Alethea Boon has been to the CrossFit Games twice. In 2015, Boon finished 20th with some very strong performances – 2nd in Murph and 4th in Pedal to the Metal 1.
Boon started out strong in 2016 taking 2nd in the Australia region during the Open, only behind Kara Webb. Regionals looked the same as she took 3rd and notched two event victories.
At the CrossFit Games, Boon started out a little slow at the Ranch, but came back with a 9th place finish in Murph. After some mid-pack performances on Saturday, 100% was announced for the Tennis Stadium Saturday night. Featuring 40 box jump overs and 20 D-Ball Cleans, 100% tested the athletes in an all-out sprint. To keep up, rebounding on the box jump overs was critical.
As we all know, Boon ended up rupturing her Achilles tendon and had to withdraw from the CrossFit Games. Since then, Boon has had surgery and is currently rehabbing and sharing her progress on Instagram. Just yesterday, Boon shared a video of her doing some light squat snatches, a first since her injury.
BEST FEELING! First time snatching – 17.5 weeks post achilles repair. 7 Dec 2016. Definitely another first to remember. Yip I’m allowed to jump my feet out now. Not going crazy, just keeping everything moderate and in check but having a freakin blast relearning everything. Still setting small goals and being sure to celebrate every little win. Please note before this I spent many a days and reps using a dowel and just the bar with no foot movement for pulls, shrugs and muscle snatching, just practicing bar path, trying to keep keep the body familiar with the movement. Always work the fundamentals as they transfer over. Yes I have a lot of work to do but it’s a good reminder to anyone that you are never too good to take a step back to the basics. #firstsnatches #sohappy #bestfeeling #crossfit #weightlifting #snatch #backtobasics #progress #celebratethesmallvictories #AchillesHeal #roadtorecovery #winning #mindbodystrength
We caught up with Boon earlier this week to talk about her injury and how the rehab process is coming along.
The Barbell Spin (TBBS): Earlier this week you just posted a photo of your “first official bar slam since surgery”, how is rehab going these days?
Alethea Boon (AB): I am now 18 weeks out from my Achilles repair surgery and things are progressing relatively well. Touch wood! The scar itself has healed so unbelievably clean and the calf and tendon are getting stronger each and every day. Progressively eccentrically loading and moving to more concentric now which is a game changer. It’s actually weird because sometimes I forget I’m actually injured and try and accelerate or jump but that right leg just doesn’t work. I really have to remind myself to settle and chill the fudge out and not to rush anything. A different tune from when I first did it. I was so down and the initial stages were rough, so I am super happy with where I am at now and being able to pull and throw some weight overhead. We are still working pretty flat footed with feet planted no real movement but that is probably a good thing for me seeing as I always had a tendency to go on my toes a bit too much.
TBBS: How long have you been able to incorporate load-bearing movements?
AB: I began walking in the boot at the 6 week mark and a couple of days after that was in a shoe, walking super slowly but walking nonetheless. I considered that a win. At that point I was to only eccentrically load the tendon but then the 3 month mark hit and I was given the go ahead to box squat and deadlift “with common sense” according to the surgeon. Of course I had to clarify what common sense meant and apparently that meant 40kg! Well I listened for the first session then progressed as I felt ok to do so. Nothing crazy and still squatting to a box and seated strict press. So I took this opportunity to really work on my bench press, pulling with rope climbs and seated sled pulls and hit the globo-gym with some isolation exercises for my legs using machines. Having never done that before I have come out being able to hit my max squats straight of the bat. Yip 16 weeks I was confident enough and felt ready enough to fully squat. I am pretty diligent with rehab and do my exercises morning noon and night, it comes before all other training and I think that approach has set me up well for recovery in getting me back to play.
TBBS: What movements are you still unable to do? What is the timetable to adding those back into your training?
AB: Still unable to run, jump and do anything too dynamic. Pushing off that right leg is still quite fragile. I can shift my feet sideways which has allowed me to do a tiny bit of lifting, but most lifts are without foot movement for now. Doc has an estimate of light jogging at the 6month mark which will be mid Jan, but jumping and double-unders are a fair bit away yet. No real timeline for that until I see the doc this afternoon. Hopefully he says I can start in Feb, just in time for the open.
TBBS: Going back to 100% at the Games, what was your initial thought when you felt pain? Did you know that it was a torn Achilles right away?
AB: When it happened it just felt like something hit me in the back of the leg, but I knew that wasn’t the case, there was nothing around other than judges and the box. At first I thought ok something went maybe you just popped your calf a little, but then I stood, tried to move and walk but the right foot felt like it just wasn’t connected. I knew in that moment the Achilles was gone. I don’t remember feeling too much pain probably because of the adrenaline surging through from competition but one thing I did feel was an instant sadness. Sadness because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to finish the games and felt like I had disappointed all those that supported and helped get me to the games. I am very fortunate that those people understand the nature of sport and remained supportive – Games or no Games.
TBBS: What are your plans for 2017? Will you be able to compete in the Open?
AB: I know the timeline is tight but I have a goal to do the 2017 CrossFit Open. No matter what the outcome, I truly believe that if I am able to complete the open as prescribed I will have overcome some serious odds and achieved something pretty amazing. If I get beyond the open well . . . that’s just bloody amazing. Seven months from Achilles repair surgery just completing the CrossFit Open will be a win!
TBBS: What’s been the hardest part since you hurt yourself?
AB: Undoubtedly the hardest part has been mentally dealing with this injury. It’s always hard sustaining an injury in competition as you’ll always feel like you have unfinished business not being able to complete something you worked so hard for, but more so this injury stops you dead in your tracks. Things that were so easy all of a sudden became such an effort to complete. It really messes with your head, and while you are going through it it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel that everything will be okay. I was super lucky to have a fiance that could see when I was struggling and just made me get up and go when I couldn’t do it for myself. Ask anyone who has gone through a complete Achilles rupture, this recovery is no joke. It’s a recovery you cannot rush. I found setting small progressive goals to be a savior throughout this process. Whether it be getting into the shower by yourself to taking the first step the little goals matter and definitely kept me from dwelling on the negatives of this injury. My recovery is far from complete but I am pretty optimistic about where I will end up and I will continue to set small goals because all those little goals will help achieve the bigger picture. “little by little becomes a lot over time”.
18 weeks check up with Dr. Slater was a success. Bring on running in January! So incredibly grateful for the expertise and guidance from such a legend. Yes he’s a legend! Here’s to recovery success and some fun in 2017! #drslater #AchillesHeal #roadtorecovery #weightlifting #crossfit #runningsoon #18weekspostop #growlittlecalfgrow