Our battles are won in the darkest valleys
From the darkness...
3 months ago I was gearing up for the dark and gruelling push that comes with every winter season. Going into my second of 5 winters, I knew times would get desperate and helpless, but I could and would survive.
This winter was no exception. I had more than my fair share of days throwing in rain, sideways wind, darkness, and even snow. I'm grateful that the decision of whether to train or not is completely out of my hands - I defer completely to my coach, Garrett, who makes the call every as he watches each throw - each lift. 3 time world ironman champion Chrissy Wellington talks about this letting go of authority and control something she really struggled with early on - but inevitably how important it was for her success. I am grateful that my coach and I are on this journey together and I can trust him to push me head over heels into the deep end when needed.
Assembling the foundation
I knew going into this journey that success would not only depend on simply getting hundreds and thousands of throws in but I would need to completely re-engineer the mechanics of my body and neuro-pathways in my mind.
Enter MVMTLab and Dr.Jeff Almon who I started working with to clean up much of my body that fell apart in that first season. Together, we have spent countless hours building the physical and neurological foundation that I will build an Olympic calibre machine on top of.
At the same time my coach Garrett was beginning to educate me on the new energy system I would need to begin tapping into and evolving to be capable of that eventual 65+ meter throw. We've used a lot of Bruce Lee philosophy to help me grasp this concept of, despite moving at incredibly high speeds, being completely relaxed until the final moment of the throw where every ounce of power and explosion need to be unleashed.
I'll let Bruce explain (first 30 seconds)...
Slow, transformative progress
As we went through our last 6 week strength cycle of winter I started playing around with this concept.
Coach had us on a 6set/3rep cycle for our Olympic lifts and 6x1 for the behind the neck press so instead of being 1RM, we're meant to be able to sustain maximal weight over 3-4 sets.
My starting 1rep behind the neck push press was 235. I finished at 275.
For our 6 sets of 3 hang power clean I was working around 275 lbs. to begin - here is a set of 320lbs. in my final week. And finally I began the cycle with a 3rep hang power snatch hovering around 205lbs. A managed a set at 245lbs, and here is a video at 235lbs (granted this set wasn't all power)
Finally with our family's move out of Vancouver and into the Fraser Valley my days got about 2 hours longer - out the door at 540AM and not getting back in until just before 9PM (this is what a day in the life looks like). I have continued working closely with Body Energy Club on making sure my body has the supplementation and fuelling it needs to thrive over those long days. I also built in a meditation/nap recovery block into the my afternoon's at Moment Meditation.
It turns out the commuting has sparked my reading/audiobook passion - so much so that I've started a book review club and share my recommendations every quarter.
Winter is where Champions are made.
It hasn't' been easy. But I find myself looking back with pride and a subtle swagger that I have survived the winter. And in fact, I didn't merely survive but ended up thriving in the ring and in the gym.
I held a truth close to my head and heart as I went through this winter. Champions aren't made when the spotlight is already on. Whether it is building a business, leading a team or pursuing an individual goal - the real war of attrition takes place in the deepest darkest valleys. When, most likely, you and everyone else chasing that dream will give up. If you're able to simply survive these valleys, simply put one foot in front of the other - keeping your eyes on the peak of that mountain you are chasing - you will have made one giant leap closer to shining when that spotlight is eventually turned on and you alone are on stage.
The next chapter
And if I thought this last chapter was tough, I need to keep echoing those words in my head for what's to come.
In the next 6 weeks Tash and I will welcome our second child into the world, I will be taking on more speaking and facilitation events, leading teams at BuildDirect will continue to be demanding, and I will be travelling nearly every weekend in an effort to qualify for my first World Games this summer in Africa.
But man, I can't help but think "I am so lucky"...
Because I know when we're following our greatest passions in life every challenge, roadblock and obstacle is a little catalyst that enables us to learn, grow, and improve faster than anyone else. As we throw ourselves further and further into the deep end with this as our fuel - magic is bound to happen.
When was your last Winter?