One of the things I love about CrossFit is its regular stretching of what I thought I knew, how I have come to know my body and capacity, and the community that holds me well amidst these challenges. It’s all good, “as long as it doesn’t result in hospitalization,” a friend texted me today. I’m fine, and my body is fine, yet I’ve also learned a lot in the last 24 hours!
Basically, I’ve had my first prolonged encounter with the GHD (glute-hams-developer), at the newer-to-me CrossFit gym. Having done the L1 training, I’m always a bit surprised when it’s listed in the programming there. This is a much higher-skill, greater risk ‘machine’ in the mix of CrossFit movements, with most beginners advised to do just that…begin…slowly, and with a different movement than a sit-up (hip-extension, from stomach-position). Whenever I’ve seen it programmed here, I’ve tended to choose abmat sit-ups as scaled option. I know I always need to work on core-strength, particularly now as the newer gym doesn’t tend to it as well as my home gym.
Yesterday, it was an EMOM (every minute on the minute) skill-building workout where I could keep the reps low and listen more slowly in the movement: GHD situps, deadlifts, and chest-to-bar pull-ups. I decided to stay with the more advanced GHD movement, though staying largely above ‘parallel,’ which meant only a ¾ sit-up each rep. It seemed conservative enough for me, yet also stepping into something that I would have previously avoided. As I’ve taken to saying, CrossFit is my near daily practice in ‘small steps of courage.’ I’ve grown and challenged myself this way, loving what I get to learn.
I knew something was different in my body as I left the gym that morning. Inarticulate. I felt fine, but also wearier ‘inside’ somehow than I’d been in a long time. I could feel my hamstrings/posterior-chain weary, with some back and shoulder exertions too. But I was glad. I knew I’d sink into the 90-minute massage I’d scheduled for the afternoon.
The morning appointments via Zoom at home were rich, and breakfast at noon was delicious. I did sink into the massage, and having seen it as an option on the entry-form, I welcomed some abdominal work for the first time too. Unsure what that might have meant, I learned it was careful attention to hip-bones, hip-flexors, tendons of the pelvis. All was tender, but I could also feel stress and energetic releasing too. I drank my large glasses of water and, unusual for me post-massage, I curled up on my bed and took a 90 minute nap.
That probably should have been my first clue, but we had a business dinner to attend to, so off we went. I suspected that a 6 a.m. workout was not in my future, given later dinner and emotionally heavy content of it. I texted some CF peeps to find out the workout in my home gym, decided I might enjoy a drop-in after my afternoon meetings on campus.
I named some of my GHD adventure with a friend—also a CrossFit mama or older-sister—and she startled enough to insist I check in with her in the morning. “That’s 80 reps!” she said. I smiled inside, feeling both cared-for and warmed by the bit of “her over-concern.” I enjoyed my evening hot-bath-soak and slept well.
I did indeed sleep in (for me), and first thing, noticed weariness. Nothing too extreme, and all the signals of the morning were fine. I texted in that I was smiling and fine. “Abs sore?” she texted back. “A little,” I responded, “but nothing horrible. All is well.” I noticed lower back tenderness, but that sometimes happens when Nala leans into me at night and my arm gets at an odd angle. Didn’t think much of it.
As the morning wore on, the weariness didn’t abate, and even seemed to get heavier. I felt something that might be called ‘echoes of cramps,’ which was odd for a post-menopausal woman. Not painful, but whispers of discomfort of an era gone by. Lower back remained weary, tender. Not painful, but tired. By the time it came to decide whether I was going to drop-in for the 4 p.m. WOD, I sat in my car, and it dawned on me.
My abs were really sore. I laughed aloud in the car. She’d been right after all.
I always think of these muscles as being only in my stomach, around belt-line or waist-line. But the muscles the GHD requires your body to use are lower, pelvic-oriented, and surround the area below the waist. All of my morning’s discomforts were post-GHD discomforts. Even though I had been measured, care-full, knowing the higher risk skill-building, I’d still let it sneak up on me.
But oh well. Bedtime is coming. I feel much much better. I stepped into something that had previously scared me, perhaps stepping in a bit too far, but now I know to cut any rep-counts in half, at least. I've wanted to work on core-strength, and did. I know more of my body's capacity and how it speaks to me 'after.' And I’ve been reminded all day that CrossFit community checks in with its own. I’m blessed with friends who care, and show it.
Even blessed with friends who are always right, blessing and curse as that may be (for her). 😜