Tales of the Amazing Human Body

Hi there! I’ve missed you… I’ve missed blogging…. so many things (bad, good, and great!) over the last several weeks. 

(Bad – I have only got 1 more muscle up. Great – I got accepted to a professional development program by my employer)

 

I’m not entirely sure where the entire month of June went… other than lots of work, pool time, and puppy snuggles.

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Tonight, I am feeling sentimental … so I wanted to write about it. Of course, it’s about a workout..

The prescribed WOD was a two-parter.  The first part was CrossFit Endurance.  1 Mile for Time.  All day I stressed about this workout. Running has never been my forte – especially since my knee surgery.  I wanted to cherry-pick the WOD (aka: skip!) but I didn’t. I figured it was time to face my fear.

I will just jump right to it, because as it turns out, I set a 1 mile PR tonight!  I ran it in 8:30.

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Prior 1 mile would be 9 mins + some change.  

I know I’ve never been a fast runner.  And 8:30 is not “impressively fast” and it is far from the “gold standard” of 7-min mile set by my CF Coaches.  But it was a spectacular feeling for me tonight.

Realizing that 1-year ago, I literally cried in Physical Therapy as I did toe raises (i.e.: stand flat footed – raise to toes – and lower). My stitches had only been out for 3 days and I was still taking pain meds every six hours. 

 

Flashback Photo:

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What felt like torture at the time … and felt like I would never be “me” again…. time passed. Eventually (about 6 months ago), I got a full medical release.  I put in a lot of hard work. And I can’t wait to see where the next year takes me!

 

 

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2014 CrossFit Open Rx

There are so many reasons I enjoy doing the Open. Namely, it gives me a goal – a benchmark – a measurement of progress.

While many people will measure themselves against their friends, against other members at their box, or against the elite athletes…. we must not forget that we need to measure against ourselves.

I went into the 2014 Open a mere NINE WEEKS after having the medical “all clear” from my orthopedic surgeon. I was not fully recovered (my timeline was more along the 12 months compared to some who see full recovery in 6 months)…. I thought there would be a WOD that I would not be able to complete. 

You see, in the Open you are not allowed to scale the workout. This is the only time in crossfit that we don’t scale. In order to mark your score on the leaderboard, you must do the workout as prescribed.

Now, here I sit, FIVE Weeks later and I completed EVERY. SINGLE. WORKOUT.  As prescribed. 

It’s not a matter of bragging, or a matter of pride, but simply it is an awesome sense of accomplishment. 

****
 

Ten months ago, I tore my ACL.
Nine months ago, I underwent extensive reconstructive ACL surgery and meniscus repair.  
Eight months ago, I could barely raise my own straight leg. 
Seven months ago, I could not walk down stairs without holding on to the hand rail. 
Six months ago, I struggled to straighten my leg completely. 
Five months ago, I couldn’t walk a quarter mile on the sandy beach without aches and pains. 
Three months ago, I got the “all clear” to do whatever my body was capable of… ……

***
Two months ago, I signed up for the 2014 CrossFit Open.
Yesterday, I completed the 2014 CrossFit Open.  

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3 new PRs

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This has been quite an exciting week on all fronts. 
 
So let’s see, on the professional front…. it was my busy week. But through it all I stayed focused and level headed. I made a diligent effort to rise early in the morning so that I would have time to leave (workout) and log back on in the evenings. 
 
I got my yearly review and raise. Nice to know that my hard work over 2013 was appreciated and I’m being compensated fairly.
 
On the personal front… I’ve been quite productive.  Last Saturday I sold my 2006 Scion tC. That was a somewhat bitter sweet day. I bought that car, brand new, in February of 2006. She was a good car. But between the Jeep, Escape, Scion, and G’s work Trailblazer… we just had too many vehicles.
 
Another personal/home front, I filed our taxes this weekend. This is the first year in a few years that we will finally not owe (and Owe a LOT). The past couple years were some freak anomalies…and this year we have a nice small(ish) return coming to us. 
 
Okay, and the fitness front… holy hell this has been a very exciting week!!
 
One of my good friends at CrossFit finally got her first Muscle Up!  She has been working on it for many months. She’s seen many other people get their firsts’ in the gym.  She nursed a sore shoulder. But through it all, she continued to try.  Finally… it clicked for her. And I couldn’t be more excited for her!
 
 
 
I’ve got THREE new 1 Rep Max PR’s
 – 156 lbs BackSquat 
 – 105 lbs Strict Press
 – 265 lbs Deadlift  
 
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The back squat was on Sunday. My left knee/quad is still slowly making gains from the ACL surgery nearly 9 months ago.  I feel like my back squat should be more…but I know I need to be patient, it will come.
 
