Tag Archives: CrossFit

Some Perspective Please!

The internet and social media loves a bit of hysteria and exercise and fitness are no exceptions to this. Recently there were a few articles posted online which related to CrossFit and a condition called Rhabdomylosis (for more information read more here). First there was this article in the Huffington Post referring to Rhabdomylosis as ‘CrossFit’s dirty little secret’. This was then followed by a few other articles screeching the same thing: CrossFit might kill you via Rhabdomylosis!

Then of course there were the pro-CrossFit articles which accused people who didn’t do CrossFit of being jealous and blamed the participants of CrossFit who have suffered from this life threatening condition for their own demise. Not brilliantly helpful but I understand why people want to defend what they enjoy.

So these were the two sides of the coin. Neither particularly constructive and both with the potential to put people off from ever trying CrossFit or maybe any other form of exercise. Yey, well done everyone for giving people yet ANOTHER reason not to get moving.

Now I come at this from a completely different perspective. I am a runner first and foremost. I do CrossFit and I enjoy it but running has and always will be my first love. But I would like to go through some things that might help us get a bit of perspective on a rare condition, exercise and illness in general.

All you have to do to find out a bit about Rhabdomylosis, specifically exertional Rhabdomylosis is to chuck a search into Google Scholar. Participants in many of the studies that come up are military recruits, ultra runners, marathon runners (dammit) and, umm, horses. Plus a case study about a hockey player who played a tournament, became ill, was rushed to hospital and discovered to have Rhabdomylosis.

This very quick search tells me it is not a condition that is limited to those who do CrossFit. Further reading showed that some individuals have an unfortunate genetic predisposition to develop Rhabdomylosis which they would have had no idea about before exercising (this was found to be the case in the hockey player case study). Plus people on prescribed statins are at risk and those with underlying thyroid conditions (which they may not know about). The Huff Post article quotes a US study as giving a 0.06% incidence of Rhabdomylosis for the US population but I couldn’t find figures for the UK population. So all in all I’m not overly worried about Rhabdomylosis and CrossFit. A couple of case reports do not make an epidemic.

Moving on I wanted to address the pro-CrossFit posts which blame individuals for ‘bringing it on themselves and not taking responsibility’. Well I would just like to ask: do people who get a knee injury playing football bring it on themselves? Do marathon runners bring it on themselves when they collapse from a heart condition they didn’t know they had? Do horse riders bring it on themselves when they fall from a horse? Did the hockey player deserve what he got for trying to do his best for his team? I just don’t get this argument and I really think it is counter-productive. As mentioned above, people may have a predisposition to Rhabdomylosis (I hate typing that word). They might be in an ‘at risk’ group that they have no idea they are in. So a little bit more empathy please for people who do happen to develop this condition.

I get that not everyone likes the same kind of exercise. CrossFit is still relatively new and people are probably still trying to get used to it being around. Plus people tend to be ignorant of things they don’t know or don’t understand. I could argue that running has been around since the dawn of time, no doubt one of the oldest forms of exercise going, yet people still hate it and ask me why on earth I want to do it. But as long as I enjoy it and do my best to maintain my health and wellbeing, who cares? A small study of runners who completed a marathon in Taiwan found that everyone who finished had sustained some damage to their hearts. Would this stop me from running? Never. Life is too short to freak out about something that may or may not happen.

So pro and anti CrossFitters. Consider your heads well and truly knocked together. The articles from both sides are completely unhelpful and bordering on hysterical. There is no clear research to say CrossFitters are more at risk than those who take on 100 mile Ultra runs. There is probably more research out there about why running is harmful (la, la, la, la I’m not listening) but the research on obesity, heart conditions and diabetes, all consequences of not exercising or being active, concerns me more. Take a step back and gain some perspective and help people to fall in love with moving and being healthy.

Exercise Induced Insomnia

Ok so the title of my post ‘Exercise Induced Insomnia’ implies that this is an actual condition. Can I just add this disclaimer: I have no idea whether this exists but I’m starting to wonder if it is a ‘thing’.

Last night I had the worst night’s sleep I’ve had in weeks. I do sleep badly from time to time. It’s usually one night every few weeks where I struggle to go to sleep but eventually drop off around 1am. Not last night though. Last night it was as if my mind was determined to see the night through. Now this would have been much more useful in my teens and twenties for going out. Not so when I WANT TO SLEEP!

