Do What You Can, With What You Have, Where You Are

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Holy crap you guys, I am tired. The difference between how I feel on days after I work out versus days when I can’t work out because of work or doctors appointments is seriously noticeable. Waking up is especially hard for some reason. It isn’t even that I’m sore (thank goodness). It’s just a groggy feeling. But I also sleep hard as a rock on the nights when I actually get to work out. I don’t mind it because it means that I worked my body hard and really deserved the sleep I got, but still.

Once upon a time I worked out pretty much every day, only taking Sunday’s off. I had a pretty solid routine: wake up, go for a run with my roommate before work, go to work til 6, go straight to the 7 o’clock class at my gym (sorry, I refuse to call it a box), go home, shower, eat dinner, bed. Repeat. That feels like an eternity ago to me now.

My job has changed twice since then and I have moved three times. My current job (which is working for a company that I applied for right out of college and after 3 years finally got a job with) takes up a lot more of my nights than my first post-grad job did. That gets in the way of workouts, but that’s ok because it means I make money and I keep my job. Can’t argue with that.

I was also in a pretty gnarly car accident last January that really hindered my training. This is a story I really only want to tell once, so bear with me. Before the accident, I was competing in the scaled division in Crossfit competitions (and frequently winning) with dreams of one day getting to Rx. After my accident, I am pretty much fighting every day just to walk normally and without pain again. As a result of my accident I suffered from a severely broken ankle (shattering all of my cartilage between my tibia and talus and leaving me with 2 lovely screws in my ankle), a broken wrist, two broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a concussion and the best part: my right ear was ripped off of my head (my hearing is fine, thank god). Needless to say, more than anything I am happy that I am able to sit here in a home that I own (and love) with my boyfriend (who I love), working at a job (that I love), and tell you this story. Not all bad things came about as a result of the accident. For the most part, I chose to focus on the positives. If I didn’t, I’m pretty sure I would rip my other ear off in frustration.

In the last year, I spent 2 nights in Shock Trauma at the University of Maryland; a week in another hospital in rehab; three months in a wheelchair and sleeping in a hospital bed; had the first surgery on my ankle which left me in a boot until April; had a second surgery on my ankle to lengthen my Achilles tendon (I’ll pause while you cringe, I know I did when I first found out I was having it); and one surgery on my head to implant “posts” so that I can eventually get a prosthetic ear where I am currently missing one. Basically, I saw more doctors and spent more time in doctors offices/hospitals last year and I care to even count. All I can say is thank God for health insurance.

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My motto.

My point of telling you all of this boring mumbo jumbo is to bring you to where I am these days, training wise. Where I was once one of the strongest girls at our gym, I am now doing step ups instead of box jumps, overhead squats with a dowel or 30 LB women’s bar, and rowing instead of any kind of running. My ankle is still a pretty big mess, and more than likely I will have to have ankle replacement surgery when I am older. I’m way too young to do it now, because typically replacement only last 10 years. Meaning I would have to have ankle replacement surgery every 10 years. I’m 26. Do the math. I have severe post traumatic arthritis in my ankle, which makes everything from running (sometimes even walking) to jumping to squatting difficult. Yup, I said squatting. You tell me how easy it is to continue to do Crossfit when you can’t squat below parallel. So for now I am still working out (when I’m not working), albeit at an extremely scaled level, and trying to re-build as much strength as possible in my leg where I still have atrophy thanks to my second surgery. For now my dreams of crossfitting Rx’ed are shelved and I am working on getting back to where I was before when I was scaled. I’m hoping that if nothing else, I can get down pull ups, muscle ups and hand stand push ups better than anyone else at our gym. Plus walking correctly. I have been immobilized so many times and I have such frequent random pain that walking has become a real feat for me. Who would have thought you could forget how to walk?

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I’ll admit it: some day’s I am not working my hardest. Some days I fight back tears really hard because I want to be doing what everyone else is doing or I want to be squatting lower or I want to not have the pain in my ankle that I do. But most days I am giving it my all because I know that that’s what I have to do in order to get better, get stronger, and put this all behind me

So my workouts are not at all what they used to be. But they’re still pretty tough for me. Taking basically a year off and only training in very sporadic increments makes things like 35 lb 1 arm snatches, 40 lb one arm farmers walks and 25 lb one arm thrusters (yesterday’s WOD for me) harder than they once were. But I am still determined to get stronger, walk better and kick ass in every workout that I do. The frustration from watching other people do the things and lift the weights that I want to be doing sometimes gets the best of me, but I am doing my best to focus on my recovery and just do what I can, with what I have, where I am. Shout out to Theodore Roosevelt for that inspirational quote.

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What is my overall point of telling you about my accident? It’s not to inspire anyone. It isn’t to bitch and moan (although I may have done that inadvertently. Sorry). It’s really because this is my blog about my life and the results of that accident have become a pretty big part of my life these days. I hope that one day soon I won’t be able to say that anymore and that it will be a thing of the past. Until then, I am dealing with it. But my injuries, my struggles, my frustrations and my accomplishments are all things that are going to come up in my posts now and again. Probably just as something I mention in passing, but I figured I would get the story out there once and for all so that I don’t have to explain why I did 10 alternating step ups instead of 30 double unders for 14.1 (true story) or why I am insanely good at handstand push ups and muscle ups (not a true story. Yet).

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And now that my story is out of the way and I have overloaded this post with pictures of inspirational quotes (which I would apologize for but I love them all and they have helped me a lot in the last year and some odd months), I will give you a recipe for one of my favorite side dishes, burnt broccoli. Once you make this you will never want to eat broccoli any other way. Promise.


1 head of broccoli

1 TSBP olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced.

1/4 TSP salt

1/4 TSP pepper

1/4 TSP crushed red pepper




Blanch your broccoli. You want to blanch the broccoli because you don’t want it to burn the wrong way when you are broiling it in the oven or to overcook. Yes, there is such thing as burning a wrong way. Just trust me on this. To blanch your broccoli, simply put a pot of water (enough to cover all of the broccoli) on the stove to boil and add a good amount of salt. While it is coming to a boil, cut up your broccoli head into bite-size pieces. Once the water is boiling, add the broccoli and let boil for 1 minute. While that is boiling, fill up a large bowl with ice water. Again, enough to cover the broccoli.

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My broccoli in it’s ice bath

Once your broccoli has boiled for 1 minute, remove it from the pot and put it immediately into the ice water to stop the cooking. Allow your broccoli to sit in the ice bath for about 5 minutes, or long enough that it is no longer warm. Remove your broccoli from the ice bath and pat dry with a paper towel (or lay it on a paper towel to dry).

While drying, put your olive oil, garlic and seasonings into a bowl and mix. Add your blanched broccoli and stir until the broccoli is evenly coated with the mixture.

Set your oven to broil on high. While your oven is warming up, put your broccoli onto a cookie sheet (cover it with foil because broiling tends to ruin my cookware) and arrange broccoli into a single layer. Put your broccoli into the oven on the second rack, just under the broiler. Cook until it just begins to crisp and burn, about 5 minutes. Turn on your oven light and watch the broccoli during this time. Because of the high heat, the oil my splash off and cause a fire in your oven. You do not want to let your broccoli cook too long because again, it will catch fire under a broiler. I strongly suggest keeping your eye on it the entire time it cooks.

photo 5 (5)Sorry, there is no picture for the finished product. It was too good and I ate it too fast.

Alternatively, you can burn your broccoli by cooking it on the grill. Your cook time will depend on the grill, but it should be about 8 minutes, turning the broccoli frequently.


2 responses

  1. Pingback: Coffee | Paleo For Beginners

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