Tag Archives: spartan race

What I’ve learned since ankle injury

If you’ve been following my posts, (sorry it’s been awhile since I’ve posted) you know that a few months ago I severely sprained and avulsion fractured my left ankle. It’s been a tough road to recovery and I’m still not fully recovered, but I’m finally feeling a bit better. I’m finally able to complete the workouts I set out to do without having to do too much modification. 
Injury is never easy – for anyone – but in my opinion it’s even harder for someone who is as active as I am. Typically I workout 7 days a week – crossfit 5-6 days, and Les mills BodyPump 2-3x per week. Occasionally I will do both in one day, or I’ll add a traditional bodybuilder type workout – usually legs or shoulders – to my week. When I injured my ankle I had to scale my workouts back and at one point I was going to crossfit 1x per week and teaching BodyPump 1x per week. Once my boot came off I had to scale every workout but slowly but surely I started to feel better. 

Then I “ran” the Spartan – Killington Beast, against the advice of my doctor. I will write more about this in the near future, but I managed to complete the nearly 17mile race (13-14miles as per the map but 17-18miles as per the GPS) with a taped and wrapped up ankle that was clearly not stable. When I finished the race and headed back to crossfit the following day, I decided then and there that I would focus on my recovery and strengthening my ankle. I also decided that I would stop telling myself that I couldn’t do something – and realize that in 10.5hours I completed one of the hardest things I have ever completed – and no future workout would be even close to that day. 

Since the race I’ve paid much more attention to stretching and spending the time on mobility in my left ankle. I’ve been able to do many of the workouts using Rx weight – mostly because I have taken the time to pay attention to how my ankle feels, and how each movement feels. 

I’ve also changed my diet to a low carb, high fat – ketogenic diet. This has seemed to be the main contributor to my quick recoveries and energy. I have also spent a lot of time talking myself out of coming out of the gate too fast… Something I noticed was before my injury I would try to be the fastest and would wind up in last place – but once I slowed down – paced myself – I was able to not only complete the workouts but I was able to complete them with Rx weight and much faster than ever before – even when there is running involved (which continues to be an area for improvement because of my ankle). 

So, overall my injury has taught me:

  • Slow down, take the time to recover
  • Slow down, stop trying to be the fastest person – go at your own pace
  • You won’t die – you’ve done harder, so give it all you have 
  • If it feels good, go for it – even if your doctor doesn’t advise it (ok this one might not have been the best idea lol)

  

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Road to Trifecta, Road to Recovery

Palmerton, PA. Saturday July 11th. Picture this, looking up at a mountain, knowing that only a few minutes are left before you face one of the hardest challenges of your life…   The Spartan Super, 8+ miles, and 32 obstacles, up and down a mountain with a total elevation gain of over 3000ft. Hydration pack, gels, salt pills, GOAT tape, and green/blue hair – I was ready. I trained for this.  

At 9:30, my heat started, the first hill was a doozy, and really set the tone for the entire race. Obstacle after obstacle, steep climb after steep decline, the race was starting off the be amazing! I made it to the sandbag carry in less than an hour and I was feeling high on life after completing the uneven monkey bars with ease! I doubted myself but had an amazing volunteer who cheered me on and gave me the extra confidence that I needed and I crushed it!   Right before mile marker #3 there was a slight decline in a grassy area, most people were walking but I felt like I could jog it, so off I went – a little trot, not picking up too much speed but just enough to make some ground and then… It happened. My ankle snapped – it was one of those feelings that can only be explained with a feeling. I heard it and felt it in my throat simultaneously. I immediately thought I was done. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to finish, I thought they’d pull me off the course. They called for a medic, a few racers stayed with me, I appreciated the support but I surely didn’t act like it. I was screaming profanities, punching the ground – it felt like all the work, all the hours of preparation were for nothing. I couldn’t move my foot. I had to stop, I had to breathe, I had to think. One racer tried to take my shoe off – I yelled at her to stop. I remembered that my mom had busted her foot once and continued to walk home, when she took her shoe off her foot blew up like a balloon. I knew the moment my shoe was removed I had no chance of finishing the race.  When the volunteer came over, I realized I could move my toes. I HAD to try and stand. If I could stand – I could limp, if I could limp, I could finish. I told him I needed to try, even if I had to walk, I had to try to finish. I got up, grabbed my GOAT tape from my bag and began wrapping my ankle. I figured a little extra support would help me get through. The rest of the race was nothing short of a disaster, but I kept telling myself to keep going, one foot in front of the other. I kept telling myself that this was temporary.    

 After 6 hours and 20 minutes, I finished. As I jumped over the fire tears began to flow… 

 I was proud, I was in pain, I was scared for what I would have to deal with as I tended to my ankle, I couldn’t believe I had made it another 5+ miles and only failed 4 obstacles (3 after the injury – one of which was a voluntary fail as I decided it wasn’t worth it to climb the rope and fall – although I did get to the top knot again, but this time I chose to descend slowly rather than have my hand slip and possibly hurt my ankle even more). I failed the spear throw (before my injury), the Z wall (got very close but fell off on the last wall), the rope climb, and the multi rig (got to about the 6th ring when I had too much swing and my hands slipped off of the rings).      
Now the biggest obstacle begins…

The Road to Recovery. 

