Monday, November 17, 2014

Returning to Crossfit...and Remembering Life Before Cancer


I went back.  The week between chemo is the week where I try to bite the head off of normal. I try to fit in time with my family, time with friends and time for myself.  I try to find my way back to a routine knowing that 6 days later all sense of routine will once again be turned on its head.

Before cancer, I struggled like all Mom’s trying to fit it all in.  I juggled work and family and play and in the midst of it all, a year ago I discovered and fell in love with Crossfit. I know that the opinions on Crossfit are generally very black and white…you either love it or hate it and well I am a lover. As I committed more and more, I got stronger and faster and firmer and happier.  As I worked out, I left it all on the gym floor.  When I gave myself the time…those workout’s were what held me together.  It was the gym floor where I deposited my daily frustrations and as I drove away,  with sweat seeping into my leather seats,  I would smile with satisfaction and pride and I wouldn’t miss the stress I had left behind.

Today I am sore, crossfit sore and just thinking about it as I stretch my legs with a wince makes me smile. It makes me want more.  This week I worked up the courage to walk back through the doors of Crossfit Uncompromised.  

 I went to a morning class and when I arrived the lights were still off.  As I walked onto the gym floor, lit only by the morning light coming in through the windows, I smiled and I wanted to throw up with nervous anticipation.  Since being sidelined by the Big C, I have tried to run on my off weeks, I had an amazing experience wrapped in a parachute at Float Yoga yet I have avoided every opportunity to return to crossfit. I told myself I did not have the stamina to make it through a class.  I told myself I was not in good enough shape to return and then I reminded myself of the first time I ever walked into a crossfit gym.  I reminded myself of the paralyzing fear that swept over me that first day as I watched the class before me doing pull-ups at what seemed to be the speed of light,  wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into. I reminded myself of how I made it through that first class.  I reminded myself how I not only made it through but how I fell in love with crossfit at that first class.

This week I walked back into Crossfit Uncompromised and gave the big fat middle finger to cancer. For 45 minutes, I stretched and rowed and did wall balls…hell, I did burpees…with a smile (ok a sweaty grimace). I remembered what it was like to leave your frustrations and stress on the gym mat in the form of a sweat angel and it felt good. I remembered what I felt like before cancer and it felt good.  More than anything, I want to go back…today and tomorrow and the next, I don’t want to give up the next week of my life to sleep and nausea.  I want to work on pull-ups and handstands.  I want to feel strong again. This week, I walked out of the gym knowing I was slower and weaker than I once was but I walked out of the gym tired and sweating and satisfied.  I walked out of the door not feeling like a cancer patient at all and that feeling is a feeling I want back.

Alas, tomorrow morning instead of picking up a PVC pipe, I will be settling into a recliner for chemo week 8.  However, next week when I have shaken the chemo sleepies, I will be back.  I will not be hitting any milestones over the next 10 weeks, the next 10 weeks will not change me the way 10 weeks of crossfit can do.  Instead I will get there once or twice every other week.  I may not get stronger or leaner or faster but I will keep going because every other week it feels so, so good to turn my back on cancer as I reach for the life I know is waiting for me on the other side.  Every other week, it feels really, really good to hurt like a normal person.  Every other week, when I wince going up the stairs, knowing the pain is from squatting and not cancer, I will smile.  10 weeks from now when I have kicked cancer in the ass, I I will go back and go back hard because I will remember how much I hate sitting on the bench.  

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