I started working out with Paul Flores in 2007, all the way back when we were La Mesa Workout, a tiny little place on Lake Murray Road.  A short time after we initially connected, Paul embraced much of what CrossFit had to offer and La Mesa Workout became CrossFit East County. Snatch_1

I was in pretty shabby shape when I started – I was recovering from my first serious spinal surgery.  I was totally de-conditioned and dealing with a variety of neurological symptoms primarily affecting my left side extremities.  Things started very slowly for me at CrossFit, and I found working out to be miserable.   My recovery time between 2x weekly sessions was about 3 days.  Progress was non-existent to my eye, and during my days of extreme soreness and fatigue between sessions I really wanted to quit and say screw all of this.  My now close friend Paul, kept me in the game.  He assured me he DID see results even though they were subtle, and I just needed to keep at it and things would change for me.  About nine or ten months into CrossFit we added a third day a week.  Finally I could see some progress, but still pretty puny stuff in comparison to the amazing athletes around whom I was sweating my ass off.

In January, 2009, I kicked it up to 5 days a week and things really started to change for meBad Days_1.  My progress accelerated rapidly.  When I started, my first pull-up was a PVC pipe being pulled down to my chin while standing still.  I progressed, eventually achieving 30 unbroken kipping pull-ups.  When I started, I had trouble doing a pushup from my knees.  I progressed, and developed a strong push up and have done as many as 200 in one workout (Murph).  When I started, I could not easily clean a 45# bar.  I progressed, I eventually cleaned 160#.  When I started, I actually failed at a deadlift of 135#. I progressed, and eventually dead-lifted 345#, back squatted 225#, shoulder pressed 110#, and front squatted 205#.  I developed 7:59 2000 meter row and a 9:15 mile.  My weight went from 207 down to 185.  I was a real success story, a real athlete for the first time in my life, and I enjoyed great progress through 2012.

All of these great things slipped away from me in 2013-2014 when my left side symptoms worsened, and I discovered that my spinal cord was severely damaged.  Since that first spinal surgery I’ve had 4 additional cervical and thoracic spine surgeries, and 4 other orthopedic surgeries.  I spent a few weeks in the hospital and in in-patient rehab, trying to recover from it all.  It sucked big time, but I’m over it now.

NeckSide_1 Neckrear_1 CSpine Rear_1 CSpine Front_1 Better Days_1 DeadLift_1

I have permanent spinal cord damage and I’ll never be able to run like I could, or lift heavy weight again, or put much of anything over my head, but Paul keeps working with me.  Designing workouts I can do, and helping me to get back on track – both physically and mentally.  So, here we go again.  I need to drop 15 or 20 pounds again.  I need to improve my nutrition, again.  And I need to step up the intensity of my workouts, again.  And I will – because I have Paul and my CFEC family helping me do it, again.  Thank you all for your never-ending support.

Tony Patterson