Saturday, 16 August 2014

Well that was emotional...

Oh hello... I'm surprised you're still with me after my epic blogging break. I wondered whether to scrap this one and start again, but what the hell - there's some comfort in familiarity.

Since my last post, quite a lot has happened - but I guess the biggest thing, from a fitness point of view (because that's what this blog is really about), is that I joined a CrossFit box just under a year ago and have spent the last few months in a cycle of sweat, muscle soreness, elation and disappointment.

Don't get me wrong - I love CrossFit. I wish it had been around when I was a teenager, so I could've switched my life to a more positive one much earlier and not messed around in my twenties not giving a shit about anything, least of all myself. Many of you will know that I've had periods of depression and that during those times I felt, at best, totally inept. Those feelings never totally leave you, although you get to learn the triggers and how to manage them - and I guess this is one of the things that CF helps me with the most. That's not to say I don't beat myself up if I struggle to make lifts - but I don't think that will ever change.

Last weekend was a huge mental battle for me - I competed at a CF event, European Inferno, in Cardiff, in front of about 1,000 people. It was tough - not only because of my shoulder injury but because it was just so daunting. I've never been good enough to compete at anything before. When people ask me for advice on getting fit they often have that kind of accusatory look that suggests I find it easy - well I really, really don't. Every time I step into the gym it bloody hurts - it doesn't get easier. Burpees - yep, still hurt. That first 3km of a run - yep, still get stitch and feel like I'm going to die. So when I stood up there with those incredible athletes I had a major wobble. But I got through it, and we didn't come last - I put everything into it and, aside from a bit of an emotional breakdown at the end of the final WoD, for the first time since Berlin I felt pretty proud of what I'd achieved. It wasn't pretty, however - and it really did show up my weaknesses in terms of form and general fitness, but at least it showed me some of the main areas I need to focus on.

I'm not the easiest person to coach - I let competitiveness get in the way of perfection and that's something I know I need to work on. This blog is going to help me, because for the next few months I'm going to be easing off the weight and concentrating on form. There's nothing I can do about my wonky skeleton, but I can rest my shoulder until it's fully recovered and work on flexibility through my back, hips and hamstrings. My glutes are practically non-existent so there'll be a lot of focus on strengthening through there, and I'll be concentrating on posture to help reduce the curve in my lower back.
I'm going to be building in some yoga for flexibility, a Pilates class to improve core strength and swimming once a week to help build up my shoulders in a low impact way. I'm also going to try for at least a couple of 5k runs and some intervals each week - hopefully this will feed my competitive side (racing against myself is always fun) as well as improving my cardio fitness. 

In between all this, I'll work with the coaches to drill technique at low weight so I feel comfortable getting under and lifting the bar. Hopefully by the New Year I'll feel ready to start adding some weight - but I'm looking at this as a long term thing.

Sam x

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