Sunday, July 17, 2011

Progress, On Many Fronts

Yesterday I decided to go to the gym. My ankle was feeling the best it had in a week, and I figured I could perform things that involved hanging from the pull-up bar, sit-ups, push-ups (on my knees), and maybe some kettlebell movements? It turned out to be a "skills" day, so basically I could do whatever I wanted. There was a workout on Friday that involved overhead squats, push-ups and sit-ups. I modified it by doing knees to elbows (hanging from the pull-up bar) instead of the overhead squats. It worked great! I performed 5 rounds of: 5 knees to elbows, 10 push-ups, 10 ab-mat sit-ups. It was quick, intense, and just what I needed.

I noticed my knees to elbows are improving considerably, I was able to perform all rounds unbroken until the last round. It wasn't that long ago that I could only do 3 in a row, maximum. Today, my abs are feeling it for sure! My ankle feels even better today, glad to know I didn't over do it!

As I mentioned before, this injury really pushed me into focusing on my diet. I was teetering on the cliff edge that I am all too familiar with. Sometimes I fall off and it takes me weeks or months to find my way out of the canyon, and sometimes something throws a rope around my waist and pulls me back. This injury threw me a rope and pulled me back. Now rather then the uphill climb, I'm enjoying the view.

This morning I got a text inviting me to one of my favorite breakfast spots in Seattle. I immediately said "Yes!" Then I started thinking about what I was going to eat. I thought about how good I currently felt, and how much progress I could feel my ankle making each day. I knew I could not go to that breakfast place and not eat everything I wanted (which would include grains and sugar). I thought about how I didn't want to feel crappy. I thought about how hard I fought the past week to rid my body of the crappy feeling, and I didn't want to lose that. I texted back and declined.

For so long, so many of my actions and events have been motivated by food. Oh, I can go to place X because then I can eat this... Today I realized I initially said "yes" out of habit, not because that is what I wanted to do. It was a huge moment of progress not only to decline and break my familiar pattern, but to decline because I didn't want to FEEL crappy. In the past I might have declined in a moment of restriction, motivated by how it would not be consistent with my goals of how I wanted to LOOK.

See that difference? Making a decision on how it would make me feel, versus how it might make me look. This, is real change. A true paradigm shift that makes me realize what my true goals are. The reason why I eat Paleo is because I like the way I feel when I'm eating that way. I go to the gym because I like seeing progress in the things I'm able to do, and for how I feel afterwards. With positive reinforcement like that, how could I NOT continue to eat Paleo and workout?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Eff You Crutches!

On Thursday I ditched the crutches. My life, albeit still not 100% improved ten-fold. I am nearly human again. I can carry my own coffee mug from the kitchen to my seat. I no longer have to carry copies from the printer back to my desk in my mouth. I can sneak up on people again.

This injury has been nothing but humbling and an incredible learning experience. I discovered how easily I took to a life of being sedentary (shocked?!?!?!). Sure I was restless and wanting to get out and about, but I am really comfortable being kicked back with my feet up for loooong periods of time. Part of me wants to make sure I don't injure it further by being too aggressive, but another part of me thinks if keep babying it I'm going to be worse off. I'm trying to find a balance.

Next, I am amazed at the relative quickness of the healing process. Less then one week ago, I was pretty sure my life was over. I was preparing to be on crutches for weeks, never being able to bathe or cook for myself. Last night I wore flip flops on both feet, and spent the evening crutch-less at a bar (with my foot elevated on another chair) knowing in a week or so I'd be even better! Each day I regain more mobility, and can tolerate more weight being placed on the bad ankle. I actually think I'm going to go to the gym today and see if I can get in some sort of sit-up/upper body workout. I'm sure our trainer can come up with something good for me!

Lastly, diet diet diet. Once again, I have been reminded how important it is to stick to my no processed foods, no grain, no sugar, etc. diet. I feel great, and with the horror of having to be piggy-backed out of the forest by boys half my size still fresh in my mind, its all the more incentive to stop fucking around and just keep with it. To heal faster, to perform better, and most importantly, to feel my absolute best.

