Post-op fitness

Hello Trog Blog, ‘sbeen a while!

In truth, I’ve just been a little too busy to blog here, but it feels like a good time to write a quick post.

After surgery and 6 weeks in a plaster cast, I emerged, withered and sore at the end of June. The good news was that I managed to stay ‘clean’ with my diet for the whole period, achieving the impossible at my age – I didn’t really gain any weight. Phew.

paleo crossfit

Apart from the initial two weeks when I was limited to sitting with an elevated leg and in severe pain, I managed to get back to the gym immediately. It’s quite amazing what you can do on one leg.

It’s now about 8 weeks since the plaster came off and I’m finally back to full WODs. I am running (carefully and even more slowly than usual) and have managed my first sets of lunges and box jumps in the last couple of weeks. It feels good.

There is no doubt that I have lost, in this order:-

1. Flexibility – my foot is like a rod of iron and my ankles are refusing to rotate fully

2. Strength – the squats I lifted with ease are now feeling much heavier to me

3. Fitness – having been an impact-free zone for so long, I must accept that it’s also going to feel much harder now I’m back to aerobic exercise again.

That said, I am determined to get back to full fitness, lose the remainder of my body fat which is stubbornly protecting my middle, and finally master the unaided pull-up this year. Age is just a number.

paleo crossfit


Crossfit on Crutches

We have recently undergone surgery on the troublesome right foot. We shall refer to this as ‘Operation Trotter’.

paleo crossfit

In a nutshell, bones have been broken, shaved off, re-set and pinned, then encased in a plaster cast (or fibreglass to be accurate). It hurts, but having spent over a year working one’s butt off trying to reach a level of strength and fitness that I’m proud of, there is simply no way that I am going to sit on that very same butt for 6 weeks watching Glee.

I am fortunate that my chosen form of fitness is CrossFit. My gym buddies could not have been more helpful and supportive. They descended upon me for coffee and even brought flowers.

But the greatest tribute really must go to the two PTs who run the ‘Box’ – Andy and Pete.paleo crossfit

It would have been easy to send me home, or to sit me on the side and give me a dumbbell to play with, whilst the rest of their members smashed a few WoDs and surpassed their PBs. The reality couldn’t have been further from this. They took the time and patience to encourage me in to the gym, assessed my movement ability and carefully assembled a set of replacement movements that I can realistically achieve until I am back on my feet.

Heck, we even did an hour of Boxing sitting on a box!

I could not be more grateful, knowing that I am in safe hands here. I was paranoid about losing my fitness and strength, but now feel totally reassured that I can retain some flexibility, and work up a sweat with a variety of tailor-made movements, created just for me.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Crossfit HG3.


There are few words to describe my first experience of Acupuncture, but amongst them are:-paleo crossfit





I was reliably informed by the charming elderly Japanese lady who tortured me that the ‘normal’ kind of acupuncture would not help me with my problem (very painful joints in my foot), but that she could ‘unblock’ me (nothing to do with my bowels as far as I know. No real idea what she was unblocking to be honest…presumably my chakras or summat) with a different kind of therapy.

I agreed in that naive kind of ‘this should be a lovely relaxing hour on a bed’ way, and as I settled on to the bench at the point of no return she remembered to tell me that it was going to hurt like buggery (my words, not hers).

She proceeded to ‘bleed’ me repeatedly by stabbing me, rather like an angry child with a voodoo dolly of the school bully. In her innocent looking hand she held a fat pin, not unlike those that a diabetic might use for blood tests, until the skin gave a little ‘pop’ and the red stuff was drawn. Over and over again up and down my legs, toes, around my ankle 20130211-171331.jpgbones and on the soles of my feet. This latter manoeuvre was so despicable that she asked me to cough every time she stabbed me, to fool me in to thinking that I was not in agony. It was particularly pleasurable in the areas where there are no fleshy or fatty deposits, which to be honest, on my feet is pretty much all of it. Just skin, bone and a serial stabber.

No pretence here, no twinkly music or the sounds of a Caribbean shore 20130211-171343.jpgto drift off to, just a butt-clenching white knuckle ride of terror and the smoke from what now appeared more and more like an opium den.

I was charged £100 for this tremendous experience, and sent off with a polite smile and the request to come back for at least 4 or 5 more sessions. Whaaaaa?!!

My first phone call was to the British Association of Acupuncturists to check that she was registered. She was.

My foot, of course, is predictably no better. Even if we look beyond the bruising and the join-the-dots abuse to my surface flesh, pains still lurk within.

Assuming I live through 4 more sessions, can someone please tell me whether this is going to fix me?


The one where I am hurting (again)



paleoI have a problem. I have had this problem since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. I appear to have an infallible ability to hurt myself, like ALL the time.

Yesterday my 5 year old son actually managed to cause himself enough pain to emit blood-curdling screams. When I rushed to investigate which large household object had decapitated him, I discovered that he was sitting on the sofa in front of the TV, crying. Yes. He had actually managed to cause himself an injury whilst sitting absolutely still on a couch. It is clearly genetic.

