I still remember the first time I met Jola – It was after the first WOD at the Waterford Throwdown and I was hiding in the changing room feeling pretty defeated (it was my first competition and that first WOD floored me). We started talking about where we trained and lived etc, and Jola gave me some inspiring words, got me up off the seat and we went out to stretch and get some snacks. Throughout that day she inspired me to keep going; “you can do this” she kept saying (even when I felt I couldn’t), and she reminded me of my strengths and not to give up! Meeting Jola that day really helped me stay positive and keep going. I was so happy to see her finish up in 3rd place, she is a great athlete and never stops pushing herself! Unfortunately she got injured after the filthy 150 last year and I know first hand how tough it’s been for her, but I know we will see her back in action very soon! I asked Jola 2 questions in this weeks series.
I asked Jola: What does being healthy mean to you?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease”. Health is also the condition of being well and free from disease.
To me health means being content with yourself, with your body and mind regardless of how you look or what you do. Once you can accept your little flaws, you’ll feel good mentally and physically! Never let any negative thoughts or people get into your life and make you feel bad. Keep going strong throughout your life following your dreams and you won’t regret anything! So don’t worry, be happy and be grateful for every single thing!
My second question: How did you keep a positive mindset throughout your Injury?
It was horrible, a really tough time for me. I was never in that much pain before. It was after competing in The Filthy150 last September, I was left badly injured. Moving around hurt, I couldn’t take deep breaths, never mind laughing. Even getting up from the bed was excruciating. At first I thought I had just pulled a muscle. Stupidly, I continued training with the injury, hoping that it would go away but it just made it worse. Over a month later, I went for an MRI scan and discovered I had badly fractured ribs, this came as a huge shock to me. Especially as it meant only one thing – REST!!! All that ran through my head was no training, no gymnastics, no weightlifting, no CrossFit; not being able to do what I love most was like the end of the world for me! It was tough seeing everyone smashing WODS, I was really upset and even left the box with tears in my eyes on a few occasions. I rested for a few weeks and went back training hoping I’d be fine. Unfortunately the pain in my side came back. I was frustrated at this stage but after talking to Jamie our coach I decided to concentrate on the stuff that I could do – LEGS!
Fast forward 4 weeks and a big part of me wanted to give up as the pain just wasn’t going away. I thought, maybe CrossFit isn’t for me? Should I just quit? I ran these questions over and over in my head all the time. My confidence as an athlete was gone. One day I was sitting at home watching videos on YouTube of CrossFitters doing WODs, and I said to myself: I can feel sorry for myself all day long but where this is gonna get me?? Is is gonna help me recover? Is it going to make me feel better? The answer was NO, of course not! I decided to work around my injury, do as much as I could without hurting myself. I began to concentrate on isometric movements for my legs and arms and work on my core strength (this was always one of the weakest part of my body). Because of this, I managed to get single arm handstands and even freestanding handstands within 2 weeks!
I was absolutely delighted, and I realised that having an Injury made me work on my weak points which I hadn’t made time for previously. From that time I started looking at my situation from a different perspective; there was a lot of things that I could still actually do. I wasn’t completely at a standstill and I should be grateful for that!
Injury taught me one other thing which I think is the most important point – CrossFit isn’t only about competing, it should be about enjoying training with other people as well. I’m naturally a very competitive person, I always have been and that’s probably why I got injured. Not taking enough rest, ignoring signals from my body and a poor diet put me in that situation. I look at things differently now. I learned to really enjoy training now that I’m more relaxed. At the end of the day CrossFit is only a sport like many others, one day you’re winning, the next day you may be losing but that’s still OK. It’s not all about a big score on the white board, it’s about improving yourself every single day, taking one step at a time and trying to be better then you were yesterday.
So if you’re in a similar situation going through hard times, dealing with injury – don’t ignore it. Listen to your body and rest if you have to. Don’t give up on your dreams, keep fighting and doing stuff that makes you happy because things will get better in the end. Injury will not only make you wiser but a better and mentally stronger athlete!
I’m not fully back to CrossFit training yet but I’m feeling better and stronger every day, and I will be back to the grind very soon, so watch this space!