Monday, October 29, 2012

"It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves."

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 464:

After a really full racing season, a few set backs, detours and Life in General, it is time to get back to a schedule. I plateaued a little bit in the last few months, because my schedule was all crazy and I was trying to do too many things... so, I recognize, it's time to get back to basics.
1) I'm tracking my food intake again (GROAN). This time, I'm attempting to use My Fitness Pal, to take a better look at the calories. I've cleaned out my diet to a mostly-paleo state, but now it's time to work on EXACTLY what is going into my face. I've got about 30 more pounds to go and I'm on a mission, BlogLand.
2) Back to a strict training schedule. Crossfit at least 2x a week, Climbing at least 1x a week, and (as soon as my leg is good to go!) running again. 5-6 days a week of concerted movement. This is the goal.

In light of that, Thursday was my first day back to the CrossFit routine. I was a little worried about how this stupid shin splint was going to respond, but I figured I'd be careful and take it easy, as needed. I couldn't stand just sitting around and waiting for it to fix itself any more (who thought I'd ever say THAT!?).

My Beast-in-Training buddy, Stacey came to pick me up at the crack of dawn (just before 6am) so we could make it to the 6:15am class. BlogLand, my soul was crying at this time of day, but thankfully, my brain wasn't awake enough to know what was going on, so in the car I went.

After a few creaking minutes of foam rolling, filled with the snap-crackle-popping of not-awake joints, we moved onto our warm up:
inchworms, bear crawls, high knees, butt kicks, high skips - all down the length of the gym and back (which results in like 10 inch worms, for reference). I felt nicely warmed up, shin wasn't hurting, though I was aware it was there, and on we moved into the strength piece of the WOD:

  • Back Squats: 4 rounds of 5 reps to get to about 70% of your 1 rep maximum.
It's been a while since I've been squatting, and the doc told me to take it easy on squats with the leg all angry, so I started low and kept it easy. My progression looked like this: 45#, 65#, 85# and 100#. At 100# I was annoyed; back squats are a strong lift for me (YAY Clydesdale legs!), but the tiny-gnomes stabbing knives into my shins had started again. My ration side kicked in and informed me that we didn't want to make this injury worse, so I stopped at 100# and continued onto the main part of the WOD for the day. 

Today's WOD was short and sweet, taking me exactly 5 minutes to complete. 
  • 3 rounds, for time, of:
    • 5 Back squats (55# for me)
    • 10 burpees

That doesn't seem so bad, does it? It's not.... but let me tell you what IS really exciting. After hitting the deck for your first burpee - a move that you are practically a professional at - you feel an uncomfortable twinge in your shin. Down for the second burpee and it becomes all too clear that using your right leg for burpees is not going to be a do-able plan. However, I didn't feel like NOT completing this WOD was a doable plan either.

Well. One-legged burpees it was. Stand on both feet, down and kick out and land only on one (touching down the right toe only for a little balance), one footed jump back to center, gentle two-footed hop up. You know, because burpees didn't suck enough to begin with.

Having to modify my burpees like this definitely slowed me down and by the end, even doing the back squats with that 55# was painful on the leg. My frustration level was running high as I headed home to ice it and get my compression sleeve on to continue the day.

After a day of rest, where my leg decided it felt okay again, I found myself at a fun rock gym in Worcester, MA with the CG. After taking care of his actual business there, we got to sneak in some climbing. I was stoked - these walls were twice the height (some more than that!) of the ones I've been practicing on. Leg taped and feeling good, I harnessed up and away we went.

I'm not afraid of heights, but I won't lie, the first time I got halfway up the wall, I had a bit of nervous moment. I had to take a second to remind myself that I was securely harnessed in and it was just the same as I was used to.

Here's yet another instance where part of this life transformation thing, where I'm trying new activities and stretching my limits, is actually more mental than physical. Stacey gave me a great quote the other day that is perfect here:
"It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves."

Just after I'd quickly rallied and pushed on another couple of moves, I had to bail and get lowered down. The leg made itself known, again. I came down, stretched out some more, rested and resolved to try again.

After a couple more attempts (resulting in one, long, steeper than usual, successful climb), I had to quit. By the end of the last climb I was gritting my teeth to finish, because the knife-stabs in my shin had taken over, every time I put any pressure on my right leg. ARGH! I also discovered that walking on soft surfaces (like the padded floor of a climbing gym) are decidedly not awesome once the shin splint gets angry. *sigh* Total climbing for the day? Maybe about 20 minutes, versus the usual 2+ hours.

I can't explain to you the tantrum my inner 5 year old had/is having over this injury. I'm doing all the right things to get it to heal, but the waiting is killing me. I can't run. I can't squat, I can't climb... what's left? Just weeks and weeks of pull ups?? (For the love of God, NOOOOO!!)

My T-Rex arms are quaking in fear and wishing my leg a really speedy recovery.

It is hard not to feel discouraged at a time like this, BlogLand. I'm back to being limited in the things I can do - something I haven't really felt since I was 284# and struggling to walk up the stairs. I've had some minor delays along the way, but nothing like this stupid Shin Splint. This one has me down for the count and really wracking my brain to try to find ways to keep up the training without making it worse.

However, my GT is keeping me in line and reminding me of the things to focus on. Maybe this is a REALLY excellent time to refine my nutrition. My CG has been reminding me that there are other things to work on - like my t-rex arms - in the interim.

All is not lost. Yes, I had to pull out of the half marathon... but there's always next year. Yes, Fenway is in a little over 2 weeks... but 2 weeks is a long time. One day at a time, and I'm going to get better.

SO. Chin up, BlogLand... whatever your stumbling block right now - money, a plateau, an injury, whatever - there's a way around if you think hard enough.

Now... I'm off to do some more stretching and foam rolling before bed.....

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