I will gloss over the fact that my arms and legs generally resemble those of a dalmation most of the time, due to my incredible ability to bruise just by thinking about it; the ever-present black blotches are such a given that they’re hardly worth a mention. Although I did just mention them.

I will also leave out the injuries which I have incurred outside of the fitness arena. These are simply too numerous and embarrassing to catalogue, although the day I fell off a ladder last year was a real doozy, and the childrens’crossfit paleo playground incident had them rolling in the aisles.

I will, however, draw attention to the list of not-quite fatal, but sodding painful injuries which the boys at CrossfitHG3 have malevolently inflicted upon my ageing body. Let me see, where shall we start? *clears throat*

1. Large bulbous swelling and gi-fucking-gantic bruise to right inner knee, incurred on first ever day at Crossfit, as a result of poorly judged box jump. Result – 6 weeks of swelling and an inherent fear of large black boxes for the rest of my life.

2. Severe foot injury, already outlined herein – exacerbated by drill-sergeant’s requirement for me to master the ‘double under’ skip. Result – skipping &  running smart like hell and possibly requiring surgery in future.

3. Spinal distress. Pain in my lower back like a small indiginous back-dweller is living inside me sharpening his machete on my spinal chord. Burpee crouches hurt like buggery. Deadlifts? Well, you do the maths. Result – girly lightweight who winces. A lot.

4. Large flap of skin separated from my right shin as a result of a poorly judged box jump. Yes, there may be a pattern emerging there. Result -pathological fear of boxes moved to another level.

5. Wrist sprain. Sustained in the aforementioned ‘playground’ incident.  Result – limiting for burpees, handstands and press-ups.

I am thinking of keeping a journal of all incidents, ranging from the minor to the downright hilarious, although I fear that this would render me somewhat Rain Man-ish in nature. I do not have time to count frigging toothpicks. So, I’ll leave it at this:- I am a bona fide Klutz. Bungling, inept and accident prone. I am unable to participate in deadlifts, running, skipping, box jumps, handstands, burpees or press-ups, but I haven’t missed more than one or two sessions of Crossfit for almost 10 months, and I’m still standing. Just standing. And mainly watching. 🙂


Mr Sensible Head (…not)

Coming to terms with being 50 and accepting that you have neglected your body for the past 10 years 15 years 20 years is difficult, but is apparently a critical part of reaching 60.

On M0nday I arrived to find Frank and Pete lying next to each other on the floor like two star fish, panting to get their breath back. A small crowd had gathered around them and ‘Eye of the Tiger’ was blasting out over the sound system. Clearly, I had missed something pretty spectacular, and based of the evidence before me, concluded there were three possibilities:

a)  They just finished a wrestling match?

b) They just finished a dance off?

c) They hadn’t been able to deny their lust for each other any longer

I considered a) for a short time and concluded that Pete would have been up for this but Frank wouldn’t, and as Frank can probably run faster than Pete, logically, whilst they would have chased each other for a long time (both wont give up), they would not have finished in the same spot.

So, could it have been a dance off? This was an interesting possibility. I haven’t seen Pete dance, but I have seen Frank dance.  It was possible that Frank was exhausted from trying, and Pete was exhausted from laughing, but I concluded that “Eye of the Tiger” wouldn’t have been the first choice of music, even for Frank

Oh dear, that only left c)… awkward… but hang on, they were still fully clothed… and suspiciously close to the rowing machines. Of course, Sale Sharks! (check this out on YouTube if you don’t know what it is)

I mention this because, having recovered from the possibility of a love match between Frank and Pete, the next next thing I heard was “Bob, why don’t you have a go…?” My response was quick and assured – “No thanks, not yet” A sensible response avoiding pain and probable exhaustion. Sensible head firmly in place

Tuesday I started with my sensible head on again. We were doing overhead squats, which I can’t really do – My squat is still not upright enough, and my arms don’t seem to want to go behind my head, a bad combination with a heavy bar! So sensibly, I decided to work on my form and flexibility. This got a confirming nod from Andy and a “right thing to do” comment. So far so good…

When we got to the WOD however, sensible head fell of and was replace by ego head. The WOD was 10 to 1 rep of overhead press (40kg) interspersed with 20 double under skips which for me = 40 single skips (as I can’t do double unders either!) so, a total of 400 skips. What’s the problem I hear you ask? Simple, my calf’s are big and very very tight so I knew 400 skips was going to be a problem… So, I should have stopped after about 280 when it was starting to hurt… I REALLY should have stopped at 360 when it was really hurting… And I REALLY, REALLY shouldn’t have tried to do the last 40 on one leg (left if you’re interested) … And I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, should have accepted Andy’s kind offer of an ice pack,

But no, instead of doing the sensible thing, I chose the option that means I have now been walking around for 5 days like Douglas Bader, swearing every time I had to climb a flight of stairs (see what I did there?)

Anyway, lesson learnt and sensible head firmly back in place!