Quitting Crossfit

swaggerThere’s likely two responses to this title from readers;

‘See I told you that you’d get hurt’

or

‘Nooooo. Work around it. Happens to everyone’

What few people will understand, is that being told to quit Crossfit is like your best friend telling you that you need to break up with that boyfriend you totally adore, but who regularly lays you out.

I love Crossfit.

I love my box (CFWP), my trainers, my fellow lunatics who have sweated it out, burst their lungs and agonized through Murph, and the Filthy Fifty and 13.1 with me. While Crossfit pushes you harder than any sport, any exercise I’ve ever done (including 9 half marathons), it also creates an amazing community, an endorphin rush that is better than sex (as I remember sex.. its been a while), and an ass you can bounce a quarter off.

I don’t want to leave.

But, if you’ve read my blog for any time you’ll know I’m somewhat prone in injury and illness. Crossfit has made me stronger, but also exposed some new weakness. Despite 10 weeks of physical therapy and hours of rehab exercises, needs surgery. My back, despite hours of yoga, rollering, a fetish-like addiction to Bengay and now, muscle relaxants, is permanently hurting. And I’m scared that something else is going to go.

I love Crossfit. I don’t care that it hurts. That it leaves me unable to sit down, walk up stairs without adopting a crablike crouch, sit on the toilet without holding onto the sink or lift a glass of water to my lips.

(all totally normal Crossfit results)

But I don’t like being told that I need a second surgery on my shoulder that only has a 50% chance of relieving me from constant pain, and that I now need  10 weeks of physical therapy for my back as a result of my Crossfit love.

(Turkish getups, Thrusters and DLs were my nemesis, in case you’re wondering)

I’ve lifted lighter, I’ve lifted better ((my GREAT coaches)), I’m not a slopping exerciser and I don’t push myself beyond what I know I can do. But …. I’m still getting hurt beyond anything that Tylenol can fix. I can’t lift things above my head, it hurts to even lift my dog into the car, and I can’t bend over without crippling pain. I’m 42 but from a distance I could be 82.

Maybe I’m too old. (that I don’t believe) or maybe I’m too prone to injury (seems like it)

I know Crossfit won’t ever change. I know I will always love it and it will love me back, even if it hurts me sometimes. But for now, I need to take a break. I need some space to lick my wounds and give my body a chance to be pain free. I’ll still love from a distance, go through my rehab and hopefully get to a place where lifting something over my head isn’t going to require Vicodin. But for that to happen, Crossfit, we need some time apart.

But like any relationship, taking a break is hard. There is always the knowledge that you might not reunite. My shoulder might not heal. My back might not recover. And even if  in 3 or 6 months, I’m back to great, there’s always the chance that Crossfit will kick my ass all over the place again and I’ll wind up back in the doctors office or the surgery.

Sure, its a risk. What isn’t?

I could get hurt stepping off a curb (Achilles partial tear), parking my scooter (took off both my kneecaps), riding my bicycle (Achilles full tear), rowing (rotator cuff tear), or just shutting the car door (broken finger). I’ve had a pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis while out jogging, and an massive asthma attack while lying in shavasana at yoga (and that’s just lying flat on the floor).

I get hurt all the time. Clearly.

But I’m only 42. I don’t want to proactively seek out ways to get hurt in ways that require surgery. I already have one scheduled for  2014, and I don’t need any more. That shit is expensive and while I love hospitals (I feel so safe), I’m a high risk patient now due to my blood clotting disorder.

I love you Crossfit. You’ve taught me so much about what I can do, against all notions of what I thought. In fact, you’ve taught me to power through the pain and exhaustion. But this isn’t the ‘good’ pain. And I can’t power through it.

When my doc told me yesterday that I needed to stop my first thought was ‘where else am I going to find that camaraderie?’ My second was ‘oh, I’m going to lose all my strength’ my third was ‘what sport can I pick up instead’.

So I’m asking the internet, the universe, and specifically my loyal 15 readers, what sport can I pick up in the meantime that will bust my lungs without busting my body? That doesn’t require any overhead movements and won’t jack my back? That will keep me challenged and won’t let me slack off. And if it requires knee length socks, even better.

 

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2 Responses to Quitting Crossfit

  1. A friend of mine JUST went through this with Crossfit. He has serious knee problems, and although he loves the workouts, he knows he’s in for a life of misery if he doesn’t quit now.

    Have you tried hot yoga? It isn’t intense in the way Crossfit is, but it’s a workout that leaves your whole body feeling strong even if you are a little jelly-like afterwards.

  2. Kim says:

    Hi there – I stumbled across this after googling “muscle relaxers CrossFit” since I just finished a competition and feel pretty much the same way I did after giving birth. Since you asked, let me suggest spin class – it’s really a lot of fun.

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