3 months ago, I was stepping GINGERLY into the shower with my husband and I looked him in the eye and said “I’m never going to PR my squat again and I’m okay with it.”
The last time I was able to max was Fall of 2017. And my joint health has just been such a problem. But I didn’t ever give up. And I never stopped working.
In 2016, I had my first trip to the knee surgeon. The surgeon gave me 5 diagnoses on my left knee and assumed the right knee was in a similar status because I have a congenital defect. To simplify it – I was born with my knee caps in the wrong place and dislocate very easily. The surgeon told me that there was little to nothing that he could do. To quote him as closely as possible, what he said was “one day you’re going to not be able to bear the pain anymore and you’re going to say “it’s time” (to get a total knee replacement). The reason that he said “one day” is that if I went for a TKR, it would be a long and slow rehab and it would probably remove me from competitive CrossFit and Olympic lifting.
I’ve done the work that the knee surgeon recommended – I tape my knees (McConnell taping technique), wear braces, ice, compress and done so much PT.
Fast forward. May. I can pinpoint it. It was the Thursday before we were to do Murph. I had just done a shitton of double unders. I mean. SO MANY. Because my assignment was to get 10 sets of 30 unbroken and to keep going until I could do that. So. I did. And it took me about 45 minutes and 23,000 attempts. I was moving onto Snatches and had set up on the OLY platform. Next to the platform was a stack of weights that butted up to the weight shelf. I put my water bottle there, but being clumsy, I dropped it. I walked around to the front of the shelf to retrieve it, but I couldn’t reach. So, I stooped down and leaned forward, reaching for the water bottle. My knee gave a loud pop. But that was it. I got my water bottle and went back to practicing snatches.
Middle of the night, I got up to go to the bathroom, and I could not bear ANY weight on my knee.
After a day, we went to urgent care. Got x-rays. Got sent home with a big metal hinge brace and prescription for 400mg Ibuprofen. Doctor’s appointment and then surgeon appointment and then MRI and another surgeon’s appointment resulted in one course of oral prednisone (and a weight gain of about 8 lbs which is BOOOO HISSS) and then a cortisone shot in my knee … because … I tore my medial meniscus this time. I started PT at Rokke Therapy and had to lay off squatting.
But then. Slowly, strength in my legs started to come back. Jake programmed SO MANY exercises besides the PT (which I still do EVERY MORNING) … following the PT’s recommendations of lots of single leg work. Lots of slow, steady movement. SO MANY BOX SQUATS. BORING WORK. But work that I was willing to do.
So when there was a front squat ladder at last weekend’s competition that went from 65 to 175#, I was aiming to HOPEFULLY make the 155 bar. That one went down and up easy … so I decided to hit the 165# bar. And figured why not try on the 175. It was money.
I’m always learning.
I now know that I just can’t ever say something is not going to happen.
And I also know that the world is watching, or at least Mama Danger is ❤️ and she writes for the Morning Chalkup and they celebrate all of the wins.