I'm very excited to see the progress that this next week brings. I miss the gym terribly, everyday after work it is so hard for me to exit off the freeway and drive home, rather then continuing on to the gym. I feel like once I'm back to a place where I can perform most of the exercises, I'll be starting over again. I still feel like I haven't got back to where I was before the whole gym equipment theft incident. Oh, well. Maybe that is just me making excuses. Now it is up to me to continue to go after what I want.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lots of Feelings

I haven't moved off the couch in 41 hours. Moving involves a careful dance to sit up, some focused coordination to stand up on one leg, and a battle with crutches to get me to my destination. Needless to say, my destinations must be really necessary. I stink. I really need a shower, but I'm not sure how I'm going to do that yet. I don't get hurt too often, so I can't complain that much, but not getting hurt often means the realization of how much I take for granted.


I woke up at 6am on Saturday. It was a rare gorgeous cloudless day, I was getting excited. I grabbed my new black running shorts and slid them on along with my black shirt and black knee-high socks with neon orange stripes. I packed the rest of my bag- a change of clothes, a plastic bag for my dirty clothes, flip-flops and wallet, and had the bf deluxe drop me off at Starbucks to grab breakfast and meet up with my team.

We arrived at the race track turned obstacle run with plenty of time to spare. I was hydrating and getting my pre-race jitters out of the way. I didn't really do any training for this race besides crossfit. It was a 10K, and it was least, it was supposed to be muddy if it wasn't for the awesome day we were experiencing.

The race officials started off large groups of people in waves. We crowded behind the start, and moved to a slow jog as the wave moved forward. The first obstacle was a giant dirt hill to climb, and then a drop off the backside. The pace was good and slow, with the obstacles really slowing people down (and allowing for rest breaks). Next up was a series of wooden walls, you know, the type you always see in military boot camps? I got boosted up on the wall, threw a leg over, looked down and panicked. I had no idea how I was going to get off the wall. My team was shouting at me to "come on" but I think they saw the panic in my face. It felt like an hour, with a huge crowd of strangers just staring at me waiting to attempt the wall themselves. One of my team members came over and helped me down. I ran forward and saw 4 more of the same walls. I ran around the next set. As I was approaching the next wall, planning to go around as well, my left foot stumbled, went to the side, and I heard unnatural popping sounds as I fell to the ground.

My ankle. I briefly panicked before I stood up. In the 10 seconds it took me to stand, I thought: "Is it broken? I can't have a broken ankle, how am I going to crossfit? It's only the 2nd obstacle, I can't be out now." I stood up, hobbled over to the side as my excited team looked at me like "are you good? can we go now?" I could put weight on it. It hurt, but I jogged on. The next few obstacles were a blur, and then we found our way onto a narrow trail through the woods. The kind of run that I typically love. We came to a brief clearing with a group of people waiting to do something. As I got closer I saw...mud pit with huge PVC pipes above that we had to go under. Everyone was rolling through the puddle. I went, it was a slight shock as the cool water soaked my clothes. I rolled under all the pipes and stood up. I ran on as we entered the forest again for a cool trail run. My clothes were so uncomfortable and prevented me from running how I would like. My shirt was cotton and so heavy and kept pulling up my shorts that were light and nylon, and nearly dry already. My team was nowhere in site. I was going slow. I kept thinking as soon as I looped around back near the start, I would just bow out and rest.

There was no one around as I continued to wind around on the trail, I jogged up a small hill into a sunny portion of the trail, and then it happened again. My left ankle went to the side and met no resistance from the pre-stressed tendons and with an audible "pop" I fell to the ground again. I stood up quickly and dusted off, but I knew I was in much worse shape. I couldn't put as much weight on it. I looked down and saw it was swollen, not sure if it was from the first time or this time. About 20 feet in front of me was a girl with a wrapped up head and two medical volunteers. They finally see me hobbling and come to my aid. I was so frustrated with myself, I could barely talk. They had me sit down and tried to figure out how to get me out of there. Apparently it was an area that was inaccessible by car or ATV.

I looked up and two of my teammates had come back to look for me. They started talking with the First Aid crew, and decided to get me out of there. I started with my arms around both their shoulders hopping on one foot. That was exhausting. Then they decided to take turns piggybacking me out of there. Yeah, once again, one of those situations where I'm super conscious of my size, and cursing myself that these poor guys have to carry the burden of my years of selfish overeating. Its never the skinny chick that fucks up her ankle a mile from civilization.

