Fighting the Quitter in Me

I have to be honest.
I’ve been struggling.
Big time.

After five years of CrossFit, I’ve never faced an injury from this sport.  At the beginning of my CrossFit journey, I fractured my ankle during an obstacle race.  I did take some time off then, but it was before CrossFit was my job and my main emotional outlet.  That was long before I needed CrossFit.

I began having what I thought was shoulder soreness about 6 weeks ago.  I found myself having to modify certain movements at the gym.  My trap, lat, deltoid and scapula on my left side was irritating me (I didn’t want to call it hurting).  Any kind of movement where the barbell was behind my neck hurt.  This included back squats which are my FAVORITE.  This also included Olympic lifts which I love deeply.  It hurt to do hand stand push ups and muscle ups.  All movements I’ve worked for the past 5 years to learn and master.  To try to help with the soreness, I decided on a treatment plan that has worked for me in the past.  Dry needling, physical therapy, resting the area, massage and I tried cupping for the first time.  All were working well and my shoulder area began to feel better after about three weeks.

I wasn’t born with any patience, and I’m not good at resting.

Now let me tell you something about me.  I’m not good at patience (as I told Adam the other night…I wasn’t born with any patience) and I’m not good at resting.  So when my shoulder started to feel better, I started to add back in movements which I’d been avoiding.  And I did too much too quickly.  Not only was I back where I’d started, but I was actually hurt more.  The loss of ability to move my arm in certain ways really scared me.  It went from soreness to weakness.  It went from soreness to injury.  I’ve feared that word.  That word wasn’t for me.  I was too strong to even be injured, right?  What did I do?  How did I do this?  As I began to have to change my workouts and reduce and remove movements, I began to notice a change in my mental health.  I was frustrated, angry, discouraged, and immensely sad.  My range of emotions transformed daily, hourly even.  I was mad at my body.  How could you betray me like this?  I was mad at CrossFit.  This is your fault, CrossFit.  And so began my battle within myself.  A battle I’d never faced before.  A battle to be a new me.  Not the me I’d always been.

I should have listened to my body.
I should have rested longer.
I pushed too hard too soon.

You see, I’ve always been a quitter.  When things in my life got hard, I continually quit.  Instead of bucking up and fighting, I walk away.  My fight or flight response has repeatedly been flight.  I’ve quit jobs.  So many jobs.  I’ve quit relationships and friendships and pets.  I’ve quit schools and diets and sports.  Maybe it was part of being young?  Maybe it was part of who I was.

As this soreness has turned to injury and I am facing (worst case) surgery and more patience, rest, and rehab…I want to quit CrossFit.  I want to walk away.  Screw you (CrossFit).  I gave the last five years to you and how do you repay me?  Injury.  Loss of movement.

How can I coach CrossFit and weightlifting when I lack the basic ability to demonstrate?
How can I preach to the goodness of this sport when I can’t move weight above my head or press out of a dip?

Old me wants to just run away and hide in my room and cry.  Old me wants to vanish and start over with something else.  Old me feels sorry for myself and blames…blames persistently instead of taking ownership.  I should have listened to my body.  I should have rested longer.  I shouldn’t have pushed so hard so soon.  As the word “quit” creeped into my mind, my sadness grew.  “Are you really going to quit this?  This is your life.  Your passion.  One set back and you’re going to quit?  Is that who you are and is that who you want to continue to be?” I asked myself.  Because at the end of the day, even if I can’t control this injury or this recovery, I can control how I choose to address it.  I am fighting the quitter in me.  That bitch needs to go.  Bye Felicia.  This is the new me.  The five years of building a better me.  I don’t quit.  I seek help.  I modify.  I rest and recover and work hard to get back to where I was.  When I see my favorite things programmed and I know I can’t do them (right now), I show up anyway because I’m fighting that quitter bitch in me.  Maybe I can’t back squat 90% right now, but I’m going to show up and back squat what my body will allow.  No, I can’t do touch and go cleans because bringing the barbell back down kills my shoulder.  But I can still clean and drop between reps.  I can get through this.  And I have to say thank you to our community.  I’d be in bed, quitting if it weren’t for you.  You all keep checking in with me, encouraging me, telling me I can do this.  You’re helping me fight the quit and I couldn’t do it without you.

This is just another step in my CrossFit journey

While it sucks…a lot…right now, I know it will only be another stepping stone for the better, stronger, faster, healthier me.  Injury is a lesson I needed to learn.  Embracing this journey is hard and I’m struggling with it daily.

