Prototype of the Month: Brendan Sheehan
Prior to my 30s, I had been a pretty fit guy and was very proud of what my Napoleon Complex drove me to accomplish athletically. Then my wife and I had our first daughter, and that translated to very little time to work out. Not surprisingly, injuries started becoming more prevalent and more difficult to overcome.
The worst of these injuries was diagnosed about 3 years ago as plantar fasciitis, which, if you haven’t experienced it, feels like you are stepping on sharp pebble with every step. I became especially frustrated with this injury when we adopted our second daughter, and it became very difficult to hold her for long periods of time because of the pain in my feet. I distinctly remember thinking, “Is this what ‘old’ feels like?” I tried orthotics, anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone shots and physical therapy but the pain persisted. Finally, on September 11, 2012, a surgeon poked 33 holes in my left heel to artificially stretch out the plantar fascia tendon to alleviate the pain.
Around that time, Mike Scott & Sean Fair had joined CFP and urged me to join. I was still recovering from surgery, so my baptism by burpees and deadlifts had to wait a couple months. I finally joined an Elements class and noticed that the pain in my foot dissipated ever so slightly. I attribute this to two parts of CrossFit – the strengthening of my “posterior chain” and the 20+ minutes of stretching during each class. As I graduated from Elements, then to WODs with the lightest 10 lbs. medicine balls and the lowest box jumps and ultimately to prescribed WODs and heavier weights than I ever had lifted, I feel like myself again. Most importantly, I can keep up with my Punky Brewster-esque 7-year old and carry my Stay Puft Marshmallow 1-year old baby on long hikes with little pain.
I recently had joked with some members that CFP was my “Happy Place,” and it really is. Your goal for 1 hour is simply to complete the WOD. That’s it. We live in such a complex world with so many pressures that are hitting you from all angles all the time. But for that 1 hour, you just have to complete the WOD (and beat the other CFP members against whom you benchmark myself). Almost every workout has a moment where I think, “I can’t do this anymore, I have to stop.” But then I see everyone else struggling through the same workout, and it compels me to complete it. It may be ugly, and I may not be proud of my time or number of reps, but that feeling of accomplishment is truly euphoric and an amazing way to start or finish the day.
My goals are very simple –
1) Not get injured again
2) Continue to be able to throw my kids in the air especially after Patriots’ touchdowns, Bruins’ goals and Red Sox homeruns, regardless of how big they get
3a) Lift more weight than Eric Rogers 3b) Run faster than Jasmin Bertovic 3c) Row harder than John Burton
4) Not get injured again