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Lizz Sadowski: Pushing Her Body to the Limit, Beating Pain

When things start to get tough, are you going to fight through the pain and finish? Or are you, like so many people stuck in neutral at the gym and in their everyday lives, going to be satisfied with merely finding the edge of that pain before backing off?
“Push Through the Pain to Build Muscle” by Derek Poundstone

Liz Sadowski Spartan Pic

Lizz Sadowski, 34, is a cardiovascular perfusionist at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh – and she is also an obstacle course racer and CrossFitter. She’s ready to hit the next level in her active, athletic life – but pain became an issue when she upped her training level. Lizz told us her story in her own words.

I have always been active – I played softball and tennis and ran track in high school. In college, I played intermural kickball, dodgeball and softball. Today, I still play first base or outfield in recreational softball leagues here in the Pittsburgh area. Even though I was always super-competitive, I remained a middle-of-the-road athlete. I just never pushed myself.

Two years ago, all that began to change. I got into obstacle course racing – Tough Mudder, Savage and Spartan Races. I did my first race with very little training. At about the same time I started doing Orangetheory Fitness Training (orangetheoryfitness.com) – high intensity workouts designed to build stamina and improve strength.

In Spartan racing, you compete in an age group. – and the only question you ask yourself is, “How high do you want to take this?” I love to play in the mud, run through the forest and climb really high things. I have a full-time job and a family – with a two-year old son. Spartan racing is all mine – and I love it.

Last year, I missed qualifying for the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships by just three points. That sparked my competitive spirit – and I added CrossFit three days a week to strengthen my back and shoulders, and to improve my grip strength for climbing obstacles.

The first day I started my CrossFit introductory program at Arsenal CrossFit (arsenalstrength.com), I felt just fine that night. But the next morning, I couldn’t get out of bed – literally paralyzed by pain. I have a physical job – I am on my feet for 12 to 14 hours a day. I could barely walk – and had a hard time even lifting my son. When it was time to do cardio, I simply couldn’t. I started to doubt if I could do CrossFit at all.

That’s when I saw family friend Alyssa Mealey Stookey mention Play Again Now on one of her Facebook posts. So, I Googled it, did the research on the clinical data, and figured it was worth a shot. Ten minutes later I was on Amazon.com ordering Play Again Now, and two days later I got started. On day 4 – at the 3-tablespoon loading dose – the day after doing a CrossFit workout, I noticed a difference. I thought, “Wait a minute – nothing works that well.” I knew I pushed myself hard – and I had no pain when I woke up the next morning.

This huge change from day 4 to day 5 meant I could do my Orangetheory workout and CrossFit without pain the day after. On day 10 – where I am today – I am still having the same positive effects. Even my chronic knee pain – and I’ve tried everything – was gone.

Liz Sadowski and Ace

We’re an athletic family with a proud sports history. My father-in-law, Jim Sadowski, pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates. We’re big Pirates fans, and go down to Spring Training every year. My two-year-old son Ace is already switch hitting pitches out of the air – at least in the back yard with my husband – who played Division 1 college baseball.

Throughout my life, I have never pushed my body. Now my goal is to see what my body can do if I push it to the limit. So, my 2017 goal is to qualify for the 2017 Obstacle Course Racing World Championships. I still have to put in the work, but Play Again Now allows me to recover faster so I can keep pushing and train harder. Now I’m truly ready to take my training to the next level, thanks to my determination and Play Again Now.

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