I have noticed a pattern for when I tend to have these bad nights. It’s usually if I’ve had an amazing run or exercise session in the evening:

I come home buzzing and full of the joys of sweat. I eat lots, try to drink lots, watch a bit of TV and then feeling reasonably tired I go to bed. And then I lie there, waiting for sleep with my mind whirring about the exercise and the excitement brought on by all the exercising and then my mind goes onto other things and then songs start fizzing round my brain and it just doesn’t ever seem to end (very like this sentence). AND BREATH.

Last night was pretty bad. I had just come home from a bouncing session at CrossFit and I was whooping to myself about how much I had enjoyed it. My mind just would not SHUT UP and I was continually thinking about running, exercising, the work that I’m doing over the next few weeks mashed up with Blurred Lines, some weird garage tune I heard a bit of yesterday and a song by The Pretty Reckless (odd one). Sleep just wouldn’t come. My body was aching from the effort I had put into the session and neither body or mind would go into shut down mode. It was excruciating.

So now I’m wondering if exercise which is supposed to improve sleep patterns can sometimes have the opposite effect. Do other people suffer from poor sleep after a particular type of exercise or a certain amount of exercise? Or am I just plain weird?

*faceplants sixteenth cup of tea*

Training Diary and Running’s Not All Plain Sailing.

My training diary for last week isn’t actually that impressive. I haven’t managed to build on the previous week so I’m feeling a bit lost and a bit well yeah, lost is the best way to describe it.

The week had started relatively well with a 45 minute run that was nearly 5 and a half miles. I’m still plodding, I’m still not getting anywhere fast but I’m taking the approach that it’s better to get the miles in rather than worry about how quick. I suppose you’d say I’m trying to build a solid base again and regain my engine. I felt positive and I felt keen for running.

Tuesday was a bit of a disaster. Massive mood swing, plus forgetting things on the school run, plus not making it to an appointment plus a bunch of other stuff had meant that I wasn’t feeling Tuesday much. Tuesday was being a dick. So that evening when my husband came home from work I made what I thought was a positive decision: I would go to a running club. I jumped into the car and drove in the monsoon that was pouring from the sky, playing some funky tunes to get me in the mood. And then I hit all the traffic. On the motorway and on the duel carriageway. My mood dipped again, I was too late for the running club and I drove home cursing the universe. When I got home I decided to write Tuesday off and go to bed.

Wednesday was slightly more positive. I went out for a run, went out a little bit too hard at the beginning but kept going and ended up doing the longest run I’ve done in months. 56 minutes and over 6 and a half miles. It was slow, I made hard work of it but I was buzzing with my effort. Thursday is a no for running in the day with a 3 year old with me so I ventured out to CrossFit and ended up bagging myself some PB’s in the floor press and on double unders (that would be fancy skipping).

Friday I didn’t manage to get any running done but I was hoping to have a decent weekend of running. Saturday afternoon it was warm and I felt happy after a bike ride with my eldest boy so threw on my brightest shorts and headed out into the sunshine. And then I ran into some trouble. After 2 miles my feet were killing me. I felt aware of my left foot being really uncomfortable and I was sure it was rolling around in the shoe. My heel started to play up which frustrated me as my heel had been pain free. Then my right foot became sore and my right calf tightened. I tried to carry on as I was hoping to run for an hour. But no, I made the decision to turn back. My feet were so cramped I almost stopped and walked. When I arrived home I thought I’d feel really pissed off. Another run attempt shot down in flames. Buggeration! But I was strangely calm and reflective.  I identified what I thought was the issue (my footwear), accepted that what had happened was pretty much out of my control, reflected that actually the rest of me had been feeling pretty good and the result was that I was positive even though it had been a crap run. Who was this person? That doesn’t usually sound like me!

So that was my running week that was. Lots of ups and downs and little challenges to face but all in all I think I’m ok. I felt a bit of the self made pressure of not running drop off as I await my new trainers to arrive. Circumstances being out of my hands means that I feel like I have a ‘Do Not Run Right Now’ pass so I don’t have runner’s guilt. (And the footwear issue does make sense as my symptoms only occur after running in these trainers, which are actually over 9 months old. Oops). I know that there are other things I can do to maintain my fitness: CrossFit, circuits, cycling, swimming, aqua jogging. So I shall try my best to do other things this week and aim to enjoy them. Hopefully, imaginary Running Gods permitting, I will be back out plodding the pavements next week.

