My Provincials competition is 6 weeks away. This is the time when I would normally be twitching with excitement and visualizing the realization of my goals. All of my training would be geared towards peaking my strength for the platform. This time everything is different. Is there such a thing as perfection in preparing for a competition? Somehow I doubt it. While I’ve had my share of pre-competition challenges, this season of suffering has been the biggest, the baddest, the most painful, and the most disruptive. Instead of visualizing what I am going to do on the platform, I’m forcing myself to keep my emotions on lockdown. How can I visualize 250 pounds or more on my back when I can’t even squat to legal depth? How can I visualize pulling more than 300 pounds when I haven’t deadlifted anything for weeks and bending over to tie my shoes makes my back hurt? If I’m not careful my head will hurt as much as my back from all the over-thinking.
With the way that yesterday’s squats felt so strong and smooth, I began to believe that just maybe I will be able to do more at Provincials than I was allowing myself to hope for, but I’m still being cautious. Although the back is improving, the road is far from linear and definitely not smooth. As much as I always want to improve on the platform, the reality of competition is that sometimes you don’t have the performance you want. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes you can only do what you can do and that has to be enough. I understand that, even if it chafes against my goals and nature.
For the past few weeks I have been mentally preparing myself to accept whatever limitations I might have when it comes time to compete. I have been telling myself that I will be okay with stepping on the platform and doing my best, even if my best on that day is less than what I am capable of. The problem with preparing to be okay with settling is that I can easily fall into the trap of visualizing the ‘less than’ and the possible failures.
It is important, I think, to have a healthy respect for the limitations of an injury. Likewise, I think there is great value in tempering expectations, especially in light of the wide array of factors that can affect one’s performance. A healthy and reasonable respect for the uncontrollables…that’s what I’m striving for but carefully balanced with hope, aspirations, and my competitive drive. I cannot see the future. I do not know what will happen six weeks from now, but I do know that I am going to do all I can to put myself in the best position possible for success. My definition of success might need to be different this time around, but that doesn’t mean I cannot be successful. The past 3 months have been challenging. The next 6 weeks will most likely also be challenging, maybe even more so, but I am always up for a challenge!