Bing, bang, BOOM! So, lets chat about this little “fitness journey” of mine that’s really just, well, what is now my not so lazy life. Four and half years ago, I decided, “I want to run.” So, I threw on a pair of old sneakers, cotton shorts and shirt, and a bra that didn’t hold my (then) 36D ladies. Needless to say, I hated it. But I learned to walk before I learned to run. And before I knew it, I was killing 5k races and completed marathon relays and training for half marathons. And then – BAM.
Injury. I hurt my ankle running, ended up in PT and couldn’t run for months. I turned to indoor cycling and swimming – both of which I sucked at. It’s also when I found Crossfit. Injured and whiney, it became a no excuses playground for me to learn and grow. I healed and became stronger than ever, and figured out that lifting barbells was pretty fun. My push press went from 10lb dumbbells to a 90lb max and I was learning to throw weights over me, around me, through me, and I loved it.
Then I decided I’d sign up for sprint triathlon, mainly because a friend convinced me. My swimming improved a little and I stopped looking like a fish out of water and not knowing what I was doing, I bought my first bike since I was a child: a hybrid. With some setbacks, I still completed my first triathlon in under my goal time and 2 weeks later, bought a road bike on craigslist, practically new, for hella cheap. Right after that, I did other triathlon and killed it on my new bike. Basically, I fell in love with road biking – put on well over 1000 miles on my new bike that summer of 2014.
Then came grad school that fall. That meant little less time in the gym and lots of time on my indoor trainer. I learned to downhill ski and at that point, had been cross-country skiing with my hubby for 3 years. But came February of 2015, and boy did my fitness journey throw me for a loop.
So to quickly go back, in 2014 I was peaking. I looked like a triathlete/runner with tiny arms and I was the smallest I had ever been at 120lbs. Looking back, though, I was doing workouts a day, working out at a Crossfit gym focused on endurance and not as much on strength, and I was not eating nearly as much as I should have been. So my body, reflecting back, was moving into a breaking down point. Then I was learning how to do jerks with a coach in the gym, and tore my quad.
Guys…I TORE MY F**KING QUAD. I couldn’t believe it. I still have the forever indent in my leg to prove it. I was struggling through grad school, working an unnecessarily stressful full time, a part time job and interning, verging falling apart and then, I all of a sudden couldn’t run, bike, lift… nothing. I could do nothing involving my quad for months, and no coach at my gym could figure out how to help me modify. It was the most frustrating thing that could have happened to me. Many times I would go in and try to do a workout, and just leave, frustrated and crying.
Finally, months later, I was released to start lifting, biking and running again. Yay! I tried training for a marathon, but my knees would hurt and my muscles weren’t strong enough yet. Biking and swimming were the only things I felt I could do and not feel like I’d have to spend days recovering from. 10 months later, in December 2015, I decided to leave my Crossfit gym, feeling it wasn’t a good fit and I wasn’t making any improvements. I felt lost, and weak, frustrated, and unsettled that I wasn’t working towards anything.
Then my friend said – come try Crossfit Fairbanks, see how you like it. So I did. And I did. Shortly after starting, I did my first ever weightlifting meet. I can’t remember the last time I had that much fun and felt that strong. I started the RP Diet and my quad gained so much strength and recovered so well and so quickly (don’t forget ya protein yo!). I was able to downhill ski (finally) with no pain from my quad. I started a cycle of Oly lifting and it was fun, but frustrating, and I discovered I am definitely a Powerlifter.
So here I am, 7 months later, stronger than I have been in close to 2 years. My endurance is not the same, but I PRing lifts like crazy, and I have never enjoyed something so much. I still love biking, it is my passion, and lifting only complements it. So the bottom line is that this journey has brought me here. I have tried this, and tried that. I thought I might be a runner forever, but my body had better plans for me. I thought swimming might be next and I took time to improve my technique, but just realized it’s become a nice backup for me. I love to lift and I love to ride and it’s taken me some trial and error to get here, and what I do inside helps me to be strong and play outside and that’s just as important to me. Lifting makes me strong when I bike, and biking keeps my endurance up. You need endurance and you need strength if you want to get outside and hike, paddle, ski, and play play play!
So I encourage all of you to stay active, and find things you love. Don’t let people but you in a box, or tell you what fitness is supposed to be, and that to love one thing you have to be able to do another (i.e. if you want to love biking you have to cross training – do what you love!). Want to bike all day every day? Then do it. Want to run everyday? Then do it. Do what you love and love what you do.