With my family, team of healers, and our community, I’ll come out on top.
Not a quitter.
Definitely a crier.
But a more whole ME

Choice Vs. Chore

I started CrossFit in May of 2013.  At the time, I was a single mom to a 3-year-old.  When I wasn’t with my son, I was out having “fun”.  I put fun in quotes, because I have very different criteria for fun now

My “fun” in 2013 included large amounts of drinking and smoking cigarettes.  I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.  I didn’t consider the effects of drinking, smoking, and eating garbage.  So many nights I was in the drive through of Taco Bell, McDonald’s, or the like.  And a lot of the time, I was in the drive through with a road beer.  Many a night, when I didn’t have money for fast food, my dinner was popcorn and beer (yes seriously).  As a divorced and single mom, I was feeling sorry for myself.  Sorry for the choices I’d made that led me to the life I was living.  For the choices I continued to make that only made me feel worse.  I smiled when I felt like crying and I didn’t know how I’d ever get to the life I desired.  What life did I want?  Who was I?  I think many people struggle with these feelings.  I would be lying if I said I never felt like that, even now.

Searching for some kind of escape,
I decided to give it a try.
What did I have to lose?

After my divorce in January of 2013, I lived with my sister and her husband (Jill and Graem) for a few months.  At that time, Graem was really getting into CrossFit.  I wasn’t interested in exercise AT ALL.  I was only interested in when I’d be getting my next beer.  When the WOD Garage opened in Jill and Graem’s garage, he kept asking me to come try a class.  “It’s free!”, he said.  Searching for some kind of escape, I decided to give it a try.  What did I have to lose?

Until you start removing toxicity from your body, you won’t understand how important the choice to change is

I was immediately hooked.  I liked the exhausted, sweaty Julie.  I liked the Julie who tried new things and worked hard.  I wanted more of her.  I quickly realized that if I wanted to live through more workouts, I’d need to give up the cigarettes.  That was the first choice I made to better my life.  And it was a great!  When we live in a constant state of survival, we don’t realize how terribly we feel.  Until you start removing toxicity from your body, you won’t understand how important the choice to change is.

One small change can go a long way

You all have heard the term, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” And the same is true for yourself.  Start your journey with small choices to change.  Changing everything in your life at once is a sure set up for failure.  I’ve been on this journey for 5 years and I’m still working at it!  I decided later in 2013 that I was going to stop drinking diet soda.  I loved me some Diet Coke!  For breakfast, lunch and dinner.  All day long.  Once I started going to CrossFit more regularly, I realized that Diet Coke didn’t make me feel good.  I also used artificial sweeteners in my coffee and iced tea.  Bob Harper writes in “The Skinny Rules” that if you don’t like your coffee black, then you don’t actually like coffee at all.  This was a big pill for me to swallow.  So, when the diet coke went bye-bye, so did the Sweet-N-Low…so long little pink packets (tear).  I switched to regular sugar in my coffee.  What a difference (gag) and it took me a long time to get used to it.  But I did.  One small change can go a long way.  If you’re drinking several sodas a day, trying limiting it to one a day a first.  After you get there for several weeks consistently, try cutting it back to once every other day.  Notice the changes you feel in your body, your energy, your workouts and your mood.

Think about how to balance your overall health

Nutrition has by FAR been my biggest and most constant struggle.  Do I eat 100% clean every meal?  Nope.  Do I ever plan to?  Nope.  That’s my choice and you have to find your happy medium too.  My small choice changes have morphed into this:  am I eating veggies with every meal?  What whole foods have I consumed today?  Is what I’m eating right now something processed?  What are the ingredients and how much sugar is there?  Internal dialogue is super important.  When I’m eating a donut, I ask myself, “how is this going to help you reach your goals?” and I know the answer.  It’s not.  Do I dwell on one donut a week and chide myself over it?  No.  I accept my sugary snack as a fail and move on with my life.  Balance.  Think about how to balance your overall health.  Eat more veggies than donuts.  Drink more water.  Limit your alcohol and fast food or eliminate it altogether.  When you want a snack, grab an apple instead of a bag of chips.  One choice at a time.

Meal prep is a huge part of keeping nutrition on track.  If you have good, whole foods ready to eat in the fridge/cupboard/countertop, you are so much more likely to eat them as opposed to that bag of chips or package of cookies (throw those cookies away).  When you’re checking out at the grocery store, review your basket.  How much of what you’re buying is fresh, real food as opposed to packaged processed food?  Can you do better?  Then do better.  The prep may feel laborious and tedious but trust me…it’s WORTH IT.  This is the key my friends.  It is not a chore.

Choose better for your family and your kids.
Have the baby carrots on hand.
Cut up those bell peppers.
Fresh, real food.
One foot in front of the other.
One small change at a time.
Do it for you.
You deserve it!