The strict press was completed on Tuesday. I know that I could do a 4 reps a 85lbs… so I wasn’t quite sure what to look for in my 1RM. Turns out, 105lbs was it! I had to take two runs at it… funny how 100lbs went up “easy” but adding 5 lbs made it feel so heavy. I didn’t breath right or tighten my core and barely lifted it above my nose.  Taking a breather and re-approaching the bar with all the right form… I got 105 lbs up!
 
Then on Thursday, I found another PR. This was probably the most shocking. I’ve never really found my 1RM Deadlift. Before the injury i had lifted 170lbs; but during the Open WOD 14.3 I ended up lifting 185 lbs for 19 reps. So, I knew I had to be at least 200-something. Most of the girls I workout with have ~225lb so that’s what I was shooting for…. it went up rather easy. Building up slowly (because I didn’t know where to aim) I kept going. I was ready to stop, so that we could get on with the WOD but my coach decided to have me do it one more time.  He loaded up the bar (I didn’t do the math) and he told me to lift it.  And I did!  265 lbs.  And while it was hard… I do not think it was my MAX effort.  BOOM. 
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Having these milestone markers will really help me gauge where I am (where I’ve been) and where I am going in the strength department.
 
And then … there’s the CrossFit Open.  For many people it seems to be getting harder, but for me It’s been getting easier. Considering it started with Double Unders, that’s really the only directly it could go for me.  
 
Since we only have one more week of the Open remaining, I’ll just wait to post a recap when complete.
 
Hell of a week, my friends.  I look forward to another great one!
 
Oh – and Happy Spring! (This is first day of spring 2012, downtown STL)
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Recap of 2013

Wow… what a year!! There have been some serious HIGHs and some big time LOWs.  When I look back on 2013…these are the things I will remember. And I think I’d like to do a post like this later that includes all of my CrossFit milestones…. 

January

Wrapped up the Whole30. It was an incredible experience. I have a new appreciation for food & health in general. I contemplate doing Whole30 again, but eating strict Paleo is much more long term solution.

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Gregg & I built a Handstand Snowman

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Completed by first Hero WOD

 

Volunteer Orientation at Stray Rescue with my friend Kristi. We got to walk a few dogs. I enjoyed it so much, and didn’t take any pups home. I didn’t make it back the rest of the year, it’s not in a great spot of town (I shouldn’t be down there by myself and Gregg can’t bear the thought of seeing the dogs without a home). 

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February

Mardi Gras Beer Tasting with the in-laws. It was a Christmas gift from father in law. The party was in the St. Louis City Hall Rotunda (where Gregg and I were wed). 

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Free tickets to see Lady GaGa (for a 2nd time) from a private box. They were from my employer as recognition.

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Trip to Texas with my mom & step dad. Lots of time spent with my extended family for my Great Grandma’s 93rd birthday and family reunion. Lots of pictures and good times. This is one of my favorite… hands of my Great Grandma (teal sleeve), Aunt Char (going clockwise), Me, Mom, Cousin Sam, Aunt Lisa, Grandma Kenna.

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March

I had the opportunity to attend “Transition to Managmenet” week long class at the Leadership Center. It was tough being away from home but I really enjoyed the time of reflection and energy I got from the classes. Oh, and I also got to try a workout machine called ‘Jacob’s Ladder’

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We got a pretty big Spring Snowstorm. Tucker was playing with his safety beacon…

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I participated in my First CF Competition. It was at CF314 with two other local boxes. My team placed 5th out of 11 and we had a great time

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Gregg and I set Pete the Pig out at Ted Drewes.

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April

I competed in, and completed, the 2013 CrossFit Open. I learned a lot about CrossFit during this time, but even more about myself. Ranking 5th at our local Box.

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Even though I wasn’t training for a run I completed the Go! St. Louis 5k

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May

Visited my favorite Winery – Chandler Hill – with Brooke. She relocated to Texas for her job and I miss her terribly. It was a busy day at the winery and they ran out of chillers… we know how to stay classy.

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May 15, 2013 – goofing off during CrossFit Workout – I tore my left ACL and meniscus. (No picture). We were testing our jump measurements… running long jumps should always plant with BOTH feet!

 Caught a few baseball games..

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June

Trying to find the joy in the little things… my hydrangea plant produces the most monstrous flowers.

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A few trips to the pool too:

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June 25, 2013 – Surgery for ACL Reconstruction and Meniscus Repair. Tucker was worried about me…but i was in the loving care of my mom, husband, and pups.

