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"Take it From Me"

Injuries are a drag even if it is for only a few days. If we are in pain, it effects our daily life. That's the amazing part about our bodies. Our bodies tell us when there is something wrong. Unfortunately, we don’t always listen and end up causing more pain. Pushing through injury or pain is not the answer. Modify or scale down your workout until your pain subsides. Otherwise, you will prolong your injury.


I say this because I’ve learned the hard way. Rewind seven years ago when I first experienced shoulder pain about a month after shoveling snow. I was not actively working out so I was shocked to be experiencing pain. I did seek medical attention and was prescribed six weeks of physical therapy. Luckily, the pain went away and I was problem free…or so I thought. Fast forward to 2015 when the shoulder pain reared its ugly head again. At that point, I was working out regularly doing CrossFit. I continued to work out while I was experiencing pain, not soreness. This time it was affecting my workouts and I could no longer lift weight overhead. It was time to start modifying all my workouts. Frustration started building. 


I decided to focus on my running and squatting. I ran regularly and participated in many races. I figured this was a good way to stay active while resting my shoulder. I was working around my injury. Nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, while running in the Philly Love Run, I experienced a pop in my right hip just a few feet from the finish line. Did I stop running? NO! I had to finish. I pushed through the pain. I limped my way back to the hotel thinking I either pulled or tore a muscle. It would work itself out, right? WRONG! I continued to participate in the daily WODs and even participated in a CrossFit completion (ignoring my shoulder pain as well) within the first month of sustaining the injury. Not only that, I thought I was really smart and decided to take the CrossFit Level 1 course even though doctors advised against it. What did they know? It was only a two-day course. What could happen? I was already in pain. I figured, if I just kept moving, I would be fine. Well, I can tell you, I was not fine. The pain got worse. It was not going away no matter how much I tried to push through the pain. 


After fighting through the pain for three months, I found out it was not a pulled muscle. It was not even a tear. I tore the labrum in my right hip beyond repair. It was time for surgery. What was even scarier, it was time for a hip replacement! So, while I was working around my shoulder injury, I was headed into the operating room for a new hip. Two months later, I had shoulder surgery to repair my rotator cuff and remove a piece of my AC joint. Talk about not listening to my body. I completely ignored my “body language” and did my own thing.


I was faced with a long recovery period rehabbing my hip and shoulder. I had to change my mindset about my workouts and it was time to start listening to my body. If I had a day where my hip was not feeling quite right, I rested. I did not take my required walk that day. If I was doing an exercise for my shoulder that didn’t feel right, I stopped and modified the exercise or eliminated it altogether until I got stronger. As I listened to my body, I got stronger. 


It was five months after hip replacement and three months after shoulder surgery that I returned to CrossFit. At first, I thought I was wasting my time. How could I benefit from a heavily modified workout? I had to work around to major injuries on opposite sides of my body. This was going to be impossible. Well, I was wrong. It was challenging and rewarding. The beauty of CrossFit is the ability to modify or scale any workout to meet the athlete’s needs. That’s how I started my journey back. I reached out to Coach Mike and Coach Jess and explained my limitations. I could barely step up on a single plate, could not squat, hold five pounds in my left hand, or lift weight overhead but I was ready to get moving again. I began doing workouts on my own in the back. Every time I walked through the door, they handed me a workout. Not just any workout but one that had me question whether or not they liked me. They pushed me and challenged me but never put me at risk of hurting myself again. They watched me and checked on me daily to make sure I was okay. I worked slow but kept moving. When I was able to return to the daily WOD classes, I had to start with the PVC. My progress was slow but every day I was getting stronger and feeling better. 


I may not lift or squat the heaviest, run the fastest, or do many of the gymnastics movements but I learned to listen to my body and pace myself. I can do box jumps and pistols now, recently got some pull-ups, I am back to doing handstand push-ups (my favorite), and the numbers are going up on the barbell. I go into every workout knowing that my body has never failed to tell me when something is not feeling right. I listen and adjust every time I walk into the box.


-Coach Liz

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