Thursday, September 4, 2008


It's a well known fact that I have a very hard time taking rest days from CrossFit. I have been called (on more than one ocassion) psycho, and I've been told, (on more than one ocassion) that I need to give my body a break before it freaks out on me and goes into overload mode.

Since school has been back in session, my schedule has completely flip-flopped from the schedule I was keeping over the summer. Over the summer I was working primarily nights, and after waking up at my normal CrossFit time, I was always able to go back for a nap if I needed to. Now, I'm awake at my usual time, awake straight on through the day, and going constantly. To say that my body is in shock is probably a slight understatement. It doesn't quite know what to do with itself at this point.

But, despite the exhaustion and the seemingly endless mounds of work that come with the beginning of the school year and just being a teacher in general, I can't stay away. I know that everyone thinks I'm going to wind up hurting myself, but I just can't avoid CrossFit. See, CrossFit is like my shrink. No matter what is going on in my life, and believe me, there have been times when it's a lot, I can go talk to CrossFit. But here's the thing, CrossFit doesn't psychoanalyze me, it doesn't give me crap and talk back, it doesn't tell me I'm a failure at life and that I'll never amount to much. It doesn't tell me that I have issues I need to work on and that I'm needy. It simply tells me that I need to suck it up and get over it, and then it kicks my ass. Plain and simple. And for the 45 minutes that I'm there, I'm not thinking of lesson plans or IEP's or to-do lists, or papers I need to copy or more things that I need to buy for my class with money out of my own pocket. CrossFit and I have a great relationship, and it's hard to have a day where I don't see it.

I know that the science is against me on all fronts on this one, but here's the thing. When I get stressed, I eat a lot. I am a type A- emotional eater. I know I need exercise more than ever then. I also know that being stressed introduces a lot of extra toxins into your body and I feel like the exercise is necessary to keep them at bay. I know that many trainers would agree that I need to back off and rest, but the question is, should I really cry uncle?

I know that if you've had younger siblings you've played that game, or you maybe may have called it mercy instead. Or perhaps if you WERE the younger sibling, you had a great understanding of this game as well, being that you were usually the one who was being pressured to cry uncle. If you are unfamiliar with this game and reference, allow me to explain the basics of this classic childhood game. :P Basically, you use a variety of painful techniques to force your "opponent" into crying uncle or mercy. When they did, then you had to let go.

I feel like my life is trying to make me cry uncle with CrossFit right now. I really want to take a week off and sleep in a bit, but I really feel like that would just crush me and make things worse. I think CrossFit is the only kind of stress relief I have right now that does me any amount of good. I keep thinking that soon my body will adjust, but man, I really don't know how long that will take. I am crashing off the Zone at every turn because my body is craving things like mad, which is very different from when I was in school in the spring. I'm not sure if it's a result of the increase in my stress level or what, but I need to find a way to flatline myself and keep steady.

So I guess the bottom line is, when should an athlete cry uncle? If it is keeping them healthy (if at nothing else, mentally) should they continue to push through exhaustion and fatigue? Or at all costs to one's health, ie mentally, should they stop and take a rest week? I personally would think that the mental positives would outweight the physical negatives to continuing, but I'm not a trainer, nor am I an expert, so really I don't know. But what I do know is that I feel like poop.

Today's WOD was:
4 rounds
500 M row
Keep track of row times
inbetween work ring dips

I'm not going to lie, the rower was more than enough for me today. I could only do 2 or 3 ring dips at a time. I was pretty happy that in my first 500 I tied the class record at 1:45.9. However, I discovered that Stacey took the record back solo within about 15 minutes of that ocurring. Yay. Lesson plans are calling and so is my room which is a train wreck! Gotta love 8 year olds...


Justa said...

All I can tell you is that taking a rest has helped me tremendously. I had all of the same reasons as you, but I sucked it up and gave my body a rest. In fact, I think there was somebody that advised me to do that, wasn't there?

Your body recovers in downtime/rest time. If you don't get it, you will start to break down. Of course, if you're talking about a week or two, maybe you can work through that. Maybe aletnate days for a bit?

Anonymous said...