Training Summary for week beginning 13 May:

Mon: 45 minute run, 5.37 miles covered.

Tues: Nothing, don’t ask, don’t go there, I’m not speaking to Tuesday.

Weds: 56 minute run, 6.56 miles covered.

Thurs: CrossFit class. Double unders plus floor press (25kg for 5 reps PB). WOD 7 rounds of 1 minute on 1 minutes rest of 200m sprint plus max reps shoulder to overhead for remainder of minute (20kg on bar).

Fri: Rest and fun stuff. Sat: 3.91 miles hobbled. Sun: A little bit on the turbo trainer on the turbo trainer which has taken up the boys play room. HA!

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An Actual Week Of Running and Training!

As I ran with my fellow Write This Runner’s at the end of yesterday’s amazing conference it dawned on me: this run marked the end of my first week of full training and regular runs in 6 months.

Six months ago I was in agony. Six months ago my husband was having to help dress me. Six months ago I was getting, at the most, four hours sleep a night. Yet here I was running 5k, behind Scott Overall nonetheless (behind = he jogged a 5k and we all followed about 10 minutes behind). Six months ago I never saw myself at this point. Last November I really thought a prolapsed disc had ended running forever. For me that is, not you, dinae’ panic.

I wasn’t exactly shy about kicking off my week of training. I think this has come from my new ‘On it like a car bonnet’ mentality. Last Monday it all started with a little jog round Windsor for the She Runs Windsor event. I didn’t exactly sleep well that night. My body throbbed from the sheer effort and the lack of training I’d had going into it. I’m still proud of what I did that day because it showed me that I’m a stubborn old so and so who won’t give in. I had an awful night’s sleep following that race and my hamstrings were killing me so Tuesday I had what I feel was a well deserved break.

Wednesday saw a steady run. Well I say it was steady, more of a stroll to loosen everything off again. The old hammy’s were still a bit achy but no heel pain, no back pain, no pins and needles or numbness. I did wonder if I was daydreaming and was I really back running after all this time, but not being one to argue with my body (much) I went with it. 40 minutes or so with a nice jaunt along a new riverside path they’ve built by our village. Lovely.

Thursday I didn’t get out to run in the day as my youngest wasn’t in nursery. He’s a bit big to push around in a buggy now and being that he’s the one I lifted when I injured myself I would be reluctant to even attempt to run and push him! So when my husband arrived home from work that evening I went over to my ladies CrossFit class. I’ve been struggling with this class since getting over this injury: the weight I can lift on the bar has gone down and I feel a bit nervous with some of the techniques. However somehow I channelled my inner CrossFit goddess and managed some handstands, some against a wall and some spotted (you know, spotted by someone, not a polka dot spot handstand). And then, AND THEN, THEN! Little old me managed three kipping pull ups on a bar on my own! SQUEEEEEEEAL. I was ‘ended’ after three but I got to ding the PB bell! Ding a ling a ding ding!

So by Friday I was feeling pretty awesome and even though it was pouring with rain I went for another steady 40 minute run in the evening. I ended up soaked to the skin despite my jacket and it was wild and windy but I felt so exhilarated afterwards. I had a sense of achievement that I’d been missing for such a long time.

Saturday I missed out on training as I was travelling but Sunday’s run with my fellow bloggers was just the nicest possible way to round of my first week of post injury training. I had managed to run or train on 5 days out of 7 last week. Six months ago driving my children to school caused me to cry in pain and yet here I was on a 5k run with behind an Olympian. If you’d told me that back then I would have laughed at you through my diclofencac/co-codamol/insomnia haze and if I’m honest right now I’m thanking my lucky stars that I’m back here, running again.

So that was my training diary for last week. A pretty good start to ‘training to train’ again. I ended the week on such a positive note that I may have agreed to go for a sub20/sub40 challenge for 5k and 10k with my fellow running blogger Cat. Well, it’s always good to have a goal!