I get to the place where a truck can get me, get some ice, and meet my team at the finish. I take the first ride back to Seattle, and have them drop me off at bf deluxe's work. We decide I should probably get it checked out, and he takes me up to the ER and goes back to work. There was no one in the ER, so I got through everything super quick. Some poor guy had to wash my dirty legs before x-ray. I asked if he painted toes too, but he was not amused. The Dr. returned to show me my x-ray, and no break! He briefed me on the next steps of recovery, gave me some info to take home, and I was done!

Boyfriend deluxe came back to get me, and we went home. I set up camp on the couch while he ran around and made sure everything I needed was in arms reach- water, juice, aspirin, my phone, pillows, ice pack, crutches, etc. He then went on to make this for me:
Yes, I get meals that look like that at home. That was 42 hours ago.


Not too long ago, this would have been a devastating de-railment for me. I had always thought that exercise was a necessary piece to losing weight, and something like a sprain or a break would prevent exercise from being possible, therefore halting progress. If I couldn't exercise, then I might as well eat whatever I want because "I deserve it." "I've been through a lot."

This time its slightly different. I know that I do not need to exercise to lose fat, I just need to eat right. I know that I am stronger then I ever have been, so in theory, I should recover quicker. I know that a Paleo diet is one that has had great success in injury recovery. I'm not worried. I know as long as I treat my body right by avoiding grains, sugar, and dairy, I will be fine. Instead of getting down about not being able to exercise, I'm going to focus on refining my eating. Just as I did for the nutrition challenge. I want to clean things up a bit...cut out the cheats here and there until I'm back on two feet, doing most of the things I could before.

Breaking years and years of bad habits that lead me to bad eating choices is so hard. I had a bit of a break through yesterday, no, scratch that, I'm going to call it a full on epiphany. I had been on the couch nearly all day, save for a few trips to the bathroom and one trip outside that was a little too much and I promptly napped afterwards. I was so restless. I needed SOMETHING. ANYTHING. I thought about all the foods I wanted, and knew Dave would get them for me if I asked. I wiggled around on the couch like a fish out of water as if the struggle in my brain was being played out in my actions. I was nearly to the point of tears when it hit me.


My drive to eat bad food, my compulsion to eat- was so that I would feel so bad about eating the food, I would forget the restlessness. It made so much sense. And then I was immediately mad at my brain for being so goddamn tricky. So I made myself feel it. I sat there restless and completely aware of the fact that if I had eaten the ice cream/brownie/whatever I would still be restless, only I would be more guilty about eating, and that would out shine the restless. Oh, I hate being tricked! I'll show you BRAIN! I will feel this restless. I will recognize it, and I will let it go.

That is exactly what I did. Eventually I got less restless, and my desire to eat things that will absolutely delay my recovery passed. Huh. So, I guess everyone knows where this is going...I'm about to start feeling a LOT more stuff.

Oh, and here's my ankles. Guess which one hurts:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Memorial Pull-Ups

This is my third attempt at writing this post. I have somehow managed to accidentally delete it twice. Each time I got so mad I had to walk away, so yeah, I also started this post like 3 days ago.

CrossFit and the military have a connection. I'm not sure how it originated, but many service people perform crossfit workouts, and many people that served in the military now run crossfit gyms. All crossfit's give a discounted membership to military/fire/police. The owner/trainer of my gym is included in the military-cum-crossfit owner group. Due to this connection, the crossfit community takes the benchmark "hero WOD's" (hero workout of the days) very seriously. Hero WOD's are workouts named after men killed while serving our country, and are usually pretty rough) I wrote a whole post on my "Murph" experience here). It is common for gym's to honor a particular soldiers hero WOD on days like Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day. Hero WOD's are a reminder that when things seem tough, impossible even, you just got to do your best to get through it. They are a reminder that we crossfitters sweating and cursing are alive and able to sweat and curse. It is not a time to complain about how bad things hurt.

Many changes have come about to my gym since the stolen equipment debacle; a new location (in the same complex, but smaller space), a new investor, new equipment, and new rules. Everything is just a little bit different, and it definitely takes some getting used to. The bumper weight plates are brightly colored instead of black, plywood lifting areas now stripe the thick black mats, we have fewer medicine balls and kettlebells, but we have 3 new GHD (torture) machines that we never had at the old location. Probably the biggest thing I have had to get used to is the height of the pull-up bars. At the old location, there was this really nice pull-up rack set up- there were two different height bars, and the lowest height was perfect for me. I could just stretch on my tip-toes and reach it, and when I grabbed on my feet cleared the floor- just perfect. I miss that set-up immensley. Not only was it our pull-up station, but it was also our place to rack weights. Now we have these two portable rack dealies that perform the same function, but they are...different.

