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Barbara Clough

Steady stages

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Nearly every Tuesday, in addition to my regular WODs, I have a coaching session with the box owner. Often I find myself doing exercises that aren't what are on my 'To Do List', i.e., 1 bodyweight deadlift; 1 unassisted pull up. He has me doing things like GHD sit ups, 12 reps x 3 sets interspersed with KB deadlifts, 44 lb. each hand, 10 reps x 3 sets. As I move back and forth between those two exercises, I find little muscles in my body that I didn't know existed. I think back to my first round of GHD sit ups, and I thought I was going to fall off the machine and the muscles that cross my hip bones were sore the next day. 

Tomorrow, I'm sure I'll wake up and some weird muscle I didn't even know existed will be sore but I won't notice it immediately. I'll do some usual task, like taking the trash to the dumpster, and when I toss it in, I'll feel a tug and go "Ah hah! That's what he was working on with those KB deads."

As I'm working around my EMA, I find the same 'Ah hah' moments. Today as I was researching what it meant to be a laundress on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the 1880s, an entire scene came to me of my great-grandmother. She's in her late twenties, but only married a little over a year and heavily pregnant with her first child, hauling buckets of water up and down the tenement stairs. Sunday was the soaking day. Monday washing day and drying. Tuesday ironing and starching day. I picture her trying to wring out clothing by hand, hang it on the line, reel the line in using the pulley, reaching, wringing, bending again and again. 

I am writing around the central part of my EMA, strengthening all those writing muscles with research and flights of fancy so that when I do sit down to concentrate and pull all this material together, I'll have that solid core, where everything is working in unison and has been strengthened and is ready for that final, heavy lift.


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