What Competition Prep Feels Like...
Thursday, May 24, 2012
...Well, Im halfway through my 6th week of prep (sooo...5weeks and 2 days to go..) Writing has always seemed to be a great outlet for me when Im having a rough time. Today is surely one of those. There are so many wonderful and beautiful things that come out through the process of show preparation, but they don't come without a price. This is...hard. It's really hard work. The benefits outweighed the costs at first.. but when the shine wears off on those brand new feelings of confidence and empowerment, the push gets a little tougher. I've been at this for 7 weeks and 5 days. This is day 54. And this is, by far, the hardest, most rewarding thing I've ever endured.
Competition prep. What is it? It's the longest race you could probably enter. At least in the small town spectrum of my own brain's perspective. It feels like a marathon that lasts weeks versus hours. A thirteen week marathon, every single day. Some parts of it you feel strong and your pushes aid to further motivation.. sparking that "I CAN DO IT!" attitude.. Other parts of it you feel sick, like you want to throw up and you're questioning WHY.. why would I ever commit to something so long and difficult. You do it because reaching the end is worth more than any small feat you've probably ever accomplished. You're dedicating 13 full weeks, every single day, every hour of the day to accomplishing something. To reach the finish line...no matter what your placement in relativity to anyone around you...becomes the most important thing you could ever want. A testament to yourself. A statement to yourself for every single day of your life where you have given in to temptation, where you've binged on food til your sick, when you've skipped workouts..weeks of workouts.. months of workouts even. You know that piece of your brain that you spend your life constantly wanting to be tapped into? The part that says "Im strong, I can do it all, Im capable. Im motivated. Im determined. I have aspirations and dreams and damnit I WILL achieve them"..Competition prep is 13 full weeks where your behaviors, every single day, feed and fuel that piece of your brain. Mentally you may feel beaten, broken down a little..but it doesnt matter because no matter what you're still going to BEHAVE exactly as you should. The capable part of your brain has no choice but to grow and get stronger. Every time you think "I cant" but you do it anyway... Well, now THAT is empowering. It's a commitment to WIN that battle in your head once and for all..to show yourself that YES, you really really can. There have been SO many times in your head where the devil in your head has won. So many. Personally, after enduring prep..I've realized just how MUCH we all allow the lethargy to win. I look at peoples' behaviors and its unbelievable just how little most of us are committed to being the best people we can be. Maybe this sounds obsessive? Competition prep IS obsessive. But the message is important. We are all so much stronger than we allow ourselves to be. Once you can prove to yourself just how STRONG you can be.. all the things that used to weigh us down in the past become so much easier to overcome. I'm on a tangent here. The point is that, by nature, human beings are insecure in their own abilities. To enter a race (marathon..) where you opt to prove your ability each day and display it on stage at the end is an amazing way to show yourself just how capable you really are. Now, aside from the whole mental and philosophical part of it all...
What do my days currently feel like? It's a Thursday morning and after spending all night prepping food and getting things in order..the alarm clock goes off at 5am, blaring with it the message "GET YOUR CARDIO DONE!!!" in true iphone fashion..my natural reaction is get irritated and say "nooooo".. and then the voice in my own head that I've been training for weeks now booms in and says "GET YOUR ASS UP NOW"... I pull out of bed and note which muscles have shifted in soreness. The beginning of the week I couldnt move my legs because they were sore. Now I note the burn has now shifted to my abs which makes it difficult to sit up. I think "success". A testament that I put in the work I was supposed to. I throw on some clothes, go get my coffee and head to the gym, eyes still half closed. 45 Minutes on the treadmill...everything's aching already from 4 previous days of 5am wakeups and heavy lifts. I want to put the MPH down and then the voice comes back in play "DONT TOUCH IT!".. and I tredge on til the time is finally over. AH, once again..I've done it. I've proven to myself I can get through it. Another success to mark off. Getting stronger. CHEEEECK!...Go home, eat the typical oats and eggs. Watch a bunch of posing videos... buy a DVD. Got to get as many resources in as possible..(oh man, how is it already so late!? Am I gonna be late for work?)..Cook fish for the first time (wow, ive learned how to cook pretty much anything now!...but ick, FISH? yuck! Whatever.. at least I get to eat SOMETHING!)..Throw on some work clothes, pack my meals in a bag and then off I go to the office looking pretty haggard. Thoughts involved: "I need to start picking it up at work. I should be doing my best there too. I dont wanna lose my job." Unfortunately priorities, by nature, have a specific tier they work on. You can't have 5 things be number one priority at the same time. Comp prep is first.. but I must remind myself that work is still important. So Im cranky about it, but it's time to suck it up. Then I realize an hour into work that I have forgotten my bread at home. Crap. Thats my last carb meal of today, and my favorite most treasured part of every day. I start to cry. Ah man, guess I'm human after all. I think to myself.. this is HARD today, i feel like crap today. I also think to myself.. there is no way in hell Im giving up. Every hard day in the past has always been worth it and they are the building blocks of gaining mental strength. I ate my peanut butter, sans the bread and felt a little better. Ate my first meal of fish (in replacement of my delicious protein shake) and it wasnt so bad. I had another cup of coffee and saw the gentle face of one of my favorite coworkers. I put on some music, sat down at my desk again and thought once again.. I CAN DO THIS. I'm doing it every day. I'm doing it for those countless days in the past 25 years when the voice said "you cant" and I listened. It will not win. And THAT is where victory lies. To wipe out the "I cants".
Just over 5 weeks to go. To step on stage for the first time and proudly show that I made a commitment to myself and stuck to it. There is no turning back now. No way, no how. So many people know you're doing it. To not finish would be the ultimate let down. No matter how well I do...those 5 minutes on stage is all the proof I need that I endured the hardest thing of my life for over 3 straight months. It's a learning experience. I feel tired. I feel sore. I feel like this is hard. But, I feel stronger than I ever have in my life. And that is all that matters.
(Please note: This is spoken in slight carb deprived delirium. More of a journal entry to myself than anything...hope you get a kick out of my ramblings if you're another person reading this)