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July

Lots and lots of Knee Recovery. Lots and lots of Knee Pictures.

I took some time off work and then worked from home for several weeks. It was during our busiest time of the year and I was out of the office for almost 4 weeks. I will not repost all the knee pictures.

 

August

We took Tucker for a ride in the Jeep to Ted Drewes. 

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I learned to embrace the GYMNASTICS portion of CrossFit and started dabbling on the Rings.

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Gregg’s BDay was low key and more pool time…

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September

Over labor day weekend (August/September) we took a trip to Colorado. Gregg completed a race called the Ascent while I spent lots of time with my mom.

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Along with several other volunteers we painted St Louis Fire Department headquarters parking lot, fence, and training tower. The project was organized my The Mission Continues.

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October

We took our annual Trip to Mexico.  Dreams Puerto Vallarta.

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Sharp Shootin at the Range

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Set Goals for 34th Birthday!

 

November

Attended The Mission Continues Gala.  Met Jon Stewart. 

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Saw Justin Timberlake in Concert

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We wait late into the night… who’s mail delivery comes at 730pm?!  But we get the results from the Captains text. Gregg is #9. This is huge.

 

December

In the quickest turn of events… Gregg’s promotion is made.

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I take advantage of the break from work (nine days off) to clean house, clear out closets, and get lots ready for donation. Here is my shoe graveyard:

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For Christmas, Gregg got me two wonderful gifts. Strikingly different, but both perfect for me. A Strand of Pearls from the Jacqueline Kennedy designs. And a pair of Reebok Olympic Weightlifting Shoes. I’m equally excited for both!

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My Biggest Accomplishment – Keeping my Head on right during the ACL tear, pre-hab, reconstruction surgery, and rehabilitation. In 2013, I became a CrossFitter.

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Hey Future Self… Stay Motivated!

I’m sure you were all waiting, with baited breath, what happened today. Well, my darling hubby (who scored 9th on the STLFD Captain’s exam — hint hint) was officially promoted captain!!! There were so many days and nights spent studying. Housework that may have gone by the wayside, Workouts that didn’t get done, and Date Nights (and Brunches) over flashcards.  And all of that hard work paid off!! I was not invited to today’s ceremony, but I look forward to one in the near future that family is invited to.

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Now…back to ME! 

Just over one year ago I thought I was a fit person. And I was… all things considering. After all, I was healing from meniscus tear repair (that I tore while training for a half marathon). I practiced yoga, did workout DVDs, and spent long hours on treadmills, ellipticals, and stair masters.

Then I started CrossFit.

Granted, I’ve had my set backs (two months into it – major ankle sprain; 6 months into it – ACL & meniscus tear!). But through it all I’ve learned to eat much healthier (Whole30!) and stay focused on the things I can do… keeping my body moving through the surgery pre-hab and re-hab!

These are my one year progress pictures. It’s hard to believe they are both me. When I look at them, a small part of my brain thinks “jeez, think how really great these would be without those injuries!” … then the sensible part of my brain kicks in and says “damn, girl! you look good!”

So… I don’t post these as a fish for compliments. I don’t post these to get any internet stalkers for my hot bod. But, I do post these so that I will remember what one year of hard work and focused dedication can do. And just maybe the inspiration will strike another.

I have no doubt that life will continue to throw me curve balls. Try as I might, I’m sure I’ll get injured again (fingers crossed not!) and I’m sure I’ll get busy with work, life, and living. But I absolutely hope that I will remember how happy I am right now. Not just with my physical state but with my overall being.

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Four Months Recovery

I’m about 4 months and 5 days post-surgery. ACL reconstruction and Meniscus repair are serious business! Much more than I originally gave it credit for….the road has been long… and I’m about 2/3 of the way to the “all clear” mark. At least in terms of general timeframe. I have no idea how long it will take me to get there physically.

I signed up for a local gym at my employers office… I will be hitting up those ellipticals and treadmills next week!

But, tonight I headed to my CF Box to work on a little PT action. I’ve definitely been slacking in that department and I need to get it into gear if I plan to truly be “released” for the new year! 

I designed a WOD that focused on all the muscles that I need to be working on. It smoked me. I was in pain, sweating, and winded. It was a great one!

  • For Time:
    • 500m Row
    • 40 lunges
    • 30 good mornings
    • 20 squats
    • 10 step ups (ended up doing 20 small ones)
    • 1 min plank
    • 10 step ups (again, did 20)
    • 20 squats
    • 30 good mornings
    • 40 lunges
    • 500m row
    • 1 min plank

The whole thing took me 23 minutes. Body weight squats are getting better (aka: deeper) and the lunges are getting slightly easier (aka: rely less on my broomstick handle for balance).

