Thursday, October 29, 2015

My support in the road to recovery

My new drink...after months of craving something other than my "4 long shot Americano with half a TB of Heavy Cream", I found it today: "Flat white with an extra shot and 2 pumps of Sugar Free Cinnamon Dolce" - perfect!

My walk at Natirar today. Was absolutely beautiful, walking has been great for me this past week physically, but more so emotionally!

My first homemade Pumpkin Pie! Made the crust from scratch and topped with my homemade whipped cream...and yes, I macro'd it.

This happened. 3 donuts from Montclair Bread Company. (What isn't captured in this picture is the extra donut hole I also ate in addition to the donuts - that was a separate entry). I've been hesitating on straying to poorer food choices, but was just dying for a good donut and figured I might as well go all the way!

The past week has been eye opening to say the least. I went from a life where working out was at the center and one of the top priorities. As I have shared previously in this blog, working out (CF, running, yoga, cycling etc.) has been a huge outlet for me in more ways than simply 'exercise'. Stress relief, general health, therapy, validation, a way to maintain acceptable body comp...the list goes on

However, as of last week, it was as if someone pulled the rug out from underneath me. All of that was gone. At first I truly could not accept it. I was advised that swimming could be something I could attempt. Of course I immediately experimented and ended up in severe crippling pain for the subsequent 48 hours. It was very apparent that I needed to STOP dead in my tracks and reevaluate a number of things. 

The reality is that I couldn't stop on my own. In fact, I couldn't and can't do any of this on my own. For months, years, I have been of the mindset 'I can do this and can do it alone'. That has caught up to me and my back was the tipping point to force me to accept support. 

What is amazing about support is that it is not always what we 'want'. Bill has been my rock this week in supporting me for what is best for me, not necessarily what I want or want to hear. He has reminded me of the positive, the opportunity for this to be a re-calibration time, and encouraged me to be smart and use all of the resources at my disposal. 

While much of this has been 'tough love', a great deal of it has been just plain caring. (This includes sharing in the donut throwdown with me on a rainy Wednesday with a warm cup of coffee.) He also trusts my instincts, thought process and reasoning. He respects my choices while being the voice of reason simultaneously.

This recovery will be long but I will be sure to note every positive opportunity and benefit that has come from this experience. And there are so many of them...Remember to take the help, look at your support, know that no matter who you are, you can't do it alone.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Herniated what?

Great little snack of Fage Greek yogurt, Cascadian farms organic cinnamon toast cereal and sprinkle of cinnamon

Shared this Jaime Oliver recipe with Tom and Rita. I love fall cooking and have been making it a priority to change things up and take the extra time to cook good stuff! Griggstown Farms sells great whole chickens at our Farmer's market on Sundays!

 Favorite delicacy lately: whole grain bakery fresh toast with avocado spread on top and a sprinkle of truffle salt...all topped with an egg or two cooked over easy 

The Piece-de-resistance - Donuts from Montclair Bread Company for a dessert treat...didn't stand a chance with the Level 1 staff..

I have been struggling with back issues for the past few weeks again. As per my previous post, I had suffered and endured quite a bit of back issues last fall when I traveled to Norway to work a Level 1 seminar and visit family. At the time I sought aggressive Chiropractic care and 'recovered'. However, as I've fully admitted, when the pain was gone, so was my upkeep of treatments and I concluded I didn't have the 'time' to make for them.

I finally got an MRI this week after battling the pain and on/off issues for the past 2 weeks to include not being able to stand, sit or walk. The verdict: herniated L5 and S1 discs. what?

The grand plan of Bill returning home, working out together, sharing 'normal' life etc. went up in flames pretty quickly. Aside from being mostly incapacitated and working out being a non consideration, my mood has been one of frustration and sadness. Working out is my outlet, my joy, my sport.

Today my perspective got a wake up. Last weekend a number of our coaches and members participated in a fundrasier at the CrossFit Annex affiliate down the road in Chatham. It was in support of a specific type of muscular dystrophy that affects young boys called Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Today Mickey, CrossFit Annex owner and head coach, came by to give us tshirts and personally thank us. As we were speaking, he was explaining the details of the disease and how there is no cure to date and likely due to the specifics of each case, there likely won't be one in the near future. These young boys are in constant pain, can't stand, and their muscles essentially stiffen to such a degree that they can no longer function. Their lives end at a tragic young age due to cardiac arrest.

Immediate perspective.

No complaints moving forward. I look forward to getting healthy and I appreciate that I have the ability to enjoy health and have the benefit of healing daily. I am grateful for the support of my husband, kids, family and the community at our gym to help me through.

So blessed.

