Monday, September 15, 2014

Crossfit: Pushing through the Pain

 Disclaimer:  if you came to this blog with the hope I renounced my dedication to Crossfit, you'd be wrong. If your here in hopes of hearing how bad crossfit is for you,  you won't get it from me.   Sorry,   Your reading the wrong blog if those were your ill conceived dreams. 

    I used to think how good I was at Crossfit was directly dependent on how hard I pushed.  I pushed,  boy did I push.    I kept my injury a secret for a very long time.  I kept it to myself and pushed,  and pushed,  and pushed.  I announced my pain only in the expression my face gave when I picked up things from the ground.  Even that,  I controlled.  I'd breathe really hard in and out of my mouth to keep from showing the pain.  I sometimes made what people would call a fish face.  It was better than the "fuck that hurt face".   Neither are attractive I assume.   I cannot blame my coaches,  how could they know how bad it was?  I never said a word about it.  I kept to myself,  cracking my usual jokes,  making the group laugh....  until,  it became all I could think about.  I finally had to announce my pain when mid back squat in June I started to silently sob to myself.  I had to walk it outside,  I have an ugly cry face.  I couldn't let my fellow crossfitters see that ugly cry face that they didn't understand.  Why the shit is she crying?  is all I kept thinking.

    Sure I can push press a small man or middle school aged child,  but what did it cost me?  I'll tell you--the ability to bend over and tie my sneakers.  I mostly just tie them when they are off, then violently try to jam my foot into them.   If my windows were open it probably sounds to my neighbors that I am mercifully jamming a puzzle piece into the wrong puzzle place.  Just,  with a ton of force.  Maybe even trying to stomp in said puzzle piece with my feet.

    I'm strong.  It's who I am in Crossfit.  Without how strong I am,  what am I? I am sure as shit not fast.   My nephew Santino who is 8 months old sometimes can move faster than me. Put him in his bouncy thing on wheels and he's basically lapping me.  I never have been fast.  I tried to join the running program at Crossfit Solstice,  but alas had to drop out.   It was fine at first.  I would do the prescribed running and feel great,  until the next day when my back would throb.  It got to the point that every time my left foot hit the pavement,  it was a spike was being driven into my back right around above my ass cheek.  Still..I kept you know what it got me?  The need to attempt to pick up things I drop with my feet instead of bending over and picking it up with my hands.  I've become what most would call a gorilla using my feet for most tasks the require the normal person to bend at 90 degree angle. 

    So,  I'm not fast.  That was decided at a young age when doing the shuttle run in grade school.  I had to be strong.  My friends are all planning their weddings and I'm planning how I can be one of those strong men who pulls a mac truck behind me as I walk.    So,  when I realized my back pain had gotten so bad that I may never be able to pull that god damn mac truck,  I became depressed.  It was summer,  and I wasn't working.  Sometimes I'd sleep until 11,  only to move to the couch to watch 12 episodes of Game of Thrones,  and order take out.  Are you thinking,  oh my god poor baby you couldn't crossfit?  You poor thing (your mocking me assface).

    No, that's not what I was depressed about.  I was depressed because I couldn't sleep.  Sleep, aside from Holly Grimes,  is my best friend.  I love everything about a good night of undisturbed sleep.    Sleep is my crack.  When I got myself this severely hurt,  I couldn't even sleep.    Most nights I'd toss from my back,  to my stomach, to my side, to jamming a pillow between my legs,  to flipping this pillow thing I had created to my other 4am and full blown sobbing.  Like,  the cries of a dying animal.  No, not because I couldn't Crossfit,  but because the injuries I had repeatedly inflicted on myself took away the one thing I love most in the world:  sleep.

   Midway through blog,  are you thinking---Crossfit hurts people.  That's what it does.  No.  Your wrong.  I did not get hurt at Crossfit.  I slipped my first disc when I was 18.  I was drinking (as most stories start) and I fell down a flight of steps.  More then fell, I flew down a flight of steps.  I'm 100% sure I didn't even hit one step on the way down.  From the first step to the cold concrete floor I flew like friggan Peter Pan.  If Peter Pan had drank too much of a $5.25 Vladimir Vodka Handle.    From 18,  I've inflicted and repeated and irreversible damage to said discs.     Picking things up, putting them down. Starting at the top of the stairs, falling to the bottom.

   When examining my MRI there is one disc which would be the red headed step child.  It's black,  and flat,  and pinching my spine.  It took a doctor looking at it and being like "seriously?"  for me to get it.  I started getting epidural shots in my back.  It was like when someone tells Will Farrel that Santa is here in the movie Elf.  I was so excited.  THIS IS GOING TO FIX ME.  Womp,  womp, womp.  First shot didn't take.  For about 45 minutes I felt like I could rule the world.  Then I was back to the couch,  but this time watching Say Yes to the Dress for 12 consecutive hours.   I don't even like those shows.  But once you watch one show,  you must see the entire series.  It's like Law and Order SVU.  SVU marathons are deadly.  I would become a hermit if those were on every single day.

    Do you know when my pity party finally had to end?  When no one showed up to join in my self inflicted misery.  When I had to put on my pants (I was inside a lot,  so I quit wearing pants all together) and prep my meals like Ron Orbin had taught me.  When I had to measure every single thing I ate to make sure I wasn't getting cray.  When Justin Vee told me no.  When he told me I couldn't do something because he knew it would hurt me.   When someone finally stood up to how god damn dumb I was being.  That's what crossfit is about.   It's about listening to your coaches.  It's about trusting that someone else knows what is best for you.  It's also about not always being right.  I thought I was right for a long time.  Because of how dumb I was,  I have to get another shot in my back.

   Pray for me,  and my doctor.  Last time he gave me the shot I apparently talked to him all about Mexican Food while under the influence of that drug propofol.   From here on out,  it's all about modifying and knowing my limits.  It's all about using my head,  and not using my ego to lift weights.  Am I going to miss being one of the strongest women in the gym?  Of course I will.  However,  I miss being able to tie my own shoes and pick up things I drop much more.  I am however getting pretty good at using my feet to pick things up.  I'd make king kong jealous. 

        I miss sleeping the most.  I miss sleep like a fat kid in camp misses cake.  And Gummy Bears. And Twix.  And Peachie O's.  And beer.  Ahh I think I am talking about me now and not the fictional fat kid in camp....