I’m back in baby’s arms;
How I missed those loving arms.
I’m back where I belong,
Back in baby’s arms.
Yeah, I’m singing Patsy Cline to a piece of iron.
I’m finished being broken, being afraid. (I’m also finished with any scrap of snobbery about a Smith machine.)
My trainer has been saying that the Smith machine would let me get under a barbell in a way that’s safe for my lumbar spine. I was afraid to try though — what if it hurt me, made things even worse? I trust that he knows what he’s talking about, but after having a scalpel in my spine because of a barbell it’s a scary thought to get back under one, even though I dreamed of it. Literally. I dream about getting under some iron at least once a week.
I dreamed about it again last night and woke up determined this would be the day. Time to just do it. The last time I squatted was January 12.(Yes, I know the date.) I put 165 pounds on my back for 8 reps that day. Today I got into a machine with nothing but a bar (minus the princess padding, thank you) and learned a newfangled position for squats — leaning back against the bar in a way that takes the load off the spine and distributes it to my lower half. It felt weird, not at all what I knew before, but my legs remembered the feeling.
I did some pretty heavy barbell lunges, and it all came back, the sensation of driving up against gravity and a weight that seeks to keep me down. Well, a lot of stuff has tried to keep me down lately, and I’m done with that. After a couple sets, my legs quivering with fatigue, muscles on fire and crazy swole, I had to remind myself that this was what I wanted. Because machine or no machine, it was freaking hard. I didn’t feel so much as a twinge in my back, but my legs were thrashed by the time I was done.
I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face leaving the gym on still-trembling legs, red spots on my shoulders attesting to the barbell recently across them. I’ve felt broken, damaged, defective for more than three months, and for the first time this morning felt some vestige of my inner badass returning. Changing and getting ready after working out I could see a shine in my eyes and a glow on my face that I hadn’t seen in too long.
In my 1.0 training days I came to think I was invincible. Now I know all too painfully that I’m not. But in a way, knowing that I can be broken and come back fighting, doing whatever I have to do, makes me feel even stronger.