My left quad feels like it’s on fire. And my right quad (probably still favored the left and carried more weight) was locking up on me during my final plank.

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Left leg lacks the definition of the right (more visible in the shimmer of light — see how that line is shaped differently)

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A much more “obvious” view of the size difference between my two quads. Rough measurements indicate that my right thigh is a full 1 inch (or more) larger than the left.

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My pants left some impression (due to swelling) but you can tell that scars are healing nicely and minimal swelling.

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This is my view whenever I try to lay on the floor….. two happy, drooling, panting puppies!! xoxo


High Heels and Cheesy Puppy Grins

Something has clicked …. not in a “uh-oh what just happened in there”, but in a good way…. for my knee today. 

Today was the first day, post ACL injury and reconstruction that I was able to wear real heels into the office. I feel so much more polished and pulled together wearing high heels. Actually, they don’t even have to be ‘high’…but just not flats.

Don’t get me wrong… I’ve got some super cute flats. But most of my dress slacks are too long and it just looks sloppy when I’m wearing flats.

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Also, Tonight I got to participate in most of the WOD at my box! I couldn’t do any of the strength work (heavy squats) so I rowed during that portion.

The WOD was 10 Round for Time (RFT): 7 pull-ups; 10 Hollow Rocks. I used the blue band for my pull ups. 

– For the pull ups, I probably could have used a lighter band if I hadn’t just done some big ‘pulling’ exercises yesterday. Also, during the WOD I was practically doing Chest to Bar. The trainer even called me out on it. But then he also said it was better to do that than to cheat the movement.

– For the hollow rocks, I can really feel my core being stronger. I had solid form for all 100 rocks and although I felt a little sore during the WOD, I’m feeling like I could do more now.

– The thing that did me in tonight…. Grip Strength, Calluses, and Blisters. Oh my. 

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Getting home around 7:30… the pups are running in the backyard, some tunes rolling through the crisp evening air, and a hint of someone BBQ’ing. It was Gregg! I snuck up on Tucker and got the most happiest of grins from him.  Then dined on some bbq brats, sweet taters, and broccoli. yum. 

Walking through the front door to my house, I am recharged. My heart is happy. My soul is fed. 

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PS – remember my walking goal for last week?  5,000 steps per day?  Well, I just about made it!! I fell short on Thursday (working & shopping at Nordstrom Rack didn’t get me many steps) and Saturday (bad knee day). The other days that fall below the bar were days I also went to CrossFit. I don’t think my little FitBit knows how to measure all that!  I’ll try to keep it up this week!

 

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Post-Surgery: Three Months

Editors Note: I typed this blog post on Sunday, Aug 22. Evidently I forgot to publish.

 

I am half-way there!!

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I feel like I am about 70% recovered (physically) but only 50% of the way through the recovery period. I’m entering dangerous territory. Most ACL re-injuries occur during the fourth month (or so) when the patient feels 100% but the graft has not fully fused.

The appointment with Dr. Wright, orthopedic surgeon, on Tuesday went very well. He congratulated me on my progress. He admitted that he was a little worried during my last check up but I’ve come a long way. Virtually no swelling and full Rang of Motion has been recovered.

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Knee rehab is a lot like riding a roller coaster. There are some pretty big ups and some scary downs. You can’t let the ‘downs’ get into your head.

 

So, what does 70% look and feel like?

  • Well, I’m able to row at CrossFit with both feet. No more skate board! I don’t have the explosive power that I need, but that will come. I’ve also made it to the box four times this week!
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  • Full straightening (weight bearing or not) is still a struggle and at times pretty painful. If I ease my way into it, it’s alright. But if I just go to lock it out… no bueno.
  • I’ve worn wedges (shoes) once. It left me rather sore the next day.
  • I still hold on to the railing on the stairs, but sometimes I think that’s more out of habit at this point.
  • I’m no longer going to physical therapy… and I don’t go see the doc until mid-December. Between now and then, I’m supposed to start jogging and doing other cardiovascular activities. (This instills quite a bit of fear in me. It is time I start to trust my knee, and that is much easier said than done.)
  • Working on the scar tissue… scar massage as well. Trying to bust up the build up on the side. Due to some oddities in the nerve regeneration, I can touch in one spot and feel it halfway down my leg on the other side. I hear from others this is sorta normal.
  • Quad strength is slowly coming back. Seeing some slight definition in my left thigh… but it is still much smaller than my right.
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Following the M.O.O.N. ACL Rehab Guidelines, I am in Phase 3. I am a little behind the curve on the timing, but considering I had the meniscus repair in addition to the ACL reconstruction, I am not concerned. 
 
