I’ve never had a serious injury, so when I sprained my kneecap and patellar tendon on November 26th, I took it like a death in the family. Mind you, I fall a lot. But this time I couldn’t get up. I needed crutches, I needed rest, I still require a brace with light activity (but it’s getting better). I wasn’t able to work out my frustrations in the gym or catch the high off my adrenaline, all of a sudden it was a sad, slow existence. The exact opposite of my typical day.
Fast forward 3 weeks and I finally got back to the Box for my first ‘workout’ in 21 long, painful days. I couldn’t “do” anything. In fact, Coach Dan was there that morning and I remember him actually laughing when I said “No lower body.” In a world centered around the squat, I understood his chuckle but I had to get back into my fitness routine or I’d lose my mind. The abmat became my bff, I kipped a few pull-ups a day but it rattled my knee too much to do more, strict and push presses wore my arms out – but I was doing something and that made me happy.
Then came week 5. After 2 weeks of putzing around with upper body exercises and limited mobility, I was frustrated and envious of my friends who were reaching goals and setting new ones, as I watched. I once again scaled the day’s WOD (workout of the day) to suit my injury and was ready to GO. Things started off well. 1 armed push-ups were also 1 legged, as I sat my injured leg atop my good leg so my knee didn’t touch the ground. I believe ring rows, sit-ups and possibly kettle cleans were other agents in the workout. I felt good, tired, almost strong when… my injured leg fell and BAM! pain shot through my body. My eyes swelled with tears and I almost let them fall. I was pissed. Then I did something I never expected of myself: I left.
I walked out on my workout, on my team, my friends. I just left. I couldn’t see anything but my own self pity and forgot that I had support. I could have asked for help, or rested while rooting on others. I should have finished, stretched, anything other than walk out.
Like magic, CrossFit 717 reposted a blog from Rogue Fitness the next day that presented the message: NEVER QUIT. Keep going. It was the reminder that I needed. “Break through the wall”. FOCUS. We must remember to think outside ourselves. Who wants to be a quitter? Or a whiner? Not I.
I took a few days to re-gather my gumption while I prioritized my fitness goals based on my current status. Much like my diet, I stopped thinking about what I “can’t” do and focused on what I can do. I realized I wasn’t able to keep up with the other athletes (these chicks are fierce!), I wouldn’t be able to complete every move or hit the goals I was working toward pre-injury. That had to be okay before I could move forward, and all of a sudden it was. The next few workouts were thoughtful. I focused on form, not speed or weight. I checked in with the regulars at my morning workouts and while I paused due to soreness during the WOD, I watched them perform. I was mindful of their technique and how I could tweak my own. I was finally growing as an athlete again.
Today I did a snatch balance of 60lbs. Don’t laugh. That’s huge – FOR ME. If I’m going to break through any walls, they will be MY walls. I can’t compare myself to others and I will not disappoint myself again.