Last Friday I teamed up with a couple friends and Blair out in Belgium to do mine and Blair's 3rd installment of our Trans-Continental Workout. it was a really tough one that included some pretty high intensity, complete torso flexion and extension (check out the post and video here). I then planned on taking a nice easy weekend to prepare for this great CrossFit Community Week I put together (read about that here) where I would be doing some pretty tough workouts every day of the week, and sometimes twice a day.
As I was sitting on an airplane, headed up to Albany to see my Alma Mater play some basketball and also to make a special visit to someone, my stomach began to ache like crazy. I assumed it was a lack of food which I knew was an issue by midday as I had rem all over the place with training and getting to the airport. so, during the layover in Philly, I grabbed a salad and got some dried fruit for a little later. but this didn't help, in fact, it started getting worse.
By the time I got to upstate, my stomach was really killing me. and by the time the game was over, I could barely stand up straight or even walk comfortably. I knew something was really not right. As luck would have it, we had a couple doctors in the group of friends and they kept probing and prodding me (I actually think this was humoring them at my expense...) and with one persons (not one of the docs...) suggestion, and a littleInternet searching I discovered that without a doubt this was a muscular thing. Thanks to the heavy, fast deadlifts, rowing and crazy toes to bar workout I did on Friday, I found that the dynamic torso extension involved in all those movements must have set it off. Then, the sitting for about 4 hours in one of those small planes added to it all by me not sitting with proper posture and allowing my stomach to stay in a contracted position for so long.
Whatever the details on the actual injury, the fact is, I am injured for the time being and have been forced to move my CrossFit Community Week project to next week. What I really wanted to talk about here was how to approach injury. I am very lucky because my recovery is feeling pretty quick and I am certain I will be back at it this coming Friday or Saturday. But I have been witness to a lot of pretty interesting injuries, a good deal of them bad enough that the person needed to take a really long time to recover. One of the most common issues I have seen surrounding this sort of thing is depression. Most serious fitness buffs will go through some major emotional fights the second an injury sets in. The idea of not being able to work out is usually just a ridiculous concept for these people. It's like taking away half your oxygen all of a sudden; you're going to feel pretty lost and helpless.
It's tough to deal with, but there is always another way you could look at things. When an injury strikes, it usually occurs because of an imbalance, weakness or overuse (usually a combination of all those things). I truly think that the best way to go about dealing with any injury is by first taking responsibility for it. If you sit around feeling sorry for yourself it is not going to do anything but make you feel worse and probably prolong the recovery time. Accept that it happened and then take the time to figure out why it happened. Once you've figured that out, take the time to find ways to make sure your programming can involve re-strengthening that area, bringing it up to snuff with the rest of the body, and finally, reevaluating the entire body to find other weakness and imbalances that may lead to some other injury down the road.
Once you've found all that out, take whatever time you need to recover. Always remember that a week or two off (or even 6-8 weeks off) is much, much, much better then never being able to do something again. Always take the time to correct and help yourself. It is ignorant to just workout like crazy and expect you won't hurt yourself. It is smart, and in my opinion, your responsibility to yourself to learn about the best way to be and stay healthy and fit.
I'll finish with that famous line of falling and picking yourself back up. My favorite version of this is: "Why do we fall? So that we can pick ourselves back up." To me it is life reminding us that we must take responsibility for our own actions and when a setback takes us, it is for the sole purpose of having us overcome it and become better. We are not victims, we are in control. You are the only thing that can make you healthy; life will throw us all kinds of ups and downs and it is entirely up to us to make it a healthy and fit one.
Never Stop, GET FIT.