CrossFit: can’t live with it, can’t live without it.

CrossFit Naptown

After just over six months of CrossFit, I have to take a mini break. Not because I want to, but because I have to. And I’m devastated. I’ve  been in denial the past few weeks, but the time has come for me to face my pain.

My lower back has been hurting the past five weeks. I don’t know if it’s from CrossFit, from running, a combo of both, or just over working my body. It started out small, but was uncomfortable during deadlifts. So I scaled back on my weight and was selective with which WODs to partake in. Going to hot yoga more regularly definitely gave me some relief. But then after a two more weeks it came to the point that after my WOD, regardless of what type of lifting, squats, wall balls, wall climbs, my back would hurt so bad that I couldn’t bend forward for the entire next day. I knew this wasn’t right, especially since I fine the first 5 months of CrossFit. I went to my chiropractor and his response was to quit CrossFit. This was not an option for me. He realigned my back and sent me on my way. I was still running my miles and splits for mini marathon training with no pain whatsoever.

My breaking point was two Sundays ago during “Adrian” Hero WOD. This workout consisted of 7 rounds for time of 3 forward rolls, 5 wall climbs, 7 toes to bar, and 9 box jumps. The forward rolls were a little awkward because it was hard to bend forward from the 13.3 open workout of wall balls the Friday two days before, but I did them. The first few wall climbs were a little uncomfortable but bearable. The toes to bar were amazing! It was my first time that I actually touched the bar with my feet! Not once, but I did it 49 times! And it did not hurt my back at all. The box jumps were okay, but I felt a little pressure on my lower spine. After 7 rounds though – the wall climbs became unbearable and every time I did a box jump, I felt like my lower spine was being crushed. Pure heart and determination got me through that workout. However, I was not able to bend forward and touch my toes for two days. That Wednesday being stupid and in major denial, I went to CrossFit for a WOD that consisted of deadlifts, front squats, thrusters, and cleans. Big mistake. It was the first time in my six months of CrossFit that I had to actually stop during the middle of the workout because my back was in so much pain and I was only lifting half of what I normally do. I was so frustrated I wanted to cry…and I did in my car.

I went to my chiropractor a second time and they massaged out my lower back and then used a chair to stretch my back because it seemed like I was getting compression pain. I have two doctor friends that think it’s muscular so I was prescribed muscle relaxers, but no relief. Activities such as squatting, lifting, and even sitting hurt my back, but running and yoga felt amazing. It felt so amazing that on Saturday, I went to hot power yoga and ran 9 miles. Except during the last mile, I pulled a muscle at my left rib because it has been hurting since. My last CrossFit workout was this past Sunday for the “Hamilton” Hero WOD, which was 3 rounds for time of 1000m row, 50 push-ups, 1000 run, and 50 pull-ups. I know many of you reading this, will think why is this woman going to CrossFit again?! Well this workout didn’t hurt my back nor rib muscle at all. The pull-ups felt surprisingly good. And according to the chiropractor, pull-ups would actually be good to stretch out my back and release any compression. However, today I knew it was time… I had to freeze my membership renewal at the box until my body recovers. It has been giving me anxiety the past few weeks looking at each posted WOD and analyzing if I think my body can handle the workout. My body is falling apart. I feel like a 90 year old woman instead of my 29 year old self. And with that, I’m also mentally falling apart.

Again I cried a little because I’ve come a long way from where I first started. And now I feel like I’m taking a giant leap back. I look at the WODs posted everyday and think to myself, “I really want to do that WOD. I want to go to CrossFit today.” It’s making me crazy that I can’t go to CrossFit! I was planning on scaling back my CrossFit from three days a week to two days a week in June to allow more milage for my marathon training program, but I never anticipated scaling back to zero days a week and two months earlier.

Despite these setbacks, I want to recap the progress I have made the past 6 months with CrossFit. Remember I started with zero weight lifting background, so for me, this is amazing. And I’m proud of my numbers. Current CrossFit PRs:

Floor Press – 65 lbs, Bench Press – 70 lbs, Strict Press – 60 lbs, Push Press – 65 lbs

Split Jerk – 45 lbs, Push Jerk – 70 lbs, Clean & Jerk – 60 lbs, Power Clean – 65 lbs

Thruster – 55 lbs, Front Squat – 70 lbs, Back Squat – 95 lbs, Overhead Squat – 35 lbs

Snatch – 40 lbs, Dead Lift – 105 lbs, Bear Complex – 50 (3), Box Jump – 22 inch

CrossFit Goals completed: Handstand hold, Toes to bar

Clean & Press 55lbs

My PCP called last week to notify me that I’m vitamin D deficient and recommended that I take 5000 units of vitamin D daily. The sunshine vitamin. Apparently, I need to start tanning again. I had not been tanning or in the sun since my honeymoon last July. I thought I was doing good for my skin by preventing skin cancer, but instead I was depleting my vitamin D. Researching online this weekend I found that vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone and muscle pain. Coincidence with my current injuries? Perhaps. Thursday I am meeting with my PCP to have x-rays taken of my back and possibly my rib, if it’s not muscular pain. I’m crossing my fingers that it’s nothing major and that with a month of rest from CrossFit my body will heal itself and I can restart CrossFit.

I didn’t realize how much CrossFit meant to me until now. Yes, I love how it has made me stronger physically and mentally. I love that it has toned my body. I love that it has made me a faster runner. I love how I can take out my anger with the weights and WODs. I love how it has taken me out of my comfort zone and pushed me to limits that I didn’t know I had. And right now I’m angry at myself for not listening to my body, for pushing my body to a limit that it wasn’t ready for, for not paying better attention to my form before how much weight I was lifting. I should have taken a break at the first instant my back was hurting. I should have not focused so much on increasing my weight, but improving my form because with better form the weight will eventually come. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. I can’t change all that now. I have to focus on letting my body heal because right now my body can’t live with CrossFit, but my mind can’t live without it.


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