Hello CrossFit COMO! On the eve of the six month anniversary of my reconstructive knee surgery I thought it was a good time to talk a little about my story, my recovery from injury, and how, in many cases, you can continue to participate in CrossFit classes.
I love CrossFit. I got hooked on this before I even walked into CrossFit COMO the first time. I spent more than twelve years running and doing very little else. But after three marathons and a lot of half-marathons, I was bored with just running and I started mixing in body weight movements with shorter runs. Eventually, I found CrossFit mainsite (even though I couldn’t do much of what I saw), and then CrossFit COMO and I haven’t looked back!
Maybe you have a similar story. Maybe you don’t, and your story is one of being talked into trying CrossFit or trying out the SWEAT program and you just got hooked that way. Maybe you still aren’t sure about all this and aren’t sure whether this is for you. Well, it is for you. In some form, at some level, it is for you.
But. At some point, you might hurt yourself. We all get sore muscles, sometimes sore joints, and sometimes a little more than that. But sometimes, rarely, we get really injured. And that’s what I want to talk about. Injuries happen. They happen with all kinds of activities. A lot of you know about my knee injury. On March 7, 2017, I tore up my knee. I was coming down from a rope climb and dropped down from the rope, probably three or four feet off the ground. Nothing different than I, or many of us, have done dozens and dozens of times. But that last time was different. I did have a previous injury. I had torn my ACL many years ago playing basketball and didn’t have it repaired. So it was an unstable knee that never gave me any issues throughout all the years of heavy running–with poor running form and four years of CrossFit. But all of it caught up with me.
October 20th was the six month anniversary of my knee surgery. Some of you have seen my progress in rehabbing my knee. I started working out in the gym again about three weeks later—a really long time for me. If I could have bent my leg enough to drive I would have been back sooner. I started going to PT twice a week. At the same time, I started coming in and doing the class workouts with simple scales of movements and gradually increased the load, the intensity, and eventually scaled up to higher level movements. I rowed with one leg and my left foot on a little-wheeled dolly. I slowly started using weights, and have slowing increased them. (In hushed tones so my PT and surgeon don’t hear) I started doing cleans and snatches. I am six months out from surgery, and things are coming along very nicely. Slower than I would like, but my knee was in bad shape, and it is pretty amazing that I am able to do anything. I still don’t know what the final result will be, and what limitations I will have in the end.
I don’t write any of this to say I am special. The reality is that I am 42 years old with a reconstructed knee. But that isn’t going to stop me from pursuing my fitness. I get frustrated with my limitations—LIKE WE ALL DO AT TIMES. But I’m doing it. As I said before and has been said by smarter people than me, CrossFit is for everyone. It is infinitely scalable. So many of us have to reduce the loads, the rep scheme, the distance, or the movements themselves at times. That is scaling, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. I can’t do box jumps right now, which is one of the only things I would say I was pretty good at. But I have been subbing those with 4:1 toe taps on a lower box, and I’m telling you I don’t feel my intensity level is lower. I’ve spent more time on the assault bike than I thought I ever would. And doing a four-minute cruise on that while you run 800 meters is not my idea of fun. Well, actually it is–in the grand scheme. But it isn’t pleasant in the moment.
I tell you all this because I want to be an example, if not an inspiration to you when you, inevitably, have that twinge or niggle or injury. I want to encourage you to not let that become a permanent setback for you. You don’t have to be able to perform every movement to realize benefits from the workout. Even healthy, I couldn’t perform every movement that we might see in class—YET.
So here are a few of things you should take from this.
- Don’t let injuries or lingering pains go too long. Talk to the coaches. We may have an idea for something to help. But we aren’t going to hesitate to suggest you see a professional. We have great resources in our community. At some point, massage therapy, chiropractic work, physical therapy, or some other assistance might become necessary.
- Please don’t stop coming to the gym. It is easy to break habits that we took a long time to make. I don’t think I have ever been sorry that I got a workout. Just moving every day is something I look forward to, and if you think about it, you probably do too.
- Do not think less of yourself if you need to scale something. And at the same time, be smart about loads and movements you choose if you are working with soreness or injury.
- We all want to see you here! Getting encouragement from your friends who like seeing you at the box is a really good feeling. While we all have our own reasons for being here, we get more out of it when we have the family around.
See you out there!
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