Monday, January 30, 2012

Weak, Workout, Reality and Recovery- Part 3

Recovery. Long, glorious recovery. I have been in recovery mode going on two months now.  I thought that when the doctor and others told me that it would take months to recover, that they were smokin' crack. Seriously. I thought that I would be back at it, just as before, once all the meds did their thing and I got back to working out.  I am the first to admit, I was wrong.

And not just slightly wrong. I was totally and completely wrong. It has been months of needing more sleep. Months of feeling OK, and then all of a sudden I am exhausted. Not just kind of tired, but literally exhausted from head to toe, mind and body. It even took me a while to get back to taking showers on a regular basis. It just took too much effort for a while. It took energy that I could use on something else. Months of random hits off an inhaler I thought that I would never have to use.

The hacking. The coughing. It is still hanging on. What brings it up is any number of things. I could be laughing and it starts. I could go outside to roll the trash cans out to the curb, and the cold crisp air gets into my lungs and cranks up the coughing. And it is definitely the workouts.

Even before I was diagnosed with pneumonia, it was in my workouts that I most noticed a change. This is still the case. While my body was being tormented by infection, I was losing my cardiovascular strength as well as my muscular strength. This, in itself, has been a huge wake up call. It has also been absolutely devastating to me.

Every one has their thing. Mine happens to be CrossFit. I am not super elite CrossFit Games person, by any means. But I had come to identify myself as a very fit, strong woman, and in a matter of months, I felt like that identity had been slowly stripped away from me. Some may think that I am being crazy, because they couldn't do what I do, but that is not the point. I know what I was able to do, what I was capable of. I know how fast I could run a mile or how heavy I could do high reps of dead lifts or rip off butterfly pull ups, but now it has all changed. The strength I had has to be gained back. You see, your mind tells you that you should still be able to lift that 200-pound barbell, and then your body tells you, no. Not just no, but hell no, and that has been heartbreaking for me.

I am so very hard on myself and always have been. You see, I have that "never good enough" kind of battle going on in my head. Never smart enough. Never fast enough. Never lean enough. Never a good enough mom. Never a good enough wife. Never good enough at anything. Never...never...never.  It has been with me since I was a child, and bad habits are really hard to break.

So hear I sit, with all of the strength and gains that I had made in CrossFit, gone, and I felt like I was back to square one. CrossFit athletes are always asking, "What was your time? How much weight did you do?" when it comes to doing the workouts. I was known as a pretty darn good CrossFitter, too. Now all I am doing is playing catch up. Embarrassed by my times. Embarrassed at the weight that I am using. Having to set new goals. Goals that I had already reached at one time, now I need to reach yet again.

I know it shouldn't matter, but it does. It matters to me. I want to be strong. I want to be fast. I want to keep getter stronger and faster. I don't ever want to say or think, "Well, it's really good for a 37-year-old," or  "That is awesome, considering you're a mother of two." I just want to be awesome, because I am me. Oh, I get that all of those things make me who I am. I am almost 37. I am a mother of two. I am stronger and faster than I ever was in high school or college, but that's not good enough. I want more.

I am not even sure what exactly "more" looks like. I am not sure that I ever will. And this whole "pneumonia thing" has been a great lesson to me.  A lesson about slowing down.  A lesson about being OK with where you are at the time. A lesson about working hard to eventually get to where you want to be, even if you were already there at one time. A lesson about simply being me.

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