A Year of Setbacks: Injuries and CrossFit

The CrossFit Open 2014 is fast approaching. And, I have signed up, but now have to sit out. 

It sucks. Big time. Not that I ever had any chance of making the Mid-Atlantic Regionals… I am not that deluded. But, the Open is a wonderful test of your fitness level, your fitness improvements, and another opportunity to participate in the CrossFit Community.

In 2013, I had just recovered from slicing the tip of my right thumb tip clean off. I even attended my Level 1 Certification Seminar with it splinted and bandaged. It healed just in time for the Open.

 Fast forward to April 2013… I joined a co-ed indoor flag football team with other members from my CrossFit box (CrossFit Chronic). That was not my wisest decision. I have never played football and didn’t even understand the rules. I broke my left ring finger at the distal phalange (exactly where the tendon attaches) and the intermediate phalange. Note to self: don’t try to catch a football thrown by a semi-pro football quarterback. This means I cannot make a tight fist. Holding onto a barbell, hanging from a pull-up bar, swinging a kettlebell, climbing a rope or flipping a tire –pretty much anything requiring grip strength is a struggle. This injury took over 12 weeks to heal. Mainly because I kept trying to WOD. The orthopedist finally told me to stop… I think I freaked him out a bit. I was, admitted by him, his first CrossFit patient. He did not know how to respond to my concerns about dead lifting or pull-ups. Let me add that 8 days after breaking my finger I went to the box and decided that I would instead run a few miles. I was 600m into the run when I ungracefully avoided a rock in the road by tripping on my own shoelace and sliding across the blacktop. I got up from that fall brushed myself off, took a mental check of my body, and took off running to finish the run. When I returned to the box, I received many incredulous stares due to my bloody knees and disheveled appearance. I noticed that my right big toe was throbbing. Yeah, I broke it. So, now I have a broken finger and a broken toe. 3 weeks later I teamed up with another injured coach to complete Murph, a Memorial Day WOD in honor of a fallen Navy Seal. This was definitely part of that “taking forever to heal” issue.

Memorial Day WOD "Murph" 2013. Team Injured.

Memorial Day WOD “Murph” 2013. Team Injured.

Fall 2013 was a time for healing and recuperating for me. I pretty much started over in CrossFit. This is tough to do when you are experienced… I lost strength and my endurance/stamina suffered greatly.

Fast forward to 2014… My big toe doesn’t really bend –at all– but I can still do most things. My finger is no longer broken, but I have lost a great percentage of my grip strength. It still hurts and I am still working on getting back to many of my 1RM in Olympic lifts. Now, I am having hip, low back, and pubic bone issues. When I had my second son in 2006, I decided to jump right back into running at just two weeks postpartum. Once again, not a wise decision. At two weeks postpartum, the pubic symphysis (a midline cartilaginous joint that connects the right and left pubic bones in women) has not returned to its pre-pregnancy state. Meaning: it is soft and susceptible to dislocation. I basically messed up this joint causing me to compensate with my lower back, gluteal muscles, and adductors during squat movements.

What does all this mean to me?

It means that it hurts to WOD. It means I can’t overhead squat a PVC pipe. It means box jumps are more difficult than ever. It means squatting or kneeling over a birth tub is uncomfortable.  It means that I want to cry when I do my scaled WODs. It means that I am cranky, uncomfortable and having to start all over. It means no Open in 2014.

The good news is that I am being very proactive and aggressive in my journey towards healing this problem. I am utilizing Chiropractic care (in my husband’s office, not the house table ottoman), my colleague at the box is providing some Sports Therapy and Modality treatments, I have reincorporated yoga 2-3 per week, and have a love-hate relationship with a foam roller and lacrosse ball.

Injuries just plain suck!

The bright light in all this… Injuries give you a window into how your body is working. I always wondered why my back squat was weak and why overhead squats and snatches were so difficult. This hip/pubic issue was in place before I started CrossFitting, but CrossFit exposed this weakness and injury. It brought it to my attention. Although, an email would have been less painful and preferred. 

So, I’m kinda glad I have to work through this injury, but it’s been a rough year of injuries and I’d just like to be better. Please.

Fall 2013. WOD'ing with my son (in red). Team WOD with Push Presses. Dead Lifts, and Front Squats.

Fall 2013. WOD’ing with my son (in red). Team WOD with Push Presses. Dead Lifts, and Front Squats.

Xmas WOD 2013. At this point, I can do 1-2 pull-ups before I have to drop off the bar to regrip.

Xmas WOD 2013. At this point, I can do 1-2 pull-ups before I have to drop off the bar to regrip.

So, I guess I am done whining –for now, until I have to roll out and stretch.

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