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Revival and the two-sided coin

Treated myself to a mini Maple Bacon donut from Montclair Bread a couple of weeks ago. (Full disclosure, didn't pull the trigger on drinking the chocolate milk, but it's Markus' favorite kind so I gave it to him)

We were given 4 bottles of Deer Antler from the people of Lurong Living at the Trainer Summit. I've been experimenting with taking this daily for recovery

A perfect dinner! A litle sauteed cod, string beans and roasted mini potatoes, dollop of sour cream. 

Plan ahead!!! I had a busy day leaving for Cali and new I wouldn't want to be stuck at airport starving, so I made sure to pack an open faced sandwich to go!

It's been a challenging week. I have been thinking about the blog and what to write, more so, how to tie in everything I wanted to write in a way that is impactful and makes sense to others and their lives. To make a long story short, I've dealt with some back issues for about a year now. I should rephrase that to say that about a year ago, my back issues became apparent and symptomatic. They have probably been underlying for quite some time but were exploited when I let up on my intense training, took a break and then resumed at 90% with very little ramp up. 

I had a tremendous amount of success with Dr Ryan in Randolph literally allowing me to resume full capacity and functionality pain free...until last week....Once again, same situation...I had backed off from heavy squatting and was increasing slowly in weight week to week until one week where I made too big of a jump. That put me in a vulnerable position and after 10 days of 'backing off' I jumped back in too quickly which was the final blow. 

Last Monday I was on my back on the floor in tears. I couldn't stand straight, bend, turn, sit...Cooking food for the kids or getting through a drop off at school was agonizing. But throughout this the hardest part for me wasn't really the pain, it was the anger and frustration. "Why did I do this to myself?!" "How am I back to this place?" and of course "When can I get back to normal?"

However, after a day or so of that frustration and the realization that it was NOT going to help anything, I started looking at how I could learn about myself and how I approach things from this experience. I truly believe that a great deal of the physical shut down was my body being at it's last resort to slow me down. The emotional stress and pace of my days does not allow for that and so I keep demanding more of myself each day...until my body finally said "NO!"

Many of our healthy endeavors are a two sided coin. For example: working out/ CrossFit. One side is the benefit and healthy approach to our bodies and the physical benefits we gain from increasing our work capacity across broad time and modal domains. Other benefits and positives are the mental gains and humility we should all be taking away with us that extend beyond our physical bodies - understanding what it is to persevere, to push ourselves, to not give up. The perspective of community and support, the judgement free approach to our peers. 

However, there is the other side of that coin as well...the side that takes things 'too far'. All of those positives taken to the extreme can be detrimental. Not allowing rest, not scaling appropriately, not focusing on form...not listening to an ache or a tweak. Pedal to the gas and no letting up regardless of what gets in the way. Things can be taken too far on the intangibles side too - putting everything into performance in workouts and measuring our lives against a time or the notion that we 'gave up' on ourselves by not meeting a goal. 

Where this has particular relevance is in our G60 Nutrition challenge that is approaching its' halfway mark. I know that all of us have our health as the highest priority as to our 'why' for approaching food differently in the challenge. It could also be a 'healthier' relationship with food and finding balance. It could be doing more cooking versus eating out and committing to the time it takes despite busy schedules. Regardless, the 'healthy' notion is paramount for us all. 

However, what about that darker side of the coin...? The obsessive behavior, be that the need to get 'zero's' in the macros daily, carrying a food scale around, being compulsive about seeing the bathroom scale numbers change...I am here to raise my hand high in the air on all of those.

I had to be honest and see that although it is natural to have both sides and almost necessary to find the balance between the two, I was pushing it too far to the negative. For me the specifics are using workouts as my crutch for stress relief. I 'need' to workout, to sweat, to get my heart rate up, to push. Taking a complete rest day is torture and feels unnatural and makes me anxious. My need isn't for crazy heavy or destructive workouts on the reg, but it's a 'checking the box' on having done SOMETHING. While it's wonderful to find something that is a stress relief, it can't be addictive or that much of a dependency. So for me, the back forced me to see that life needs to have some balance and I need other outlets beyond a workout to find that calm in my life.

Similarly on the food...and this one is a BIG work in progress...the Macros have been truly life changing in that I feel free from good food/ bad food and the notion of 'perfection'. However, I need to be eyes wide open in terms of that tendency to obsess over the scale going up or down a pound, going over with a 1/4 cup of rice one day or not being able to accurately measure a meal out. 

So, the revival has begun, the back is on the mend, and I am grateful to be walking, moving and feeling good. It has given me some perspective and time to reflect on what is truly 'healthy' and work to keep the coin the right side up.