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Getting Past The Pain

I didn’t touch a barbell for five days. I lost seven pounds, but that lightness certainly didn’t come from sweating anything except life’s unexpected turns.

No workouts. No lifting. Not even an air squat. I didn’t do my daily bend-and-bows. No stretching for my wonky SI joint. My stick for the Burgener warm-up sat in the corner, gathering dust.

I hiked some trails. I walked along the ocean. I watched my little dog run at the park; he was so happy that we had time to go every day and make new friends. But I didn’t do anything to strengthen my body. 

Finally, a friend brought my barbell and bumpers from my former workplace. We put them on the floor in my garage. I thought, “Okay. Now, I’ll feel like getting after it.”

I picked up the bar. The steel felt funny in my hands, like I didn’t know it, although I had grasped this bar thousands of times. I deadlifted that empty bar for a couple reps, then pressed it, then cleaned it. Even front squatted it a few times.

Nothing helped.

I put the bar on the floor and closed the garage door. I thought, “Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow.”

No. Strike that. 

The weight will still be the same. Like Henry Rollins says, “Two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.”

But my heart will be stronger. Sometimes, you have to let the wound open itself fully to the air and the sun and the wind. You have to see the blood rise to the surface … and then watch it stop. You have to know, deep inside, that the worst of the pain is past you. Then, healing can begin.

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