Pushing it too hard

Today I woke up in a great mood – and, for once, recognizing that life was great. I actually hadn’t slept very well due to some nightmares, but when I thought about what the nightmares were about (as stupid as it sounds, I dreamed that I sent a rude reply to a coworker’s email and that my boss called me out on it), I realized that life had to be good if something that silly could keep me up at night! Sometimes it’s the mundane but realistic nightmares that are the worst ones, since they’re the most believable. I kept waking up and wondering if I had actually sent the offensive email! So silly :)

But while I thought my day was off to a good start, it started going a bit downhill from there – some meetings that didn’t go quite the way I wanted them, and most of all, a feeling of exhaustion that I just couldn’t shake. I had gotten 9 hours of sleep last night (!), but I still hadn’t made up for some deficits early in the week, and my body was letting me know.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m tired, I always tend to be hungrier, and craving utter junk. It’s like my body thinks that upping the blood sugar will help me wake up more – but the truth is, eating only makes me feel more sluggish. Not to mention the fact that if I’m that tired, I’m probably not going to be pushing hard in a workout that would burn those extra calories off! I’ve tried to learn to be conscious of this fact, though, so now when I get cravings, I stop myself to consider whether I’m actually hungry or just tired, and I generally reach for either a piece of fruit or a small square of chocolate to give me a boost without totally knocking my blood sugar out of whack. Today, it could have been either hunger or exhaustion – for no particular reason, I haven’t been that hungry this week, and had eaten pretty lightly for a few days.

At 11:30am, I got a surprise: my hour-long meeting had actually wrapped up in 30 minutes, and if I wanted to, I would have time to go to Crossfit at 11:45. At first, I didn’t feel like going – I was wiped out! But then I decided to bribe myself: if I made myself go to Crossfit, I could have a sticky sweet granola bar as a pick-me-up before class. While I couldn’t justify eating a sugary treat so close to lunchtime, the sugar would hopefully give me an energy boost that would work as a pre-workout snack. After chowing down, I headed to class!

Today’s workout was a slightly warmup than usual – 3 rounds each of 10 ab rolls (using those infomercial-inspired ab rollers), 15 stepups onto a bench, and a 2 minute run. While I’ve been having some calf issues lately that have caused me to back off running until it clears up, the mini run during this felt good, and I was excited to be back in the swing of things. It made me really look forward ot my long run this weekend, which will be my first since Drake Well Marathon!

After the warmup, though, we were treated to another round of stations for our actual workout – this time even more intense. The first station was a “medicine ball complex”: four forward lunges (holding the medicine ball), four squats (still holding the medicine ball), and four “ball slams”, where you raise the ball overhead and then quickly drop down into a squat, using all your arm strength to slam the ball into the ground. After two minutes of that, move on to two minutes of bench stepups, this time at all-out pace trying to get in as many reps as possible. 10 seconds of transition time/rest later, it was on to two minutes of pushups (again, counting reps), and then a final station of “shuttle runs”, where you sprinted from one side of the parking lot to the other, resting in between to make sure that you were actually able to sprint and not just run. This circuit was done two times… which was way harder than it sounded.

I did fine on the first med ball complex and the step ups. I love step ups because they remind me of old-school step classes from 10 years ago – was anyone else into those? I tend to get into a groove for the step ups, singing in my head if there’s no actual music. But while I was feeling good about how I was doing, I was definitely pushing it – I knocked out 55 reps in two minutes and was starting to sweat up a storm. Onto the dreaded pushups!

I’m trying to really concentrate on my form lately for pushups, even though it means switching to my knees instead of full body. Better quality than quantity! I started out doing my pushups in sets of 10, then switched to sets of 5 when I got tired… which turned out to be after only 30. These were tough! By the time that two minutes was up, it was all I could do to drag myself up and head over to the shuttle run station.

But the shuttle run station was where it all fell apart. (Who would have thought that running would be my downfall?) After the first few sprints, I couldn’t believe how winded I was – it was taking me a lot longer to recover after each run than I had anticipated. Furthermore, I felt like total crap… and then my ears started ringing and my vision started getting a little black around the edges. Uh oh, was I about to faint??

And this is the part that scares me. While most people would have taken that as a sign to, ahem, STOP WORKING OUT? I wanted to push through it. I wanted to see just how tough I could be, and I wanted to keep going until I had actually pushed it to the limit and was on the verge of fainting. For what it’s worth, I tend to be very prone to fainting – I’ve passed out about a dozen times in my life, usually in high heat like the Dallas outdoors at noon where our workout took place. But you guys, how messed up is that?? I saw the danger signs, and I ignored them??

I kept going and finished the workout without further incident – taking more breaks this time around, though I tied my score for step ups after our coach put music on and I got caught up in the beat. When it came to the second set of shuttle runs, though, I really backed off – completing only two sets instead of the four I had done the first time. And post-workout, I headed inside to eat a pretty hearty lunch, in case not having enough fuel was the problem.

As I thought about my workout, though, I found myself with conflicting feelings. On the one hand, I was somewhat proud that I had pushed myself so hard as to get that worn out – but I was also somewhat upset with myself that I had let myself keep going even when it was kind of dangerous. Where did that come from? I’ve usually been the first to advocate backing off when it becomes clear that someone is pushing their body too hard (hence why I’m a big advocate of running multiple marathons in a season – if you have multiple chances to get a new PR, you won’t push yourself too hard on days when conditions aren’t right or your body just isn’t having it). But here I had gone and done just the opposite, when it wasn’t even something that was all that important to me. What was I thinking?!

Ever done something similarly stupid? Scare me straight!

Comments

  1. I too am heat sensitive but after fainting in some rural village in Mexico, I have not pushed myself since. While I don’t think it is a great idea to do crossfit at 12 noon in Texas, at least wear a hat and sunglasses to keep the sun off your face. It makes a huge difference. Also make sure you are hydrated before you start crossfit and keep water by you while you are doing crossfit.

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