The new location has a wall of pull-up bars that are all the same height- high. As in I can't even reach them trying my hardest to jump. Then there are a few more bars on the adjacent wall that are even HIGHER. Like, crazy high. One of the new rules of the gym is memorial pull-ups. Every Friday. As the owner/trainer explained this new idea to me, I half thought in the back of my mind that it would never be enforced. I had HOPED that perhaps? I knew it was something that was going to cause me a lot of stress should we actually have to perform these particular pull-ups.

Each Friday, we are to perform one pull-up for every hero WOD the gym has honored on the big white board (currently there are 8, but I know more will be added) and if there are any military/fire/police persons present in the room, one for them as well. The kicker? We have to perform them on the SUPER HIGH bars, and cannot use anything that is not breathing to assist you in getting up to the bar if you cannot jump to it, and nothing that isn't breathing to assist you in the pull-up if you cannot perform one. Here is where I panic as I realize 1) I can't jump to the bar and 2) can't do a non-band assisted pull-up. "" I stammer. Oh, was that the wrong thing to say. I was met with a short lecture to the tune of "figure it out yourself, those men up there died protecting your rights and your freedoms, and they never once asked how."

I have written many times about happenings/events that make me aware of my size, and how that is really a driving force in me wanting to be smaller, so I don't have to be reminded (either overtly or covertly) about how I'm larger then the average Jane. So, I show up a few Fridays ago, half expecting to get away with not doing the pull-ups. Much like that kid reminding the teacher they forgot to give us homework, someone says something. Dammit. Next thing I know, the group of 6 or so that just completed the warm-up is circling around the super high bars, and one tiny girl gets boosted to the bar. She can do unassisted pull-ups, and knocks out her 8 as we chant the names of each hero each time her chin goes over the bar. Next girl up is new. She is normal size, but can not do pull-ups, so after stepping on a thigh to reach the bar, she is then assisted in her pull-ups as her booster lifts one leg effortlessly, and her chin glides over the bar. More of the same...I'm now the only one who hasn't gone. Everyone looks at me. A girl squats down and pats her leg for me to step on. "I'm going to crush her" I think to myself. I manage to clumsily clammor my way up to the bar. Ok, now what? TWO people have to assist me in getting my chin over the bar, and yeah, everyone is still circled around. FML.

This experience is not one I care to repeat. I start to find excuses to miss the gym on Fridays. I know its selfish and dumb, but 1) I don't want to be a burden on the person that I have to step on, and 2) I can't even come close to doing a real pull-up so the workout is really for the people that are boosting me over the bar! I know, I suck. And I know if I ever expressed these concerns to the trainer, he would shake his head and get sooooo mad at me for being disrespectful. He's right.

Last Thursday I was working out with a girl who is fairly new to the gym. She is very overweight, but I can tell she's already lost weight just from the short amount of time she's been crossfitting. She's nice, we have some chats, and then we workout. I friend her on facebook later. On Friday, she posts her facebook status as "Really want to go to the gym today, but don't want to do the Memorial pull-ups." Ugh. I knew exactly how she felt. Not wanting to be on display, not wanting to be a burden, feeling bad that other people have to lift the extra weight she created on herself. I get it. At the same time though, I realized how silly of a reason that was to skip the gym though. When I think about helping her do the pull-ups, I don't think she's a burden. It's just something we all have to do, we all help out, get it done, and bam! I tell her she's silly, and say I'll meet her there. I made the decision to never skip another Friday just because of the pull-ups.

If I don't think SHE'S a burden, that must mean that maybe people don't think I'M a burden, and that the uncomfortableness I had with the memorial pull-ups was in my head? Why should I sacrifice a potentially good day of working out and furthering my fitness goals because of 30 seconds of in-my-head-craziness? I can guarantee that I spend way more time thinking about how heavy I am during and after those pull-ups then any of the people helping me out do. Eh, le sigh. Still a work in progress.

Oh, in other news...the official cube setter-upper at my office came by and set up my sweet new stand up desk:
I even got to switch to a bigger cube that is off the beaten path, and I LOVE my new arrangement. Standing at work so far has proven to be so much better for me as well. I wake up quicker, I get more done, and I generally have more energy at the end of the day. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.