After the race, my husband carried me to the medic tent where they evaluated my ankle. The man who helped us was very nice, he said it looks like a severe sprain but it may be fractured – he unfortunately left his X-ray glasses at home lol. So, we drove home to NY and went to the hospital. The X-rays showed a slight avulsion fracture, and since it was late they wanted me to follow up on Monday with an orthopedist. They gave me crutches and an air cast and sent me on my way with 600mg of ibprofin.

The orthopedist took more X-rays and evaluated my ankle.  Although he did note two very small chips of bone on the medial aspect of my ankle (inside) he said there was a lot of inflammation and mostly looked like a very severe sprain. He fitted me for a walking boot, and said that I should be able to walk without it in about 2-3 weeks. He said overall it may be 3-6 months before it’s fully healed but we will recheck in 3 weeks to see if there’s progress.  

 Within an hour of getting the boot I was able to walk without crutches (thank goodness), and by the next morning I was feeling much more stable. 

It’s going to be a long road ahead of me, but I’m confident that I will be ready for the Killington Beast in September to complete my first Trifecta! 

The doctor said I could still workout as long as it is modified to the point that I am not putting any pressure on my leg… I will focus on upper body and grip strength work and once I can be more mobile with my leg, I will begin training for the next race.

 

 

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Update: I’ve turned into one of THOSE people

What an interesting title since I haven’t written in awhile. Sorry, life has been a bit hectic around here – I just seem to never stop working lately! With our focus on building our AdvoCare business and my schedule at my full-time vet tech job, life has been a bit crazy! 

I can’t believe my last blog was about the Spartan! (Don’t worry, I’ll get into what that title is all about shortly 😉) Since the Spartan sprint I have signed up for the Spartan Super in Palmerton, PA on July 11th and the Spartan Beast in Killington, VT on September 19th. I’ve bit the Spartan bug, drank the Spartan kool-aid and I’m hooked! I’ve seen some photos of the Killington mountain and I can’t seem to figure out what in the world I was thinking but, I’m pretty determined to get that trifecta medal! I feel like it will be the ultimate accomplishment – those races are not easy, and it will solidify that I am no longer just some girl who likes to workout, but I’m an athlete… You have to be to complete these races!! 

That brings me to that title of mine… So what type of person have I become?    …. That’s right, this photo is of my very first crossfit competition last Saturday! I’m officially a crossfitter! 

Okay, okay, close your gapping mouth – I know all of the concerns about crossfit : it’s expensive, it’s unsafe, people get really hurt, they are a cult, etc, etc. Don’t get me wrong – I love lifting, I love Body Pump, and I love challenging myself, but I have really been drawn to crossfit as a way to step up my athleticism. After only 3 weeks of crossfit 4-5x a week, I competed in my first competition and came in 8 out of 15… This was after working an overnight and very little sleep and food. I’m sure had I slept I would have been higher on that scoreboard but I’m very proud of myself for coming in 8th in the scaled division (basically this means modified – so the weight is less and the movements are not advanced – i.e. deadlifts instead of snatches).  I’ve also since purchased some pretty sweet gear – new sneakers, strength wraps, and a jump rope! I also got some PVC pipe to stretch and practice the overhead squat and snatch movements.  I’ve gone from being completely unable to do movements like toes to bar (exactly what it sounds like) and pull ups to being able to do a few of each! I’m really feeling strong and challenged! I’d quickly like to address two other points – first – cost. Yes, crossfit is expensive – but so is Starbucks coffee. We drink 5$ cups of coffee for the name and the experience. Many people will go without food to have their coffee in the morning, because it’s worth it so they make it happen. In order to pay for crossfit I had to make some changes in my finances – cut a little here, cut a little there, but I figured it out because it’s important to me. Second – crossfit is only dangerous if you don’t focus on form and do more than you are capable of. A lot of people hurt themselves because they don’t take the time to learn their bodies and what they are able to do. Also, with any gym, you have some coaches (trainers) that may be more experienced than others – you may have a coach that doesn’t really focus so much on safety and doing movements correctly – allowing for mistakes and ultimately people getting hurt. Luckily I have found a box (gym) that has some really awesome coaches, and I know my own bodies capabilities and where I can push it and where I should scale it back.      I guess I can also address the last point I made earlier in this post – and that is that crossfit is a cult. If by cult you mean:  a relatively small group of people having (religious) beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister…. Then sure, call it a cult. But in reality crossfit is all about culture. The coaches and other members are so motivating – they cheer you on, and everyone really helps each other push harder. I’ve quickly joined a family that I was welcomed into with open arms! 

  

What are you passionate about? Have you ever tried crossfit? What’s something that you have made adjustments in your life (not just financial) just so you can enjoy it? 

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