Dawn's Blog

HEYYYYY FRIENDS! — So I haven’t blogged in a bit and I do apologize. Life has gotten crazy; I’ve suffered some substantial injuries, and I could go on and on with excused but I won’t. I want to get right to the nitty-griity, I want to get into how I’ve felt, how I’ve pushed through, and who has been there to help me.

First: Let’s talk about how injuries affect an athlete. Someone who has never suffered from a major injury might not have any idea that an injury is not only physical but largely mental. I fractured my back in August and was at an all-time low in my crossfit training throughout the end of the month, and through September. I was depressed that I couldn’t workout, I was depressed that the progress that I had made was going away, I was depressed that I was depressed. I was watching myself at one end of a rope watching it slip through my hands into a black hole. I was in a terrible place workout wise. I wasn’t eating terribly, but I wasn’t eating the best. I didn’t put on any weight, but I also wasn’t gaining any muscle. It was devastating. As I was struggling through this injury a few things happened.

  • I had three very important people pass away within a month of one another. It seemed as if my life was on a repetitive cycle of wakes, and funerals. I couldn’t get out of my own way, emotion wise. I was dragged down by sadness, and the inability to do anything to help anyone. I just didn’t want ANYTHING, and I didn’t want anyone to tell me anything either. I was an emotional mess.
  • I made excuses and got mad (and still do sometimes, I’m working on it, Em. I promise) when people called me out on it. I didn’t want to go to the box. I didn’t want to be talked to; I didn’t want to be pushed. I wanted to lie down. I wanted to just melt away.
  • I found my will power and fought back. I can’t say that it was instant, like an “OH MY GOD WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS FOR?” moment but it was a realization that needed to happen for sure. (I’ll get more into this shortly.)
  • My will power had been lost in depression; it was hiding deep inside me and it needed a way out. That way out just happened to be the “30 Day Challenge” and a goal setting program that I set up for myself. We can’t depend on people for a 100% regain of our will power and motivation but the challenge took some heat off of me and made it feel a lot less scary, 50% on me 50% on the challenge. In the end it’s 100% me but breaking it down this way makes me feel a lot better about achieving it.

Second: Getting back to the gym. This may sound really weird and even a bit foolish but going back to the gym was hard. I felt like I was going to be judged for being a spaz, for missing so much, for losing my gains. This was all of course in my head. I knew in my heart that none of this was real, I was creating my own daemons; I was creating excuses. I needed to (and did) push back on these excuses and get into the gym because I knew that once I got in there I would be accepted, I would be welcomed, and pushed. That first day back at CFN was anxiety ridden, and oh so frustrating. I wasn’t as strong as I remembered, and silly things had me winded. I was guilt ridden, and broken leaving.

I missed the next few classes with a vow to start fresh on the following Monday. Well instead of waiting, I talked myself into going back that Wednesday. I went in Wednesday ready to lift, ready to kill the workout. I wanted to get my frustration out on some barbells, but that wasn’t going to happen. In true Crossfit fashion, what I had prepared for wasn’t what was being dished out. I was totally unprepared for the 5K that was now the WOD and was beyond angry. (Probably more angry than necessary.)

I could have turned around when I heard that the WOD was changed, I could have pretended that I was never there, and snuck back into my jeep with my tail behind my legs but I didn’t. I knew that running the whole thing or even most of the 5K was going to be impossible because my back was still healing, and the jolting motion of running hurts it a lot, but I’d be damned if I just talked myself into coming here and not WOD’ing was going to happen. So, I walked, jogged, ran, walk-jogged and every variation in between. It wasn’t pretty, but I did it. I showed up, and finished what I set out to do and it felt great. I knew after this WOD that I was going to be back on track. It was just the beginning of my new journey and I wasn’t going to let mental blocks get in my way. Until ….

The week after this WOD we ended up with another running WOD. I freaked out again, firing in rapid concession my anger, and hesitation to Emily, who in her own Emily way told me not to be a baby and do the WOD as intended and modify if I needed to. I told her I wanted to lift, and I wanted to do more weights rather than run. She, being my daily dose of reality, told me that I should really just do the WOD. She was right. I needed to do the WOD but I got grouchy, took out my misguided anger on her, and WOD’d in spite of it all. I felt 100% better once I had finished it, and wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for Em’s voice in the back of my head telling me that I needed to. I’m forever in her debt for being that annoying (yet loving) voice that I can always rely on to bring me down a few notches and put me in my place. I owe you a lot. Thank you. (Including 15 bucks for the challenge, remind me to get that to you!)

Third: Getting back to where I was. Slowing I am making progress back to where I was at with my crossfit journey. I’m finally excited again for WOD’s, excited for lifting heavy and planning my goals for each workout. I’m still not excited about running, but I am getting better at it. I ran most of an 800M run last week, after rowing for 2500m and doing deadlifts. I think that over time my body (more my mind) will stop revolting at the idea of a run, and maybe I’ll start to enjoy it, or hate it less. Either way, I’m on my way. Since starting the Food Challenge at the gym I’ve felt better, I’m clear headed, and I have more energy, and am less bloated. Since WOD’ing again I’m in a better mood; smiling more, and getting out of my comfort zone with a little less complaining (running). I know that getting back to where I was over a month ago won’t happen overnight, and I know that it won’t happen in a week, but I know that with time and patience it will happen, and it will be better than I could have ever imagined.

I just need to keep swimming.

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Dawn O'Brien

Dawn is a participant in CrossFit Nashua's 2015/2016 "Fit-For-Life" program. Participants track their progress in the CrossFit training program during the coming 1-year period and log their progress in this blog. Best of luck Dawn, in meeting your training goals!

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