photo by Steve Penland

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Granite Games Experience

Welcome to the Granite Games!

Of course, this is not the "My Granite Games Experience" post that I was hoping to write.  That one--or likely, those ones, because who am I kidding. there's no way I could blog about a three-day competition in less than three posts, minimum--that one would have been filled with harrowing tales of missed dubs and no-repped pullups, and thrilling stories of completed ring dips and epic 5K runs.  But when life gives you lemons--or, in this case, when life rips your hammie from the bone--you gotta go with what you've got, so this post will be filled with sore butts and knee scooters and epic performances by SISU athletes and coaches--and with gratitude for good friends.

I still can't drive, and hubby Jim is out of town coaching a woman's broomball tournament in Vegas. So while I really wanted to go to the GG, I wasn't sure how I was going to get there.  I had an offer from my SISU-member chiropractor to drive me to the GG--but I was reluctant to take him up on that because I knew it was quite possible that I'd only last an hour or so, and I didn't want to wreck his day by needing to leave early.

Enter my oldest and best friend Corinne--we've been friends since fate threw us into the same dorm room our freshman year at St. Olaf.  She volunteered to drive me to St. Cloud (an hour each way from my house, plus she lives almost an hour from me); to schlep my scooter and crutches and inflatable pillow around all day; and basically to hang out at the GG while I talked to people she doesn't know and we watched a competition in a sport she's barely heard of.

Now that's a friend!

(And she gets credit for the Quote of the Day:  when I asked her what she thought of her first CrossFit competition she replied "More 6-packs than a liquor store."  You can see why we're friends!)

So at 9:15 yesterday we piled me, the knee scooter, the crutches, three pillows, and a bottle of Extra Strength Tylenol into Corinne's car and headed for St. Cloud.  At my followup doctor's appointment last Wednesday the doctor encouraged me to start some light weight-bearing on my crutches, but I've discovered that, while it isn't painful at the time, weight-bearing results in pain at the hamstring re-attachment point for several hours afterwards.  Between that and the fact that I figured (due to pain when sitting) that I'd be spending a lot of time standing, the knee scooter, with its built-in knee rest, was the clear choice--but I wanted to bring the crutches just in case.  So we were pretty much loaded to the gills.

Once at St. Cloud, we worked our way through the hockey arena where the Elite, Rx, and Community Teams were competing to the fieldhouse, where the two-person teams and masters competitions were held.  And here we met our first obstacle--the flight of stairs from the hockey arena to the fieldhouse level.  And while Corinne was quite capable of getting my scooter down the stairs while I clutched the railing and did a hopping descent...well, there's no better place for two middle-aged women to need help moving a heavy scooter than a CrossFit competition.  Every time we approached those stairs throughout the day, I didn't get within 10 feet of them before some strapping young man or woman was offering to carry the scooter up or down the stairs for me.  Sweet!

Once in the fieldhouse, I paused a moment to take in the atmosphere.  Vendor booths, spectators, loud music, enthusiastic announcer, cheering was just as I'd imagined it would be.  We were just in time to watch coaches Jason and Tyler work their way through the first WOD of the day (a chipper called "Unbroken"), and then to watch my class, the Women's 50+, attack the WOD.  Here they are:

There's an empty lane there with my name on it...

After that, it was time to watch Coach Pat--who's currently second in the Masters 45-49 class--crush Unbroken.  And then we wandered back to the hockey center--more helpful scooter-carriers--and watched Coach Alye, in Women's Rx, take on Unbroken.

Despite my keen desire to be out there struggling with the dubs and pullups with the rest of my class, I really had fun watching.  There were a lot of other SISU athletes there watching--and several more competing in two-person teams and on the Community team that we were logistically unable to watch--so there were plenty of people to bump into and chat with.  I ran into the guy from Game Day Competitions who had called me a "badass" in New Ulm and got to regale him with my latest tale of injury woe.  I even bumped into a former owner of SISU, who gave me hope for my comeback by giving me suggestions on how to workout my upper body while my hammie is still on the DL.

By the time we were done watching the first WOD, though, I figured I'd had enough.  It hurt to sit so I stood most of the time, which made my leg swell and my incision hurt.  So we headed out shortly before 2:00, intending to get lunch and then head home.  As we finished lunch at Culvers, though (Yes, I had ice cream.  Sometimes you just have to.)  Corinne asked me if I wanted to go back (we had "unlimited access" wristbands).

Sure, what the heck!

So we went back and watched the second WOD of the day, Cleans and Ring Dips or Muscle Ups.  And by the end of that one, I was truly done and couldn't wait to get back in the car (which is a painful place to sit as well) and head home to my recliner.

And today, I'm profoundly grateful that I'm not going back to work yet.  I can't imagine having to deal with the discomfort and mobility issues involved with being upright and mobile--and also with the careful avoidance of anything that might be remotely likely to cause me to re-tear the hammie repair--while also focusing on teaching.  I'm thinking that today will be a full-on "recliner recovery day."

And I am also profoundly grateful, post-GG, for having found a sport that is so much fun and that attracts such wonderful people; for having an injury that, while it has a lengthy recovery, is predicted to have a full recovery which will allow me to pursue CrossFit (oh, and skating, I guess) again; and mostly, for good friends who are willing to give up a whole day to allow me to indulge my hobby.

Even with a recently re-attached hammie and a four-inch incision below my butt--life is good.

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