CrossFit……….how it transformed me, what it means to me, and why I decided to quit

Right after inking!!!

Right after inking!!!

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I started CrossFit at work in January 2011, at our corporate facility. I was already a workout at lunch girl, since 2008, so I just shifted from walking and running to explosive cardio, Olympic weightlifting, and plyometrics.  It beat Asthma Girl down quite well, but I was quickly addicted to the terrible pain.  I remember not being able to get up and down from my office chair that January, crying every time I had to pee.  Every squat, every movement of my arms and legs was agony.  During the warm-ups I felt like my muscles were on fire, but I wanted more and more.  February 28, 2011 I started the I Am CrossFit (IAC) challenge, and I suffered through the six weeks, six days a week workouts; it was awful and wonderful at the same time. 

When I started CrossFit, I had the love and support of a wonderful man, who shared in my every pain and triumph.  When he broke up with me during March 2011, I had the thought that I didn’t want to wake up and face the world without him; I was still in my codependent phase of life, and I did not have good coping strategies to deal with the loss.  I threw all my pain into completing IAC, and I celebrated my six week finale with lunch with the ex-boyfriend, and then my first and only tattoo, which I had wanted for three years or more.  It is a Celtic knot representing my life journey, a butterfly to represent my transformation, a frog to represent my darling son, who was only 2, beginning his life transformation, and a dragonfly to represent my amazing daughter, who is always changing, always happily living in the moment.  I asked the ex boyfriend to go with me, which took a lot of courage, I’m an only child who tries to be tough and go it alone; he said no because he didn’t want my memories of that day to revolve around him, and maybe that was wise, but it reinforced my desire not to ask anyone to be there for me, ever.  I remember the sweat pooling beneath me in the chair, the never-ending buzzing of the needle, the pressure against skin and bone; it was agony but it was mine alone. 

CrossFit and my kids were what I had to anchor myself as I dealt with the breakup. The injuries started with the completion of IAC; for me, six days a week was total overtraining, and my body started to break down.  I was still running also, and attending grad school, and working………raising my kids.  I look back and think WOW, how did I do all of that, but you just do what you have to when you have to.  The rest is a blur until November, tons of injuries, switched to CrossFit bootcamp in June that year through November.  November 21, 2011 is the day I found out I had cervical cancer, and I switched back to CrossFit until I had surgery in January; I needed the o-lifting, the power, the feeling that I had control over something, that I could conquer that bar, those weights, those movements. 

CrossFit made me feel strong, capable, invincible, a tougher, more balance Asthma Girl.  It taught me so much about how to use my body, how to lift things, how to move things, how to overcome obstacles.  CrossFit is like a cult in some ways; it gets in your bloodstream and changes you.  CrossFit was my focus after surgery; I used it to recover physically this year and to relieve stress.  I cried through so many workouts, my abdomen still has horrible pain at two of the five incisions every time we have an “ab beat down” type of workout. There’s a certain amount of pride that comes from crying through a WOD, however. 

CrossFit and my half marathon training became difficult this autumn, and that’s when I started to have doubts. I was struggling with training for a half marathon with just three days of running and three days of CrossFit.  I wasn’t sleeping well, I felt over trained, I was only resting one day a week, but I was addicted and couldn’t stand the thought of stopping either of them.  I knew that CrossFit was helping me with strength and power, but it was also adding to joint stress.  I got through it, completed the half marathon, switched to CrossFit bootcamp again, but I was still struggling, still injured.  I barely made it through 10 sessions that are required in November, and decided that my joints desperately needed a break……….time to swim, and train for the splash-n-dashes next Jan, Feb and Mar.  I went for my first swim, and I had zero swimming endurance, couldn’t even finish my first lap freestyle, I had to switch to a different stroke, and this reinforced my decision to focus on my endurance, my bucket list (multi-sport event), to switch it up. 

I love CrossFit, I love the team atmosphere, the camaraderie, my coworkers, the “can-do, take no prisoners” attitude, I love that it made my determination even stronger than it was when I began.  CrossFit will always be a two-year experience I’m extremely grateful for.  The support of my trainers, my coworkers, my friends, has made it an amazing leg in my life journey.  So I Am CrossFit though I am no longer a CrossFitter.  Asthma Girl………is swimming and running her way to a new goal.

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2 thoughts on “CrossFit……….how it transformed me, what it means to me, and why I decided to quit

  1. I knew people who went into cross fit, and well…they turned a little different. Fitness should not be about pain it should be about strength. It sounds to me like you already got that message. Plus this confirms it’s so not for me. 🙂

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