ran 200m as my foot was a little sore from the run yesterday.

Grub for the day:

Breakfast: lettuce wrap w/scrambled eggs, salsa, bacon
Snack: cashews, salami, banana chip
Lunch: lettuce wrap w/tuna (mixed with mayo: -5), tomatoes, drizzled w/olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, sweet potato fries drizzled w/olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette
Snack: apples dipped in almond butter
Dinner: tri-tip steak with salad w/apples and drizzled w/olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette

Starting Points: 98
-5 for mayo
+3 for CrossFit workout

Ending Points:96