As I am writing these words, I am unable to move my arms away from the side of my body... without a great deal of pain.
At about 5:30 am yesterday morning I reached for a towel, and my upper back gave out between my shoulder blades. I went down to the floor in pain, while my 4 year old son rushed to help me.
I managed to get him to pre-k and get to the fitness center...but had to leave after the pain started moving to my chest, and it hurt to breathe.
It is in these moments where I am very glad that my living is not solely based on how much I can lift, or in how many classes I can teach. In the past, physical injuries have taught me how quickly a trainer can be out of work, if they are not diversified.
It has brought my full attention to how many people I am expected to serve in a day.
It has brought my full attention to how I am serving them.
It has brought my full attention to how quickly I am useless to them, if I myself am not well.
My mantra for everyone (including myself) has been to listen to your body, take purposeful rest, and go at a pace that is sustainable long term. If you have been following me for any length of time, you will notice that this is not my default for my own life. My default is to carry heavy loads, physically, mentally, and emotionally until I absolutely can’t move forward any longer.
So here I am. I’m in my first crash since my adventure in the sport of weightlifting, that I began in the spring of 2015.
The hardest part is that everyone assumes it’s the weightlifting itself. With the dramatic look of the sport, I can see why.
But the reason I’m writing is because I know what it really is.
I’ve used the sport of weightlifting as an example of how to live a strong life.
I’ve used the sport of weightlifting to reclaim my identity as a strong woman who overcomes it all.
But that is not the problem...
The problem is I haven’t respected how challenging the sport truly is...and how much recovery is needed. I have not adjusted the other parts of my life to support this new lifestyle.
I cannot just add the sport to an already stressful and fast paced life.
I cannot use the sport to relieve the stress of my mind...without also also respecting the stress my body is under.
This is exactly what I tell everyone else...and now have been forced to admit that my daily choices have resulted in overtraining.
Maybe it’s because my four year old son is nearly 50lbs, and carrying him up and down the stairs of our apartment building (when he’s asleep), while wearing both our back packs is a bit ridiculous.
Maybe it’s because I’ve added tire flipping (the tire men usually use) and other plyometrics into my workouts.
Maybe it’s because I have clients who I have to physically help lift into proper position, or spot them with heavy loads.
Maybe it’s because I haven’t taken time off Olympic Lifting since I started.
Any one of these reasons could cause a person to injure their back.
So what was I thinking??
One of my closest girlfriends told me a few months ago that I am “too self-critical”. We hadn’t seen each other in awhile...and we haven’t seen each other much since.
The statement has stuck with me...because it is true.
What is hardest for me is that I would never want that for anyone else. In fact I spend much of my day encouraging others to take only small steps toward change.
But the truth is, I have not been making small changes in or outside the gym.
I have been purposefully making the type of changes that scare most people.
I have been purposefully throwing myself into situations that I am not fully prepared for, in faith that I will learn how to fly on the way down.
I have been purposefully ignoring the words of caution from my loved ones, in effort not to be stalled by others beliefs of my abilities.
I have done all of this in the name of “overcoming fear”.
But what I think I’ve really done, is let fear take an even more prominent seat at my table.
So what am I afraid of?
I used to think it was fear of success or fear of failure...but no...not today...
I think it is something that I see in others every single day, but refuse to address with myself... because I’ve told myself it helps my success.
It is the fear that I am not good enough.
I’m not strong enough.
I’m not successful enough.
I’m not mentally healthy enough.
I’m not reaching enough people.
I’m not launching my business fast enough.
I’m not handling single motherhood well enough.
Me...just as I am… is not enough.
I think maybe that is what my friend was trying to say several months ago.
So here I am guys.
I don’t know what tomorrow brings.
But when I wake up tomorrow morning and I still can’t lift my arms…
I am going to tell myself that it’s ok to be hurt.
I am going to tell myself that it’s ok to ask for help.
I am going to tell myself that whatever I can get done that day is enough.
I am going to tell myself that who I am to others...is more important than what I can do for others.
And when I can lift my arms again without pain, I will start back down the path of weightlifting with a much greater respect for my limitations.
Until then, I am rediscovering my love of crocheting chunky scarves.