CrossFit and Hot Flashes

I went to my second ever CrossFit class last Thursday and it totally kicked my butt. The WOD was 40 minutes of cardio and core workouts. I loved the rowing machine. I used to do quite a bit on the rowing machine back in college and it felt great to get a great workout again on it. I totally failed at the core aspects of the workout though.

My ab muscles are non-existent, at least for the moment! My mind would tell my body to do the sit up, but after 40 reps, my muscles just sat back and laughed. Then the hot flash hit. I’ve been getting night sweats off and on over the last few months, but this was the first time I’ve ever gotten a hot flash while I was awake.

Now, a hot flash to most people is just an annoying episode and they move one, but to me it’s devastating. I’ve suffered a few times from heat exhaustion/borderline heat stroke with the most recent episode last spring. I hiked on a beautiful trail all morning without too much issue, but on the way back we had our warmest day of spring so far and I didn’t fare so well. The trail at that point isn’t super strenuous up and down, just rolling ups and downs and long. It didn’t matter, I was gasping for breath and sweating profusely with my heartbeat raging in my ears. I dressed appropriately, in shorts, because I’ve disliked heat since I was a kid, and I had plenty of water still but that didn’t make a difference. Eventually I stopped sweating and my skin became super clammy. I would chill my hands at every little brook crossing and hold them to my neck and ears to try to cool down my temperature. As the nausea rolled in, my clammy skin grew worse and my uncontrollable heartbeat ramped up, I began to get scared that I might not be able to make it out on my own. There were others in our group, and they did keep stopping to let us catch up, but I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to keep going at all. Eventually, the afternoon cooled a little and the trail got more and more flat or continuously downhill I was able to bring my heart rate back down a bit. I did have the foresight to have a insulated bottle of ice water back at the vehicles that I drank to help me bring my core temperature back down. Never have I been more grateful to my trusty Contigo bottle!

That episode last spring taught me that my body just can’t handle the heat anymore, even if it isn’t very hot out. No more hiking in the summer for me, unless I’m WAY up in the mountains where it’s nice and cool. So when I got that hot flash during the middle of the CrossFit workout, my heart rate instantly skyrocketed back up to that dangerous 180 bpm, and I just couldn’t cool myself down. Luckily the box had a door open in the back hall where I spent several minutes trying to cool the inferno. My body never did cool down back to normal levels until after we finished the workout (which I had to keep modifying the WOD to accommodate).

Even though I felt a little frustrated at my traitorous body that it just wouldn’t cooperate, I loved the fact that one of the coaches came over and did the last 200 meter rows and Superman’s with me to keep me going. I love that about the CrossFit family! They don’t judge that I was having a hard time, and were totally fine when I asked what modification I could do so I could keep going when my body was rebelling. So much encouragement!

I put off having the flu for as long as I possibly could, but succumbed on Saturday with sore throat and fever for 3 days. Unfortunately that means I missed CrossFit on Monday, and I still don’t feel enough energy to go tomorrow. Hopefully next week!

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