It never rains, it pours… Disaster strikes!

With 13 days to go before the Northern Masters and the last chance I have to qualify for the 2009 British Weighlifting Championships, I was looking forward to a desperately needed one on one PT session with my weight lifting coach, Mark from Crossfit Manchester.

To be honest I’ve been beginning to think that I wouldn’t make it for this year, but was prepared to surprise myself. It was always a risk to change my technique slightly, just 3 weeks before the competition, but I’ve learnt from 2 years of training under Mark, that I do better (in everything) when I do what Mark tells me and don’t argue. It didn’t go too well last week when I was training on my own in Cardiff. I failed to get even a 65kg Snatch, dropping 5 in a row before giving up. It’s not a strength thing, it’s a technique and timing issue. Either way, I needed another session to steer me back on track.

I was due to see Mark at 5pm on Sunday and was pottering round the house doing chores on Sunday afternoon thinking about the upcoming session. Then it happened… reaching behind my old PC to stick a USB stick in, I felt a twinge in my back. It wasn’t a major drama. Nothing went pop or twang. It was just a small twinge. Slightly annoyed at myself for what was obviously poor posture or a stretch too far, I went about my afternoon.

Within 10 minutes however the pain really started to set in. First bending was uncomfortable. Then twisting was uncomfortable. Then just sitting was uncomfortable. About this time bending became painful. Then twisting became painful. Sitting was just bearable. Bending was now impossible! I called Mark… there was no way I could make it the session.

It got worse as the evening went on and I had a torrid nights sleep. Lying flat on my back staring straight up at the ceiling was the only bearable position to sleep in, though I reckon I only got 3 hours sleep. As I write this I’m sat on the train to Newport for a week’s work and I can just about cope with the pain. I think it’s highly unlikely I’ll be able to make the gym this week and to be honest I think this is the last nail in the coffin for the BWLA Championships qualifiers.

However I’m not going to give up. I think there’s little chance but I’m still going to the Northern Masters and I’m still going to give it my all. In some respects having little hope reduces the pressure of the meet and I may feel freer to try lifts I wouldn’t normally expect to get. Is this the famed Crossfit mental toughness coming out… or is it just my typical stubbornness… Who knows. All I know is that I need more ibuprofen and a masseuse!

EDIT: I’ve just got in at the end of the day. I decided to get that massage after work and so found Christopher Leslie who operates out of St Joseph’s Private Hospital in Newport. Chris is a very gently spoken man, around 60. 30 years a teacher he switched career to therapeutic and sports massage full time 8 years ago. £45 bought me a 90 min top to toe massage, with special focus on my back of course. I’ll decide tomorrow if it’s made a difference, but it certainly couldn’t hurt, and if it takes a few days off my recovery, it was worth it.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Steve J 20 January 2009, 10:12 pm

    Not much you can do there mate. Just take some brufen and rest up for a few days.

  • Chris 21 January 2009, 11:00 am

    Oh No! Unlucky mate, I hope things are healing up quickly.

    Have you tried a bit of DIY massage. Get a tennis ball or hard rubber ball about the same size place the ball between your back and a wall and lean against the ball. Move around until you feel a tender area then go to town moving the point of pressure across the area. It can hurt like a m**********r but is kind of pleasant at the same time :-s.

    I used to spang my back regularly BC (before crossfit) still do occasionally but the recovery times have gone down since I started rolling the crap out of the spasming muscle.

    Hope you feel better soon and are OK to compete in the northern masters

  • Sam 21 January 2009, 6:13 pm

    Ouch! Sorry to hear about your back, Col. I can absolutely recommend the tennis ball method outlined above. My yoga teacher suggested I try it after I pranged my trapezius a few weeks back. Massaging for 10 minutes at a time relaxed the tension out of the muscle. One of those microwaveable buckwheat pillows is also a good investment, as is Deep Freeze gel. I find that alternating hot, cold and massage is the way to go.

    I hope it heals in time for you to compete but, if it doesn’t, please listen to what your body is telling you and let it rest. There’s always other years, you’ve only got one back.

  • Colin McNulty 21 January 2009, 8:15 pm

    Thanks for the recommendations. Will have to see if the landlady has a tennis ball knocking about.

    The back is slowly getting better, but is still tender when I stretch in certain ways. Also, I’ve realised I have 1 more week than I thought, the Northern Masters is in 17 days, not 10 as I first thought. There’s half a hope still !

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