This blog post has changed shape several times. Originally was going to be a post about how one gets older their training methods must change to accommodate different changes that come with that increased age. Due to several events happening since I started writing this it has now changed shape and scope about 12 times and if i don’t send it out now, not sure it will ever get sent out. So this may be a little bit all over the place, but aren’t we all sometimes.
There comes a time when every athlete has to accept the realization that they need to change the way they train. When you realize it takes you longer to recover from a workout. Your joints hurt just a little bit more. The minor aches, pains, and injuries start to happen more often. You need to start taking care of your body more effectively. Make sure you get to bed early, not eat with reckless abandon.
It is not all about your biological age. As athletes or anyone gets older more responsibilities come into play. In a sport like mine where you are likely not going to make enough money to make a living there are a lot of things that making training more difficult and less convenient. Work and responsibilities increase as you get older, some may have a family to take care of, a business to run, any number of things that make having time to train more difficult. Or at least making excuses not to train easier to justify.
This is not excuse nor is this something I just learned this week. Quite the contrary. I have been aware of this for a while. I am one of the old men in this sport and I have to train smarter than the rest to stay competitive. All that being said, you can do everything right and still have things happen.
I am usually not one to talk about my insecurities, or fears. Not something I share often. But I am no different from anyone else and yes these things exist in me. I am as human as anyone else and as J.C. Quinn taught me from the movie Barfly ”no more full of shit than anyone else”. I have been dealing with a shoulder issue that has gotten to the point that I have to shower with my left arm only. I have a hip injury from Nationals that still hasn’t healed. I have a right hand torn open making gripping even the lightest of implements feel like my hand is on a hot stove. Only 6 weeks to the world championship and I will have a slew of people who will accompany me to the big dance. I hadn’t told anyone about my shoulder till a recent post on facebook and I have been receiving messages of support and concern ever since. Unfortunately, I think I gave off the wrong impression of why I finally came clean. It was not to make excuses or show weakness or vulnerability believe me in the beginning as they injuries were piling up I had plenty of that. It was my way of saying that I am not worried about these injuries anymore. That I no matter how hard I get hit on my road to Worlds I am going to hit back harder. I will be the best I ever have been on Competition day, no matter what I have to do to make it happen. Lets go back a couple of weeks to where my mind-set started to change.
I had my right hand man Kevin back for the better part of the last month. The timing was nice as it is the end of a grueling season that will culminate in said World Championships at the End of February. Was able to take a little extra time off, recharge my batteries, and heal up a little bit to get ready for my final surge for the big stage. I Took some time to catch up with some family I haven’t spoken to in a while, some old friends that I don’t get to see often these days and my fellow competitors across the country. Was nice to check in and see what was going on. I had a few talks with a new (and quickly becoming good) friend, fellow old man competitor, former NFL trainer, and one of the most elite strength coaches I have ever met (one I really look up to as a strength coach myself). He will be at the Arnold as a competitor himself and one of the first things he said to me was “I am looking forward to you finishing things off at the Arnold”.
It hit me hard. I have had a hell of a year and finishing things at the Arnold would be a perfect ending. In the last 12 months I set a National record, finished 2nd in the Country, won 2 NAS titles, and had a blast all the way. Debated on coming clean to him or not. I eventually did. Told him I was feeling strong but dealing with injuries of the not so minor variety. That I was to the point that what I was looking forward to most was just the opportunity to play. While I would be as ready as I could be and give my all, I was just happy to be there. Then he said this: “Be appreciative, but never satisfied! The joy in eating comes while eating thus the joy is in the process!”
I knew exactly what he was saying. What the hell was I complaining about? Or worried about for that matter? I just had one of the most respected coaches in the Nation tell me he thinks I am a favorite, despite what I just told him. And you know what? He was right. It got me thinking way past just me, and the part of me being a baby that these injuries came at a bad time. BAD TIME? How can any of this be a bad time? Let me elaborate.
Last year I was fortunate enough to take part in a piece of this sports history. The first ever World Championships for 175 lb strongmen. It is something I will never forget and something that will always be special for me. Making it even more special, I got to coach one of my athletes compete at the same show. A record-breaking female athlete of mine for that matter (shameless plug). Making this team bigger than me is the ultimate goal and some coaches may never get to see their athletes on that stage.
This year? I get to compete with and against a teammate, Adam Corra. Little Crystal Lake IL and Davis Speed Center sends 2 to the world championships two years in a row. It is humbling and proud moment of mine knowing I have had a part in Adam’s success as a strongman.
So I will be side by side with my training partner, thinking about how I have already coached an athlete to the World stage, thinking about my records, my accomplishments, but mostly thinking about all the amazing people I have met along the way. All the experience I have had and the support I have earned. It kind of makes the pain go away, well actually it doesn’t make the pain go away but it certainly makes it easier to deal with. It makes you remember why you do all this, why you are so hungry. That you are a positive influence on the people you encounter, and it is you’re calling to inspire and lead by example. It tells me that if it is not bad enough to keep me from getting out of bed in the morning, that nothing is going to stop me this year. I have so many people behind me that it sometimes doesn’t even seem real. We all want the same thing.
Seems like Everyone has my back
1 More month of training. Champions are made in the gym. There is a positive and even advantageous side to this story. Not being able to train everything lets me get really good at that I can do. Time to out work this field of fellow lunatics and leave it all out there.
I wouldn’t have any of this it wasn’t for all of you who are reading this right now, all of you who have helped along the way, all of you who have ever cheered for me. Going to try and do this done for all of us.
I hope that clears some things up.