Katie, I completely agree with Justa. I also understand how hard it is to make yourself walk away for a bit but if you do, you will come back feeling better/stronger. There's a really good video where Eva T is talking to Allison about overtraining, there are also a lot of good posts about resting and time off on the message boards. If you feel like you need to still do something maybe try and get in a short easy run, walk, or hop in the pool or something, but nothing seriously stressful.

Kim said...

I'm feeling the same way! With working my three 12 hr shifts, training newbies, and starting my two grad school courses... my body is a wreck, too. I've been eating icecream, and other bad things I've been craving.

My friends and family keep saying "something gotta give" and "it's got to be CF".... and I don't agree...

CF is what keeps me sane. It takes the stress of the other things in life, and makes it bearable.

But...if you think a rest would help you reset your schedule, go ahead and rest! Maybe you need a few days to a week to let the other things settle in, and then get back and hit it hard! Maybe a little time apart will only make your heart grow fonder :)

Katie said...

I know what you are all saying... I guess it's just the great debate... what's funny is that I actually linked that video on my blog awhile back where Eva is talking about overtraining and wanting to cry all the time and eat ice cream. Great stuff. It's just really hard because it is such a postive thing for me mentally... and I think that's what's bugging me most and making this that much harder... body wants more rest... head needs CF...

Guys, espcially you Justa, you have been loyal readers and commentors and I heart you! Thanks for being supportive these last few weeks! :) It means a lot to have love all around! :)

Adam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Wigan Crossfitter said...

If you don't take rest days then you aren't doing crossfit properly.

But I understand why you love crossfit so much. I've always found some sort of refuge in exercise (well past 4 years!).

But if you don't recover then you wont improve I guess.

I took a rest day yesterday, and it isn't the easiest thing to do is it?

Be kind to yourself Katie

Adam said...

Feel free to completely ignore this, for this stuff is of such a personal nature and I feel like I'm rambling a bit here, but this is my two cents:

I think you're looking at things the wrong way. Resting does not mean "giving up". Recovery is not the athlete's way of crying "Uncle."

Exercise makes you stronger not because it breaks down your muscles, but because when your muscles recover they are stronger than before.

An often forgotten element of the Zone is eight hours of sleep. This is because having less will adversely affect your endocrinology systems. It will negatively exacerbate stress hormones, and isn't life always better after a good night's sleep?

I hear ya on the psychological need for crossfit, I really do; with with the changing schedule and world in upheaval, I would see crossfit classes as the one anchor of normalcy in the chaos.

But I think it would be helpful to keep telling myself that this turmoil will pass, that in a week or so I will have an established routine full of crossfit. In the meantime, I would make sleep a first priority, that way I could feel good enough to figure out everything else.

Whatever you choose to do, I for one will support you and be here for you, either online or in person. I am also willing to bet that the peeps at CFOT will echo that sentiment.

Adrienne said...

ditto adam's comments! Resting is part of getting stronger.

Darcy D2 said...

Katie I totally understand were your coming from: for me missing a workout makes me feel like I'm failing. However, for the last month I've been feeling overtired and no matter how much sleep I get I can't shake it. This week I took time off CF so I could go into the half marathon on Sunday fresh and for the first time I feel mentally alert. Pretty sure that means I was over training and I needed some R&R. If I turn into a walking zombie again I might have to drop the burpee challenge.

Tami said...

I would agree with everyone else, if your body feels exhausted, by all means rest it.

You could always try something to mentally relieve your stress. Read that book you've been meaning to get to, go to a movie, go bungee jumping, write a screenplay about your obsession with CrossFit, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Brian said...

Why not switch to running for a week or two? I've had two times in the past 8 months where my shoulder was acting up... basically meaning CF is out. I just went into running mode and put in like a 5k in the mornings, or maybe a fast 1 mile then some tabata sprints, etc.

It kept that whole endorphin charge going for me, kept my fitness up, and gave my body a break from the rough and tumble intensity that is CF. Just an idea!

Katie said...

Guys, thanks for all the thoughts and comments. I really do appreciate it. Lord knows that this week has been crazy. I'm going to see how I feel after this weekend before I make any decisions. Rest may be in order.

Ben Weger said...

I had a day off too. Sadly it was due to getting run off the road on my bike. Rest days are good for you.

Katie said...

Ben, that's a little bit of an extreme reason to have to take a rest day...

I hope you're feeling better!