Friday, January 04, 2008

Stuck in the Middle

This morning at weights I had an "Ah hah" moment. I realized that I have felt so defeated lately because I have been stuck in the middle of 'really bad' and 'kinda good' for way too long.

When I first started making progress; every step was motivating. The progress was small, but compared to being at home in a wheel chair, it was phenomenal. As each day passed I could walk better and I started to feel more and more like my old self again.

Now, I have been stuck in a rut for more than a month where it feels like no matter how hard I work and how diligent I am (believe me, I have been busting my butt), the progress is not coming. I want to find that one exercise or one thought that will propel me to the next level of rehab. I am sick of not being able to squat all the way down because I know that I need to have a full range of motion in order to gain back my maximum strength. I am tired of not being able to lay on my stomach and lift my heel to my butt. I am frustrated with being frustrated!

When I walk down the hall you would have never known that I injured myself. I have no limp and my scars are slowly fading. On the outside everything looks pretty normal, almost like I have regained my form entirely. In fact, I have had many people ask me if I am back training and getting ready for Beijing. I wish. On the inside I feel like I am clawing away and just trying to survive. I am spending endless hours in the gym, the weight room and in the physio clinic, but the progress is so slow. I have always been the type of person who gets fed up and finds a way to make it work, but in this situation I can't take that approach. I have to listen to my body. It is telling me important things. Obviously I would be doing everything I want to if I could. I guess I sometimes feel like I am giving up because I am not making progress and therefore I am not pushing myself hard enough.

I am caught in a vicious circle and I feel like I am spinning a little out of control. I don't know if 7 months is enough. First, I need to regain my mobility and strength. Then I need to regain my gymnastic shape and then I have to regain all of my skills and get into routine shape. On top of it all I need to add difficulty in order to challenge for the Olympic title. That's a lot to accomplish in a little amount of time. It freaks me out a little bit to think that at the end of all of this hard work, sacrifice and struggle that it might not work out the way that I and everyone else wants it to. That's a really scary thought, and I don't want to think it, but I have to be realistic.

I have been experiencing a lot of self doubt and a huge lack of self confidence lately. I am usually pretty sure of myself and my actions, but lately that hasn't been the case. I think that this has a lot to do with the fact that I haven't been able to train hard or compete...hell, I wouldn't even consider myself an Elite gymnast right now.

I have been doing gymnastics for 20 years of my life. 20 years is a long time. I have defined myself a lot based on how I do in gymnastics. When I apply myself to training I see the progress and the benefit. I love the feeling of getting into shape and knowing that something is a thousand times easier than it was before because of the hard work that I put in. It's like the beautiful life quote says, " There aren't any shortcuts to tomorrow. You have to make your own way." I have been feeling like a lot less of a person lately because I no longer feel like myself.

When one thing in your life begins to feel a little helpless it starts to affect other areas of your life, especially if it's something as important to a person as gymnastics is to me. I have noticed that the various relationships in my life have started to take a turn in a direction that is just not acceptable. I have been a little too quick to snap at those I love. I have been a little unappreciative to those who are trying to help me. I have shut down when it comes to talking about how I am feeling.

I am starting to feel a little desperate. As each day passes that doesn't have noticeable progress; I feel like I have lost an important opportunity to advance and therefore I failed. Right now, I need to see improvements each and every day to keep me feeling like I am gaining momentum in overcoming this obstacle.

This obstacle is definitely turning out to be the most intense and trying one in my life thus far.



Dylan Glynn said...

I just saw your 07 floor routine posted on, I can't even believe how great it was, an absolute pleasure to watch. I am so glad to see that you managed to upgrade many of your passes while still maintaining your classic clean style. I really like your addition of the 1.5 to prone, for a second i thought you were putting the full twisting bhs to prone back in from 04 so it was a cool surprise. Anyhow, I look forward to seeing a routine of this quality this summer. I know this is super belated but great stuff kyle, I know you'll get it all back.

track_star said...

Hey Kyle, I have never met you but I did watch your famous routine when you pulled off the Gold. I know you are going through a rough time right now, but it will only make you stronger in the end. Stick with it and try and stay positive. I know it is hard, as I am going through a stubborn injury myself that is keeping me from my life long passion of running. My injury may not be as serious, but I know it is never fun to not be able to compete and train.

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Stef said...

I have to admit that, as a former female gymnast (many moons ago), I rarely watch men's gymnastics. However, when I first saw your floor routine on television, I pulled my husband in to watch it again. You have an uncommon elegance and manage to make the most difficult skills look easy. Simply beautiful gymnastics!

I was reading a gymnastics blog and saw that you had suffered an injury. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for you, but please know that there are people all over the world who have been touched by your talent. I wish you all the best for recovery.