I LOVE max days. There is an excitement in the air that is electric. The energy is palpable. This is the environment for PR’s……..or in my case, a broken wrist. A year ago today I was so freakin’ excited to be attempting a new PR on my clean. I had just re-committed myself to a 3-on-1-off-2-on-1-off schedule and was a couple of weeks in when our programming called for a max lift day. I think I had previously attempted(and missed)a PR a couple of months before and was ready for some redemption. I remember EVERY detail to this day and I won’t bore you with all of them but some are funny to me.
It was a simple enough day: work, lift, coach.
Nothing exciting happened at work, unless you count having to go back as a patient!
In the gym, warming up seemed easy enough. I remember sharing a bar for the warm ups and jumping in on someone else’s bar as I got heavier. I was so happy to have hit my old PR again. Now here is where I should have listened to all the little bells that were going off inside my head. I was so excited to try and lift that I went against my better judgement and did a few things I knew better than to do. I used a 20kg bar instead of a 15kg bar and my grip just didn’t feel the same. I jumped 20# near the top of my max instead of maybe 5-7# and I rushed instead of taking some time to rest. I even remember saying how nervous I was before I walked up to the bar but I set up and started to pull. I turned the bar over and heard two distinct “cracking” sounds. The pain didn’t set in immediately but I knew I couldn’t hold onto the bar which pissed me off because I had racked this weight and I was in the bottom of a squat. The only thing left to do was stand up, grrrrr. After dropping the weight and sitting down I grabbed my wrist to support it and heard my coach ask if I was ok. I told him, “I just broke my wrist”.
Fast forward a couple of hours and this is what we see.
In case you’re not sure what you’re looking at, the top is my wrist, with a curve that shouldn’t be there. The second is a xray of why that curve is there. This is a pretty unstable fracture of my distal radius. This was before the nice PA reduced it in the ER. A closed reduction of a wrist is this fun little procedure where the nice PA holds your hand up by the fingers, grabs your forearm and pulls your fingers up while pulling down on your forearm. This is to try and make the bone more realigned. Normally when most people have a fracture it is straight and clean across and this isn’t required. I decided I didn’t want to be like most people, I’d do something better by splintering the bone! RX+ for the win!
Lucky for me I have an ortho and his right hand lady on speed dial and I was in surgery within 24hrs. Eight screws and one stainless steel plate later I was good as new. But this was just the beginning. The next 9 weeks would be one of my biggest mental tests to date.
I’m a nurse, I make a horrible patient. I don’t like being told I can’t do something and will probably find a way to do it anyway so you better jump on my train ’cause it’s moving forward whether you like it or not. Yeah, my doctor probably wanted to strangle me. We came to the understanding of “just tell me what I CAN’T do and I won’t, but that leaves lots that I can”. This was my mindset until the day I could pick up a barbell.
- 7 days after injury I was in the gym just moving
- 14 days later I was front squatting 90# with a safety bar(I hate that thing)
- 7wks later I was doing double unders, C&J’s with a PVC pipe, wall push ups and burpees(I couldn’t wait to do these again. crazy right?!)
- and 9wks to the day, I put a barbell over my head
I tell you this because when something happens that affects most aspects of your life the most logic reaction is to act like nothing is wrong and figure out how to keep moving forward. This may not be the best reaction but it was the one I understood. This injury really messed with my identity.
I know how to be strong. That’s me. When that was taken away I didn’t know what to do with myself. I felt lost. There were so many tears and crazy and insane text messages(sorry Bobby, Jen, Lara, etc) that spelled out how I didn’t know what to do with myself and when would my body just get back to normal. I remember picking up a barbell(15#) for the first time and thinking that my lifting days were over because I was just so weak and my mobility was now gone. With all my strength went all my confidence. All that hard work that I had done to get myself to a better place was now lost. I was such a shell of a human when I walked through those doors to meet Jen that first evening and the first 9wks post op felt like I was right back to being that same person.
Fast forward a year.
These 365 days have been some of the best days yet. I can’t believe that I can even say it but it’s true. So many wonderful things have happened this past year because I took the mindset of “act now because you never know what might happen”. I didn’t want to waste any more time. I set some goals for myself to help get me back to where I was before surgery. I missed some of the dates but surpassed what I set out to do. In the past year I have PR’d my:
- front squat by 60#
- back squat by 25#
- clean by 20#
- c&j by 20#
- and my jerk is back to my pre-surgery weight
At first I was so afraid of who I would become if I wasn’t able to be strong. Now I know I have the strength to become anything I want. Being strong is more than who I am, it’s the way I want to live my life; body, mind and spirit. Getting through this past year wouldn’t have been possible without the community of support I’m lucky enough to have. Thank you to everyone that encouraged and pushed and just listened. It all meant more than you know. And Bobby, as always, you are my rock. Thank you.
Now go lift something heavy!