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Today, I went for my first long walk. I covered 1.5miles in 36 minutes. That is not very quick at all. But I kept a nice steady pace… paying special attention to my form. Make sure my heel strikes first, straighten all the way, and push off the toes. Steady gait, no limping or favoring.

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It was a beautiful day in the park, and the rest of my body wanted to stay out longer. I listened to my knee and decided not to push it. I still had to go to Target and do housework. No need setting myself back.

I’m going to set a goal to try to get 5,000 steps every day this week. My FitBit will help me keep track! Once I can cover those steps without pain I will start to introduce jogging. I’m so scared to start jogging…but I must fight through it.

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Post Surgery: Ten Weeks

It has been just over 10 weeks since my reconstruction ACL and meniscus repair surgery. It’s been a while since I’ve done a status check of my knee….

Over the past several weeks I will have really good days. Some days I even feel like I’m >75% recovered. But then, I usually over-exert myself on those days and I pay for it the next (feeling < 50% recovered).

Skipping two one week of PT (so it was two weeks between visits), I felt like my progression slowed. I wasn’t good about doing my homework while in Denver and I walked a lot. At one point in Denver my knee was uber painful and a bruise started forming on the back of my knee. I got a little nervous that I’d done some damage.

Once I went back to PT and my therapist were talking about how I felt… she reminded me that at four months I’d feel good but I needed to be very careful. I reminded her that I was only at 10 weeks (several weeks shy of that mark). She said that I’m progressing much faster and she needed to remember I wasn’t at the 16-ish week mark. 

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At my 10week PT appointment I also achieved FULL range of motion (141*) while working on my heel slides down the wall.

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So, how does the knee feel?

  • The outside incision still has quite a bit of scar tissue underneath it. 
    • Pain is usually located around incision areas so I’m trying to bust up the scar tissue. The outside incision is most common achy spot. Under front of knee cap is second biggest offender.
  • The whole knee aches nearly all the time, sometimes it’s a “thickness” feeling others it’s a much sharper pain. I get tired of telling people I hurt, so I often don’t mention it or want to talk about it. I just tell them “I’m good”.
    • Sometimes I will get stabbing pains in the inside of the leg/knee. It feels a bit like I imagine electrocution would feel. Quick, intense, and then gone.
  • Going up stairs and hills is slightly more challenging than normal; but going down stairs and hills can be extremely difficult. If I don’t have a handrail, I will often take one step at a time just because I don’t feel stable.
  • Building up my quad muscle has helped reduced some of the “popping” I was feeling. 
  • Moving around (from push ups to sit ups, skin the cat upside down hangs, rolling over in bed) still feels odd. Not always painful, but just not normal. It reminds me of the “looseness” I felt when the ACL was torn. And of course that freaks me out.
  • Sometimes I feel wobbly on it. And I almost alway worry that I’ve re-injured myself. But I try to calm myself by realizing it’s likely the muscle strength and coordination that I still need to work on.
  • My PT graduated my homework to lunges and mini-squats. I do that in addition to quad sets and prone hangs.
  • There are times I wake up in the night, in pain, when I straighten/stretch my legs. 
  • Sitting/Standing too long I get stiff and tight.
  • Getting full extension when walking is tough. I really have to slow down to feel it and walk right. I hate walking so slowly… so I haven’t been doing it. But I worry that will harm me in the long run.

Most of these bullets sound like I’m not doing good. But I truly believe I am. I think this just goes to show how far I’ve come…but how much more work I will have to do! I think it also shows that when I visit the ortho surgeon in a week that I am not ready to be ‘on my own’. I want to continue some PT visits…even if it’s less frequent…but I feel I need (a) that reminder that I’m not healed and (b) someone to help keep me in check and a little less worried as I get back to it.

Two WODs this week

This week was a super busy work week (already logged about 50 hours), I had a strenuous PT session, and I still found time to hit up the box two times this week!

Both wods were long-ish (by Crossfit standards) and I’m feeling pretty good. My energy/endurance is slowly coming back.

Monday WOD two-10minute workouts.
2,000m row 10:28.5
–Rest–
5 rounds ~10 mins
10 seated wall balls @10#
10 push-ups
5 rope pulls

Thursday WOD took just under 20 minutes.
5 rounds:
8 HSPU (feet on box)
400m row sprint
2 min rest