Life isn’t fair and neither is sport. Typically we let these ideas flow through our head as things begin to fall apart or go against everything we worked for. I cant say these ideas don’t cross my mind every day but I can tell you that I am very ok with it. I truly understand that to get to the point of thinking things aren’t fair, one has to have gone through some shit but more importantly, one has to have made mistakes. What I am trying to say is that I did not deserve to compete in Kentucky. I had to pull out and not in the fun way.
My body began to give me signs that I was no where near where I needed to be, to be competitive. My body kept having minor injuries that kept me from being optimal let alone confident. It started with minor back issues, then torn muscles til finally my bicep muscle (not tendon) gave way on a stone that used to be warm up way. I suppose I let my heart get a bigger voice than my reason and although my intentions were true, my body wasn’t ready. The difference between me now in comparison to “then”, is that I would never pull out of a competition. Injured, hurt, beat up to the bone or all of the above.. competing was competing. Years of bad decisions and having this mindset is part of the “mistakes” I spoke about above. The daily pains, aches, groans and battle scars that might lead you to say “life isn’t fair” all come from a deep rooted reason we tend to ignore. There is no pity party here, its just that my body sucks sometimes because of the sports I chose and decisions I made.. and with that knowledge I made the tough choice to pull out of Kentucky.
Trust me, it sucks to not compete and even more so for reasons that make you feel old or used up. In 4 weeks I had acquired 4 minor injuries in a row culminating in a upper bicep muscle tear during a 250 stone. A stone I used to use as a warm up was enough to side line me TWICE during this prep. It could of been various reasons but I can tell you the one I am sure is leading the pack is.. I wasn’t ready. A bitterly hard pill to swallow or maybe its a enema ? Hahah but in all reality it sucked. With money, time, and my body invested, taking the smarter approach was not easy. I discussed things with close friends, colleagues and Liefa (coach) to see what I would do but more importantly, I had to settle things with myself.
I once wrote that keeping the wolves at bay is an internal struggle. As I write this, I continue to stand by this statement. It is a daily fight to continue forward with courage but retreat with dignity. To push with fervor but bend with passion. To earn victory but cherish defeat. The balance of this fight is an eternal struggle and one I deal with consistently on a very personal level. It was not easy to make this decision and I had many sleepless nights and quiet moments of thought. The truth is, in the last 2.5 years I have had about 4-5 months of strongman training and as much as my heart wills me to get back to where I was, I am not there. A 300 pound stone is no longer a warm up but a mile stone. A 700 pound deadlift is no longer a memory but a future goal. These are the realities of my world as I go into my 8th year of strongman and my fight restarts anew.
I’ll be honest, I feel like a first year strongman in some ways. Anxious, nervous, excited and almost a puppy like curiosity and admiration of what is happening in my body and training. There is a quiet desire to stay in the game, find my fire and develop my skills again. I am counting down to nationals one day at a time. I laugh at myself as I grin furiously looking at talks about training and what may show up in September. There is an air of excitement in Florida as a lot of old and new faces do battle one more time together. This is my 4th nationals but it has the remnants of my first trip to Reno. Dare I say, I am excited to go to battle on a stage I once thought was gone from me forever but remains a very real stepping stone for my ultimate goals.
Fast forward to this past Sunday:
I had kept my injuries and beat up body to myself the last few weeks due to Miami’s Baddest. There were bigger responsibilities on my shoulders as a coach and bringing down the environment of my lifters/staff with my personal endeavors was not on the menu. This all transpired on a weekend that my soul takes a personal and crushing blow but courage is not built on the bed of quitting. Instead I focused on starting to fix what I knew was missing, my athleticism. What was once my strongest attribute had faded away into over training, bad decisions and injury. I am not trying to be who I was, I recognize I am the Olde Wolfe and I carry that proudly. What I do want to ensure is that I re-invent myself. I no longer have pain free mornings or enjoy 10 mile runs in the morning sun. Life has led me elsewhere and I will enjoy rebuilding myself at 34 years of age, 8 years into strongman and 13 into competitive sports.
This Sundays throwing sessions reminded me of just that. As I wrote before, I have decided to use throws to develop my athleticism but this Sunday in particular was different. I felt… GOOD. I felt normal. Does that make sense? No pains, a regular Sunday hangover peppered with a fiery drive to train. Laughing with my friends, training hard, no fear, no serious pains, music on the radio and the beautiful feeling of JUST FUCKING TRAINING. For the first time in several months, I was not worried about little shit that slows me down. We inched the bar higher and higher as the throwing became more competitive but also just pure fun. Every attempt after 15 feet and 4 inches was a PR on my first attempt. You see, in throwing there is no tomorrow. There is no quick second rep or a way to cheat that height. I felt ALIVE. Sixteen foot throw was more than sixteen foot throw! It had meaning, as do all great training days. Does that make sense? Man, I felt so good. I felt like the fire of a young pup with the appreciation of an olde wolf. Maybe it was the throws or maybe the left over Jameson in my blood. Maybe it was the amazing crew with friends and my primo or the Danzig and weedeater blaring so high it hurt the soul.
Or maybe… it was the Gods whispering in my ear only something their son could hear… Maybe it was the fire crackling to the war drums..
Never Stray from The Way