I Still Suck

Suzanne —  March 3, 2014 — 4 Comments

I knew coming back from surgery was going to be both a physical and mental challenge. I thought I was prepared. I had a plan. I was going to walk often especially in the early weeks of recovery. I was going to work hard at lunges so my daughter could stop referring to the movement as “what mom sucks at.” And, I was going to set my ego aside with the very real possibility that I would not compete again for a year.

Everything did not go as planned. The truth be told, I was a hot mess that first week post-surgery. Then the weather was brutally cold and I decided walking was out of the question. My first days in the gym were more social than anything, but at my three week follow-up my doctor cleared me to exercise with instructions to use common sense and still NO CHEST! So, I slowly got myself moving again with knee circles, bird dog, glute bridges, one leg lowering, band shuffles, and yes, lots of lunges.  Dragging a prowler became my sanity saver since nothing was weighted.

Pulling a light prowler helped keep me sane in my early weeks of recovery

Pulling a light prowler helped keep me sane in my early weeks of recovery

Between weeks 3-6, I focused primarily on lower body but I did begin to incorporate movements that helped increase my upper body mobility and encouraged my chest to stretch/open up: modified scapular rotation, standing shoulder blade retraction, and light band rows. Jim was constantly asking, “How’s that feel?”

At 6 weeks I was more than ready to take things up a notch. Jim said to grab “light” dumbbells for palm in DB press. I excitedly reached for the 20s when he handed me the 6s! “Seriously?!” If you know Jim, you can probably imagine the deadpan look he gave me.

Yep. I am pressing 6 lb dumb bells. He was not kidding.

Yep. I am pressing 6 lb dumb bells. He was not kidding.

My first deadlift day felt like a gift. You probably remember the photo on Facebook…the one with the big goofy smile. I only pulled 145lbs that day, what I would normally lift as my first warm-up set, but it helped me to realize that I was already on the road back. It was a good day.

At this point, everything seemed to be back on track…according to plan….until I started squatting. It didn’t take long to figure out that my squat was off. I first noticed it when I was doing body weight squats with a broomstick on my back. My chest, back and hips felt tight and I knew something wasn’t right. Jim told me that I was flying into extension and he was constantly correcting my form.

We all know the Children’s song, “Dem Bones”, right?

Your toe bone connected to your foot bone

Your foot bone connected to your ankle bone

Your ankle bone connected to your leg bone

Your leg bone connected to your knee bone

Your knee bone connected to your thigh bone

Your thigh bone connected to your hip bone

You got the picture. Well, apparently my hip bone connected to my…..breast bone?

This is when I knew something was wrong.

This is when I knew something was wrong.

A quick Functional Movement Screening confirmed it. My shoulder mobility had decreased but that made sense to me. I was unhappy to learn that I also failed the hurdle step signaling asymmetrical hip immobility, anterior tilted pelvis and trunk instability. Clearly, my surgery took a bigger toll than I ever expected on my whole body. (insert cranky face here!)

If you are interested in more information about the hurdle step test, check out this instructional video: http://smartgrouptraining.com/hurdle-step-performing-and-scoring-the-functional-movement-screen/

Anyway, this unexpected setback is frankly more frustrating than benching 55lbs but I’m putting in the work to correct it. The good news is that I still get to squat with some necessary modifications (using a safety bar instead of back squatting) and lots of attention on form.

So, what next? Should I compete this year? I’m undecided. Jim is encouraging me to get back on the platform at the NASA Kentucky State Meet this May. This is way earlier than I anticipated but he reminded me that openers would qualify me for Nationals in October. And, he seems certain that I’d be ready to put big numbers back on the scoreboard by then. My teammates are all behind this plan too so while I admit that my ego hates the idea of “lifting light” in May, the thought of Nationals is definitely making me consider it. In the meantime, I’m going to train as usual.

P.S. If you were in doubt, I still suck at lunges. More on that later.



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4 responses to I Still Suck

  1. Suzanne,

    No doubt at this point you have heard every encouraging word, every quote for motivation, and well, you have one of the best coaches around. But something that may not be apparent to you just yet. You will say “I do” but in reality you are unsure. What I’m referring to is trust. Trusting what your coach sees. When you say “he seems certain”, well he is so follow it. At this point self doubt will ruin anything you hope to achieve. When your coach says they believe then so should you. Coach Dan John talks about the same thing and I have seen it in the females I have trained in the past. They doubted, I said I believe and they go out and crush it. The ones that still had doubt in their heart didn’t fair well. You know as well as anyone that in Power lifting 90% of the game is mental, especially if you have trained. While things look bleak right now you really haven’t lost as much as you think you have and lifting light has been shown to produce incredible results. Again Coach John has proven this before. This light weights are what got you strong in the first place. Use them and believe. Best of luck to you and your team. If past performance is any indicator of future performance I would say you ladies are on the way to the top. And on last quote for the road “Fall down 7 times, Stand up 8.”

    • Suzanne

      WOW! Great advice. You are absolutely right that I have the best coach around and he has never misled me before. I trust him completely but I am still working to trust my body again. The good news is that every day I see progress. BTW, loved that last quote: “Fall down 7 times, Stand up 8” ~Suzanne

  2. Wishing you the fastest and full recovery!

    (I hate!!! Lunges….)

    • Suzanne

      Thanks so much for your support. I hate lunges but I hate being told I suck at sometime more so I’m going to keep working on it. Thanks again! ~Suzanne

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