So its taken me a few months to admit it, but I’m ready to say it now: I’m injured.
I’m not sure when it happened though all occasions point to some kind of heavy deadlifting, but I’m sure the fact that I subsequently ignored the tweaks, twinges and aches in my lower back for months afterwards so I could keep training, keep doing burpees etc didn’t help.
I had to admit it, two weeks ago, when a relatively simple workout of kettlebell swings after heavy front squats almost killed me. Although it hurt, and although my coach told me if it hurt not do it, I did the WOD anyways (because I am stupid) and then could barely walk the next day. I wanted to finish it. I wanted to be stubborn enough to not be injured.
This stubborness was borne out of fear: right now, after everything that has happened recently, training is way too important a therapeutic activity to be sidelined. I need to exercise. I need it to boost my immune system (bereaved human bodies stop producing T-lymphocyte cells for up to a year), to clear my mind, to give me desperately needed endorphins.
I told people, as I hobbled about my office, that I was planning to continue training. You’re insane! they said. You must rest! they said. But all the research I read online said I needed to try and stay as active as possible. Yes, I couldn’t deadlift – and at the beginning even air squats were killer – but I wasn’t going to give up. I wasn’t going to ‘rest’.
But I realised I only needed to be very, very careful about what I did. I made a list of what I could and couldn’t do. I sent it to coaches ahead of class. Any movements I wasn’t sure of we scaled or subbed on the spot. Sometimes this meant a harder workout and sometimes it meant a completely different workout. Their flexibility and the crossfit ethos/mentality meant I could continue to heal without sacrificing all the benefits training provides.
My back is slowly improving, but my fitness progress hasn’t stalled. So I can’t do any weightlifting – so what!?! that was always one of my strengths anyways. I’m now forced to work my pullups, ring dips, hand stand push ups, double unders and lunges to death. Its been great to see quick progress on some of my weakest skills.
Its been almost 3 weeks, and while I still struggle to sit in a desk chair all day long (hello standing desk!) I can report no deterioration or extra pain after training, and serious improvements in my pullups and ring dips. We also tested out hang cleans today, and they got the green light – adding 1 powerful explosive strength movement to my slowly expanding post-injury repertoire.