This year’s Open was a fun experience for me & I had a lot of thoughts during it, that I thought some others may find worthy of reading and/or could connect with.
For reference, this was my 4th Open (I think).
2014: Participated, was in final clinical rotations, planning/preparing for our wedding, studying for boards, moved across the state.
2015: Participated but didn’t finish due to back injury that was not resolving.
2016: off due to back injury (same injury as previous, became a chronic pain issue)
2017: Participated, was in my 1st/2nd trimesters
2018: I took off, as I was still “early” postpartum (5-6 months)
2019: Participated, at my healthiest & also likely fittest! 17-18 months postpartum
Last year I elected to not sign-up for the CrossFit Open, as it didn’t align with my goals at the time. I was trying to be smart about my postpartum recovery, and didn’t feel I needed any extra pressure to lift heavier weights or try movements before I was ready to. At 5-6 months postpartum, you would’ve thought I’d be fine to do all the things. That wasn’t the case. I still couldn’t hang from a bar without coning, as my diastasis was in the process of healing. I was just starting to jump rope again at that time, focusing on engaging my pelvic floor & not joining the “pee pants club”.
This year was a significantly different story. I find the difference in my fitness level from 2017 to 2018 to 2019 a crazy, up & down journey. This year I completed all the workouts Rx, got my first bar MU in 19.4, & continued to surprise myself with what I was capable of. Being postpartum has allowed me to focus on rebuilding my foundation. It was also fun to see the huge jumps in my fitness, looking at 2-3 months chunk of time. During that time, it was a long journey, definitely not all sunshine & linear upward progressions. There were times I overscaled myself, doubted what I could, sometimes thought I could do more than I was capable of. There were a lot of times I got discouraged, when I saw other womens’ postpartum journeys- comparing my body to theirs, my fitness to theirs, how “together” they looked compared to the hot mess I felt I was.
I doubted myself a lot. But I tried to lean on those around me. My husband/coach, my family, my PFPT (who made time to see me on a Sunday for a 2nd follow-up because of my work schedule & I wanted to be 100% my DR was healing & there were no signs of prolapse as I was lifting heavier- my DR was almost completely healed & no signs of prolapse!), my P&PA colleagues, my fellow pregnant/postpartum moms, the list goes on. I used the knowledge I had learned, the knowledge from others & being honest with where my body was at to navigate this challenging time. There is no one size fits all approach.
The quality of your training & rest/recovery will have significant positive effects on your health & fitness. I started with 3 days of CrossFit a week, slowly building to 4 days and then a 5th day of accessory work. Currently I train 4 days of CrossFit a week and 1 day of accessory work. 5 hours a week. Focusing on laying a solid foundation (undoing some bad habits from previous training) & rebuilding to address weaknesses that led to me to injuries previously. I don’t have a lot of time to train, so focusing on quality over quantity has given me the biggest bang for my buck.
Be patient with yourselves mamas. It took me about 15 months to lose all the extra weight & get back to my “pre-baby” weight. Also the same amount of time I spent nursing Tori & to get her to sleep through the night & go to sleep on her own. The increase in sleep & change in demand on my body certainly didn’t hurt things.
At this point I’m probably at my fittest overall- my strength isn’t quite to my old numbers yet, but it’ll get there. I’m training with no pain (healthiest I’ve been in a long time) & no typical postpartum symptoms. It probably helps that my training goals are different & I’m putting less pressure on myself. My finish in the Open certainly doesn’t define me, but I’m proud of my effort & results of it.