You guys know more than anybody, don't you. It's a tough game.
You’re flying along and then next minute…
Again Faster New Zealand Development Team Member, Ruth Anderson Horrell, is one of the grittiest competitors going around in CrossFit. She’s a grinder and one of the strongest women in the game, that’s for sure. However, a recent thumb injury she sustained during training has stopped her in her tracks. Unable to train anywhere near her normal routine and volume, she’ll be fighting a mental battle out of the gym just to keep herself busy and on track for a speedy recovery.
I put in a call to Ruth over in New Zealand. She picked up and told me it was a grey day in Invercargill, with not much happening. She said she was trying to do a bit of painting and renovation at her house.
“I’m using this time as an opportunity to take care of some of the things I’ve neglected while I’ve been training so hard over the past few years. Although, it’s kind of weird not having to try and fit five hours of training into your day.”
Ruth has clearly been training hard as a bid to get back to the CrossFit Games another time. She set social media on fire when the CrossFit HQ videos surfaced of her CrossFit Total – 180kgDL/143kgBS/54kgPress- from the HQ retreat in New Zealand.
“Yeah, I had some good lifts there. I was happy with that. I’ve put 7kgs on my press since then, too.”
She missed out on Schwartz’s last year due to an untimely, slight elbow injury, but resurfaced at the Battle of Fittest event in New Zealand where she took out nearly every workout of the weekend, scoring first in six out of eight events and second in the other two. But another misfortunate event would put her on the sidelines again. This time for months.
During a training session Ruth felt a tweak in her thumb but didn’t really think much of it at the time. We’ve all had those haven’t we, usually from catching a clean a bit funny. It’s sore for a while but we get over it. Unfortunately, not this time.
“My hand started to feel a bit funny and it got worse on the drive home. I opened the gate to get into my driveway and when I got back in the car, I realized I couldn’t move my thumb anymore. I rang my physio straight away.”
Ruth found out she had snapped one of the tendons in her thumb and that she would need to have surgery. An injury like this usually occurs when a severe wrist break happens and the bone slices the tendon.
“You have a spare tendon in your index finger so they took that one out of my finger and put it in my thumb. That was 30 days ago and they are saying it will be another eight weeks of recovery.”
I did the math and came up with three months away from intense training at the top level with a few weeks to transition into volume training and heavy loads added on top. I asked Ruth how she felt about that.
“It’s totally immobilized so it will be a process of it healing and getting the mobility back before I can put any sort of load on it. I thought I’d be able to DL and pull with the brace on but the wrist has also been affected. I won’t be able to do any of that. I will be a core and leg machine by the end of this.”
“The CrossFit Games are out of the question this year, so yeah, it going to be a long road back now, but that’s where my heart is [The CrossFit Games]. Getting involved with the Grid League will be a great opportunity this year. I’m really looking forward to doing some specific training for that.”
Ruth was a reserve for the San Francisco Fire last year and is having positive talks with them still. Ruth said she was looking forward to working on her speed and cycle times in the specific training GRID style competition provides. She thought it was another chance to tighten any gaps in her performance. Ruth is also on the long list for the Oceania Weightlifting team so she still has a chance to make that team, as well.
It would be a pretty frustrating injury for any of us. I asked Ruth if she had any advice for anyone who may come up against the same challenge.
“Get good people around you who you can have faith in. Mentally, you need to trust that they are giving you the best advice and are helping you recover quickly, in the best possible way. Also, be patient and do what you are told”
Ruth seemed to be taking this set back in here stride. She was clearly missing gym life and trying to find a new routine. She showed her professionalism by remaining upbeat and being excited about what other opportunities might pop up out of this little episode.
We spoke about how hot the fire will be burning inside her when she gets back to full time training. She laughed and ended the conversation with this thought:
“Yeah, I know. I just want to thank Again Faster and the rest of my sponsors for all their support. I really want to get back and represent New Zealand and Australia on the world stage. My heart is really into getting back to the Games but I’ll just have to heal up, train hard and get back as quick as I can.”
Adam Lesniak is the Marketing and Media Manager of Again Faster Australia. Photos of Ruth Anderson Horrell courtesy of the Author. Special thanks to Schwartz's Iron Edge Challenge, Powered by the Brave for access to the event.