Friday, November 8, 2013

Cross Fit Made Me A Pin Cushion

I'll admit that I'm not good at cross training.  Given the choice between running 6 miles or a Jillian Michaels dvd, I'll take the run.  I'm actually not that bad in the summer, I swim as often as I can and ride my bike. But I'm well aware that to avoid injury and be stronger overall, I need to do something other than just cardio.

First up in this quest, was to try Cross Fit. I've been curious about this killer workout for a while now, it certainly seemed fun, especially after seeing photos of my friends on facebook, tossing medicine balls against walls and pounding monster truck tires with a sledgehammer.

After the Empire Half, I figured it would be a good time to start something new, and my sis in law Jeannine said she would go to the Foundations classes with me.  Off we went on a Monday night, feeling a little nervous but excited.

If you aren't familiar, in order to participate in Cross Fit workouts, you must complete six Foundation classes in a two week period.  Each class is about an hour, where you learn the "foundations" how to have proper form for each exercise.

We started out slow, with a warm up that had us kicking our legs, doing a series of squats, and crawling up and down the mat. This lead into how to properly hold and lift barbells and more squats.  Then came the WOD, or Workout Of The Day.

Our WOD started off on the rowing machine for 200 meters, then to the mat to do 15 squats,15 push ups (I do girl push ups, they wanted you to do the real deal) jump on a wooden box 15 times, then back to squats. You did this three times, the first time for 15 reps, then 12 reps, then 9 reps, finishing on the rowing machine for 200 meters.

Oh yeah, and they time you.

I was most fearful of the box, this was higher than any platform I've ever encountered in a step aerobics class back in college, you need to swing your arms for momentum, launch yourself up, land on both feet, stand up, then jump back down.  At first I thought I would just bash my shins on the edge of the box, but I took it slowly, and did a good job of not falling off the thing.

The push ups were another story entirely, the coach said that we could do a modified version, after touching our chest to the mat, we could curl up in a yoga type movement to get ourselves back up.  By the last set of reps, I felt like a fish that had just been caught and slammed onto a dock, I was literally slapping my body down on the mat.  I had really red knees to prove it.

I finished this in 9:22, I came in at the middle of the pack which wasn't too bad.  I was a stinky sweaty mess, when I got home Mike wouldn't come near me, he said I smelled worse than a 10 mile run.

The next day I was really sore, like post-marathon sore, where you can't sit on the toilet without wincing, and I had to walk down the stairs sideways, but I was looking forward to the next class.

Dun Dun Duuuuuun!

The next WOD was a doozy.  It involved lifting a 35 lb barbell, doing a squat, then putting the barbell back on the floor, repeat 10 times.  Then we ran to a bar for pull-ups, something else I couldn't do.  The coach gave me two thick stretchy bands to loop over the bar, I set my foot into them, sunk down, then the band gave me the momentum to haul myself back up and above the bar.  Aside from the fact that I almost launched myself into the drop ceiling, it was fun.  We did this 10 times, ran back to the barbell for 10, and back to the bar for 10.  At the end of this workout I had done 50 reps of each exercise. In 10:40.

The next day was Halloween.  I woke up with an ache in my upper middle back, and felt swollen.  As in my hands looked like pin cushions, my arms were sausages, and you couldn't see my collar bones in my chest.

I could have been Popeye for Halloween.

I asked a couple of friends who do Cross Fit if this had ever happened to them, and it had, which made me feel a little better.  Of course I googled my symptoms, and got nervous when I read about Rhabdo.  I called my Aunt C who is a Nurse Practitioner, she thought it was a build up of lactic acid, told me to drink water and take ibuprofen.

The next day it was worse. My arm was a solid, hard tube, you couldn't even see my elbows.  It didn't hurt, it was just extremely puffy.  I was grocery shopping, and remembered that when my kids were babies and I was nursing them, that cabbage leaves help relieve engorgement.  So I bought a head of cabbage, and wrapped it around my arms.  I kept it on for a couple of hours, when I removed it I could see see a difference, but then it swelled back up.


Saturday I saw Aunt C, and she said to wear my compression sleeves or tops. I did that for a few days, and slowly started to see improvement. I went for a four mile run to see if that would help flush things out, but it didn't.  It wasn't until a full seven days later that the swelling went down.  That day I went to my chiropractor for an adjustment, he explained that the swelling happened because for some reason my lymphatic system didn't drain properly.  He also said it was very odd that it happened.  He agreed with Aunt C, that it was probably a good idea that I not try Cross Fit again.

I called the Cross Fit Coach, but I must not be calling at the right time because I get voice mail. Jeannine has been doing the workouts, the other night one of the guys in our group showed her his puffy arms!  J told the coaches about my puffy arms, and they said they've never heard of that happening.


I think I'm going to stick to traditional ways of cross training.

Time to dust off the Yoga For Runners DVD.


Michael said...

Wow that is crazy! I've heard of being really sore and injured from crossfit, but not that extreme swelling. Yes, I think maybe I'd hold off on it for awhile...or forever. Hope you are feeling 100% back to normal.

Teamarcia said...

SO that's the genesis of the cabbage wrapped arms. Very scary! I've heard the rhabdo thing...I think I'd be exploring alternatives to Cross Fit as well.

Jford said...

I have heard a lot recently about Rhabdo, and I think it is pretty scary. Glad things are back to normal, but I would seriously reconsider Crossfit again, or maybe back it down some. that would freak me out.

Unknown said...

Yikes... that's kind of scary. Any time there's swelling, you know something isn't right. I haven't been able to jump on the Cross Fit band wagon and after hearing more and more stories or weird things (like your swelling), I think I'll stick to other forms of cross training!